Most studies I’ve read regarding mobile seem to focus on statistics that may lead to conclusions that overstate the importance of mobile. I wanted to put together a study that would show the actual traffic from mobile devices to a local website in an industry that was traditionally driven by yellow page advertising. My goal is to create a resource that a small business owner making the transition from yellow pages advertising could use to put mobile search in perspective. A change to Google Adwords platform helped.
Back in February, Google added a feature that allows you to segment Adwords traffic by “device.”
It’s an option on the segment drop down menu… here’s a screenshot:
I decided to study this to determine how important mobile was to my clients. I wanted to find the answer to 2 questions:
- What percentage of traffic came from mobile?
- Does the percentage of traffic from Mobile vary in different parts of the country?
All of the companies in the study are of the same type, garage door companies, which provides an almost unique opportunity to study mobile patterns across different parts of the country without having to factor in for the type of company.
Here is a map that shows the traffic from Adwords on a smart phone as a percentage of all Adwords traffic to each of 7 garage door companies from around the Country.
This data was taken from February 16, 2010 – April 16, 2010. Impressions, rather than clicks were used, to eliminate click thru rate as a variable. I felt like this made a better comparison and each of these businesses had at least 3,000 impressions during this time interval.
Conclusions And Areas For Further Study
- Not a big surprise that San Jose, which falls in Silicon Valley is number 1
- The small data set follows the general pattern that people in bigger cities (more population) are going to use mobile devices a higher percentage of the time
- Westchester County NY surprised me. This is a high income area which I would thought would lead to higher mobile usage. Interestingly, Westchester County is the oldest population in this set. Could be that age trumps income when it comes to selecting a small business on a mobile handset.
- For different types of businesses Mobile is going to be more or less important but overall it’s likely to be less than 5% of overall traffic. Again, this is a small study but Adwords and Google Analytics both provide easy segmentation of mobile traffic. Look in your analytics or call your PPC provider to see what percentage of your traffic is mobile.
- Tip: Ask your PPC provider what your average position is when segmented for Mobile. I shoot for top 3 in computer devices and top 2 in Mobile (Google shows 2 ads on top on Mobil devices)