“Mobile Is For Closers” – Why smartphone advertising dominates at point of purchase

Smartphone Advertising

The great secret to effective mobile advertising—specifically smartphone advertising—is understanding the context in which your consumers are actually using mobile. As I talked about in this earlier post regarding the differences between mobile ads and desktop ads, consumers on their smartphones are much more likely to be further down the purchase funnel, compared to consumers using other devices.

    “Mobile Customers are often closer to a buying decision, and ready to take action.”
    (taken from a Google AdWords video)

Smartphone Advertising – With You Until The End

Last month, the Local Search Association released an infographic illustrating the incredible extent to which final purchase considerations are dictated by a brand’s mobile presence.

According to the study, only 61% of PC searches for local businesses ultimately led to a purchase. While still a respectable percentage, it falls far below the reported 78% of smartphone searches that resulted in a purchase.

Between 2012 and 2013, the number of people who reported using smartphones to find a product online increased by 50%, while the number of people using tablets to find products practically doubled.

Smartphone Advertising - Search

The value of smartphone advertising: 78% of searches on smartphones lead to a purchase

This data is supported by a cars.com report analyzing consumer behavior on mobile, which found that all bottom-of-the-funnel consumer activity was far more prevalent on mobile devices: saving vehicle information for later reference, looking up phone numbers to schedule an appointment, and finding map directions to local dealers.

Smartphone Advertising - Automotive

The value of smartphone advertising: Bottom of the funnel behavior happens overwhelmingly on smartphones

Cars.com also found that, overwhelmingly, automotive shoppers continued to use their mobile devices to help with purchase consideration while on the lot (62%), typically to compare the prices they were quoted with competing dealerships.

Smartphone Advertising - Purchase Consideration

The value of smartphone advertising: Consumers visiting auto dealerships are using their smartphones to compare prices (image courtesy of Cars.com)

It’s not hard to understand: desktop devices are used exclusively at home or at work, while mobile devices remain in use everywhere else. Whether you’re running errands, going shopping, or visiting an auto dealership–any activity that could feasibly lead to a purchase in the physical world–you are going to have a smartphone, and you are almost certainly going to use it.

Related: Consumers of All Ages Are Using Mobile to Help Them Shop

At the local level, mobile’s dramatically improved geographic targeting makes it a natural fit for advertisers hoping to go beyond branding and actually drive local traffic to a specific retail site. And, on a purely functional level, smartphones lend themselves to consumer activities relating to purchase decisions; redeeming digital coupons, looking up map directions, and placing a phone call.

Moving forward, with mobile-centric POS services like Apple Pay becoming a very real factor, the smartphone’s role in the purchase process will only become more dominant.

Related: ROI Formula – Mobile Ads With Tap To Call


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