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At the start of 2015, Google made the startling announcement that more searches had been initiated from mobile devices than desktops in 10 countries, a trend that has only continued throughout 2016. The emphatic shift towards mobile browsing means that digital marketers must adapt to this new paradigm or risk being left behind; it’s about time you made sure your mobile marketing strategy is up to scratch, and here are some of the top trends we’re seeing in digital advertising this year.

Snippets and ranking #0

Google is doing its best to provide quick, relevant answers to questions, and have introduced ‘snippets’ to facilitate this. Snippets are small chunks of text lifted from one of the top-ranking web pages that Google has identified as an answer for the search query, and these are placed at the very top of the organic search results (but below paid ads), in the position that Moz’s Dr. Pete calls ‘the #0 rank’. On the limited screen of a mobile device, snippets become even more important as they take up a large chunk of the available space – therefore, structuring your site to gain the coveted snippet spot is a top tactic for boosting your position in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

Ad extensions and integration

In addition to this, Google has been integrating more extensions into results, allowing websites to provide more detailed information in their listings. This includes the ability to embed phone numbers within search listings – a powerful function, considering that mobile searches have strong local intent, and one that has driven call conversion analytics to become an important tool in PPC marketing.

Another key aspect for B2B marketers is the review function, which allows users to submit a rating and a short review of each company in the results page. This identifies businesses with high customer satisfaction, sending a strong positive signal to searchers.

A more arcane development that marketers and SEO experts can take advantage of is structured data, and the usage of rich snippets; essentially a way of marking up different types of data so that search engines know how to display it. This enables relevant information to be displayed within the results pages themselves, improving the quality of your list and potentially boosting your click-through rate.

Don’t forget that mobile is the platform for voice searches; nearly all voice searches are conducted on mobile, and this sector is growing much faster than regular search (one in five mobile searches is now a voice search, according to Google). Voice searches are typically phrased in a conversational manner, so ranking for long-tail keywords is becoming ever more important for capturing mobile searches.

Integrating alternative channels

Brands have a greater ability to integrate different channels into their marketing than ever before, and by tracking customers across different devices through the use of social logins and data-driven prediction it’s possible for ecommerce businesses to boost sales by remarketing to mobile customers, using information gathered from their desktop browsing (and vice-versa). For example, Google can see that a user has viewed a certain product on your site, then create adverts that specifically target them, displaying on any device which is associated with their Google identity.

Brands also have the opportunity to present adverts within apps through Google’s in-app display network, allowing them further opportunities to build their identity and reach customers. This is a very powerful channel for marketers, as apps are where mobile users spend most of their in-device time.

Where do we go now?

Mobile marketing requires a new set of tactics, and there are many opportunities for clever advertisers to leverage this platform to reach their audience. By capitalising on the new trends in mobile search and usage, business will be able to continue to engage their audience, and exploit this ever more important form of marketing.

Thomas Coppen is the UK director of Keel Over Marketing.

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