Google AdWords will now let you track calls made from mobile devices to your business after users have tapped the phone number on your website.
Most businesses don't want to pay for marketing they can't measure. With this feature, you'll be able to track clicks on your phone number by AdWords campaign, ad group, or keyword, which puts you in charge of some valuable data. This is essentially the Holy Grail of marketing metrics: figuring out the ads that made customers call you.
Google will help to sell more of its "Click to Call" ads launched this past January and served to mobile phones. This means that if you are in a competitive local industry and your ad pops up where your competitor's does not, you are more likely to grab that local customer than your competition is.
How Are Consumers Using Smartphones?
In addition, Google, Ipsos, and the Mobile Marketing Association launched a resource at OurMobilePlanet.com to help users pinpoint how consumers are using smartphones.
Web surveys in March and July targeted users around the world who accessed the Internet from smartphones.
The main thrust appears to be to show businesses just how many consumers are making relevant searches for businesses using smartphones. The chart at left shows that 52 percent of mobile users who found a business online visited it in person--a number difficult to ignore.
Create Custom Reports
You can create reports from the data using a number of parameters, including country, the location of the smartphone, local searches and actions taken after those searches, purchases made on a smartphone, and more for a better idea of how your business could prosper through a mobile presence.
If I have one criticism of the site, it relies too much on users creating custom reports. It should be providing more stock charts from the data, for those who don't have the time or inclination to piece together their own reports. It would also be cool to have the data in a format that you can import into your software of choice; this would allow companies to apply the data to their own business model alongside their sales numbers.
Optimizing Your Business for Mobile
What does optimizing a website for smartphones mean for a small, local business that hasn't built much of an online image? It means that you should start now. Listings in local business directories and a website are the price of entry to the mobile consumer, and very basic sites can be created inexpensively. Make sure, for instance, that your company phone number is on the footer or somewhere on every page of your mobile website.
How can you take it further if you already have a presence? If you've got an hour, check out this video by Google on how to optimize your site for mobile. (Don't let the Rebecca Black reference turn you off. It picks up.)
Angela West dreams of opening a Fallout-themed pub featuring wait staff with Pip-Boys. She's written for big insurance companies, small wildlife control businesses, gourmet food chains, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @angelawest.