Pulling Google Mobile Traffic Estimates

Although it seems like every year is crowned the official “Year of Mobile” ( 2010, 2011,2012), businesses & marketers can no longer deny the growth of mobile. As Google pointed out in the “Understanding Mobile Ads Across Marketing Objectives” webinar, the question is no longer WHY should we get into mobile, it is HOW can we get into mobile?

Unlike my typical rants against Google, for once I could not agree more. The answer for WHY to get into mobile is simple- look at the statistics. Chances are there is opportunity out there for you or your client. The HOW is the more challenging part. See, for all of Google’s current mobile pushes (e.g. GoMo) & updates to the Keyword & Traffic estimating tools, there is still no ideal, officially-recommended way to pull mobile estimates.

While it bothers me that Google is pushing mobile so heavily and not making it as easy as possible to enter the mobile market, I wanted to share with you how we at SEER have decided to pull mobile estimates. And trust me – this is an issue we have long debated at SEER.

The Ratio Approach – Best for Those New to Mobile

Background: This approach involves finding the percent of mobile traffic compared to desktop traffic. Once this percentage is known, you can apply it to the Traffic Estimator CPC predictions to estimate your mobile cost.

Methodology: First, calculate the ratio of desktop to mobile traffic by dividing the Keyword Tool Local Monthly Mobile Searches by the Keyword Tool Local Desktop Monthly Searches. Next, to find the cost, you would take the estimated Daily Desktop Cost from the Traffic Estimator and multiply it by the fraction you calculated in the first step.

Additional Notes: While this approach is not perfect, this works great if your client is new to the mobile market. For our clients, we have seen that the results were fairly accurate.

The Back-In – Best If Mobile Has Already Been Tested

Background: Another approach to pulling mobile estimates encompasses using data we already have to back into your estimates. This approach works best if you have already tested a mobile campaign and have an idea of what your mobile CTR, conversions & conversion rate are.

Methodology: To pull estimates this way, you would start in the Keyword Tool, segmenting the data to “All Mobile Devices.” You will also want to make sure that you have “Approximate CPC” checked off under the Columns dropdown.

After doing this, hit search, and you will have the first set of numbers you will need, which are your Mobile Impressions (Local Monthly Searches) and CPCs. Take this number from the Local Monthly Searches column, unless you are doing a worldwide campaign. Using the CTR, from your existing or previous mobile campaigns, you will be able to extrapolate an estimate for your clicks. I’ve included an example below, in which I’ve said that my mobile CTR was 5.10%. Just as you can back into clicks, you would also be able to back into conversions by just plugging in your existing or previous mobile campaign conversion rate.

Additional Notes: One major flaw with this approach is in using the Keyword Tool’s approximate CPC. Since this estimate is an aggregate of cost across all keyword positions, you aren’t getting a great cost gauge for position one and two, which are often critical positions in mobile given the limited space. While this may be worrisome, if you leave some cushion in your budget, you should be okay! Another smaller concern is that local monthly searches doesn’t 100% equate to the actual number of impressions you may receive.

Other Mobile Tips

Below are some additional sites that I’ve found helpful when presenting and building out mobile campaigns:

Google Analytics – Size up mobile opportunity by looking at the organic and paid mobile traffic you are driving within Google Analytics. This may be the data you need to sell the idea of mobile to your boss or client.

MobilePlanet – This site provides tons of info and insights into smartphone usage and mobile attitudes. It also has great selection of research studies!

GoMo – GoMo has tons of examples of great mobile practices, and a really cool tool which allows you to evaluate how your page appears on mobile devices. If some aspect of your site fails their mobile assessment, it provides tips on how you can improve that area.

Response Capture – The folks at Response Capture put together a great blog on with tips for designing a mobile landing page.

Google Sites – Google Sites has tons of great mobile templates to help you build out the perfect mobile landing page, if contracting out this design is not feasible.

There you have it folks! That is part of SEER’s secret sauce when it comes to building out mobile campaigns. Please feel free to share your mobile recipes below, we’d love to hear them!