On the Move to on the Couch: How Tablet Usage Will Change Mobile Search Marketing

In an attempt to understand the user, the introduction of the tablet saw it placed quickly in the mobile bracket. However, nearly three years on from the release of the first Ipad, studies are starting to show tablets are used in a very different manner than first believed. After spending the last couple of years focusing on the smart phone, how will search change to accommodate the tablet revolution?

The tablet has been tipped to be the first device with a real chance of ending the laptop’s reign. Original predictions of tablet usage claimed it would be a device used mainly on the move, and that they would become major rivals to the smart phone. Recent studies however are proving this is not the case. Typical tablet usage takes place in the home through a Wi-Fi connection, as fewer users choose to shell out for expensive devices and mobile connection packages. The tablet has simply proved itself to be a quicker, more convenient laptop.

But what does this mean for search? Tablet and mobile search accounted for 17% of PPC budgets last year, with the majority (11%) of this being from tablets; however this is set to grow this year. The last couple of years have seen a focus on mobile search, but could this be about to change? The huge increase in tablet owners after Christmas means an increase in tablet search, couple this with CPC rates on tablets being as low as they are, and it’s indicating a growth market for 2013. An opportunity which search Engine Blekko has already scoped out. The release of their tablet specific search engine Izik, complete with ‘touch friendly search’ and an image rich layout, is an indication of what’s going to happen to search this year.

Google’s introduction of the mobile bot emphasised the difference between desktop searching and smart phone searching. The mobile bot was designed to crawl pages with smartphone friendly content, improving the search experience for the mobile user. It highlighted the smart phone searchers preference to local search, meaning paid ads could be constructed differently to attract a mobile user.

However tablet searchers are very different to smart phone users. Whilst they are still interested in localised search, they are also motivated by price, and more likely to be influenced by reviews on products. With tablet searchers now having a higher conversion rate than smart phone searchers, how long will it be before Google create a more tablet relevant experience? Is this the time for a tablet bot?

There would be relevance in the creation of more tablet specific robot for websites, rewarding tablet friendly content. The introduction of review links in search results, taking advantage of retina displays by adding images to search listings, and making all aspects ‘touch friendly’, could all improve search for the tablet user.

2012 may well have been the year of the tablet, but 2013 is set to be proof of what the search world can create to win over tablet users. With this is mind we have put together five tips you can implement to impress tablet users.

1. Modify your PPC search – Tablet users are less likely to search long tail terms. Bid on terms that are shorter for better return, the CPC is cheaper too. Ad scheduling should be focused towards the evening, when tablet users are relaxing on the sofa or commuting.

2. Include links to reviews – Tablet users are more savvy than mobile users. Make it easy for them; include reviews on your site or even a price comparison option.

3. Optimise your site – Create a ‘tap’ friendly site with easy to read fonts and increased form size. Or look into creating a downloadable app, these are often easier to use, not to mention the constant presence on the home screen, which always helps.

4. Keep it localised – Like mobile users, tablet owners are typically still looking for localised search. Use location extensions to stay visible to tablet users, while also increasing your real estate on the search page.

5. Cross channel marketing – Tablet users are most likely to use their devices whilst either watching television or listening to the radio, they are multi media consumers. Ensure your search activity compliments other media advertising.

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