Winning the Last Ten Feet

April 2012

For T-Mobile, 34 million customers is just the beginning. To increase new activations, they decided to better connect research and purchase processes across digital touchpoints. They discovered that desktop users research and purchase heavily from the T-Mobile site, while mobile users search for store hours and locations. T- Mobile segmented their Google Mobile Ads accordingly, using maps and a click-to-call number when a user is near a store. In one month alone, they had 162,000 click-throughs on their mobile location extension ads.


Use Google Mobile Ads with location extensions


Influence prospects that are further along in their purchase process

Drive mobile users to nearby stores


162,000 click-throughs in one month on location extension mobile ads

Overall click-through rate of 13% on location extension ads to store website

20,000 phone calls to stores in one month from mobile ads

Google Mobile Ads campaigns influence users at a local level to visit T-Mobile stores. T-Mobile has America's largest 4G network and is the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., with nearly 34 million customers. Through Google AdWords, the company has expanded the number of potential customers it reaches through a concerted digital campaign targeted to desktop and mobile search users.

T-Mobile's specified goal for AdWords was to increase new customer activations by converting desktop customers online, or by spurring customers using their mobile devices to visit nearby stores by being visible on their devices when they search for information. T-Mobile worked with partner Optimedia to craft a marketing strategy which drove these goals.

Winning on the ground

"Consumers often conduct research on their desktops prior to making a wireless purchase because they like to compare carriers and phones in detail," said Kari Nicholas, Media Director of T-Mobile USA. "Consumers searching on mobile devices tend to be further down the purchase funnel and have a more informed opinion about what they want, which presents an opportunity for us to influence their decision regarding where to buy while they're on the go. That's why we felt it was essential to provide a way for them to easily find our retail locations."

Optimedia's marketing strategy for T-Mobile was specifically designed with that in mind, according to Nathan Sandford, Search Director, Optimedia: "It's important that T-Mobile's advertising is flexible enough to adapt to where consumers are searching. Influencing customers on mobile while they're out and about and driving them to a store is what we call winning the "last ten feet'".

As a wireless service provider, we strive to be on the forefront of mobile advertising and strategy because our customers are already using that technology and they expect us to use it as well.

Using local ad formats

Analysis of T-Mobile's desktop site demonstrated that desktop users were researching and purchasing heavily from the site, whereas mobile users were interested in local store information such as opening times and utilizing the store locator so it was important that T-Mobile's search ads demonstrated their local presence to a customer. This was achieved by implementing mobile location extensions: ad units that displayed the location of a T-Mobile store on a map and in relation to the user, and also a click-to-call phone number. The ad was triggered by a keyword search when the user is located near a store.

The other advantage of the location extension format for T-Mobile was how it provided rich local store information right in the ad, which is specifically designed for mobile devices. This was especially important for T-Mobile who did not have a mobile-optimized web site. Minimizing the steps for a user to find the information they need quickly helps create a simple and efficient experience for a potential customer.

Search, locate, visit

The addition of location-specific features connected customers in the time and place of their specific need, leading to better-than-anticipated results. "The summer campaign played a significant part in our retail-focused strategy," says Sandford. "In August alone, we recorded 162,000 click-throughs on our location extension ads on mobile. Adding local store information to mobile ads definitely increases relevancy for the user, which is why we regularly see CTR of 13%. We're very pleased with the results."Our mobile advertising strategy helped us close the loop for the online research process by extending our advertising to all internet-connected platforms. Current customers and prospects can more easily navigate to relevant areas of our web site, where they can find a store, pay their bill, activate a new plan or upgrade their device. As a wireless service provider, we strive to be on the forefront of mobile advertising and strategy because our customers are already using that technology and they expect us to use it as well," said Nicholas.

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