Google seems to have rolled this out without an official announcement, as I haven’t seen anyone reporting on this new feature in the AdWords keyword tool yet. When Google announced that they had updated the tool this past Wednesday, I was hoping that the new features included search volume for smartphones, in addition to the feature phone volume that they’ve had since last January. When I looked following the announcement, I was disappointed that the tool still didn’t include this data. But yesterday when I looked I saw new fields in the mobile keyword tool.

smartphone volume adwords tool

If you go into the Advanced Options feature and go to the same Show Ideas For drop down menu that the mobile device information used to be in, you’ll see two new options: All mobile devices, and Mobile devices with full internet browsers. In addition, Google has named the feature phone volume that was there before more accurately, labeling it “Mobile WAP Devices”.

I’ll be looking at this more in depth at a later date, however, here are a few reasons why traditional search marketers, mobile search marketers and mobile marketers alike should care about this new feature.

  • It provides more accurate data about the opportunity inherent in mobile. In the category that I looked at, there were on average more than 5x the forecasted impressions for smartphones than for feature phones. One keyword ([thomas the tank engine toys], oddly) had 42x the amount of searches on smartphones that it had on feature phones. If someone who sold Thomas the Tank Engine Toys assessed the mobile opportunity as low based on the previous version of the tool that included only featurephone volume, that person might want to take another look.
  • It gives search marketers and SEOs a more accurate sense of total volume when they’re doing keyword research. Mobile is growing to the point where it’s said to be 10% or more of total Google query volume. Previously all SEOs were just leaving this 10% out of their keyword research, because Google didn’t offer the data. Now it’s available to everyone with an AdWords account, and it could change the total opportunity in our target keywords.
  • It gives mobile marketers a more complete picture of who their user is. You may think the mobile user experience should be minimal and that will make it frustration free, but does that mesh with their queries? Maybe they’re looking for something that we’re not yet giving them.
  • It gives all of us a chance to figure out how the mobile user experience will change our business, and the discipline of paid and natural search marketing. Given that the PC era is forecasted to end in a short 18 months, and Google’s Eric Schmidt regularly talks about his company’s future in mobile terms, this tool should help us all understand how mobile queries are changing how our customers interact with us.

Enjoy the tool, and thank you Google for listening to those of us who have been asking for it for a while.