There's no denying that your target audience is incorporating mobile devices into their lives more with each passing day. Capturing the most value out of mobile can be a challenge – but as a PPC campaign manager, you can't ignore this huge opportunity.
Before you pay for one click via mobile PPC, you need to have a specific, detailed strategy in place. It's OK to run some initial tests via mobile to get your feet wet; but mature campaigns need a thoughtful, purposeful mobile strategy in order to win big.
There are numerous factors that help or hinder your mobile PPC performance. Below are five items to consider when you're crafting your mobile strategy. Some of these tactics are contained within AdWords and a few of them discuss your mobile website experience in general.
Launch Mobile Preferred Ads
Based on recent account audits, I think many campaign managers neglect the ability to choose "Mobile Preferred Ads." This option is basically a "suggestion" that certain ads are preferred for mobile devices, but you should utilize every element of distribution control within AdWords.
Create a Mobile-Optimized Experience
It's shocking to see how many mobile PPC ads send users to experiences that aren't optimized for their specific device. As an SEM manager, you need to understand the user intention of your mobile website visitors.
Remember, not all traffic across devices has the same goals or desires the same experience. SEM mobile visitors tend to be in a browsing state-of-mind with a lower propensity to make a purchase or become a lead. Numerous case studies show that many people will initiate their consideration process on their mobile device when they have some down time, but they will continue and possibly end their journey on a PC.
You've probably read numerous articles in the past few years about the importance of optimizing mobile for creating a response design website. This is all true.
You need to have a website experience optimized specifically for mobile visitors. Of course, this means that your website needs to render properly on each device, but you should also optimize your mobile website for user intention too.
How can you provide an awesome experience for the user, while gaining as much value from this traffic? If possible, allow users to take a quick, easy action on your mobile site; possibly save a product for later or complete a super-simple contact form.
For example, I arrived at the three landing pages below via ads displaying for the term, "online conferencing software." Folks who search this query on their mobile devices are probably looking for some quick information or a fast way to create an account that they can access via their PC later. And individuals who search this exact term on mobile devices may also be analyzing the mobile-savviness of each provider.
The first page looked very good – aside from the unnecessary captcha. But overall a good mobile experience.
The second landing page rendered properly but was a bit squeezed for my device's screen. The call-to-action is at the top of the page but there is no supporting to tell a user what to do or what to except after they take the desire action.
The third page is poorly optimized for mobile, PCs and just about any device (sorry to be picking on anyone).
Utilize Bid Modifiers for Mobile Devices
With bid modifiers in AdWords you can decrease bids 100 percent, which removes your ads from mobile devices. You can also increase your bids for mobile devices by up to 300 percent. If you don't have a clear strategic plan for mobile, and you aren't ready to at least conduct some tests, then you may want to opt-out of mobile for now.
Keep in mind, if you use Conversion Optimizer you can't use any bid modifiers within your campaigns. Remember, with Conversion Optimizer you're handing the keys to Google take any measure toward generating as many conversions for your target CPA. This includes time of day or day of week, and this includes mobile devices now too. If Conversion Optimizer is your preferred method of bid management, then optimizing your mobile experience is even a higher priority (since you can't opt of mobile).
Monitor Your Geographic Bid Modifiers
Bid modifiers don't act in a vacuum. That is one of the core challenges of enhanced campaigns. You can have modifiers for device, time, and even geography all firing on one keyword. This can make adjusting keyword bids extremely difficult as the data gets murkier with each automated adjustment.
However, you may find that conversion rates run the same per devices in similar geographic areas. For a large-scale ecommerce client, I analyzed their PPC mobile conversion rates for PCs and mobile devices (see below). I found that conversion rates, regardless of device, were very similar throughout the U.S. This means if you have mobile modifiers and geographic modifiers, they may not be in direct conflict for any given device.
Bottom line: keep all of your bid modifiers in check and be extremely cautious.
Reconsider the Google Display Network via Mobile
I recently conducted a case study on devices in Q4 for some of our larger retail clients. Previously we found that the Google Display Network (GDN) distributed via mobile devices provided very poor results – and the recent study found this to be true still.
Our overall traffic via mobile devices on the GDN was much lower than the Search Network, and for good reason. As you can see below the conversion rates on GDN mobile ads was very weak the average order value was much lower (AOV).
Perhaps the GDN works great for you on mobile devices. If so, do it! But you should consider skipping this distribution option for now or monitoring your results very closely.
Consider reviewing these tactics within your mobile campaigns and making some adjustments to improve your results. If you aren't fully invested in mobile PPC just yet, then let these serve as cautionary tale on where there may be some bumps in the road.
It's up to you super-smart SEM managers to take the challenge of mobile (and it is challenging) and make it in an awesome opportunity!
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!