3 Tests to Determine if Mobile Ads are Right for Your Online Store

Mobile use is such a part of our lives that 73 percent of people admit they would feel panicked about losing a phone. Mobile use is a pervasive habit for our society- across search, shopping, and social networks.

Consumers spend more than 15 hours a week on mobile sites and apps, a year over year mobile use has grown 25 percent, according to Google. Just as marketers switched from print to television advertising, many marketers are emphasizing a mobile presence for their online store.

Should You Set Up Mobile Ads?

Mobile is big, and getting bigger. But are mobile search ads a good investment for your site?

Below are three questions to ask to help your determine your potential for mobile success, and analytics reports you can run to help answer those questions.

1. How Much Traffic Comes to Your Site From Mobile?

How many of your users are actually coming to your site using a mobile device? Depending on your site and consumer base, this answer will vary widely.

If your client demographic is older, you may have very few mobile visitors. Younger shoppers, or a more tech savvy audience will inversely be more likely to browse and purchase using mobile. Don't assume your site visitors are or aren't visiting on mobile. Look at the data first.

To determine how much of your site traffic comes from mobile, run a device report in Google Analytics. To do this, login to Analytics and select mobile in the left navigation under Audience. Click overview to view the mobile sessions, users, and other user traffic information for mobile:

Mobile Traffic in Google Analytics

Mobile variables to consider:

  • Sessions
  • % New Sessions
  • New users
  • Bounce Rate
  • Pages/Sessions

Analytics breaks down performance on this tab based on user behavior and attributes. Be sure to understand these variables and how they impact mobile user behavior. For example, high mobile bounce rate that is high may inform mobile site UX, whereas sessions may be a good variable to look at to determine if mobile traffic is significant for your site.

Use your discretion to determine how much mobile traffic warrants you spending ad spend on mobile. How much you spend, how that impacts mobile UX and site functionality, and your budget are all going to vary specific to you and your store.

2. How Many Mobile Sales Does Your Store Generate?

Mobile traffic will give you an idea of how many people are coming to your site from mobile devices. That's useful information to inform decisions about mobile advertising, mobile site design, and related mobile site variables.

If you're an ecommerce store, how many sales your store generates through mobile further informs those decisions, and will also help you determine what a realistic mobile ad budget is for your store.

Use the Google Analytics device report to analyze how many sales (transactions) occur on mobile devices and how much those sales are generating (revenue) to decide whether your mobile traffic drives sales, and if those sales warrant ad spend:

Mobile Device Sales in Google Analytics

Mobile variables to consider:

  • Transactions
  • Revenue
  • Ecommerce Conversion Rate

Remember, just because your mobile traffic is low, it doesn't mean your mobile order volume will also be low. Likewise you may have many mobile visitors, but few of them purchase from your store. Or your mobile visitors may convert, but they may or may not purchase high AOV products, which will inform your mobile ad strategy.

3. Does Your Store Have a Good Mobile User Experience?

Google started crawling website pages for mobile usability this April – a change which has a significant impact on which ads appear on search. Pages that aren't mobile optimized with ad disapproval don't rank as highly in Google – across search and mobile.

Even if you don't have a significant amount of mobile traffic or conversions to your site, it’s a good time to get the mobile site design ball rolling. Google's guide on Principles of Mobile Site Design is a good place to get a grasp on the different elements of a mobile store, such as site search, conversion rate optimization, and site navigation.

There are various free mobile testing sites such as Screenfly, which allow you to view your website, and specific pages from different devices:

Screenfly Mobile Testing

Mobile Ad Strategy

Browsers on mobile devices have different search and shopping behavior than website shoppers. If you decide to run mobile ads on Google AdWords with Product Ads and Text Ads, be sure to follow best practices and modify bids based on device performance.

We've found that Google Shopping mobile traffic tends to convert lower than desktop traffic, so you may consider bidding lower on mobile for Product Ads if your data mirrors this.

For text ads, consider a mobile keyword strategy. Mobile ads are different than desktop ads in that:

  • Mobile users have different intent than website shoppers.
  • Mobile ads are tailored to mobile search pages, which are smaller in scale than website ads, and have different functionality.
  • Mobile users are action oriented, and have an added sense of urgency.

Advertiser competition on mobile is different than desktop, and is also more likely to be influenced by local searches and showrooming. Build out a keyword campaign for mobile that reflects mobile users.