June 06, 2016 | in Agency & Digital News, Paid Search & Media Buying

Why Google Adwords is Going “Mobile-First”

The reasons behind it

You’ve heard the announcements from the Google Performance Summit that Google Adwords will be going “mobile-first”, but what’s the rationale behind a big change like this?

There are many reasons why a company would make the switch to a “mobile-first” strategy, but the evidence for why it’s important is in the numbers. In 2014, mobile searches passed desktop searches at Google, and more than half of all web traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets. As far as mobile device ownership, there are over 2.6 billion smartphone owners in the world today, making mobile the most popular platform for internet use.

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Large tech companies like Apple and Facebook have begun to put mobile first as well. Apple has recently announced plans to place search ads in the app store which will be centred around mobile, and Facebook has released information stating that 54% of Facebook users access the site exclusively from mobile devices.

Aside from mobile’s rising popularity, why go mobile-first?

Mobile-first makes it easier for Google and other online companies to track conversions because there are different tracking solutions than before. Secondly, it creates numerous technological opportunities for new mediums that are mobile centred, such as virtual reality and Google Cardboard, 360° videos, Snapchat, etc. In recent years, a majority of technological innovations like these have been mobile centred, and this isn’t going away. The mobile internet is getting faster, too. Today, we’re not far from 5G, which will be about 377 times faster than today’s 4G LTE. All of this means we are going to inevitably spend more time online, especially on our phones.

Are you one of the many businesses that don’t have a mobile site or plan?

According to a Hubspot, a recent study conducted in April of 2015 shows that only 44% of Fortune 500 websites are optimized for mobile. As a business, being present on mobile when a potential customer is looking for products or services like yours is imperative. In the Google stats below, a mobile strategy can increase brand awareness and introduce new users to your brand if you make it a priority.

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If you don’t have a mobile strategy yet, here’s how to get your act in gear:

  • Check out your site on a mobile phone.
  • If it looks acceptable, set mobile preferred ads in PPC.
  • Ensure that you’ve got some type of PPC mobile bid modifier based on mobile performance you do see.
  • If you have brick and mortar stores, then start to structure your PPC (Pay Per Click) account around where your stores are physically located in addition to just focusing on your online sales.
  • If you have a phone number to take orders, publicize it in Adwords with a call extension. A large percentage of your visitors will be on mobile phones, and can therefore call immediately.
  • Make sure to maximize your real estate with mobile ads with these tips.
  • It’s important to understand that on many phones, perhaps only one ad will show above the fold. This will be even truer once extended ads start running over the summer.
  • Any ad positions on mobile that are below about 2.5 will be missing out on a lot of clicks.
  • Be aggressive to get traffic if it’s valuable to you, but keep an eye on CPCs (Cost Per Click). There is more competition because of the switch to mobile, and mobile traffic is likely to become more expensive.

Outside of search, GDN (Google Display Network) has a lot of advertising options to target mobile users. We encourage you to look into these, and stay tuned for a more in-depth post on this in the future.

Need detailed guidance on your mobile marketing activities? Tweet at us @ESV_Digital_UK or follow us on LinkedIn.

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