This is a guest post from Ashley Aptt, Account Director at 3Q Digital.
We all know it by now—mobile is important! Mobile usage continues to grow, and if you don’t have a strong mobile strategy in place, you’ll be left in dust. Aside from the fact that over half of Google’s paid search clicks come from mobile devices, Google is also moving to a mobile-first index. While this doesn’t have a direct impact on paid search, it’s a clear indicator that mobile is the new frontier and you’ve got to have a plan in place for this ever-growing trend.
Here are three keys ways to assess your mobile strategy.
1. How Does Your Site Stack Up?
There are resources readily available to test the mobile friendliness of your site, and even your site speed. I recommend using Google’s Test My Site tool, a free website tool that evaluates your mobile site speed and estimates the percentage of visitors lost due to loading time. And luckily, when you use this tool, Google will even provide a few suggestions on how you can reduce loading time for your mobile website.
It’s important to evaluate how your mobile site performs, because a strong mobile experience equates to stronger performance results for your media campaigns. Use the Google site speed tool to find out how much traffic you’re losing due to poor mobile site speed.
Then, run some basic math based on your conversion rate and average order value to get a sense of how much revenue you’re losing out on. If your site is falling short and costing you money, then make necessary changes soon!
2. Understanding the Value of Mobile
Many advertisers mistakenly take mobile performance at face value when making paid search campaign optimizations. They download a Google AdWords performance report segmented by device to compare performance among the various devices, and then apply device bid modifications to equalize performance based on the data.
The thought process here comes from a good place—if mobile CPAs are higher, it seems like a logical optimization strategy to bid down on mobile to reduce the CPA. However, since many users begin their journey on a mobile device and then convert on a desktop later, mobile is likely being under-valued in the performance report because it’s not getting credit for the conversion.
To paint a better picture of mobile performance, you should evaluate cross-device performance (user-friendly visuals are located in the “tools” section of your Google AdWords account). The screenshot below illustrates how mobile plays a part in the conversion cycle.
For this client, mobile assisted in over 1,200 desktop conversions. If you’re using Google’s last-click attribution model, those conversions are not counted toward mobile performance, thus understating the value of mobile device interaction.
Additionally, if you have retail store locations, you should talk with your Google rep about adding “Store Visits” data to your AdWords account. Many users search from a mobile device while they’re on the go, so mobile is a great source for driving in-store traffic. Once you have Store Visits data in your account, you can segment this data to evaluate the number of store visits coming from mobile devices specifically.
3. Optimizing Mobile Performance
Now that you have a better understanding of why mobile is important and steps you can take to improve your mobile site experience, let’s dive into ways that you can optimize your mobile strategy for paid search.
Applying proper device bid modifications is a great first step in optimizing your mobile strategy. As mentioned above, just remember to take into account the hidden value of mobile and consider things like cross-device conversions and in-store visits before bidding down mobile too much.
For your top-performing keywords, consider increasing mobile bids to top-of-page bid estimates to ensure full visibility on those keywords, as most visibility and clicks come from the top position on mobile devices. It’s also worth testing smart bidding instead of manual bidding. Smart bidding leverages Google’s machine learning and backend data to optimize bids for each auction, and it even takes the user’s device into account.
In terms of ad copy, strive to make your ads appealing to mobile users. Here are a few tips:
- Try using the Ad Customizers “IF” function to tailor ad copy based on the user’s device.
- Ad copy that mentions the ease of converting from a mobile device, or even featuring a mobile URL, can provide the user with a sense of confidence in your mobile site experience. This will encourage more clicks and visits.
- Leveraging call extensions and message extensions is another way you can provide potential customers with an easy way to get in touch with you.
- Consider testing some mobile-specific features such as image extensions or Google Shopping Showcase ads to determine if the more visually appealing aspects attract your users.
Mobile isn’t going anywhere! Start assessing your mobile site and make necessary changes to improve the mobile experience for your site visitors. Then dive into mobile performance to get a clearer understanding of the role mobile plays in the customer journey.
You may want to regularly analyze this data, as the results can change as your site improves and more users continue to search and shop online. Lastly, keep mobile top of mind as you create campaigns and ad copy. Think about the user experience from a mobile perspective to guide your strategy.