Google AdWords Enhancements: Is Your Business Mobile-Ready?

By: Meghann Porter, Digital Marketing Director

Google AdWords has changed to adapt to mobile search. It’s now easier than ever to reach customers and make valuable connections with them anytime, anywhere and from any device. Let’s take a look at some of the main points and how they might impact your digital strategies.

Enhanced Campaigns: Is Your Business Mobile-Ready?

Mobile is no longer optional
Google mobile ads have been around for a while now. The biggest change we’ll see from these new enhancements is that there’s no longer an option for marketers to opt out of running ads on any device. Before enhanced campaigns, if you wanted to show ads on mobile devices, best practices called for setting up a separate campaign. Settings, keywords, ads and bids were all managed separately for optimum control. With enhanced campaigns, marketers have a default bid (for computers/tablets), and then smartphone bids can be a multiplier (positive or negative) of that.

Expect cost per click to go up
Rise in cost per click is inevitable. Because user behavior on tablets has been shown to closely mimic that of desktop users, Google has grouped tablets in with desktops for the default bid. This effectively puts an end to the deals marketers have seen from tablet clicks. Not only that, but making mobile a requirement for all advertisers is really going to increase competition over the next few months.

Opportunities in context
Now from a single campaign, marketers can take advantage of every opportunity that’s important to our business across all devices. Using factors like location, time of day, and the capabilities of the device being used, we are better able to determine context and ultimately show a more relevant ad to that user. We can also utilize powerful bidding improvements to take advantage of these key moments in context and make better use of our budget. For example, you can bid higher for customers who are searching from within a half-mile of your store, or lower during specific hours when your business is closed.

Enhanced campaigns also offer smarter ads that can be optimized based on user context and device capabilities. Headlines, ad texts, site links and ad extensions can be customized to speak to your on-the-go audience. There are several different features for mobile search ads –  all designed to help attract new customers, increase conversions and leads. Which features or formats work best will ultimately depend on your campaign goals. Here are a few examples:

  • Text ads with call extensions can include a click-to-call number that enables users to easily call your business directly.
  • Text ads with location extensions can be used to provide around-the-block directions and bring customers in the door.
  • Text ads with offer extensions can be used to promote special deals for users on smartphones.
  • Search app extensions and click to download features can be used to promote your mobile apps.

Along with new ad formats and features come advanced reporting metrics and new conversion types. For example, Google’s call forwarding feature now lets you count qualifying phone calls (say, those lasting more than 60 seconds) as a conversion. While it’s still difficult for some businesses to consider a phone call of whatever sort equal to a true “conversion,” there’s no denying that this is still an important progression.

So What Now?
With no opt-out option, you at least need a mobile strategy at the most basic level. Spend a few minutes searching Google on your phone. Search your brand and some of your top keywords. Are your competitors there? How might your message change to drive a better response from mobile users? Try browsing your site – are you able to easily find important pages and complete conversions? Make a list of what’s not working and talk to your developer about getting these things fixed.

Mobile searches have grown by 400% since 2010. Check your analytics. Regardless of these impending changes to AdWords, your site no doubt is already seeing a growing percentage of mobile visits. If your competitor offers a better mobile experience, why would your customers continue to struggle on your site?

Here’s a great resource from Google if you want to learn more: The Mobile Playbook.

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