Top tips for mastering paid search on mobile

Posted: Thursday 22nd January 2015 in Paid Media, Thought Leadership.
Mobile marketing

Follow our best practice tips for effective paid search for mobile

Written by Kane Firek
Client Manager 

Mobile internet usage has grown exponentially over recent
years, and 2015 is widely predicted to be the year that marketers increase focus on how best to understand and track the activity of multiscreen audiences. Google continues to put more emphasis on mobile with algorithm updates that favour retailers with mobile friendly sites.

Mobile browsing offers a convenient way to research and buy online while on the go, and mobile search results contain a
larger proportion of paid listings than desktop due to smaller screen size, creating a unique opportunity for marketers to benefit. However mobile and desktop customer behaviours are often distinctly different and mobile functionality has its limitations, making it crucial for retailers to develop a bespoke paid search strategy for mobile users. The tips below will enable you to set up effective mobile paid search, and optimise any existing campaigns to ensure you get maximum return.

1. Be strategic with your bidding

When you start out it is advisable not to alter the bids from your desktop campaigns. This way you can monitor the performance before adjusting the bids accordingly to your optimisation goals. When reporting consider looking at both campaign and ad group level to ensure you don’t pull a whole campaign with a bid adjustment when only one ad group is performing badly.

Ensure when optimising your mobile campaigns you treat them as separate from desktop and tablet. You may find that certain products perform better or worse than you expect on mobile – average order value tends to be lower on mobiles, for example, so you may not want to increase your bids for big ticket items, freeing up budget to be used elsewhere. This does not mean that your top performing desktop ad groups will not work on mobile, but it is essential to gather some data on mobile performance and monitor the success of your ad groups before deciding what your focus areas will be.

It’s best to optimise bids at ad group and campaign level roughly once each week, in order to allow adequate time to see the effects of the changes before making further amends.

2. Pick your landing pages

It is recommended to use a mobile enabled site if you have one. 67% of mobile users are more likely to convert on a mobile friendly site, so a responsive, mobile optimised site will ensure you’re not unnecessarily deterring potentially converting customers. Insert /mobile or /m into your display URL to make it clear to users that your site is optimised for mobile. Use filter buttons if you have them on site (price low-high, relevance, etc.), and think logically about where you’re sending your potential customer. Follow the user journey yourself and see if there might be more appropriate landing pages.

3. Consider your messaging

The portability of mobiles allows them to be used on the go, and consequently the goals and objectives of your mobile shoppers may differ from those of desktop shoppers. Customise your messages to appeal to users on the move; show mobile preferred ads and make the ad descriptions shorter and more succinct.  Mobiles, as a rule, have lower conversion rates than desktops, due to limitations in functionality and perceived issues with payment security. Calls to action and promotions can combat this, and give users a reason to click through immediately rather than waiting to purchase on desktop. Try testing different description lines; some words or phrases that don’t work well on desktop may have better click through rate for mobile. Google now sometimes replaces the second description line of your ad with a sitelink if it’s deemed more relevant. Ensure you carefully plan the first description line to avoid the user missing key information or a call to action.

4. Added extras

Quality score takes into account ad extensions as a factor. This means they are more important than ever, and as mobile ad listings do not allow for the same number of positions that desktop offers, an ad extension could give your ad the advantage. Include site links; speed the user journey up by allowing people easy access to the different parts of your site. The vast majority of mobile searches are driven by speed and convenience, and mobile site links give your users flexibility and a streamlined experience. Call extensions and location extensions can increase conversion, especially for local services or stores. 94% of smart phone users search for location information, and call extensions can increase click through rate by 6-8%. Call out extensions are easy to set up and can add an extra line of text to your ad, increasing its exposure in the SERP.

5. And finally..

Don’t discount the non-purchase needs of your mobile users; they are likely to find store locators and opening hours more useful than desktop users. You may not see the conversion through your ad but it may lead to additional actions such as a store visit or a call. A successful mobile campaign can dramatically increase footfall to store along with online conversions.

If you want to find out more about best practice for mobile paid search or would like to know how we can help you make more money online, please contact Dave Trolle on (01482) 876 876.