Three Tips When Optimizing Mobile Search Campaigns

We’ve been hearing it for the last few years now – mobile is the device marketers need to pay most attention to. Well the buildup – albeit an elongated one – is now coming to fruition. A study conducted by media consultant BIA/Kelsey predicts mobile queries to surpass desktop by 2015 and by 2016 mobile queries to exceed desktop by 27.8 billion queries!

The excepted growth in mobile search has fundamentally changed how search engines look at paid advertising. This is fully evident with the launch of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns & Yahoo’s Gemini Project. Suffice to say, developing a mobile strategy is critical to client success moving forward. Below are 3 scenario-based tips to help advertisers tackle mobile search this year:

Scenario 1: Client is seeing dramatic inconsistencies in ad CTR when comparing mobile vs desktop performance.

Solution: Leverage adwords’ mobile-centric optimization settings & adjust expectations. While Google has eliminated device specific campaign targeting, advertisers still have a solid tool set that allows us to optimize for mobile.

  • Adjust Bid Modifiers. Ensure appropriate bid modifiers are in place to get strong ad placement. The mobile ad real estate is extremely limited and the lower you are (esp when out of the top 3 positions) the more likely you’ll see a major drop in ad CTR and ultimately visits.
  • Apply mobile click to call centric ad copy. Ensuring the customer before they enter your site that they can shop securely from their phone or that they’re about to enter a seamless site experience designed for their phone heightens CTR and engagement.

Scenario 2:  Client has yet to optimize their mobile site experience. They’re seeing a major drop off in desktop search volume and Google Analytics shows that majority of the inbound traffic they were getting last year is now coming in from mobile. They are hesitant to launch mobile advertising due to the poor site experience but still want to reach their customers.

Solution: Client doesn’t have a mobile optimized site yet? Not to fear – you can still reach mobile searchers without actually driving them to your actual site! Leverage your customer service phone number and run click to call ad units driving users to your customer service lines to complete engagement. Below are some tips on how to make this an effective test:

  • Create unique phone # that is associated strictly with your SEM campaigns – this will allow you to measure engagement and success of those calls made.
  • Leverage ad scheduling and run your ads ONLY during hours of operation – reframe from running 24/7 and 7 days a week UNLESS you have operators available all the time.
  • After 2-3 week trial run, determine if calls coming from paid search are resulting in sales/leads within KPI targets. If campaigns are succeeding, we highly recommend you explore investing in a call tracking solution such as Mongoose Metrics or Marchex. These solutions will allow you to tie the actual sale back to the specific KW that drove the conversion allowing much more robust optimizations to occur!

Scenario 3: E-commerce client has mobile optimized site and has committed to implementing mobile best practices (mobile bid modifiers, specific ad copy, etc). However they continue to experience low conversion rates and is perplexed by the lack of engagement post ad click.

Solution: Start analyzing the data! Before you begin shutting down mobile coverage or reduce mobile bid modifiers we highly recommend you look at the Google Estimated Conversion report to determine if these mobile ad clicks are potentially resulting in cross-device (desktop) conversions.


If there is a high correlation between cross device conversions then reducing coverage on mobile may actually be detrimental to overall order volume and account success! Granted these are solely “estimates” – if you’re interested in truly determining the value of that click it may be wise to review a full attribution solution such as Convertro or Adometry as they provide a much more holistic picture on the true value of all touch points (offline and online).

There are plenty more scenarios that can and will play out as mobile rapidly becomes our primary viewing device. I for one am looking forward to being on the forefront of this evolution & uncovering new ways to engage with consumers while achieving our client’s KPIs!

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