Google Forcing the Adoption of Mobile Advertising

Google in their new Adwords Enhanced Campaigns training videos describe mobile as “a significant and growing percentage of traffic” and this is why they are forcing all advertisers to have mobile ads built into their search campaigns as of June 2013.


As described in last month’s magazine “Enhanced Campaigns are a new type of Ad campaign where you have your mobile as well as your tablet and desktop traffic within one campaign. You then use bid adjustments to manage bids across devices, locations and time of day.”


When you convert a traditional Adwords campaign into an Adwords Enhanced Campaign it will ask you what you want to do with your mobile bid. See below.

 Configuring mobile bid adjustment for Adwords Enhanced Campaigns
Configuring mobile bid adjustment for Adwords Enhanced Campaigns


Realistically you do have the option of setting a custom bid to decrease the bid by 100% if you want to not show up for mobile traffic because you don’t have a mobile optimized site yet, but it’s probably not the best way to go.


Tablet traffic is fine for most business owners as the standard business website will render just fine on iPads etc unless the site is built with Flash.


The real issue for most business owners is hand held mobile traffic, where the traditional website just doesn’t cut it.   The latest buzz term that every customer at our marketing agency seems to want is ‘responsive design’.


Our early testing reveals that responsive design (where the website adjusts itself to fit the size of device the site visitor is on) is not performing as well from a direct response leads/calls & sales point of view as custom built mobile sites.


The reason for this is that the custom built mobile site at compliments your main site because it is designed from the ground up to be effective at driving the site visitor to your primary course of action(s) such as a ‘click to call’ or lead form submission. Whereas the responsive site is trying to be everything to every device.


The exception to this rule is at the big end of town where there is a budget of hundreds of thousands of dollars to be spent on site design and development, and in those cases the responsive designs can work very well.


So effectively Google is forcing the hand of the average business owner to become more mobile ready in the next 2-3 months.  A politically incorrect term is ‘idiot tax’ meaning that Google is happy to increase the spend of the average adwords campaign by changing its default settings so that it spends more, but 95% of businesses, especially those that manage their own Adwords campaigns without the help of an Agency are likely to not even know what has happened to them.


A recent example of this is where Google Adwords settings changed so that by default the Keyword Matching options were changed to ‘Include plurals, misspellings and other close variants’ which effectively means ‘even if you chose exact match we’ll treat it more like broad’ (meaning more impressions, clicks and ultimately ad spend).


Enhanced Campaigns will be a great move for bricks and mortar type businesses, but whether or not every business who advertises on Google should be forced to go down that route in the short term is up for debate.


The reality is Google is a monopoly and they can do what they like when they like, so the key take away here is that if you are a Google Adwords advertiser you will want to have a mobile friendly version of your site live in the next 2 months or so before the new changes kick in.

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