Google Offers A Carrot/Stick For Marketers To Go Mobile

Google is increasingly trying to send advertisers a message about how critical mobile is becoming. As an example the company recently estimated that a huge percentage of last-minute shopping search (44 percent) this holiday will be on smartphones and tablets. Despite predictions like this and recent survey data showing enterprises are pouring money into mobile marketing, the majority of brands and advertisers still don’t have an optimized mobile presence.

Although Google says that “the number of advertisers running mobile specific campaigns has more than doubled since January,” a large percentage are sending people to pages that don’t look good on smartphones. So rather than wait for marketers to get around to it, Google is providing an “incentive” to create mobile sites and landing pages.

Operating as both a carrot and a stick, Google announced this afternoon that it’s going to factor an advertiser’s mobile presence (site or landing page) into its ads quality score for mobile campaigns:

In the coming weeks, we will be introducing the mobile optimization of a website as a new factor of ads quality for AdWords campaigns that are driving mobile search traffic. As a result of this change, ads that have mobile optimized landing pages will perform better in AdWords — they will generally drive more mobile traffic at a lower cost.

Google also reiterated today that mobile-only campaigns drive 11.5 percent more CTRs than campaigns simply imported from PC AdWords.

I asked Surojit Chatterjee, product manager for local mobile ads at Google, what’s behind this 11.5 percent lift. He said that it’s probably a number of variables, including use of location and phone extensions in many cases — and the greater relevance and more precise targeting of mobile.

The hot mobile statistic of the week is that there will likely be more mobile internet users in 2015 than PC users, according to IDC. Whether or not that turns out to be an accurate prediction it’s going to be true at some point, and probably within five years at the outside.

In mobile search you need to reach the top ad positions to be seen. To that end, Google says the following about mobile-only campaign bidding:

Ensure you are bidding for positions 1-2 on mobile. Start by increasing your mobile bids to 2x your desktop bids and optimize your ads accordingly for CPA

With the new mobile quality score rule the company is going to get the attention of marketers and their agencies. The message now is: mobilize your sites and landing pages or your ads probably won’t be seen.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Google: Mobile


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Mary Kay Lofurno

    So most organizations are now being forced to look at their technology back bone and figure out if they can deliver content this way…if you have any money, invest it in CMS systems…because even a small company will need the flexibility of being able to deliver content to all types of devices and platforms..

    My two cents..

  • David Burdon

    I’m not sure that its right that a monopoly provider should be urging people to up their bids! The timing couldn’t be worse given Eric Schmidt’s appearance in front of a US senate committee.

  • Gabriel

    Greg, thank you for your post and this update.

    Whereas I interpret your proverbial ‘carrot and stick’ example as such:

    The Carrot) being the predicted 11.5% improvement in mobile responsiveness _and_ their eagerness to help advertisers such as providing ‘free Google web tools’ and webinars with respect to results of their case studies (read the blog link in the article above.) Kudoz to Google for their helpfulness ;)

    The Stick) being that your site is not as ‘prominently placed’ akin to having a Big marker on Google Maps for fulling filling a Place profile with data and having lots of relevant reviews vs. a Small red dot for lacking useful and complete information. That and/or your loss of potential sales and user-bounce for non-mobile-optimization. {{ It seems to me that G. may recognize whether a landing page is mobile compatible and thus serve with preference. Just my theory but if not true would be a great diligence step on their back-end (prior to serving an ad on a mobile device.) }}

    With the market data pointing to improved sales for mobile device compatibility, it is nothing but a bonus to have Google’s advice. This [recommendation of increases] should no where be interpreted as derogatory but instead a hallmark for improvement as it is obvious we should be developing next-gen content to meet the next-gen hardware and its users. The more users we make happy, the better we do.

    Gabriel Dibble

  • MarkD

    Whatever help Google offers to webmasters should be appreciated and always be taken seriously. They are the lifeblood of any website that relies on search engines to prosper.
    Right now mobile looks like the future and if you want to keep up and keep your customers happy and satisfied you better get on board.

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