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.