For many years now, a lot of discussions in the SEM space around the topic of mobile advertising have been about being prepared for the onslaught of mobile users and traffic. The real challenge over the last few years has been trying to justify additional expenditures – time, employees, resources, etc. – in an area that, while growing and surrounded by high hopes, had not yet quite materialized. Pre-2011 I often referred to mobile as the adCenter of advertising: awesome potential but missing, among other things, the audience to make it worthwhile for advertisers.
Mobile growth and advertising opportunities continued to grow in 2011. Short of a major technology change that none of us can see coming, 2012 should be a break-out year for mobile advertising. Some project that Google alone could do almost 6 billion in mobile ad revenue this year.
Six billion is a substantial number – especially when you consider that earlier this year, Larry Page said that display (which includes mobile, YouTube…basically everything except standard search ads) has a run rate of 5 billion per year. To go from a combined run rate of 5 billion a year to 6 billion a year in mobile alone would be huge!
At this point, most would agree that mobile has arrived. If you didn’t have a mobile strategy in 2011, don’t make that mistake again. While less than 10% of sites are ready for mobile, that doesn’t mean yours has to be one of the stragglers. There are some "quick" wins you can start working on or put in place now to get your site and advertising campaigns ready for the mobile user. Here are a couple:
Take advantage of AdWords campaign-level targeting settings and isolate mobile devices / tablets.
If you have mobile, tablets, and desktops (in any combination) all being targeted in the same campaign, it’s time to end that practice and split them into their own campaigns. Depending on traffic levels, you may even want to create separate campaigns for major devices – the iPad, for example. If today you have multiple device types being targeted in a single campaign and are seeing similar KPIs, you may wonder if additional segmentation is needed. It absolutely is.
Without campaign-level segmentation, you can’t control bids for mobile devices. If you have mobile grouped with desktop or tablets, you’re likely paying more on a CPC basis than you need to. Generally speaking, mobile clicks still cost less than desktop clicks. Split mobile into its own campaign (or campaigns), and manage the bids accordingly.
Beyond bids, there are other elements you can better control at the campaign level. For example, you may have a landing page that uses video. You want to get in front of tablet users but want to provide a great user experience and don’t want to choke someone’s 3g connection/feel the wrath of the back button while paying for those clicks. You could use campaign-level setting to target tablets only while they are connected to wifi.
In my opinion, at this stage in the game campaign-level device segmentation is a "best practice," and if it’s not happening there should be valid, well-thought-out reasons.
Make sure your site or landing page is mobile-friendly.
Mobile users hate non-mobile sites. Ok, maybe hate is strong word…let’s just say they really dislike them. While a lot of devices today will resize web pages and try and make them mobile-compatible, the end result is still a subpar user experience. Depending on your site/setup, there are a number of ways to make a site mobile-friendly. If you’re in a large company, you likely have access to a development or IT team that can make this happen. If you’re using a CMS, say something like WordPress, you can quickly (and inexpensively) install a plugin to handle the task for you. If you’re a one-person show with a small budget and limited tech ability, there are services, some free, that can get you started. Your best bet here is to Google it and find a solution that meets your needs. You could also start your research somewhere like Go Mo. You’ll find some site-testing tools and links to more information and service providers.
If you think that a mobile-friendly site won’t make much of a difference, consider the following stats from a site before and after mobile-friendly initiatives:
Pages per Visit
Can you tell where a mobile theme was introduced?
How about now?
These are two simple examples of the impact that a mobile-friendly theme, even on a lightly trafficked site, can have. The days of thinking about mobile in the future tense have passed. The mobile tsunami is underway. Get mobile or get left behind!