29 . 4 . 14

What’s Changed for Mobile PPC?

In March 2011, after working as a PPC exec for a few months I decided to start my own PPC blog focussing on mobile…it wasn’t successful.

However, at the time of writing said blog, Google AdWords had just started prioritising mobile advertising; this article is going to look at 4 aspects of mobile PPC that have changed in the last 3 years.


1)      AdWords Changes

Google have been proactive when it comes to mobile, trying to make it easier for advertisers to get mobile ads up and running. Google isn’t the only search engine out there, and other publishers have been making the same efforts, but unfortunately not to the same level as Google.

Google have launched several ad formats for mobile advertising, with the ability to create adverts specifically for mobile devices. This phase in of enhanced campaigns meant advertisers could optimise mobile activity with a higher level of accuracy.

This change did however combine desktop and tablet into the same bucket, meaning any changes you make to desktop bids and ads are also applied to tablets.

Shopping campaigns are now available for mobile, meaning we can display an advert for any product available on a website, as swipeable (I Googled it – it is a word) images at the top of the search results page; higher click through rate, better conversion rate = happy AdWords account.

mobile conversions

2)      Data

When compared to 2011, the amount of data being collected around mobile has increased and continues to do so, and Google have really helped advertisers here. With products like the Google Mobile Playbook, and Our Mobile Planet, we can gain insights into how we should shape our AdWords campaigns and plan for the future.

Google’s “Our Mobile Planet” is a really fun tool – I found out that the UK still lags behind China in terms of purchasing on mobiles, showing there is still some way to go to get people actually purchasing on mobile.


1)      Conversion rates

Unfortunately there are still a lot of websites not optimised for mobile (something that I expected to have changed over the past 3 years). As conversion rates are typically lower for these websites, meaning it can be tougher to generate a return from mobile activity.

The news isn’t as bad as it seems, as some retailers are not actually suffering too heavily from the lack of a mobile optimised website. After carrying out some analysis on one of our clients, we found that mobile conversion rates on a site not optimised for smartphones still produced profitable results.

mobile conversions 2

2)      Prices will go up

The price of PPC clicks are based on a real-time auction every time a user searches for a product or service; the higher the number of advertisers bidding in the auction, the higher the price of a click.

As advertisers start investing in mobile, the price of PPC clicks on mobile devices will inevitably increase.


Thinking about it, my summary would be pretty similar if I had wrote the same blog piece in 2011.

There is still some way to go. The most visible and important change is the continuing increase in usage of mobile devices, which is very positive. Google seem to be doing their part in pushing mobile PPC, but the landscape will only really change when advertisers make it their priority.



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