How to Maximize Mobile Paid Search Performance

Written by Chris Goulet

“Mobile is going to be huge this year!”

Stop me if you have heard this before, or maybe it was, “20xx is going to be the year of mobile!” You see, marketers and digital experts have been saying things like this for at least the last five years. And not only have they been repetitive, but they have also been correct.

So I will say it again. If you are not focusing ad dollars on a mobile customer in 2016, you are missing out. There is a HUGE opportunity to convert a highly engaged audience into your newest customers.

Why is mobile so important, again? Two words: Micro Moments.

The AMA defines a Micro-Moment as  “…a mobile moment that requires only a glance to identify and delivers quick information that you can either consume or act on immediately”. 

ppc-buyers-journey.pngSavvy marketers realize that mobile customers are accustomed to bite-sized content or quick-to-consume, contextual information along their journey to decide where their time and hard earned money will be spent.

There’s no question the mobile ads are a key component to PPC success, so follow along with me as I take you through the critical components of maximizing your mobile paid search performance.

First Things First, a Mobile-Friendly Website

Never send your mobile traffic to a desktop website.

Mobile users’ needs are completely different than desktop users, and there is a good chance mobile device users will leave your site immediately when presented with the wrong type of information and layout. Instead, you’ll want to offer a mobile-friendly version of your website, preferably a responsive design.

With a responsive site, you create the site one time and the page layouts will automatically optimize display based on the user’s screen size.

And don’t forget, we are living in a multi-screen world. In other words, the path to conversion can start on a desktop, move to mobile, then to a tablet, before finally completing a purchase on mobile. You will need a consistent website experience throughout the buyer’s journey.

To be considered mobile friendly your website should have:

  • simple navigation
  • images optimized to load quickly
  • concise, straight-to-the-point text
  • large conversion points or touch targets

Mobile Ad Types

Thankfully, Google has given us a ton of great ways to target mobile and mobile users in Adwords. When choosing the right ad type, be sure to think about where you customer may physically be when viewing the ad on their phone.

Types of mobile ads:mobile-search.png

  • Text ads
  • Image ads
  • Mobile app promotion ads
  • Call-only ads


Where mobile ads can appear, as detailed by Google:

On mobile devices with full browsers such as smart phones or tablets

  • Text ads
  • Image ads
  • App promotion ads
  • HTML 5 ads built with Google Web Designer

Within apps on smart phones or tablets

  • Text ads
  • Image ads
  • App promotion ads
  • Image app promotion ads
  • Video app promotion ads
  • TrueView for app promotion ads

Only on devices that can make calls

  • Call-only ads 

Optimizing your Mobile Ads

Ad length

For text ads on mobile, be sure to get straight to the point or value to the user. The recommended length of your first line is 35 characters, so every character counts.

Ad extensions

Depending on what action your ads are driving, we can add relevant context to the way it appears using extensions. Additionally, ads that using extensions tend to have more search visibility.

Adding a phone number, location, or relevant website links to your ad is a great way to boost clicks and CTR on mobile because these interactive elements help save a user’s time.

Mobile bid adjustments

In Adwords you can modify bids on ads that appear on mobile devices using mobile bid adjustments. Bid adjustments are an effective way to boost ad performance when targeting mobile users.

You can apply bid adjustments at the ad group or campaign level.

To get started click "mobile bid adjustment" in the edit panel, once you are there enter an adjustment from -90% through +300%, inclusive. Your adjustment depends on your original bid amount. To throttle down use a negative percentage; for example, -90% would leave your bid at 10% or the original amount.

Master these basics and you will be well down the road to creating a highly profitable stream of mobile customers.

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