If you are a Google Partner agency or you have recently been to any of Google’s events, you will know the one key element that Google is trying to push across any of its paid product platforms: mobile bid adjustments.
Earlier in the year we saw mobile searches overtake desktop searches for the first time leading marketeers to enhance their digital strategies to ensure that their clients were fully capturing this market – and leading companies that had been burying their heads in the sand over a responsive redesign hurriedly commission something that looked vaguely good on a mobile (and may or may not work on a tablet) in order to been the algorithm update.
So how does Google sell the benefit of mBids?
Google had a fairly strong selling point when it came to mBid adjustments (more searchers = more traffic = more revenue) however, when agencies started pushing those adjustments up there seemed to be an industry wide backlash with the revelation that initial mobile searches didn’t convert anywhere near as well as desktop, leading to a host of reporting issues and leaving agencies with no other choice but in many cases than to actually turn these positive bid adjustments into negative bid adjustments just to improve their overall campaign Cost Per Acquisition.
Perhaps most frustratingly when Google introduced the mBid they didn’t give the option to differentiate between mobile and tablet, leaving agencies frustrated that well-performing tablet campaigns had to suffer the same fate of a negative mBid adjustment.
Now Google have spent a great deal of time backing up the benefits of mobile search: increased awareness, increased footfall, improved local searches, brand awareness… and creating a range of products designed to enhance the mobile shopping experience such as expandable Shopping ads on the PLA campaigns but the question still remains – how do you justify to a client that money on mobile search is well spent when the direct campaign figures don’t always add up?
Attribution Is Key…
Attribution has long been flagged as an industry-wide concern given the growth in mobile traffic and the fact that it hasn’t been matched directly by the growth in mobile conversion rate. In fact, prior to the mobile algorithm update and the surge in mobile search no-one really cared about mobile attribution at all…
Fast forward a year and it’s something that every business has to care about because if you are looking to capture the traffic, particularly in eCommerce then mobile is where it’s at – the problem? Mobile traffic often doesn’t convert as well as desktop because mobile is where a user starts their journey, rather than where they end it, so when my client is paying a CPA of $40 on mobile and $20 on a desktop how can I convince them that mobile is still a worthwhile investment?
So how important is mobile attribution? Well I asked Google…
And as you can see, they weren’t really very helpful with their response. Is it that the true value of mobile is still a very grey area? Or simply that companies that only care about the bottom line completely disregard the value of it in the same way that naive PPC companies may disregard the value of Display Advertising (which was also a key issue raised throughout the conference).
The fact is that mobile bids do add more value than what you simply see through the AdWords interface… mobile bids are a great way to pull in traffic which later converts on desktop and what about the traffic which converts as footfall?
In addition – if you are running offline marketing a mobile phone is far more accessible – if you see a television ad and want to convert you are more likely to grab a phone than a desktop. Just as if you’re shopping in a store you are more likely to price check on a phone than a desktop, that’s why it’s key to ensure your products and services can be found on a mobile phone.
So how do I work out what the right mobile bid adjustment is?
Well Google actually has a formula for this:
But in all honesty, I’ve always found this to be a little over-generous & I think it needs to be seen on case by case basis. Introducing a generic mBid of this size could alter your CPA figures which could impact your ability to hit a clients’ target, so this needs to be taken into consideration.
To ensure you are maximising your mobile it’s key that your conversion tracking is up to scratch. Make sure you are asking visitors where they find out about you, whether it’s through a survey or through an in-store/on-site questionnaire. Make sure you track inbound phone calls & any other types of conversions & make sure that you can effectively map these back to their source – whether it’s desktop/mobile/tablet or offline.
Finally, remember that there is no one size fits all with mobile bids, so like any other bidding strategy or PPC campaign it’s all about testing & testing again to find a strategy that works for you.