We’ve all heard it – 2015 is the year for mobile. But with recent AdWords ranking algorithm changes, and mobile search behavior differing immensely from that of desktop searchers, how do we best strategize for optimal mobile paid search performance? More specifically, increased click-through-rates (CTR)? Below are what I consider to be the 7 most important tips for improving your mobile CTR.
1. Get Visibility on Bing
Although Android and Apple are still No. 1 and 2 in mobile market share in the U.S., in 2013 Windows not only boasted a market share double that of BlackBerry, it pushed BlackBerry down to No. 4, claiming No. 3 for itself. Additionally, with Apple’s market share having dropped nearly 9% from 2012 to 2013, and Windows outselling Apple in many areas outside the U.S., including the UK, Germany, Mexico, India and all of Latin America, Windows is forecasted to catch up to Apple very soon. What does this mean for your mobile paid search CTR?
With Windows claiming more and more mobile users each year, and the default Windows search engine being Bing, that means you need paid search visibility via Bing Ads if you want to increase mobile CTR – especially if you run multi-national search campaigns in any of the countries where Windows out-performs the iPhone. Additionally, a recent PPC report found that only about 55% of Google advertisers also advertise on Bing, meaning less competition for Bing advertisers, and a greater chance of having higher average search positions – aka higher CTRs!
2. Increase Your Keyword Bids
It is rare that a desktop user will click to page 2 of search results, just as it is rare that a website visitor will scroll below the fold of a webpage. The same holds true for mobile users and search result pages (SERPs). Mobile searchers are looking for quick information and tend to never scroll – in fact, there is a 90% drop-off in CTR after result 4. Additionally, just like desktop ads, mobile ads in position 1 receive the highest CTR – nearly double the CTR of ads in position 2, and 5 times the CTR of ads in position 5.
The above stats are extremely vital to your mobile keyword bidding strategy, given that the number of results that show above the fold on a tiny mobile screen is dismal compared to that of a desktop. With mobile, you always need to ensure that your keyword bids are striving for position 1 in order to receive the highest CTR.
When it comes to mobile keyword bidding, there are 2 steps to take.
- Make sure your mobile multiplier bid in campaign settings is set properly. AdWords automatically sets this to -20% assuming that not all websites are mobile-friendly, but you can increase this bid all the way to 300% if you like.
- Make sure your individual keyword bids are sufficient for a position 1 rank. You can either “raise keyword maximum CPCs to their top of page bid” or customize your bid by applying a percentage-based or dollar-based multiplier.
3. Mine for and Implement Mobile-Specific Keywords
There are two things to consider about the differences in mobile and desktop search queries. The first is that mobile users tend to use shorter phrases when they physically type in their search query. The second thing is the universal voice search capability that all smartphones have. With these two things in mind, we can assume that many mobile queries are in the form of a question/command (voice search) or are lacking geo-modifiers and prepositions (typed search).
Bidding for the exact search queries your mobile searchers are actually using instead of just bidding on the phrase or broad-modified match types of select keywords will help you create more targeted and relevant ads, allowing you to rank higher in SERPs and receive a higher CTR. The way to obtain this mobile query data is to go to your keywords tab and click on the “Details” button followed by “Search Terms.” This report allows you to see the exact phrases your searchers are using so that you can then add them to your campaign.
4. Use Mobile Preferred Ads
To fully take advantage of the search term report mentioned above, and to write ads that get better-quality scores and rankings, you need to 1) have separate ad groups for mobile and desktop; and 2) make sure your mobile ad group ads are set to “Mobile,” not “All,” for device preferences. If you are doing these two things, you will easily be able to sort your search term report to see only search terms in your mobile ad groups, as well as be able to write separate ad copy targeted specifically to your mobile searchers.
5. Enable Location and Call Extensions
AdWords recently updated its paid search ranking algorithm to place more emphasis on ad extensions since they increase the user experience by providing more information to searchers. While sitelink extensions, for example, help desktop ads rank higher, location and call extensions have a great impact on mobile ad rankings, as well as CTR. Not only do ads extended with address and phone number information provide value to your mobile searchers who are probably on the go and make it so AdWords ranks your ad higher, having call extensions specifically with click-to-call enabled increases the CTR by giving mobile searchers two options – to either click and call or to click through to your website.
6. Use, and Bid Up on, Radius Location Targeting
The best thing about having location extensions enabled is if you are a local business, it allows searchers to see how close they are to you, and the closer they are to you, the likelier they will click on and visit you. By knowing that searchers within a certain radius to your business are more likely to contribute to a higher CTR and your revenue, you can then specifically bid up on those searchers. The same holds true for national businesses – by analyzing the states or cities where the majority of your sales/conversions originate, you can then bid up on those areas.
- To set radius targeting, visit your campaign settings under location, and click “Advance Location Options” followed by “Radius Targeting,” which will allow you to enter your business address and then choose a radius to target – the smaller the radius, the more likely the searcher will turn into a customer and/or convert.
- To set bid multipliers for either radius or state/city/ZIP code, click “View Location Info” and select the location(s) you want and click the “bid multiplier” button – you can choose anything up to 300%.
7. Bid Up on Time of Day and Day of Week
There are many industries, like apartment real estate and ecommerce, that are driven primarily by mobile sales and/or local searches, and these same businesses have prime times of the day or week when they do the most business/receive the most foot traffic. For instance, a real estate company leasing apartments may have noticed that Saturdays are when it sees the most foot traffic. Or perhaps an ecommerce business has noticed that around lunchtime and in the evenings is when it receives the greatest number of online purchases. Wouldn’t it be nice if businesses like these could optimize their mobile CTR to capitalize on this data?
Guess what – it actually can be done! In campaign settings, you can customize your ad schedule with the specific time slots that your business performs the best and then apply bid multipliers on those times just like you can do for location. Note that you don’t want to create an ad schedule only with those optimal times, but rather separate out, say, Mondays through Fridays from 12pm-2pm so that you can individually bid on those hours.
I hope these tips help to give you insight into the mobile paid search landscape, as well as help you strategize and execute better optimized mobile campaigns that get you the CTR performance you are looking for. If you have any tips of your own for specifically increasing mobile CTR, please engage me on Twitter or Linkedin – I always love hearing fresh ideas and insights!