Google AdWords To Update Mobile Advertising Settings

You don’t even have to leave this blog to see that mobile is a very hot topic these days. (We promise this will be the last blog post re: mobile this month…maybe, unless something changes…which is very likely.) Instead of trying to predict what’s going to happen in the mobile advertising space though, I wanted to quickly share a few things about the Google AdWords mobile “platform”:

  • How it’s matured over the years
  • What’s changing very soon
  • Why it provides a very compelling platform for businesses

It wasn’t that long ago that the only real option for targeting non-desktop or laptop users (in AdWords) was to choose the option “mobile devices”. Given there was so little traffic volume (or so we thought), most advertisers simply went after “all devices” and left it at that. Once the iPhone made the act of viewing web pages on a tiny screen as doable (and in some cases even enjoyable) Google added options for this new set of targeting, something along the lines of “mobile devices with full Internet browsers”.

Today, this is what we see in the AdWords:

mobile advertising targeting in google adwords

So you can target mobile devices as a whole, or target different devices and even different carriers. I would bet that for a lot of businesses, getting this granular doesn’t really matter (just yet…unless they’ve really dug into their analytics and found that Verizon customers prefer blue widgets and Sprint customers like purple.)

Having the ability to target iPad users could be very important for businesses though. For example, we have a client that designs gadget-inspired travel clothing for mobile devices, including the iPad. We are running an entirely separate campaign for just the iPad. This allows us to write ad copy that is very targeted and speaks directly to the user. Yes, volume is relatively low, but CPC is also about 20% less than identical keywords that target desktops & laptops, resulting in cheaper leads (not to mention great brand awareness.)

The use of mobile devices continues to grow, but so too is the use of tablets. According to Google, “…165 million tablets [are] expected to ship over the next two years.” In response, Google just announced they will be offering the ability to target “Tablets with full browsers.” (Although apparently at the outset, Apple devices will be the only actual tablets that can be targeted….go figure, and you’ll even have the ability to target different mobile operating systems.) Regardless, this is a welcome addition to the AdWords platform and over time I imagine it will prove quite valuable for certain businesses.

If you’re actively using AdWords, at a minimum I would suggest breaking out campaigns into mobile-specific ones. Besides the ability to write ads for a mobile audience, clicks are still cheap right now. In many cases, we’re seeing price discounts of 30-40% on identical keywords for desktops. Yes, conversions rates are typically a bit lower, not in all cases though and this is more a result of the user’s site experience being less than ideal on a mobile device. (Mobile landing pages and sites will have to wait for another post!)

Want more mobile? Here are some great recent posts by the Point It team:

Lastly, while it’s easy to drown in the sea of mobile studies these days, here’s another one courtesy of Google and Ipsos OTX – http://googlemobileads.blogspot.com/2011/04/smartphone-user-study-shows-mobile.html. It’s an interesting read

How are you using the AdWords platform to target mobile? Is this going to be the year of mobile advertising? Things are improving…but I believe we still have some time before mobile ads (or in-app ads, etc.) perform really well.

Katy Tonkin About the author
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