We’ve been hearing from clients who are concerned about Google’s approaching mobile-friendly algorithm change. Per Google’s recent announcement, “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
Now advertisers are reasonably questioning if this change will also impact mobile results on AdWords. All indications are that this change will not impact AdWords at this time. Google has not made any mention about this change impacting AdWords, and historically they have pre-announced changes similar to this well in advance of it actually happening. It certainly stands to reason that this same algorithm change may eventually also apply to AdWords, but it doesn’t appear likely to have an impact with this upcoming algorithm change. Google’s shareholders would certainly be none-to-pleased if Google abruptly shut down a substantial number of their mobile advertisers without even giving any warning, plus they would be creating a huge headache for themselves by needing to deal with confused and upset advertisers; That just wouldn’t make any sense on multiple levels. So should advertisers be concerned about making their website mobile friendly according to Google, and what should they do right now?
The first thing I personally suggest is for website owners to review Google Analytics results to determine exactly how much traffic is actually generated from Google mobile organic results. In many cases, I have seen that Google mobile organic traffic represents an incredibly small portion of overall total traffic. Based on this reality, I am not too concerned about Google’s upcoming algorithm change for those businesses.
For others who are are receiving a decent amount of Google mobile organic traffic, this change is very important and should be addressed immediately if it has not been already. Google said the new algorithm will start rolling out on April 21st and will take a few days to a week to fully implement. They also stated that websites are either mobile-friendly or not, with no degrees of mobile-friendliness, at least not at this time. The fastest way to see if a web pages is mobile-friendly according to Google is to check it with Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool.
If you are an AdWords advertiser, the next thing to review is how much mobile PPC traffic you are generating. If AdWords mobile traffic is relevant and converts, then making sure that your website is mobile-friendly according to Google is likely a good idea to start taking into consideration. I would suspect that it is just a matter of time until mobile-friendliness does impact AdWords advertisers, and it’s always better to be prepared in advance rather than need to rush to get something done by a specific deadline… especially if is really important and related to technology. Over the years, I have seen over and over again that website development often takes twice as long and costs twice as much as planned. So even if your AdWords account is generating favorable results from mobile traffic, you likely have nothing to worry about right now. However, I strongly encourage advertisers in this position to consider looking into making their websites mobile-friendly according to Google. It’s always a good idea to cater to best-practices that Google suggests, so exploring mobile-friendly web design is likely a good idea for every business, but of course that could be said about many things that require time and money. Therefore my suggestion is to review Google Analytics, review Google AdWords, and then determine how high of a priority making your website mobile-friendly to Google should be on your to-do list.
There’s no doubt that mobile advertising is here to stay and its growth has been staggering. Recent research by Nielsen reveals that smartphone penetration in the US has reached 70% with Americans spending seven more hours each month on their phones than in 2013. What is astounding is that while people are spending more than 38 hours on their phones per month, mobile only comprises about 4% of total ad spend. The good news is, with such little saturation in the market, that means less competition, cheaper clicks and more sales for PPC advertisers keen enough to enter this space.
Prepare for Mobile Advertising
So you know you want cheaper clicks and more sales, but where do you start? It’s not as simple as just throwing up some mobile ads if you really want to reach the mobile market and see converting visits. Businesses need to not only deliver a mobile-optimized ad, but deliver a great experience on mobile devices after the click. This is incredibly important. Not only does it affect your Quality Score, ad position, cost and sales, but it affects your customer loyalty and organic visibility too. The most essential step a business must make before entering the mobile ad space is optimizing their website for mobile devices. If you jump in feet first without a mobile website, it can actually have adverse effects on your business.
Mobile Optimized Websites
According to a research study by Google, 67% of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service. I’m sure the majority of you have experienced the frustration of trying to navigate an outdated website with miniscule text and infinite scrolling. It just doesn’t work. The majority of mobile users will just leave and go to a different website they can easily navigate.
It’s not just about losing business. When you send mobile users to a website that is not optimized for their device, it can actually damage your brand’s reputation. According to Google, 52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company and 48% said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business. This means that not only will users leave your website and go to a competitor, but you could be hurting relationships with your current customers. Make mobile work for you, not against you, and get started on a mobile website
So, we’ve convinced you to mobile optimize your website; what next? This is where the real fun can begin. Let’s make some money! Get in touch with your web designer and kick start your mobile initiative with a mobile responsive website. After that, it’s time to optimize your PPC accounts for mobile devices and begin analyzing this wonderfully new flood of data. When you start delivering a truly great mobile experience to consumers, you’ll not only see an increase in conversion rates, but you’ll also start to see mobile contributing to conversions on other devices. Having a great mobile site isn’t just about making more sales, it’s an essential part of building your brand and creating long lasting customer relationships.
Yahoo! Advertising recently announced that the Bing Ads platform will be changing in September in order to “simplify the ad buying process across devices.” What does this mean for advertisers on Yahoo! and Bing?
While this change will initially only affect those advertisers who have different campaigns targeting desktop, laptop and tablet users, advertisers with Smartphone-targeted campaigns will also be affected in the beginning of 2015.
In order to effectively prepare for this change, advertisers are being advised to take some crucial Bing Ads management steps to ensure a smooth transition into the new platform:
- If your campaigns are currently targeting desktop and laptop traffic separately, you should combine those campaigns (making sure to delete or pause the duplicates) and add bid modifiers for the traffic sources as needed.
- If your campaigns are targeting or excluding Smartphone traffic, you should work with your Bing or Yahoo account manager to come up with a game plan in preparation for the updates that will be made in the first half of 2015.
- If you are only targeting laptops and desktops, you should begin testing tablet traffic and be prepared to apply bid modifiers as necessary. Don’t forget to adjust your campaign budgets to account for additional traffic that will come in from tablet devices.
As you are probably aware, the pay-per-click environment is constantly changing and updating to bigger and better ways of doing things. Here at JumpFly, we know how hard it is to keep up with the changes, and we are eager to help our clients optimize their accounts to perform to their full potential. If you find yourself wondering how this change will impact your business and whether or not your results would benefit from a professional reviewing your account, give us a call. We would be happy to have the opportunity to speak to you about professionally managing your paid search campaigns on Yahoo/Bing and Google.