Tablet-Friendly Websites and PPC Advertising

May 20th, 2014 by Nikki Kuhlman

BLOG-tabfriendlyMy husband was trying to buy Blue Man Group tickets recently from his iPad. Blue Man Group uses Ticketmaster for processing and buying the tickets, but Ticketmaster requires Flash to pick the seats he wanted. After a large amount of frustration and multiple attempts, he had to pull out his laptop, and start all over.

I had something similar happen – I was on my iPad and buying a magazine subscription as a gift for a friend. I entered my billing information, but needed to click a link in order to change name and address for the recipient. I’d click the link, and a window would flash for a second and disappear. I ended up having to pick up the phone and call the company and place my order over the phone. I told the rep the problem I was having and she asked me if I was on an iPad, as it was known issue.

The point of these two stories is that both of these sites were not iPad-friendly. (I’ve talked to friends with Android tablets, and they’ve ran into similar instances where sites didn’t work properly so this is not isolated to iOS devices.) Both these companies spend a lot of money marketing to people, bringing people to their websites hoping they will buy, yet their sites aren’t optimized to work well, regardless of the device a visitor is on. How many people get frustrated and don’t pick up the phone? How many just say heck with it and go buy from the competition?

What Does This Have to Do With PPC?

There are two compelling reasons:

  1. As of January 2014, 42% of American adults own a tablet. That’s up from 34% of adults in September.  The rate of adoption is massive. Tablets aren’t just for “youngsters” either – the highest rate of ownership is in the 30-to-49 year-old age range.
  2. Google does not allow you to exclude advertising on tablet devices. While you can prevent Google ads (either search or Display network) from showing on smartphones, Google does not allow for tablet exclusion. That ability went away as of July of 2013 when Google transitioned all accounts to Expanded Campaigns. (Their reasoning is that tablets are very similar to desktops.)

The problem is that tablet and desktop do not always convert the same. I did a quick review of 14 of my largest B-to-C ecommerce clients that also tracked revenue in Google Analytics. Tablet traffic ranged from 10.55% to 26% of overall site traffic. And not one single company had tablet conversion rates that were the same or nearly the same as their desktop traffic. The closest was a difference of 7%, but the majority ranged from 20 to 50% lower conversion rates, and one even had a tablet conversion rate that was 74% lower than their desktop traffic! And only three of them generated nearly the same percentage of revenue as their tablet traffic (for example, one client gets 19.97% of traffic from tablets and earns 20% of their revenue from the same). Most were much less, with the average being around 33% less tablet revenue than their tablet traffic with some as low as 70% less.

This doesn’t just affect PPC management –  it also affects a client’s natural listings, not just from tablets but also mobile devices. (You don’t want to know the statistics of conversion rate on mobile!) JumpFly is not an SEO company, but my point is that this problem affects more than just advertising dollars, it affects overall site revenue. If your sales are declining and you can’t figure out why, it’s very possible a tablet or mobile site user experience. This traffic is coming to your site and you can’t stop it, and it’s only going to increase. (I’m seeing desktop traffic decreasing and tablet and mobile traffic increasing in client after client after client.) Don’t alienate or frustrate your tablet (and mobile) customers. Make sure that your prospective customers the ability to shop on your site, from whatever device they want.

Enhanced Campaigns: Location-Based Bid Multipliers

February 12th, 2013 by Spencer Daniels

BLOG-EnhancedCamp-LocationBidsAs Nikki noted in an earlier post, Google recently announced a new AdWords campaign format, called Enhanced Campaigns. There are an array of new features with this update but the principle idea behind this structural change is to help simplify the increasingly dynamic device and location-based targeting at Google AdWords. The feature that I find most intriguing is the capability of adding bid multipliers to a campaign based on the physical location of a search.

While the foundation of location targeting will remain the same, such as targeting and excluding locations, we now have the ability to bid more or less on a physical location or distance from a location, such as a business address. Google’s addition of bid multipliers using location-based segments is a great addition to the AdWords program. The ability for advertisers to decide how aggressively they would like to target consumers based on physical location, adds a whole new dimension to geographic targeting.

With Location-Based Bid Multipliers, a brick-and-mortar business, whose customer base is strictly local, can add a 150% bid multiplier for searches within a five mile radius from their store and a bid decrease for anyone who is located beyond 15 miles but still within a 30 mile radius. The idea behind this strategy is that not all consumers have an equal chance of converting. For many businesses, the location of a potential customer is the biggest component in the conversion equation and needs to be taken into account for effective PPC Management.

This advanced bidding feature is also incredibly valuable for an eCommerce business. Often times, eCommerce advertisers have large quantities of campaigns targeting an entire country. Although they do not perform equally in all locations, the idea of having to split out hundreds of campaigns to target every state, or even specific cities, can be overwhelming and extremely time consuming. Even if campaigns were eventually split, being left with tens of thousands of campaigns, it would be more difficult to manage effectively. Keeping campaigns consolidated while being able to add bid multipliers to specific locations based on performance is a far more efficient alternative.

The addition of Enhanced Campaigns is a big move for Google and it’s going to be an interesting journey to see how these features impact ad performance. While there are a few features that I do not agree with, bid multipliers for location targeting is one I am very excited about.

Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns Coming Soon

February 7th, 2013 by Nikki Kuhlman


You may have heard something on the news or online yesterday about the big changes coming to Google AdWords and how they might impact your PPC Management.  Google  is revamping (in their words “upgrading”) the way they handle AdWords  Campaigns, and are calling the changes Enhanced Campaigns.

Google’s reasoning for this switch is that people have become multi-device users – moving from mobile to laptop to PC to tablets and back again – and Google is touting the change as “marketing for a constantly connected world.” These new Enhanced Campaigns are intended to allow easier tracking of conversions across devices and conversion types, to deliver targeted ads based on context (including device, time of day and proximity to location) and to simplify campaign and budget management.  This concept certainly sounds intriguing.

The details are still rather limited on how  these changes will affect existing Google AdWords campaigns.  We do know that advertisers will not be able to target mobile and tablet device users with separate campaigns, which will affect some of our clients dramatically. We also know that the changes will be complex (for all that Google says they will help simplify campaign management). I know that I will not be rushing into adopting new Enhanced Campaigns until we have a lot more information about it (especially since the Upgrading to Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns document is 32 pages long – somehow that doesn’t sound simple).

Enhanced campaigns will start showing up as an option starting this month and all accounts will have to switch by June of this year.