Staying current in Paid Search Means Investing in Mobile

Digital Marketing Consultant

However getting ahead means adopting a mobile-first perspective.

We are at a pivotal moment in paid search as mobile usage gains more ground when it comes to overall traffic to digital platforms. I had lunch the other day with Duane and recalled how we used to run search campaigns for SMEs in our early days (2007) at Ananzi. We only had to worry about desktop users and did most of our AdWords training in a desktop-only world. 7 years later we find ourselves spending nearly half of our client budgets on mobile search as consumer behaviour evolved due to high smartphone penetration – however working with a desktop-first mindset.

Thus we are using yesterday’s thinking to solve today’s challenges and we need to adapt (and evolve) so as to reap the spoils of this “always connected” world.

Mobile paid search is still evolving and one thing for sure is that soon (and very soon), nearly every searcher will also be a mobile searcher. Refer to graph from eMarketer below:


The introduction of Enhanced Campaigns by Google two years ago gave us very little room to ignore Mobile and marked an important turning point in mobile paid search. We basically learnt using trial and error and figured out which campaigns do better on mobile, as well as using different bids for different devices. We fiddled with ad copy and discovered how call to actions on desktop had to be different from mobile where the outcome is more than just a click.

The mistake we are making as Marketers is building Paid Search Strategies that have a foundation based on Desktop, with minor tweaks here and there to cater for mobile search. We need to change this approach as marketers. We need to adopt a Mobile Paid Search approach, with emphasis on the philosophical approach to the art of the medium. This mobile-first mindset will thus take into account the device experience of the user base in all aspects of optimization.

On mobile, not only do we need to focus attaining higher positions to win the click, use shorter queries and account for misspellings, but we need to also understand:

  • The intricacies of where a search takes place and how near or far it is to other locations
  • The impact of when a consumer is searching – the day, time of day and also when in their day (on the move, peak hour, etc.)
  • The consumer’s physical search experience (screen size, device type, network provider etc.)
  • The potential local intent of every mobile search

I close with a question for you as a marketer. How strong is your approach to mobile paid search. Are you taking time out to think through how your customers are using mobile search during the decision making process, or you are simply applying a bid modifier? Are you considering time and place when writing ad copy or you are using the same ads you have for desktop?

Think about it else one day you wake up a dodo.

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