How to Optimise PPC for Mobile Search

Over the past decade (and the most recent five years in particular) Google’s algorithm updates have increasingly been driven and influenced by mobile. After all, consumer behaviour has been shock and shaped by our smartphones, and as of 2016 mobile browsing overtook desktop, with 60% of all searches now being on mobile.

Safe to say that optimising for mobile is not only important, but absolutely vital in today’s world. But with constant change afoot, Mobile PPC marketing is tricky. Not helped by a whole heap of new tech-terminology to learn. So let’s make it simple. Here’s what you need to know (and do) to optimise your PPC for mobile search.

Mobile PPC basics: A superfast rundown of key concepts

Before we dig into an up-to-date mobile PPC strategy, we need to drag you into the current day with core concepts. These mobile PPC basics will bring you up to speed fast…

  1. Understand this key starting point: The intentions of mobile searchers may be wholly different to those searching on desktop

Desktop users have a lower propensity to purchase, will delay their purchase consideration process and continue to research products; often, it is on the desktop that the buying journey begins, and on mobile that it eventually ends. In comparison, mobile searchers want quick, easy action, streamlined information and a fast, graceful experience – 70% of mobile searches for local businesses result in a phone call and 78% in an offline purchase.

  1. Forget the Google Display Network for mobile (probably)

If you use the Google Display Network with some success, you may want to look at the stats that lie behind those mobile users. Numerous experiments by Search Engine Watch have shown mobile GDN ads to suffer from low traffic, low conversion rates and, when the ads do create a click through, low average order value – in short? GDN seems to be a waste of time on mobile. With all that said however, this won’t apply to every single business – so make sure you’re not an exception to the rule before cancelling mobile display for GDN.

Image credit: Google

  1. Opt in for mobile preferred ads

You might have overlooked this, but you should have mobile preferred ads running. In fact, you should have two running continuously – pitted against one another so you can see what works, and what doesn’t. This should also apply to your desktop ads.

Image credit: Wordstream


Key things to bear in mind when creating a mobile ad rather than an ad for desktop are:

– Short, snappy, relevant calls to action

– The use of call extensions (and location extensions if you have a bricks and mortar store

– Copy created for the time-short, action-ready mobile searcher.

Image credit: Kissmetrics Blog

Create a clear cut mobile advertising strategy and define your objectives

What do you want your mobile users to do when they arrive on your website? You NEED to clearly define your KPIs so that you can work towards set goals. Consider whether your call to actions are clear and prominent and whether mobile users can quickly click through to message or call you.

While mobile users are more than willing to scroll, you should include a CTA at the top of your page.

Image credit: Neil Patel

Last but not least…

Your landing pages MUST, MUST, MUST be designed for mobile. No exceptions. Google has found that 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site if they had trouble accessing it, and 40% will visit a competitor’s site instead.


Now for your killer (and completely up-to-date) Mobile PPC strategy

It’s 2017. A lot has changed for PPC ads and their success at hooking mobile searchers, so here are three essentials for a killer AdWords campaign with mobile users in mind…

  1. Experiment with message extensions

You may well be used to call and location extensions, however Google are forever pushing the envelope and adding to the extension collective. The most recent addition of which has been message extensions – cutting out even more steps between viewing your ad, and getting in touch. This savvy feature is more than worthy experimenting with, as studies have found it to achieve a staggering 50% higher CTR than mobile ads alone, impressive indeed.

Image credit: Distilled

  1. Anyone got the time? – Make sure you schedule with mobile

Scheduling your adverts to run at optimised times of the day and days of the week, is an often overlooked strategy for PPC in general, however it becomes wholly more important than it comes to mobile. Why? Because early mornings, lunch times and evenings are overwhelmingly dominated by mobile search traffic. What’s more, research also finds that searchers research during the day, then convert in the evening – making the case for switching, chopping and changing your copy to be more sales-focused come the night-time.

Image credit: WordStream


  1. Go for gold with remarketing lists

Remarketing for search ads are the next logical step for cornering and converting the mobile searcher for products or services with a longer decision making cycle.

This options allows you to amend your search ads, bids and keywords when past visitors search again for products or services similar to yours (and it’s worth remembering at this point that mobile searchers tend to convert of an evening).

You’ll discover all that you need to know from Google’s AdWords Centre to get started with remarketing.


Mobile searchers are somewhat of an ideal online explorer – they’re keen to move ahead with a purchase, want straight-to-the-point information and are more than willing to skip the website entirely and get in touch directly from the search page. Get your mobile PPC strategy right, and all of this is yours for the taking, but be warned – nothing stays the same for long when to comes to Google and their mobile approach, so keep absolutely up-to-date with all that’s happening in the world of AdWords to stay ahead of the competitive pack for the future.




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