Slay all Day with Optimized Mobile Performance

By: Chris Sylvestre

Let’s start off by abolishing the old “Year of Mobile” cliché. If you’ve been waiting until 2018 to capitalize on mobile for your customers or business, you need to get on that; and fast. Not only is the Year of Mobile behind us, we are smack in the middle of the Mobile Revolution, shifting the question from “Should we be on mobile?” (Duh!) to “How do we develop killer mobile strategies?”

Today, Digital is all about experiences, and offering customers a seamless mobile experience is one of the hardest to master (though arguably the most important). The following offers some guidelines on how to win at mobile, including an in-depth focus on paid search optimization tactics required to get you there.

Start from the Beginning

Here’s where we’re at today: most online advertisers still experience lower conversion rates on mobile devices. This has become the norm and, in many cases, may seem unavoidable. After all, how can a 5-inch mobile display compete with the full engagement possibilities of a dual-screen setup like the one I have before me today? I’m sure anyone who has ever bought something from Amazon Prime using their one-tap purchase begs to differ. There are a ton of ways to step up your mobile game.

First, start by asking yourself “What do we know about mobile users”? Considering the sheer amount of mobile users out there today, a more accurate question may be “What do we know about the human race?”

Answer:

  • They are less patient and forgiving after a bad experience with a brand’s mobile content or site
  • They are more likely to consume content on-the-go
  • They want things to be easy
  • They expect a personalized experience.

To answer those basic user needs, your mobile experience optimization strategy can be boiled down to 3 letters: SAC.

S – Simplify

A – Accelerate

C – Customize

 

Simplify:

Remember, mobile users are on-the-go and impatient. They don’t always need every feature available in the desktop experience. Ask yourself how you can make their journey as simple and as streamlined as possible. Is there a page that is better suited for Mobile-specific KPIs? Do users keep abandoning that 8-step form on your site? Why not offer a quick call number instead? Or perhaps develop a simplified, shorter form dedicated to mobile users. Are you always forcing yourself to fill your 30 x 30 x 80 ad copy? Sometimes less is more. Experiment with shorter, punchier copy to satisfy the mobile user’s shorter attention span.

Paid Search solutions to help you simplify:

  • Simplify mobile landing pages and conversion funnels
  • Optimize ad extensions and landing pages for mobile actions (call, text, get directions, app download etc.)
  • Craft shorter, punchier ad copy. Get to the point. Pretend your ad doesn’t have a description line and make sure you would still want to click on it
  • Consider call-only ads in situations where the mobile web site experience is questionable.

 

Accelerate:

Speed matters. Users expect their page to load in 2 seconds or less. That’s some serious speed. And for every second your page takes to load, you can expect 12% less conversions. More importantly, 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with a site’s performance say they are unlikely to return to that site in the future. To help, Google has a free Page Speed Insights tool that can give you a good idea of how your site speed stacks up on both Mobile and Desktop devices.

Start by finding out which of your pages drive the most paid clicks and identify which ones are problematic on mobile devices. In some cases, it might be better to switch the page entirely while waiting for fixes to be implemented. Spending money to send users to a page that is doomed to fail is not the best idea, and your customers will appreciate your proactive response to improving their user experience.

Paid search solutions to help you accelerate:

  • Water down your landing page content for mobile devices and include only the most basic amounts of information and options
  • Adopt Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) to facilitate deployment of faster pages.

 

Customize:

After removing most mobile-specific controls with enhanced campaigns a few years ago, Google brought them back in 2016 with their revamped device bidding features. This means that full mobile customization is back, if you need it. With this tool, you can even go as far as creating mobile-only campaigns by using -100% modifiers on Desktop and Tablet devices. Now, should every campaign employ mobile-specific components? Not necessarily. Use your data to prioritize your hero campaigns and determine which are in the direst need of a mobile polish.

Paid search solutions to help you customize:

  • Drive users to pages deeper within the funnel wherever possible (employ user flow behavior reports to observe patterns and find suitable destinations)
  • Use audiences to guide users down the conversion funnel. Example: If they’ve been to page A, send them to page B the next time they are searching
  • Leverage demographic targeting to improve response rates and relevance (these are more accurate on mobile since these devices are less likely to be shared)
  • Take advantage of Mobile’s powerful location signals (GPS > IP Targeting)
  • Try using geo-based ad customizers to give your ads a local voice, dynamically
  • Think about potential voice search queries to capitalize on (especially question-based keywords)
  • Customize KPIs to include mobile signals like Store Visits and “get direction” clicks.
  • Utilize device bidding to optimize your mobile activity separately. Don’t forget, there’s a lot less real estate on those smaller screens so you may need to fight harder for positioning.
  • Draft mobile-specific copy using ‘if’ functions in AdWords (example below)

 

The moral of this mobile story is this: get ready to roll up your sleeves and dive into your accounts. A bit of back-end grunt work could equal huge gains for your clients. When in doubt, be sure to ask yourself: if you were the clicker, would want to be the recipient of your ad and landing page experience? Optimize unto others as you would have them optimize unto you.