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5 Ways to Optimize AdWords Campaigns for Mobile

Every year, groups of very smart advertisers are asked to give their prediction for the future of digital advertising. For the past 3-4 years, the answer was an overwhelming “shift to mobile.” So what will the predictions for 2015 be? You guessed it, mobile!  So it should be no secret to anyone in this industry that mobile advertising is becoming increasingly competitive. In this post, I will show you some ways to make sure you set yourself up for success on mobile platforms.

While the focus is primarily on AdWords, many of these tactics should be considered when optimizing other networks, and certainly your message should be consistent across your channels.

1. Mobile Landing Pages

Having a mobile-friendly landing page will do wonders for your conversion rates. It makes the user experience less frustrating and makes finding necessary information easy.

Here are two ways to make your landing page mobile friendly:

  1. Use a mobile responsive website - With a responsive website, your site layout and images will automatically adjust to the screen size of the device it’s displayed on. This typically requires an overhaul of your design, but it's the optimal method and future-proofs your site.
  2. Create a mobile landing page - With a dedicated mobile landing page, you can create a high-converting page that renders well on mobile, without changing your existing website. You can create one in minutes with tools like Lander or Unbounce.

2. Call Extensions

Call extensions simply add a phone number to your ad to help encourage people to call your business.

Which type to use:

  • Just the phone number - only populates a phone number when clicked; customers are unable to click through to the site.
    • If your website is not mobile friendly, or hard to read.
    • If someone will actually answer the phone.
    • If you do most of your business via phone.
    • If there is value for a person to call; e.g. free consult, place an order or book an appointment.
  • Both phone number and clicks to website - if a person clicks on the ad headline, they will be allowed to go to your website; if they click anywhere else, a number will populate to call.
    • If your website is mobile responsive.
    • If your business is hard to understand and more information is needed.
    • If someone will answer the phone.
    • If your website brings value to your business; e.g. you offer a lot specials, typical questions can be answered on your site and information is easy to find.

3. Mobile Optimized Ads

Creating dedicated ads for mobile devices will make testing much easier, and it will help you segment data so you can make more important decisions.

  • Put your specials first -  People’s attention spans on mobile are very short– they are likely on the go or simply don’t have time to research heavily. So put the meat out first, and let them get the potatoes on their own.
  • Use shorter keywords in ad text - mobile searches tend to be shorter, and we know that Google bolds the ad text if it’s part of the search. With that knowledge, if you couple keyword insertion with some carefully placed keywords in the description, you’ll have a pretty bold ad.
  • Use callout extensions - Callouts are a great way to list specials in a short, easy to find place. Learn how callouts can strengthen your offer here.

4. Mobile Bid Modifiers

You can also use bid modifiers allow you to adjust your bids on mobile devices by a percentage of your desktop bid.

There are several rules of thought here. Mobile ads used to be considered a cheaper click than a desktop bid, but since enhanced campaigns, that no longer seems to be the case. However, I usually just keep bid aounts the same until I can get some data to make a decision. You can find that data by segmenting your campaigns by device:

segment by device

5. Be Aware of the Display Network

Let me be blunt– the display network for mobile devices is terrible. You will likely spend most of your time trying to figure out how to exclude all the Mobile Apps. That said, the cpc’s do seem to be pretty low on the GDN. If you want to try and make it work, I would suggest using very specific targeting and placements.

Bonus Tips

Test Everything

Once you’ve gotten a solid mobile strategy in place, TEST! Just because your website looks great on mobile doesn’t mean it’s conversion friendly, nor does it mean your customers will see it the same as you. Test your specials, ad text, landing pages, etc. Remember that any good test has a control and a variable. Once you choose a winner, iterate and test again.

Mobile Only Campaign Test

Since the launch of enhanced campaigns, mobile campaign customization is virtually impossible. However, I’ve heard of some people placing conversion codes on your mobile landing page; then once you’ve gotten enough conversions, changing your bidding strategy to Conversion Optimizer. Google’s algorithm should recognize that mobile is getting all your conversions and start to shift all your impressions to mobile. You will want to make two conversion codes to track the real conversions if you do this. I have not tried this strategy myself, so proceed at your own will. I did think it was a clever concept, though, so I figured it would be worthwhile to share it with you.


Mobile devices can be a valuable tool for driving customers to businesses. Carefully planning your strategy will help ensure you advertise on mobile more efficiently. Test your strategies, and throw your ego aside, letting the data lead your decisions.

Have other mobile optimization strategies? Please post your comments below!

AdStage Team