The Future of Mobile PPC

By Sean Evanko

To date, it has been easy to exclude mobile from a paid search advertising. On the backend, a button click can completely remove mobile from your strategy. That alone shouldn’t be worrisome to most, but when you consider the number of people willing to go this route, the motivation to overlook mobile is perplexing. Mobile has been an afterthought to some when it comes to ecommerce advertising because it doesn’t produce returns like the desktop alternative. That being said, attributing performance is a challenge, too, as the full impact of mobile isn’t being directly measured (yet).

Let’s explore where we are and where we are going. We know that mobile shopping is on the rise. Currently, as detailed in a number of mobile shopping reports (figures viewable here and here), the key stats include:

  • 18% of online sales come from mobile devices and tablets
  • 34% of online site traffic originates on mobile
  • 79% Of U.S. shoppers use their phone for browsing and shopping on websites and apps
  • 76% Of U.S. mobile shoppers will become mobile buyers by the year 2018

What does this mean?

$197 billion in mobile ecommerce sales are forecasted in the year 2018 — a staggering number.

What can you do to ensure you are getting as much of that pie as possible? Look at optimizing for mobile in two ways:

  • Mobile speed
  • User experience

Here are a few suggestions to help increase mobile speed:

  • Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content
  • Optimize images for mobile
  • Enable compression
  • Leverage browser caching

Here are a few suggestions to optimize the user experience:

  • Consolidate Landing Page Content
  • Resize/Enlarge Links and Buttons
  • Reorganize layout to highlight points of interest
  • And most importantly — reduce the number of steps to convert

On average, there are 24-plus steps to complete during the checkout process for a mobile purchase. This is a significant barrier for the average mobile customer, and the high number is likely holding back growth and access to incremental revenue. If you optimize only one item for mobile — simplify your checkout process.

There are also areas of opportunity within your PPC account.

Write stronger ads geared towards the mobile viewer. This means being succinct and making sure your ads aren’t getting truncated in the mobile browsers. Adjust your mobile bids to increase exposure. On average, mobile click-through rates are 2-3x better than desktop. Couple that with lower CPCs and it’s clear to see that mobile ads are delivering more traffic at 70% of the cost of desktop ads.

To summarize: mobile presents a great opportunity for growth in an area that consumers heavily rely on, but has gone underused by advertisers. Now is the time, before the holidays, to make sure your mobile strategy is ready!