Travis Rice

by Travis Rice | Search Marketing Strategy

As advertisers, there is no shortage of statistics about mobile usage increasing.  Google’s 87% share of the mobile search space makes mobile optimization a key component of PPC advertising. eMarketer found that mobile ad spending has increased over 75% YoY.  Using a sample of 50+ SEM clients ranging from large B2Bs to smaller e-commerce who were already advertising on mobile from Sept 1, 2012 through August 31, 2014, year-over-year mobile ad impressions have still increased 20% from 38.7mil to 46.5mil impressions over the past year.


With smartphone usage increasing, it’s more important to find optimizations to enhance mobile performance. Strategies such as mobile bid modifiers have helped us to pull more levers on high or low performing campaigns to mobile audiences. However, don’t make the mistake of taking your mobile audience for granted in terms of messaging.

Unfortunately, with the advent of Enhanced Campaigns last year, we can no longer create purely mobile targeted campaigns. We can, however, target mobile-specific ad copy. Since ad copy is the most forward-facing aspect of each account, this can have a big impact on mobile performance based on the goals of an account. Mobile preferred ads allow us to separate out messaging that we want to show to computer users versus what to show to mobile users.

The process itself is straightforward, while adding a new piece of ad copy as you normally do, check the “mobile” ad box before saving. Done.


Now we’ve got mobile ads. But do these ads overlap and still show impression on computers? Will some of the all device ads still show on mobile? The answer to both is a resounding No!

**One important caveat is you must have an ad running on all devices for the mobile preferred ad to actually prefer mobile, otherwise if a mobile preferred ad is the only ad in your ad group, it will still show to all devices.

Below are the results from a client we implemented mobile preferred ads on Jun 26th.  Starting the day after changes were live and looking at the next 2 months, we still haven’t shown an impression from any “all devices” ads to our mobile audience.


Equally as encouraging is the fact that none of our new mobile ads have shown impressions to computer/tablet users.


Fantastic, we have been able to separate out messages from computers and phones. Does this actually impact the performance of our ads at all or is this a futile attempt at granularity?

The new mobile preferred ad was implemented with the new line 2 “Get Free Profile From Your Phone!” in two high volume campaigns. The line 1 was the same, the only difference in ads was the wording emphasizing profile from phone instead of just getting a profile. Typically, relevancy is the goal for ad copy regardless of the client or account goal. We want to show that ad has the most relevance to the query searched in order to give ourselves the best chance at a good CTR. Pointing out to a user they can do something (shop, buy, download, etc) from their phone only increases the relevancy of that ad to their search and makes them more likely to actually try it.

Below you can see CTR jumped 20% from this new ad change! Since the goal of this client is to increase conversion volume, I am most interested in conversion per 1,000 impressions, which also had a 17% increase from these mobile preferred ads. These mobile preferred ads have been implemented in other campaigns as well, where we’ve seen similar results.


As we move into the holiday season advertisers will be looking for creative ways to maximize ROI.  Put some thought into how mobile messaging can help you do so.  Here are a couple more ideas of how to use mobile preferred ads:

– Promo ad copy you can reflect on mobile: “Shop From Your Phone– Get 20% Off!”

– Speak to the power of instant gratification: “Get Holiday Shopping Done on Phone.”

– Remind people how forgetful they can be: “Don’t Wait & Forget, Buy on Phone.”

– Spell out how easy mobile shopping is: “Simple Phone Checkout- Ships Free.”

Don’t let your mobile PPC strategy start and end with the mobile landing page.  Think about how to get more mobile users to that page in the first place with mobile specific messaging!