Yesterday Google announced the rollout of enhanced campaigns, a major AdWords product release that attempts to simplify the management of campaigns across devices. With enhanced campaigns, search marketers will be able to target consumers based on device, location, and time of day through a single campaign. However, for search marketers that currently leverage separate desktop, tablet, and mobile campaigns, Google’s enhanced campaigns will remove some of the control and transparency we’re used to having. Additional details on enhanced campaigns can be found here.
What Does This Mean? To understand the implications of Google’s enhanced campaigns, let’s review the benefits and concerns.
Google plans to roll out enhanced campaigns across advertisers over the next few weeks. As a result, advertisers may not have immediate access to this feature within their accounts. By mid-2013, all campaigns are expected to have been transitioned to enhanced campaigns.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced the ability for direct advertisers and agencies to buy sponsored stories* on mobile devices, exclusively. Prior to this, Facebook controlled whether or not an advertiser’s sponsored story would appear in a user’s news feed for mobile devices. Furthermore, marketers had no choice in when their sponsored stories were shown and no means of segmenting out the performance by desktop and mobile. For those familiar with Google AdWords advertising, this new Facebook functionality is equivalent to desktop and/or mobile device targeting for paid search campaigns.
The sponsored stories targeting options now available through the ads API and Power Editor are:
What does this mean for Facebook and their advertisers? This change certainly provides marketers with more control over their ads and visibility into their data for optimizing campaigns. But to anyone familiar with advertising, this also means more ad revenue for Facebook. Consider these figures: Facebook made $3.2 billion in ad revenue last year, primarily from desktop advertising. And as of December, there were 901 million monthly active users, with 500 million of those being mobile. With the flood gates now open for sponsored stories on mobile devices and the continued growth of monthly active mobile users, it’s clear that Facebook is set to generate hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in revenue from this untapped mobile ad market.
Though this announcement appears to be a win-win for Facebook and their advertisers, it remains unclear as to how mobile users will react to seeing these new ads in their news feeds. As a thought, Facebook may want to consider providing more visibility into the algorithm that influences the ads appearing in a user’s news feed, such as click-through-rate. This algorithm might be similar to Facebook’s existing EdgeRank, which factors Affinity, Weight and Decay into the ranking of social content appearing in news feeds. Developing a transparent and effective metric to promote ad relevancy would benefit marketers and Facebook users in a landscape of dynamically changing content and consumer intent.
Share your thoughts with us on this announcement in the comments section below.
*Sponsored stories allow Facebook advertisers to surface word-of-mouth recommendations about their brand that exists organically in the Facebook News Feed. Sponsored stories are different from ads and can amplify the brand engagement of the target audience. For example, if a person’s friends like a Page, in addition to seeing that news story in their News Feed, they can also see the same story on the right-hand column. Sponsored stories are available for ads that promote a Page, Place, Application or Domain.
We love our mobile devices, and according to our recent study of mobile paid search, we love searching on them. In looking across our client base the trend was unanimous, mobile search is up, way up.
In the U.S., we saw ad clicks from mobile devices increase 132% during 2011, and by the end of this year mobile will comprise 25% of all paid search clicks. Similarly, in the UK mobile ended the year with 15% of all clicks in the UK. And, even though it’s not as significant a percentage, mobile clicks in the Eurozone more than doubled in 2011.
Things get even more interesting for marketers when looking at the differences between smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Generally (UK was the sole exception), smartphones carry higher CTRs and lower CPCs, but the lowest conversion rates. Tablets beat desktops in CTR and CPC, come close to trumping desktops in conversion rate, and edge all devices out in cost per conversion.
So, what’s this all mean?
Mobile devices are not only changing the way consumers search and shop, but how marketers advertise. The immediate response by advertisers is to devote more budget to mobile search (we project ad budgets will fall just a bit short of click volume in 2012). However, down the road as savvy marketers adapt to mobile search scenarios, click to call, location-based promos, and integration with social will all become common place. Furthermore, attribution becomes a much larger issue, particularly in a scenario where a mobile search directly leads to an in-store sale. Who gets the credit?
How do you foresee search marketing changing with the increased adoption and use of smartphones and tablets?
Google recently projected 44% of searches for last minute gifts this holiday season will be from mobile devices. We do realize summer just ended and it may be a tad early for some to be thinking about the holidays; however, the stat did get us thinking about best practices when running successful mobile advertising campaigns. Here are three things we’ve noticed that you may want to consider:
1) Position More Important – A smaller screen equates to less ad real-estate on mobile devices. Typically only 1 or 2 paid search ads appear at the top of a mobile search. Consequently, it’s important to closely monitor the position of your mobile ads and adjust accordingly.
2) Tailor Mobile Ad Content – Although tempting, copying existing creative over to mobile campaigns tends not to work as well. We’ve seen short and sweet works the best with mobile ads creative. Certainly leverage all the characters you can, but be conscious about clarity so mobile users on the go accurately know what they’re in for.
3) Focus on Local Results – Often when searching on mobile devices users are trying to find an answer to an immediate concern whether it’s directions, nearest restaurant, or nearest store that sells a particular item. Advertisers that focus on taking advantage of locality tend to see better results. Local offers and coupons, particularly in-store coupons, within mobile ads improve click-through rates and conversions.
What have you found to work when running mobile ads?
With the recent news that Android’s share of market has passed Blackberry and taken a larger lead against Apple, it makes us all wonder how large mobile can grow and when we should all jump into the mobile game as well. There are many ways to get into the mobile space as an advertiser whether it is running ads on the search engine mobile sites, banners in apps, optimizing your own website for mobile, or even creating your own brand app.
Most advertisers pay to drive users to their mobile website through banners and ads in search engine mobile sites, but place minimal attention to using the same medium to drive traffic to their own brand apps. Sure, the app market is still young and you might think that there is nothing for you to gain by sending traffic to your own application or even in justifying that you should build one to begin with. Recent studies suggest that my previous statement could soon be false. IHS Screen Digest reported that the app market (run by Apple, Google, Nokia, and Palm) is going to be worth over $8 billion by 2014, with a predicted 78% growth in 2011. If you have your own app, Google Adwords allows you to drive traffic to the Apple App Store or Android Market and claim your piece of the pie. Currently Apple is expected to retain 60% of the paid apps market but with the increased use of Android smartphones, the Android market is only expected to increase its market share to close in on Apple.