In my inbox the other day was an email with a headline that begged to be opened – Mobile Starts to Blunt Google’s Growth. I found the headline provocative and somewhat surprising given how successful mobile has been for our clients. So I read it.
The article’s premise is that the massive shift to mobile caused Google’s first quarter average cost per click to decrease 9% over the same time period in 2013. The reason for the decrease is that mobile search ads are seen as less valuable to brands than desktop search ads. It is also important to note thatdespite this drop, Google still achieved a 19% revenue increase in the first quarter. No need to shed a tear at this point…
So the core question is why are mobile ads viewed as less valuable by brands? And is this a “Google issue” or is that brands bear part of the blame? The reality is that desktop search took a while to scale as brands learned how to optimize their consumer experiences, allowing them to bid more on CPC ads, thus creating a highly competitive market which raised bid costs based on efficiency and scale. As we all know, Google has benefitted greatly from this model, as have advertisers/brands.
But mobile is a different animal, not only due to the device, but the expectations that the consumer has when they use the device. As we have seen in the market and research has supported, a mobile strategy needs to be both an omni-channel strategy and optimized not only to the device, but to the consumer’s use of the device. Too often, we still see a call option not used with large brands, when our own research shows upwards of 30% of consumers want to talk with a person rather than move through a mobile-only experience. Part of that is due to consumers’ frustration with the mobile experience, where some marketers are simply using the desktop experience, some without even the most basic responsive design. This is not only a response/commerce issue, but it’s also a brand issue. In fact, 60%+ of consumers have a better opinion of brands when the offer a good mobile experience (Latitude).
So for those brands who are mobile optimized, you are likely reaping the benefits every day. For those who are not, you need to move fast. Not to help Google’s earnings…but to make sure you grow your own.