Google’s recent mobile algorithm and AdWords announcements in April reiterated what many of us in the industry have been saying for a while – mobile is here and it’s here to stay. The company’s latest algorithm update, christened as “mobilegeddon”, means that mobile-oriented sites are now prioritised in their search results. Meanwhile it also introduced a raft of updates to its AdWords service, which it says will improve users’ mobile experiences by making its ads more interactive by basing them on swiping navigation rather than clicks.
Clearly, mobile can no longer be a second thought. Forty percent of people now consider their phone to be their most important information resource, and Google is acknowledging that a vast number of its users will be coming to websites on their phones and will be rewarding the sites that serve a mobile option from the outset. What will consumers being driven more to mobile-oriented sites, mean for mobile marketing budgets? The challenge of “how to crack the mobile advertising strategy” has established itself as a perennial thorn in marketers’ sides, and the move to prioritise mobile websites by Google is a step towards increasing the pressure on brands to optimise their mobile ad strategy.
But will they do it properly? Many advertisers think they can just apply desktop campaigns to those they are running on mobile. That’s not the case for a couple of reasons. Firstly, while cookies are core to desktop advertising, they just don’t work with apps. Since 80% of mobile ad impressions are inside of apps, and most mobile traffic runs through them, any technology that’s reliant upon cookies is largely useless for mobile ads.
Secondly, advertisers need to ensure they work with publishers to ensure their messages are provided in ad formats which suit mobile. This means avoiding publishers who favour banner ads, for instance, as more often than not; they are too small for an engaging ad message. Thirdly, brands need to alter their adverts’ content for mobile to reflect that the devices are portable, and hence are used in a variety of contrasting situations and locations to desktop, which is predominantly used for pre-determined tasks which users are trying to complete without disruption.
With all of this in mind, it’s clear that advertisers need to adopt a “mobile for mobile” approach, which uses specialist technologies to truly target the mobile audience, which now plays a pivotal role in user experience. These technologies deliver better targeting, so ads become more relevant to the user, increasing the value for both consumers and advertisers, and delivering a higher price for the publisher. They also help to provide a more authentic and transparent approach, in which brands are able to track where their adverts appear, guaranteeing them their preferred audience and environment.
So don’t rest on your laurels. The market is constantly changing, it’s absolutely vital that marketers remain prescient in their approach to advertising given that that consumers’ use of mobile devices will inevitably continue to grow. As the launch of the Apple Watch earlier this year has shown, this brings with it more and more formats for advertising on mobile devices, which will only become more omnipresent in future. Therefore brands who assume their desktop technology partners can handle mobile are just going to fall behind, because they will miss out on an extremely valuable opportunity to get their mobile marketing campaigns up to scratch and improve their mobile advertising effectiveness. Given that mobile will account for over 50% of all digital ad expenditure in the UK for the first time in 2016, and will also exceed $100 billion that year , this trend towards mobile is only going to accelerate.