Stop Bidding Down on Mobile. Improve the Mobile Experience

Let’s see if this scenario rings a bell. When performing account analysis, you segment your AdWords campaigns or ad groups by device. Next, you notice mobile bids convert at a much lower rate than desktop. You pull out Google’s recommended formula for mobile bid adjustments (Mobile Conversion Rate / Desktop Conversion Rate) – 1 and implement it to all applicable areas. Wipe your hands clean and watch the ROAS improve. While I’ve followed these steps several times, I always make sure I don’t end mobile optimization with bid adjustments. I hope to show you with one, small sample of why solely bidding lower on mobile devices is a horrible mobile strategy.

Mobile Traffic Is Consistently Increasing

For the remainder of this post, I’m going to use three of my clients who get the most traffic. I’m also using PPC-only data. Below you can see how much mobile traffic has increased for these clients year over year.

mobile traffic difference

Look at the difference in mobile traffic percentages for these three clients from 2015 to 2016. Client B’s mobile traffic now drives the majority of PPC traffic. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Google declared back in 2015 that mobile searches have finally surpassed desktop. We know mobile search traffic is increasing. So how will bidding lower on mobile devices or shutting mobile out completely help you grow online? Bid adjustments are just a temporary solution. Eventually you’ll be hurting your own visibility if you’re not implementing a precise mobile, strategy.

Improving the Mobile Experience Is a Necessity

Mobile devices aren’t going away anytime soon. Their usage is increasing. Advertisers, marketing managers, etc., need to find solutions for converting users online. Taking the same three clients from above, I added an extra 1.00% to the 2016 mobile conversion rate numbers. Assuming the Average Order Value remained the same, here are the ROAS increases these three clients would have received for just mobile devices.

if mobile cr was higher

One, little, measly percentage point could have increased ROAS 44%, 19% and 30% respectively. What if we increased mobile conversion rates two percent? Five percent? Ten percent?!  If I improve mobile ad performance, I can set up the user expectation for the mobile experience. Take some time away from keywords and ads that you consider as not performing well on mobile. Start making the mobile visit to your webiste a satisfying experience where users will want to convert. As more users start converting on mobile, you might be able to start bidding higher on mobile devices and dominate the mobile results for your terms.

How Will Your Mobile Performance Look in 2017?

PPC is more than keywords and bids. Those users you are paying for need to convert for you to see a positive return. Shutting down mobile traffic is not an option in my book. Lowering bids is a band-aid on a broken arm. Positive ROAS doesn’t look as good if overall traffic and revenue numbers are declining. Embrace the challenge of improving your mobile experience. You can help your clients/company improve mobile performance for not only PPC, but possibly all channels. And if users have a good experience, it builds trust in the brand which brings those users back again and again.