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10 key mobile pay-per-click fundamentals

April 23, 2012

Jason Wells is CEO of ContactPoint

By Jason Wells

Many marketers have mastered the fundamentals of mobile search engine optimization, mobile landing page optimization and even the differences inherent in mobile messaging and branding.

But, for whatever reason, mobile pay-per-click is a source of frustration for many. Do I create a separate mobile PPC campaign? How do I measure and optimize a mobile PPC campaign?

Running a mobile PPC campaign can be very technical and frustrating. Our goal here is to provide you with some fundamentals of mobile PPC.

1. It is all about Google
When it comes to mobile PPC, Google is king. It is the only search engine with a fully-stocked menu of mobile advertising and PPC offerings.

Google offers pay-per-click and pay-per-call models for mobile PPC. Marketers should decide whether they want to drive clicks or calls.

Ad copy, headline and design demand a choice: are you shooting for a click or a call?

Google does allow you to have both a link and a phone number, but the ad will be fundamentally different dependent upon which one—a call or a click—is your desired response.

2. Concise. Concise
Desktop PPC ads have limited space. In the mobile world, the space limitation is more severe.

Mobile calls for extremely refined writing and design. It is critical that everything, from headlines to copy is short.

3. Segment your mobile and desktop campaigns
You should separate your mobile campaign and your desktop campaigns.

Google does allow you to have desktop campaigns that target any Internet-enabled device. But this is not ideal.

You should segment by device. Failing to segment is like throwing things at the wall to see if they stick. Your data will be less sound, your ability to optimize will be compromised and your campaign will struggle.

4. Mobile users = Very different intent
When someone searches for a business or product on their mobile phone, her intent is clearly different than someone performing an identical search on his home computer.

Mobile searchers are interested in making a decision, not doing research. They are ready to buy, call or visit. Mobile users do not want to know the price of something, or even to read reviews. They want to buy something.

5. Keywords
Knowing that mobile users have a different intent will affect the keywords you choose. You should go through the keywords you are targeting and decide whether they are “research” keywords or, if they are “action” keywords.

This will help you choose the keywords for mobile PPC that are going to be most useful. Hint: the action keywords in mobile PPC campaigns.

6. Landing pages
Having a landing page that is optimized for a variety of mobile devices is the first step. That is a necessity.

But to truly see results, the landing page should be optimized to the action a mobile user is most likely to take.

The call to action should be clear. The buttons should be big. There should be a phone number. And, above all, do not ask your prospect to fill out a bunch of fields of information such as name, phone number, address, email or name of company. That is a bad, bad idea. Ask for, maybe, an email address.

7. Bidding and limited space
Bid for positions one and two in mobile PPC.

The mobile realm has such limited screen space that lower positions will render you invisible. This is good and bad.

It is good because fewer ads mean that your ad is more prominent if you are in a top position. It is bad because if you do not have the top positions, you will never be seen.

8. Lower bids and higher conversions are possible
Because many marketers still have not climbed aboard the mobile PPC bandwagon, you can achieve results with lower bids.

And because you can target based on location, device and action keywords, higher conversion rates are very, very possible.

9. Day-parting
Day-parting is just a fancy way to say this: off-hours for desktop PPC are on-hours for mobile PPC.

Studies consistently show that consumers use their smartphones when they are at home, in a car, at lunch or watching television. They use smartphones when they are out and about on weekends. These times are typically considered utterly dead for desktop PPC.

10. Offers
Consider mobile-specific offers. Incentivize and reward users who click or call via mobile PPC. These could be email or SMS coupons.

Or, perhaps you give a discount for consumers who call via a mobile phone or a phone number exclusive to a mobile PPC offer.

Jason Wells is CEO of ContactPoint, the developer of, St. George, UT. Reach him at

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