Mobile PPC: 30% More Leads at 40% Less Cost. Plus, two Pitfalls

By Jeff Allen | @JeffAllenUT | President at Hanapin Marketing

Mobile PPC works. That’s why every time you talk to Google, read your favorite blog, or head to a conference you hear about how if you’re not doing mobile, you’re not really a pay per click marketer. That last part I sort of made up. But if you are engaging in PPC, you know that mobile is the #1 thing being pushed by every agency and every search engine. Why?

For one of my clients it generates 30% of their leads, at a 40% lower CPL than their desktop/tablet targeted campaigns. The push towards mobile PPC isn’t a fad; it’s a proven channel that you are just a few clicks away from.

Below are some best practices to get you started. Followed by two pitfalls that you should avoid.


Mobile PPC Best Practices:

Have separate mobile and desktop/tablet campaigns.

In Google, it’s only a few clicks away. Just use the editor to create a duplicate version of a currently well running campaign. Change the device targeting to mobile. And then go through your keywords to make them more Mobile PPC appropriate (see next best practice.)


Use Broad match, head-term keywords.

People do not search that different on mobile versus desktop, but they do tend to use short search queries, and there tends to be a little more variance. So broad match head-terms tend to be the best.


Use “/mobile” in your ad display URL’s.

Make it clear through your ad text and/or your display URL that your site is optimized for mobile. To do that, simply add “m.” to the beginning of your display URL, or “/mobile” to the end. If you know your competitors do not have mobile optimized sites but are advertising on mobile devices, inserting “Mobile Site.” Into your ad text might give you a further boost.


Create a uniquely mobile experience.

Simply taking your current site and making it look good on mobile is not enough, You need to dig inside the head of your target market and determine what type of experience they are looking for when they are on their cell phones.  I’ve seen mobile sites offer free white paper downloads as the offer. Think about it, does someone on his or her cell phone really want to download a PDF?


Mobile PPC Pitfalls:

It’s still not for everyone.

Some accounts just don’t perform on mobile. Whenever I get a new account, one of the first things I try is mobile. And for about 25% of those clients, it’s also the first thing I stop doing after my test has concluded. For some, it seems that their target market is looking for a drastically different experience in mobile. So even when we create a mobile optimized site, the results aren’t there for them.

Part of this is simply because there isn’t enough time put into the landing pages, and then optimizing the landing pages. The client isn’t getting a uniquely mobile experience, they are basically getting a desktop experience but with a site that looks good on mobile. Over time we will roll out new landing pages and conduct the test again. Usually finding better results. Yet still, there are some clients that mobile just doesn’t work for.


Doing it 50% will get you -50% results.

Enabling mobile targeting in a desktop campaign will probably result in worse CPL/CPA. That’s because you’ll be using your desktop bids, which are likely higher than you should bid for mobile. But creating new Mobile PPC campaigns without mobile optimized landing pages, and adjusting your keyword lists can be just as bad. That’s because you will be deliberately increasing traffic from visitors who are expecting one experience, but giving them another.

Doing mobile PPC halfway will probably make your results overall worse. So take the time to implement best practices prior to testing this channel.