Mobile PPC: Google Wallet, Quality Score & Speculation

Mobile search and expansion has been a hot topic throughout the year, and continues to pickup momentum. A recent study has revealed that 75% of users said mobile search makes their lives easier, 63% claimed that access to mobile search has changed the way they gather information, while 32% said they use mobile search more than search engines on their computers. When it comes to mobile pay-per-click campaigns, it’s hard to ignore statistics like this. Based on the study’s findings alone, you are already missing out on 32% of traffic without a mobile website. That’s not even including your impression share, which makes a number like 50% seem more realistic. With data revelations like these and the holiday season on the horizon, it’s becoming increasingly important to look for new ways to better your mobile strategy and presence.

For the purpose of this article, I’d like to discuss a couple topics on the Mobile PPC front: First, I will offer up some foresight as to how Google Wallet could eventually end up affecting your Mobile campaigns. Then, I will discuss the importance of creating user-friendly mobile landing pages, since mobile website optimization is now factored into your AdWords Quality Score. Although the added component of Mobile Quality Score is sure to have an effect, I believe Google Wallet also has the potential to really make an impact on the mobile PPC marketplace in the near future, so here are my thoughts:


Google Wallet

Google announced the addition of Google Wallet to their seemingly endless arsenal of tools and products not too long ago. I believe that this has the potential to affect our mobile search campaigns in the long-run. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the system:

Google Wallet is an Android app that makes your phone your wallet. It stores virtual versions of your existing plastic cards on your phone. Simply tap your phone to pay and redeem offers using near field communication, or NFC.

Although it won’t have a direct effect on your paid search campaigns, it will nonetheless impact and increase savvy mobile users reliance on their smartphones to make transactions. Not only can consumers make purchases online, but now they are also capable of merchant transactions as well; a “two-fer”, if you will. In other words, smartphones are becoming universal transaction tools that can accommodate all of your shopping needs in one place. Out of sheer convenience, Google Wallet may end up playing a role in luring even more consumers to the paid mobile search front at increasing rates. This is good news for us, especially if we are prepared to take on more mobile traffic! However, the app is currently only available to those with a Nexus S 4G by Google, but as with any Google product, I would expect that to change in the not-to-distant future. The real impact wouldn’t come until later, once more phones become compatible with the service. But, these are just thoughts and only time will tell.


Mobile Website Optimization & Quality Score

Google made another announcement recently about how mobile website optimization will soon be a factor of your Quality Score in AdWords. Providing users with the best possible search experience is one of Google’s core concepts, and given the incompatibilities that often arise between mobile and desktop browsers, this is essentially their incentive to make the overall mobile search experience better for those users. From the announcement, Google mentions that:

In the coming weeks, we will be introducing the mobile optimization of a website as a new factor of ads quality for AdWords campaigns that are driving mobile search traffic. As a result of this change, ads that have mobile optimized landing pages will perform better in AdWords — they will generally drive more mobile traffic at a lower cost.

Compared to Google Wallet’s indirect effect on the mobile marketplace, this will have a much more direct effect on your mobile pay-per-click campaigns as a result of its correlation with Quality Score (driving more traffic at a lower cost). User-friendly landing pages are now best practice. However, regardless of its effect on Quality Score, you should already be thinking about long-term relationships with your customers anyway. If they have a poor experience with your brand, the chance of winning those customers back becomes difficult. On the other hand, if your page is optimized for mobile and users favor your site, you will ultimately pay less per-click. This is why it is important to visit your own websites and look for areas that could use some improvement.


Are You Sure You’re Optimized For Mobile?

You can easily prepare your brand to accommodate the increasing number of smartphone users by ensuring that your mobile landing page is user-friendly. Also, if you need help creating a mobile landing page, Google now offers a tool to help you design and build professional mobile web pages. This is an excellent opportunity to gain an edge on your competition and prepare your brand for these changes, in addition to anything else Google rolls out in the near future.

It should be interesting to see how Google Wallets and the new Quality Score component affect the mobile pay-per-click marketplace during the coming months. We can certainly expect QS to have an impact on mobile PPC, but does Google Wallet have the potential to indirectly affect how many customers see your PPC ads in the near future? Given smartphone technology we’ve seen up until now, I’m confident that consumers will eventually begin to rely more and more on their smartphones for all of their shopping needs, both commerce and ecommerce. We’re on the brink of something big here, but only time can reveal the true story… Feel free to leave any thoughts or comments below, I’d love to get some additional perspectives!