Mobile Paid Search – How to Get a Positive ROI in 2017

Paid advertising remains the best option for generating an immediate return on your advertising investment.

However, with mobile advertising, you need to adjust things slightly: you can’t just copy the same campaigns across and expect results.

With that in mind, we’re going to go through two main areas here: how to create a great PPC campaign, and then what you need to adjust to achieve success in the world of mobile.

Let’s get going.

mobile paid search


First things first: Google’s own Adwords network. (We’ll go through Facebook ads in a moment.)

How can you achieve success in your Adwords campaigns without breaking the bank?

Use specific keywords

One of the biggest mistakes less experienced PPC users make is trying to attract clicks by using ‘broad’ keywords.

So, if they’re in the insurance space, they might try and bid for ‘car insurance’.

This is a one-way path to financial ruin for two reasons:

  • The broader a keyword is, the less likely you are to get in front of people who’re ready to buy.
  • The high-level keywords can be HUGELY pricey to bid on, because you’re competing with the big dogs.

Instead, you want to bid on keywords that are as specific as possible. The more detailed the better.

There are a number of ways to narrow your search:

  • By adding a location (again, detailed: you want to say ‘Downtown LA’ rather than just ‘California’)
  • By adding a budget (e.g. ‘Bargain house cleaning services’ or ‘Luxury cleaning’)
  • By adding an age group (‘Fitness classes for over 60s’ or ‘Social groups for 30s new moms’)

And so on. Often, the more specific your search the better. (You obviously want to ensure your keyword research is on point – check out Brian Dean’s great guide here.)

mobile paid search

Ensure you have an effective landing page set up

Ideally, you don’t want to send PPC click-throughs to your home page.

Why? Because if you’ve got your targeting right, they’ve clicked on an ad specific to them.

So the page should be too.

If your visitor clicked on an ad that read ‘24hour Chinese takeout in Manhattan’, you want to send them to a page that advertises EXACTLY what they clicked on!

Your page should then detail:

The service you offer (in this case, it had better be 24 hour Chinese food in Manhattan’!

  • How they can order
  • How they can get in touch

And that’s it!

The key to successful paid campaigns is to be specific.

This also applies to B2B PPC.  Let’s say that you run an agency that offers graphic design, SEO and email marketing services.

You don’t want to bid for keywords based on every service and just send them to your homepage: you want to direct each keyword to the relevant page on your website.

Needless to say, you’ll need to ensure the copy on your landing page is snappy and effective, and that the page itself looks excellent.

(If you’re unsure about designing landing pages, we’d recommend hiring a specialist: it’s definitely a unique form of design.)

If you create a separate landing page for each advert group, you’ll get better results: it’s that simple.

If you send users looking for a specific thing to a page that serves them that specific thing, you simply can’t go wrong, as long as the design is great.

How do you find those specific people? Via targeting:

Ensure you target specific audiences

The more laser-guided you can make your ads, the better.

If you’re advertising a remote service to people across the USA, then it’s fine to send your adverts country-wide.

You’d be surprised, though, how many paid accounts only want local business, but don’t bother using Google’s geographic targeting features.

Take ten minutes to set your ads up so they’re aimed at the right people, and you’ll save yourself a lot of money.

Don’t be afraid to cut ads

If an ad isn’t working within the first hundred or so impressions, it’s not going to suddenly improve.

Too many PPC users will keep an ad going for too long. Think of it like this: if you take a new batch of cookies out to fifty people on the streets, and not one single person likes them, that’s enough!

Ideally, you want to get a sample impression size of around 100 people. If 100 people have seen an ad and not even clicked on it, that’s enough. Likewise, if you’ve had 100 clicks but your landing page hasn’t had a single conversion, the page needs re-working.

Don’t focus solely on clicks

To make money, you need good click through AND good conversion rates.

This is a mistake people make with email, too. Remember, your focus is on making money. It’s all very well having lots of people clicking your ad, but if they aren’t turning into paid customers, you’ve got a problem.

Just as if lots of people read your email and click-through but don’t buy anything.

mobile paid search

Facebook ads can be brilliantly effective, for one main reason: their level of targeting is insane. You can pretty much go into a FB ad campaign saying:

‘I want to target people aged between 18-25 who have a higher than average income, love jogging and reading a lot and live in Chicago.’

And then do exactly that. What’s more, it’s REALLY easy to do it.

So what else do you have to bear in mind to get great results with FB ads?

Ensure you create a unique ad for each audience

The same principle goes for FB ads here as it does for Adwords: you want to ensure that anyone clicking through from a Facebook ad is taken to a page that delivers exactly what they’re after.

The key to success is, of course, testing different kinds of adverts.

In this sense, we’d recommend targeting to one audience at a time, and slowly tailoring ads in different ways until you’ve got an advert that you KNOW converts to that particular audience.

Once you’ve got that system in place, you can then leave it on auto-pilot and begin working on the next advert.

Ensure your images are excellent

Images are one of the key things to get right when it comes to Facebook adverts. Unlike Adwords, you’re not relying entirely on text: indeed, some of the most FB ads are more or less ONLY images.

The key is to make sure your images are eye-catching. Remember, people are mindlessly scrolling through Facebook looking for something interesting.

Give them it, and you’re more likely to get clicks – especially if your targeting is good.

Make use of the Facebook pixel

Quite possibly the most useful online advertising tool around, the Facebook pixel can be installed on your main website. From there, this one tool will enable you to build a thorough audience profile. You’ll be able to find out which people actually convert.

  • How old are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they like doing as hobbies?
  • What time of day are they on Facebook?

And so on. This invaluable data will then allow you to further target your ads and put them in front of other people with the same sort of profile.

From there, it’s just a matter of time until you have a mobile paid search ad that’s making money on auto-pilot.

Don’t underestimate a direct sale or promotion ad

If you’re running an e-commerce store, then it’s possible to create an ad offering a special promotion ONLY to Facebook users.

This can be a great way of generating extra revenue. Why? Because as people, we’re programmed with a fear of missing out on a great deal.

If an ad is limited to ONLY Facebook audiences, people won’t be able to think ‘Oh it’s fine, I’ll go and get it on the website later.’

This is especially effective for limited time offers.

Make use of behaviors

One of the most valuable tools in the Facebook ad desktop is the ‘Purchase behavior’ option.

This allows you to advertise to people who’re actually in the process of buying what you’re selling.

How does Facebook know? Well that’s the clever (and slightly scary) part.

If you stay logged into Facebook while browsing the web, it’ll make use of the cookies in your browser to see what you’ve been hunting for.

So, if you’ve been on ten different sites looking for a particular new guitar (for example) Facebook knows, and you suddenly see an advert from somewhere you haven’t looked advertising that exact guitar, you know that you’ve been ‘User behavior’d’ – so to speak.

Why is this valuable? Because people at the end of the sales process – people who’ve checked out a product a number of times – are simply more likely to buy it than someone checking something out for the first time.

mobile paid search


So, you’ve got a handle on Adwords and Facebook ads, and you know how to get results.

What do you need to know about mobile traffic to get the same results? What’s different about PPC on mobile devices?

Let’s go through the key points here:

Establish whether you’re going to make SALES via mobile

Now, this might seem a flippant thing to say, but it’s not.

There are some markets where mobile paid search should ONLY be done with brand building in mind, rather than via direct sales.

For instance, if you sell B2B enterprise software packages, the purchase isn’t going to be made on someone’s mobile. It’s going to be made in a big meeting round a big table!

If you’re not going to make direct, measurable sales via your PPC ads, then you’ll need to work out what your return on investment is based on the overall value of your customer.

(For a great guide on measuring ROI, check out this excellent piece.)

This matters because it’ll affect the type of ads you push: if you’re just looking for brand exposure, it’ll likely be more valuable to promote your posts and build an email list. If you’re after sales, you’ll want proper product ads.

Ensure your designs are mobile friendly

This applies to most forms of mobile paid search: you need to make sure your click-throughs are suitable for use on a touch screen.

In other words, as well as being easy to view and read on the screen, your ads need to be easy to click on.

You might be surprised how many ad campaign designers put together an ad that looks glorious on a 28 inch desktop screen but can’t actually be actioned by a mobile user.

Ideally, you want anything clickable to be about 44×44 points on iOS and 48dp for Android. (And you don’t want to use a font size smaller than 11 or so.)

Oh, and ensure your CTA is sticky: that is, if you’ve got a scrollable ad, the button stays on the screen.

Encourage sharing

Most studies indicate that people are more likely to share something they like when they’re on their mobile devices.

So, encourage sharing! This is especially valuable if you’re promoting content rather than a product, but it can work well for both.

(For instance, a potential customer might share something they want to family members and suggest it as a potential birthday or Christmas present.)

mobile paid search

If you’re using responsive ads, make sure they format effectively

It’s often possible to have ads that – like responsive websites – adapt according to the screen they’re displayed on.

This can be invaluable. However, you need to make sure that you use the preview tools to ensure that your ads look great on every device. (If they don’t, there’s no harm in simple designing a new version to fit your mobile.)

You should obviously use the data to check that the ad is performing to similar levels on all of your devices. Remember, just because an app looks good on every device, doesn’t mean it will convert on every one!

Use Google shopping campaigns

A very explicit piece of advice, for sure, but one that the facts can’t argue with.

If you’re running an e-commerce store, Google Shopping Campaigns, targeted at the right commercial keywords, have been demonstrated to convert hugely well: better than almost every other ad format.

Why? Because Google Shopping ads are now shown at the top of the mobile results pages. If you use them, you’ll be front and center whenever potential customers search for what you’re selling.

It’s that simple.

(Shopify have got a great guide to Google shopping – check it out here.)

mobile paid search

If you’d like to find out more about the value of paid mobile marketing, get in touch with Iconic Solutions today.

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