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Mobile Advertising and the New “Top Two”

Since Google upgraded their AdWords system to enhanced campaigns in late July there has been a growing importance on both monitoring and adjusting mobile bids. As competitors in the AdWords marketplace are becoming more aware of the ability to adjust max cost-per-click bids on specific devices they are making large adjustments to ensure they remain in the vital top two positions. The effect this has had on campaigns across all industries has been felt across the board and in the current environment it is now more vital than ever to monitor mobile placements.

In contrast to the “top three” positions on desktop computers, when an ad displays in a Google search on a mobile device only the top two positions are shown above the fold. Once an average position drops below 2.0, it is unlikely that the ad will be seen by the consumer. Because of this we have seen mobile bid increases of up to 300%, meaning a major increase in the average cost-per-click and a need to adjust budgets accordingly.

This then begs the question: How much is too much? There is no universal answer for this as mobile impression share, click-through-rate and even the importance of mobile traffic is different across every industry. In some industries (Plumbing, Auto-Mechanics, Tow-Trucks, Florists, etc) mobile positions are vital because often the click turns directly in to a lead due to the click-to-call feature on the ads.

While we expect the volatility in mobile positions to calm down in the coming months as AdWords users become more familiar with the ability to adjust bids based on device, mobile ad position will remain important. As more and more consumers are turning to their smart phone to browse the internet it won’t be long until paying more for clicks on mobile devices becomes the norm as this is where the majority of traffic will be.