With more than half of all Google searches happening on mobile, the search giant is continuing to push its mobile-first search vision. At its recent Google Performance Summit 2016, the company announced three major changes to empower advertisers to make mobile the centerpiece of their campaigns. Is your business ready?
How mobile first search impacts businesses: understanding ‘micro moments’
“Mobile first” has been a big theme for the past year — and for good reason. According to Search Engine Land, 82 percent of smartphone users rely on a search engine when looking for a local business. During visits to brick-and-mortar stores, 82 percent consult their phones when deciding what to buy.
Further, 91 percent of smartphone users turn to their phones for help when completing a task. These same users have watched more than 100 million hours of “how-to” content on YouTube.
Look up something you like on TV? You’re in good company: 66 percent of smartphone users turn to their phones to look up something they saw in a TV commercial.
So, it’s no surprise that the search-engine giant is getting into mobile in a big way. “Last year, we experienced Google’s first big push towards a mobile-first world when it began using ‘mobile-friendliness’ as a ranking signal on mobile searches,” said Guy Sheetrit, the CEO and founder of Over The Top SEO, said at the Performance Summit.
“While the fallout from Mobilegeddon wasn’t as severe as initially predicted, it was a win-win for companies and consumers,” Sheetrit continued. As of last April, nearly half of Fortune 500 companies still didn’t pass Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ test. The update forced companies to comply and deliver a higher-quality mobile search experience for consumers.”
Now, with more Google searches taking place on mobile than desktops, Google is pushing its latest mobile search vision, which is predicated on “micro-moments.” Specifically, have you ever asked one of these questions?
- “What’s the best new restaurant in Brooklyn?”
- “How do I fix a flat tire?”
- “What’s the fastest driving route to the grocery store?”
- “Where can I buy advanced tickets for Independence Day?”
All are examples of what Google defines as micro-moments — moments when a consumer reflexively turns to his or her phone to fulfill an immediate, pressing need. Google classifies micro-moments as one of the following:
- I-want-to-know moments
- I-want-to-go moments
- I-want-to-do moments
- I-want-to-buy moments
The key to mobile success requires marketers to understand this behavioral-search shift. Google just introduced a host of new pay-per-click (PPC) ad features that push marketers in this direction. Here’s what you need to know from the recent Google Performance Summit:
1. Expanded text ads for all devices
Earlier this year, Google made a major move to align the look and feel of search across desktop, mobile and tablet. In this regard, it eliminated right sidebar ads from desktop search, in a move that became known as the “Adpocalypse.” Naturally, advertisers panicked.
The fallout, however, was positive. WordStream reported that click-through rates were up. The ad in the third spot actually got the biggest boost from the new desktop layout. And while some marketers feared that costs-per-click (CPCs) would jump, they held steady for most industries with some even showing a decline. Now, Google is rolling out expanded text ads that feature more prominent headlines, a longer description line and a more relevant URL.
“The text ad changes are huge for advertisers and consumers,” Jeff LeVan, CEO and founder at ReviewShepherd, said at the Summit. “The new 80-character description line will now act like an organic meta-description rather than a placeholder for a few targeted keywords. This is a huge shift because the description lines will start delivering genuinely beneficial content for consumers.”
2. Decoupled tablet/desktop bidding
Advertisers have long complained about Google’s linked tablet/desktop bidding structure. With the new AdWords changes, this problem will become a thing of the past. That’s good news for advertisers, who are noticing a continued decline in tablet usage.
3. Enabled base mobile bidding
Is mobile traffic most important to your search strategy? Now your PPC strategy can align with this approach. As PPC Hero reports, Google is giving users full range for flexible bidding. You can now set your bids with mobile as the default device and a desktop adjustment bid of -50 percent while the tablet is at -20 percent. Additionally, advertisers have a wider range for bids. Bids can now be adjusted up to 900 percent, versus the previous 300 percent ceiling.
The bottom line
In light of Google’s recent changes, businesses that fail to adopt a mobile-first search risk losing out on customers and sales. So, is your company ready? You’d be smart to prepare to harness the power of micro moments for long-term mobile marketing success.