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Since my last post at the beginning of 2013, a lot has changed in the Paid Search world. That change is due primarily to Google’s Enhanced Campaigns. This new approach to device targeting is revolutionizing paid search. Seriously, this is the largest major change in search since the Microsoft – Yahoo! Alliance. There are pros and cons with this change, Bing sees it as advantageous while the industry in general runs the gamut from negative to positive, depending on your outlook.
A lot of marketers were disappointed with the removal of budgeting capabilities between devices. Over the last few years, advertisers were separately budgeting dollars against mobile phones, tablets and desktop. The practice was a solid approach as each device typically performed differently and separate budgets would allow an advertiser to focus on the areas that worked best. The downside for Google (and other engines) was that the volume of searches on mobile devices was rising, while the volume on desktops/laptops was slowing.
Because Google’s main source of revenue is advertising, it could not continue riding a wave (desktop/laptop) that was slowing down. Instead, Google’s message to advertisers is, “You want to run on Google? Then you will run across all devices… and the volume of searches will be the main driver on how much you spend on each device.” So now, if mobile volumes increase, so does the spend against it. Granted, there is a work-around in order to not spend on mobile devices at all or only run a click-to-call campaign on mobile phone, but marketers can no longer determine how much they wish to spend against mobile devices. At Centro, we had approached the change client by client and priority focus on those accounts that originally had mobile specific budgets.
In my opinion, Google is forcing the hand of advertisers to “get with it” and update their sites to be more mobile friendly. The excuse of “my site does not work on a phone” is no longer acceptable. At the end of the day, if you cannot play in the mobile space you might not be able to play at all. Again, Search proves to be the innovator and driver of mobile advertising.