How Tech-Savvy Kids Are Wrecking the Effectiveness of Google Ad Campaigns

Are your Google ad campaigns being wasted on kids accidentally clicking ads on their mobile phones? If you’re targeting Google’s Display network, then there’s a good chance you’re wasting a lot of your ad budget. Learn how to put an end to this today.

If you were a kid during the ’80s or the early part of the ’90s, you likely didn’t realize that you were the last of your kind. Every generation of kids going forward will, outside of an apocalyptic event, never know a world not driven by technology. When creating your Google ad campaigns, think about how often you see kids as young as five or six absorbed in playing games or watching videos on a mobile device.

What does any of this have to do with your meticulously crafted Google Ads? If they end up running on the same apps on which those kids spend a lot of their time, plenty.

How Mobile Apps Throw Off Your Numbers

The Display Network provides the capability of allowing your ad to reach 93% of online users. That includes websites, videos, and apps. The potential created can be limitless, but so can the damage that can be wrought by your ad’s inclusion in a mobile application.

It makes sense for marketers to have their ads seen on websites relevant to their product, and that is where Google Ads can be of real benefit. The problem comes in when those same ads appear in the latest version of a child’s favorite mobile game.

The Fat Finger Problem

Think about your actions when playing a game on your phone or some other mobile device. The only ads you will click on are those appealing to your interests, and you likely close the rest. Sometimes your finger placement is wrong, and you end up accidentally clicking through an ad.

Those accidental clicks go up exponentially when children close out ads. All those accidental clicks fool you into thinking you are getting lots of interest in your product, thanks to strategic ad placement. That makes it hard to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and figure out where you may want to make changes.

How to Avoid Miscounting Random Clicks From Mobile Apps

The following steps outline how you can examine your campaigns and see where your ads are placed.

  1. Select a specific ad campaign from your Google Ads dashboard.
  2. Click “Placements” from the left navigation sidebar.
  3. Click “Where Ads Showed” from the top navigation.

You should see a listing of previous ad placements for that campaign. Enter “mobile” into the search box to narrow the results down to mobile apps.

Excluding Mobile Apps

The Google Ads platform gives you the ability to opt out of having your ads displayed within mobile applications. You can do this by:

  • Clicking the checkbox to the left of the placement, then
  • Clicking “Edit” and
  • Selecting “Exclude from ad group” or “Exclude from campaign.”
  • Next, click “Exclusions” from the top navigation to view all the placements you’re excluded from.
  • Click the blue edit button to add more to campaigns or ad groups.

A Matter of Money

Business owners can benefit the most from completely excluding their ads from all mobile applications. The extraneous clicks could end up costing them quite a bit, as they will not result in the desired conversion.

They can do this by adding “App categories > All Apps” to the Exclusions list within your Display network campaigns.

Pulling It All Together

Not all clicks lead to the promise of a conversion, especially unintentional ones done by kids on mobile apps. You can review your ad placements in the Google Ads platform by clicking on the “Placements” button in the left navigation sidebar.  This will show you the placements you’re targeting.  Click “Where Ads Showed” to see where else your ads were displayed and determine if you need to exclude any of those additional placements.

Most businesses should exclude “All Apps” to save yourself a lot of headaches and reporting issues.

Want more tips to improve your Google Ads campaigns? Get your free copy of our “Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.”

 

Cross-Device Is the Cornerstone of Your Marketing Plan

As smartphones and tablets evolve, the bright lines that previously separated digital, print, TV, mobile and PC are now beginning to fade away. Advertising, now more than ever, needs to be wherever and whenever the consumer wants it be, and “mobile” is not so much a device-type as it is a behavior or state of mind

As smartphones and tablets evolve, the bright lines that previously separated digital, print, TV, mobile and PC are now beginning to fade away. Advertising, now more than ever, needs to be wherever and whenever the consumer wants it be, and “mobile” is not so much a device-type as it is a behavior or state of mind.

The spend on cross-device campaigns that target the same users across smartphone, tablet and laptop devices is growing as marketers discover their effectiveness. In a recent survey, 75 percent of marketers said they have seen increased effectiveness with cross-device campaigns.

Marketers are already investing quite a bit in cross-device campaigns as they follow consumer behavior, but now they want to better quantify the results. The rush to develop mobile advertising campaigns is coupled with the desire for better measurement and understanding.

More than 50 percent of marketers surveyed by ValueClick Media and Greystripe reported that cross-device campaigns expand the overall reach and help optimize the performance of the campaign. But marketers point to the time and money needed to track, build and maintain a mobile experience as the main reasons why mobile campaigns are underperforming.

Marketers want to move deeper into cross-device marketing, but they also want more from their campaigns. Specifically, they want to better understand the impact of each medium and the path to purchase.

While cross-screen advertising is becoming increasingly commonplace, it still presents a range of challenges for brands—challenges that are holding back spending growth. The key challenges are:

  • Difficulty tracking audiences across multiple devices and a lack of common performance metrics were cited as the largest issues facing agencies and marketers when deploying and measuring cross-screen campaigns. Research shows that one in four marketers are yet to execute campaigns across multiple screens. For 59 percent of marketers and 68 percent of agencies, difficulty with tracking audiences across multiple devices is what’s holding them back.
  • Media planning and execution often take precedence over the creative. To successfully launch a cross-screen campaign, creative cannot be an afterthought. It’s clear why reaching consumers across multiple screens and devices is appealing, but brands need to reevaluate how they resource creative and technical production to ensure they have the assets needed to run effective cross-screen campaigns.
  • Cross-device advertising budgets typically are managed separately, making it difficult to keep the consumer at the forefront of planning silos. It’s time to start thinking about how to remove the silos and have a more holistic approach to mobile advertising campaigns.

If brands and agencies can come together to unlock the promise of consistent and rich ad experiences across different device screens at scale that many long for, the future of mobile advertising will undoubtedly be cross-device and creative will be able to adjust to the context in which it appears—whether that’s a phone, tablet, desktop, wearables, connected TV, or an automobile.

Mobile Advertising Isn’t Just for Big Brands Anymore

The increasing use of mobile devices, mobile Web, multiple advertising platforms and the advancement of network technologies creates new opportunities in the advertising market. But the reality is mobile advertising is still new to many businesses, so it’s important to take a strategic approach to these types of mobile initiatives. Below you will find a baseline to help you get started on your new campaign

The increasing use of mobile devices, mobile Web, multiple advertising platforms and the advancement of network technologies creates new opportunities in the advertising market. According to BI Intelligence, spending on mobile advertising is set to reach $42 billion by 2018 and grow faster than all other digital marketing categories. That’s huge! But the reality is mobile advertising is still new to many businesses, so it’s important to take a strategic approach to these types of mobile initiatives.

Below you will find a baseline to help you get started on your new campaign.

  • Don’t Overthink It: In the transition from desktop to mobile, the classic banner ad has shrunk to 300×50, a tiny ad unit that does nothing to optimize the ad experience to mobile. As such, your mobile ad has only a limited window of opportunity to get through to your audience. This means that your mobile ads need to focus on a single message. Don’t try to cram too much text or any complicated images into your in-app banner ads. Keep it simple. One message at a time.
  • Understanding Leads to Personalized Experiences: Mobile ads are useful because brands can collect a lot of information about how consumers are interacting with their ads. For example, whether people are clicking on your ads (or not), and, more importantly, what are they doing beyond the click to build a deeper engagement with your brand. You can then use these events to better retarget customers and target similar customers (look-a-likes). The best thing about mobile is the ability to have at the very moment targeting: right time, right place and right device. The promise of hyper-local targeting is a huge benefit of mobile advertising.
  • Kickstart Relationships by Adding Value: One of the best ways to boost your mobile advertising campaign is to focus on adding value at every touch point. Also, with the increased focus on brand building ads, video and native ads, you can really create a dynamic and powerful customer experience. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to add value to your customers’ lives, sometimes providing useful content such as a white paper or informational video can be enough to start a relationship.
  • Test, Measure, Optimize, Repeat: One reason mobile ads don’t have to do it all is because it’s easy to create multiple versions and multivariate test them to see which works best. Unfortunately, one of the biggest mistakes marketers make is not having developers test their ads. Experiment with different offers, different creative designs, and different messages. See what works best. You might be surprised—the message your team thought was clever may not resonate with customers. Sometimes even a simple change in text, design or details of your offer can pay huge dividends. Let the performance results speak for you and allow you to make powerful data driven decisions quickly to achieve your KPIs.

Mobile advertising will never be the end all, be all for companies. What marketers need to be focused on is, “how can you make sure that your mobile ads are doing enough?” By taking a personalized approach, with one specific behavior you’re trying to impact, and testing its effectiveness, you’ll find the right way to get big results from your small screen advertising.

Following the Breadcrumbs to Guide People Through the Path to Purchase

 

Marketing is about service; it’s about helping a company identify and fulfill the needs, wants and desires of consumers. Throughout most of its history, marketing has focused on the needs of the marketer and the marketer’s company. We’ve been shareholder-centric, company-centric and product-centric. We’ve organized our companies to be engineering-driven, sales-driven or marketing-driven. In other words, we’ve been self-absorbed and focused on our needs and our offerings and what we want to accomplish. This inward focus must change. To execute effectively, brands most certainly need to maintain an inward focus on all of the activities above. However, they also need to create and hone their mobile marketing capabilities. That is, train their people, invest in technology and develop processes to achieve their goals in the new mobile reality. 

 

Move aside purchase funnel and make room for the path to purchase. Perhaps you’ve noticed the headlines of late: “Marketing is Changing,” “Mobile Advertising is More Effective Than Desktop Advertising,” “CIOs Now Report to the CMOs (Or Should),” “It Is About Being Mobile First,” and so on.

All of these headlines, and countless more, are referring to an inalienable truth today: social norms and people’s behaviors are changing, and as a consequence so is the practice of marketing.

Marketing is about service; it’s about helping a company identify and fulfill the needs, wants and desires of consumers. Throughout most of its history, marketing has focused on the needs of the marketer and the marketer’s company. We’ve been shareholder-centric, company-centric and product-centric. We’ve organized our companies to be engineering-driven, sales-driven or marketing-driven. In other words, we’ve been self-absorbed and focused on our needs and our offerings and what we want to accomplish. This inward focus must change.

To execute effectively, brands most certainly need to maintain an inward focus on all of the activities above. However, they also need to create and hone their mobile marketing capabilities. That is, train their people, invest in technology and develop processes to achieve their goals in the new mobile reality.

Since today’s consumer spends the majority of their time on or being influenced by mobile devices and mobile-enhanced media, they’ve begun to expect one-to-one personalized treatment. It’s imperative that marketers turn their primary focus away from themselves and towards people (a word rarely used to define consumers). Marketers must take their focus away from shuttling the “consumer” down the proverbial purchase funnel cattle shoot and direct it toward guiding and helping people along their individualized path to purchase.

Below is a side-by-side illustration of the purchase funnel, resting on the base of loyalty and advocacy, and the new path to purchase.

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The stages and steps along the purchase funnel and path to purchase are similar, but subtle differences exist. The purchase funnel is a linear view of the world through the marketer’s eyes and the marketer’s goals, while the path to purchase is a nonlinear view, with many branches. It’s a view of the world through an individual’s senses and how they go through their day, week, year or life satisfying their wants and desires.

These two views of the world, the purchase funnel and the path to purchase, aren’t at odds with each other. Rather, they’re simply a view of the world through different lenses.

To be clear, the path to purchase isn’t the purchase funnel laid on its side as it’s often portrayed. People don’t care about “brand awareness” like marketers do. People care about expressing their needs or responding to conscious and unconscious exposure. Marketers need to understand that value is created between the customer’s view and their own.

For marketers to be successful in the age of the mobile-led digital economy, it’s important to look at the world through both lenses, the purchase funnel and the path to purchase. They need to be able to step into the shoes of the people they serve (their customers) and will service (their prospects).

Putting yourself in people’s shoes isn’t easy nor is it comfortable, but it must be done. The first step is to build empathy and understanding. A helpful way to do this is to understand behavior, ideally by talking with and listening to your customers directly, as explained by Jonathan Stephen from JetBlue in a recent webinar I did with him.

Another way is to conduct primary research and review secondary research. For example, to help you understand the behavior of people along the path to purchase, I encourage you to read the xAd Mobile Path To Purchase research.

In 2012 and 2013, xAd conducted studies in the U.S. and the U.K. to evaluate mobile’s role along the path to purchase for the travel, auto, restaurant, retail, gas and convenience, banking and finance, and insurance industries.

What the studies showed, not surprisingly, was that mobile has an impact but its impact varies and its use differs along each step of a person’s journey along the path to purchase. The insights from the xAd studies and related industry efforts are valuable breadcrumbs to understanding people today, their behavior (especially when it comes to mobile) and for putting mobile at the heart of modern-day marketing strategies.

I know it’s hard and change is never easy, but as marketers we must continually relearn our trade and adapt to the changing conditions of the marketplace.

Building a Mobile Presence

Mobile is a revolution. The power of the personal mobile device has created the potential for businesses to build stronger and more mutually valuable relationships with their customers. Nothing gets a marketer closer to their customer than mobile. Many marketers realize this, at least instinctively. They know that a mobile relationship has to be invited, built upon and cultivated. However, either due to lack of experience or training many marketers don’t know how to do this.

Mobile is a revolution. The power of the personal mobile device has created the potential for businesses to build stronger and more mutually valuable relationships with their customers. Nothing gets a marketer closer to their customer than mobile.

Many marketers realize this, at least instinctively. They know that a mobile relationship has to be invited, built upon and cultivated. However, either due to lack of experience or training, many marketers don’t know how to do this.

Today’s brand imperative is to include mobile in the marketing mix. A key element is to establish a mobile presence. Marketers leveraging mobile may use any number of the elements at their disposal to engage, entertain, enrich and delight consumers. These include:

  • mobile websites;
  • mobile applications;
  • SMS, MMS and email messaging;
  • voice;
  • mobile enrichments, elements and experiences;
  • mobile search;
  • location-aware plug-ins;
  • mobile social media;
  • mobile advertising (from text to banner to rich media);
  • mobile commerce;
  • response codes;
  • personalization and privacy management tools;
  • optimized mobile content (e.g., text, images, video);
  • mobile access points;
  • feature phones;
  • smartphones;
  • tablet computers and other connected devices;
  • use of traditional media; and
  • market verticals.

The versatility and capability of the channel means that building out mobile campaigns could employ any combination of the above. However, conducting a campaign that simply leverages one or more mobile elements for a finite period of time is simply a mobile tactic, not a mobile presence. It shouldn’t be considered core to the marketer’s strategy.

To develop a strategy, consider mobile from every side and dimension. In developing a strategic marketing plan, brands can no longer just rely on linear models. Marketing today is a multidimensional problem set requiring nonlinear solutions and thinking.

Without a strategy to hold these elements together, your mobile engagement could suffer. One key to a mobile strategy is where you’ll establish your mobile presence. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to building a mobile presence. Just as mobile is a personal choice for the consumer, the right combination of the mobile elements outlined above will vary based on particular marketing objectives, firm resources and customer needs.

You may not need mobile apps or mobile advertising may not be the first thing you start with. You must figure out the mix and sequence that will meet the needs of your brand. One of the first steps in building a mobile presence is ensuring that you have a mobile website that functions well on mobile devices in terms of form, function and content. These aspects of a mobile website should complement a marketer’s objectives and industry.

For example, a retail site may focus on providing consumers with product information, discounts, loyalty-building programs, store locations and maybe even direct commerce options. Whichever combination of these services a marketer employs, they need to get it right by making the features accessible and easy to use. A recent Limelight Networks’ study found that 20 percent of consumers may complete their research efforts but vow to never return to the site. An additional 18 percent will stop immediately and move on to another site. By not creating an effective mobile presence, marketers are clearly losing business.

Repurposing your site for mobile may feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be. In fact, being able to envision how your site reads or works as a mobile site has become much easier. There are several tools available that can help you build out your mobile web presence. One such tool was launched last month when Google released GoMo. By entering your website’s URL into HowToGoMo.com, you can see what the site looks like on a mobile device. GoMo goes a step further, making suggestions and showing alternatives that will help you make adjustments to ensure your site is mobile optimized.

GoMo also gives examples of effective and engaging mobile websites to show what’s possible. It also offers a selection of leading mobile site developers. GoMo is an extraordinary resource to help you see what your customers see when accessing your site on their mobile devices, including the challenges you face in making your site as accessible and useful as possible.

Yet however critical it is, having an effective mobile website is just one of many mobile tactics. You must consider all the mobile touchpoints listed above. See how they integrate with your objectives at every stage of the consumer consideration funnel, then adjust your execution based on your needs and those of your customers.

In the end, creating a mobile presence is about providing a better user experience across all channels to help consumers engage with your brand at any state of the consideration funnel from any device or location. In the mobile marketplace, mobile presence is essentially the front door of a business. Making it accessible, useful and easy to approach isn’t just an added service or a smart business tactic that’s essential to effective customer engagement, it’s a business imperative in today’s mobile world.

The Strategic Imperative of Understanding Mobile in 2011 and Beyond

There aren’t many industries with a compound annual growth rate of nearly 57 percent, especially in the midst of the worst recession in generations. But that’s one measure of the success of mobile advertising, which has moved out of brands’ and agencies’ research and development budgets and into their mainstream spending.

There aren’t many industries with a compound annual growth rate of nearly 57 percent, especially in the midst of the worst recession in generations. But that’s one measure of the success of mobile advertising, which has moved out of brands’ and agencies’ research and development budgets and into their mainstream spending.

Take local mobile advertising, which consists of ads that are related to a user’s location. In 2009, the U.S. market for local mobile advertising was worth $213 million, according to BIA/Kelsey, a consultancy firm. Various outlets are predicting that revenues will top $2 billion by 2014.

Advertisers are spending more on the mobile channel because they understand the impact not just on their advertising, but on their businesses in general. That understanding comes from both the growing number of success stories and independent research that quantifies the mobile channel’s reach and effectiveness.

An April 2010 Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)/Luth Research survey found that nearly one in four U.S. adult consumers use mobile location services. Nearly half of those who noticed any ads while using those services took at least some action, indicating that consumers respond well to ads via location-based services. 


What are next year’s opportunities?
This research is noteworthy because it highlights some of the bigger mobile opportunities for brands and marketers in 2011 and beyond. The mobile channel’s inherent location capabilities, for example, coupled with high user awareness of those capabilities, provide new opportunities to deliver mobile coupons when consumers are literally in position to make a purchase.

Because cell phones are something that most consumers carry with them at all times, these devices also can be used to “mobile-enable” traditional media such as print, broadcast and billboards. For example, by adding a common short code (or QR code) to an ad, marketers can capitalize on consumer interest in their products or services by immediately delivering information, e-coupons or enabling a purchase on the spot.

This isn’t pie-in-the-sky forecasting, either. A May 2010 MMA/Luth Research survey found that approximately one in five U.S. adult mobile phone owners have used their cell phone for mobile commerce in the past month.

All of these factors highlight another, overarching opportunity: The mobile channel has evolved beyond serving as only a marketing tool. It’s now a highly effective way to facilitate sales transactions, provide customer care, foster brand loyalty and solicit customer feedback. No wonder that U.S. advertisers and agencies plan to increase their mobile spending 124 percent, to more than $5.4 billion, by the end of 2011.