We’ve all heard it before, “the world is going mobile”. But that’s old news. As a matter of fact, the world is not going mobile — it’s already there (and that’s not just my opinion either). According to a recent study done by comScore, Canadians spend 59% of their total internet time on their smartphone. That’s an average of 3,927 minutes per user per month, and counting!
If you’ve got a website, you’ve probably got the mobile side covered, right? Site speed and responsive layouts are pretty well a mandatory feature if you want to reach (not to mention engage) as many visitors as possible.
But how about your ads? Are they also mobile-friendly?
Back in 2014, Google introduced a new ad extension to enhance text ads and enable advertisers to provide extra info to users, called callouts. Callouts are a pretty neat way to jazz up your creatives, especially if you know how to combine them with sitelinks. In the blink of an eye, advertisers were able to go from simple text based ads to complex and lengthy ads. How delightful!
But here’s the thing: if our websites are adjusting themselves to fit into a smaller, mobile screen, why are advertisers not doing the same thing to their search ads?
Earlier this year, the online advertising team at Strathcom did an experiment to check what impact, if any, mobile-friendly ad extensions would have on our campaigns. We created shorter versions of callouts and sitelinks, marked the device preference checkbox, and released them into the wild.
Regular Ad Extensions
|Service And Maintenance (23 characters)||Service Dept (12 characters)|
|Pre-Owned Inventory (19 characters)||Used Vehicles (13 characters)|
|40+ Years In Business (21 characters)||40yrs In Business (16 characters)|
After all, smaller screens call for shorter texts (in theory). We don’t want to sacrifice our carefully written ad copy, but what we can do is reduce our character count when it comes to ad extensions without harming the message.
In fact, in order to make an ad mobile-friendly, Google itself recommends we keep mobile-oriented sitelinks and callouts at a 12 to 15 character maximum, instead of using the full, 25 character allotment.
So we gave it the old college try, and a few months later this happened:
Sitelinks: 9.81% increase in click-through-rate
Callouts: 8.45% increase in click-through-rate
When we compare this to the same period of the previous year, the outcome is even more impressive:
Sitelinks: 30.55% increase in click-through-rate
Callouts: 35.43% increase in click-through-rate
In fact, the mobile-preferred extensions show an overall better result in almost every metric. Just look at the Sitelinks indicators for the last month of the same campaign:
Regular Ad Extensions
As of late, mobile devices have shown far better performance than desktop, but if we can improve mobile performance further -without having to resort to bidding adjustments- why not try? This is especially true when it comes to accounts with smaller budgets. And trying new things like mobile-friendly ad copy is what we do best here at Strathcom. One could say we’re a bit obsessive in experimenting with different ideas to find the best results (well, speaking for myself at least, I’m a bit obsessive about it).
This is of course just a small sample in how different situations demand different approaches — and how sometimes in the mobile world, less is more. Is it a cliché? Maybe. But is it accurate? Definitely.