When we first wrote about mobile advertising back in April of 2017 the numbers looked like this:

    • Google predicted that mobile search will push 19% more calls to businesses in 2017

Almost two years later how much has changed?

The needs and habits of smartphone users haven’t changed much

Mobile users are often looking for something they need now, be that a coffee shop, tow truck, or suntan lotion. Consumers searching on mobile are further down the conversion funnel. Ready to order the product online right then and there, or cost comparing on their phone while in a store. A massive 82% of mobile users conduct “near me” searches.

If you’re counting on mobile users to scroll past ads on their phone to find your organic listing, you’re playing the long odds. And these odds may be getting even longer.

When expanded text ads were introduced a few years ago it practically doubled the number of characters you could put in an ad. Include call or site extensions, and your ad can take up 4x its original screen real estate. If there is a Google rich snippet or local listing pack in your search results you might not even see a single organic result above the fold – even on a desktop.  

When you apply this to a mobile phone screen, the results are even more dire, pushing down not only organic search results below the fold but even the next few ads. What’s more, Google has recently been testing different combinations of paid and organic listings on mobile devices.

They were recently found to be trying out as many as 14 paid ads and 8 organic listings in mobile search results. This sounds like an absurd amount of ads even to us, and paid mobile advertising is part of our job. This won’t necessarily become the standard for search results, but it strongly signals that the format we’ve come accustomed to for the past several years (3-4 paid ads, then about 10 organic listings) will not stick around forever and your marketing strategy will have to adjust accordingly or you may quickly become invisible.

Do people really click on paid ads?

Yes! According to Wordstream 65 percent of clicks made by users who intend to make a purchase go to paid ads. So if you’re selling something, be it a service or product, customers who are past the research phase of their journey are much more likely to click on your ad, and that’s who you’re looking for right? People ready to convert! Click through rates on paid ads on mobile devices have outpaced desktop CTR’s over the past two years. You might personally refuse to click on paid ads but you’re in the minority.

Are pay per click ads worth the money?

Ask yourself, how much would you pay to make sure that when someone did a search on their phone for a product or service you offer, that the only result returned in the frame of their screen was yours? What would you pay to make sure you come up first, and your competitors are out of sight, and out of mind? On the Google search network, the average cost per click is $1-$2 dollars and it’s estimated that businesses make $2 in revenue for every $1 spent on Google Ads.

SEO vs. PPC for Mobile and The Rise of Zero-Click Searches

Not only do you need to contend with a growing number of ads showing in mobile search results, but there’s also a steady increase in what’s knows as “zero-click” searches. Almost 62% of searches on mobile in Q3 of 2018 didn’t result in a click on either a paid ad or organic search listing. Users were able to find the information they’re looking for from results like Google’s rich snippets or a businesses Google My Business page.

This means that paid ads alone aren’t enough to be competitive and ensure the message you want to convey is what’s coming up in search results. You need a comprehensive on-going SEO strategy to ensure your content is ranking organically for related searches and that your GMB is on-point so users are getting the information you want them to receive about your business, not just what Google selects for you.

Time to consider PPC for mobile

Make sure your company is getting its best shot to capture as much business as possible. Get a talented and committed specialist to launch a mobile PPC campaign — stat. Capture at least 30% of search volume traffic by working your way into the #1 ad spot.

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