4 Must-Try Google Mobile Ad Strategies (with Data!)

According to analytics firm Flurry, U.S. consumers spend an average of 5 hours per day on mobile devices. As you can see in the graph below, the time spent on mobile phones is increasing at a pretty rapid rate.

minutes spent per day on mobile devices

Minutes per day spent on mobile devices

Whether you’re checking email, searching for something on Google, or stalking your favorite celebrities on Instagram, we all encounter Google search and display ads on our devices, likely several times a day.

However, just showing up on mobile isn't really enough. In fact, WordStream data shows that advertisers have struggled to keep their mobile click-through rates high; in fact, according to WordStream's Mark Irvine, average mobile CTR took a dip in July 2016 when AdWords users lost the ability to set mobile-preferred ads:

mobile ad click through rates

Data source: Based on a sample of 10,170 WordStream client accounts advertising on mobile devices on the Google Search Network in 2016.

So as the advertiser, how can you stand out?

Luckily, Google is constantly coming out with new and improved ways for advertisers to capitalize on their mobile audience. The four mobile ad features below are worth paying attention to and testing out in your mobile ad campaigns.

#1: Speedy AMP Mobile Ads & Landing Pages

Who could forget the launch of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Google announced a year+ ago? The goal of this project was to speed up mobile webpages, especially mobile pages for new websites.

At the big Google Marketing Next summit on May 23 of 2017, Google announced that they’ll be providing new ways for advertisers to use the power of AMP in their search and display ads. For search, this comes in the form of speedy mobile landing pages. For display, Google is using the technology of AMP to improve the speed of ads served across the Display Network.

Since page load time can make or break a mobile conversion, these updates are pretty critical. According to Google, these new AMP landing pages load twice as fast as previous AMP pages (which load in under one second).

While this new AMP feature is still in beta, some big names have been testing it and seeing results, like Johnson & Johnson. Paul Ortmayer, Head of Digital Analytics - EMEA for Johnson & Johnson, reports seeing page speeds improve by 10x and engagement rates by 20%. Sign up for the beta here to see for yourself.

amp display ads

Display ads are also getting an AMP makeover since they’ll be loading much faster on mobile to gain more traction. The AMP Ads Initiative launched last year, with the goal of making display ads load faster, has improved the experience for both the advertiser and the user.

Today Google’s Display Network is automatically converting and serving display ads in the new AMP ad format. “We’ve found that these ads load up to 5 seconds faster than regular ads even though the creative looks exactly the same,” says Google.

#2: Message Extensions

Can you imagine being able to converse with potential buyers directly through the SERPs?

Well, good news, you can! Back in the fall Google released message extensions. Similar to other ad extensions, message extensions extend the real estate of your ad by adding an extra interactive element to them. This one comes in the form of a small message icon. See the example below – clicking the feature opens up a text conversation with your business.

message extensions for mobile ads

WordStream’s data genius Mark Irvine wrote a thorough post about message extensions, detailing how they perform compared to other extensions. What were his findings?

A few clients on WordStream’s Managed Services team were using the feature in beta, and they found that adding message extensions led to a 50% higher CTR on mobile ads!

google adwords message extensions

These are definitely worth a shot!

#3: Price Extensions

There’s another extension in town. This baby has been around for almost a year now, but it is a another one that you can leverage to significantly increase mobile CTR’s and likely even lead to higher sales.

Price extensions appear on mobile devices and tablets in a carousel format, giving the user the ability to scroll on their devices and view prices for various products. Since advertisers can show their prices right on the SERP, when a visitor clicks their intent to buy is likely much higher, because they already know the price. This in turn yields a better ROI on your ad spend, since these extensions effectively pre-qualify visitors.

price extensions for mobile ads

To set these up you’ll need to choose the type of price extension (think brands, events, locations, product categories, services, etc.), as well as the currency. Advertisers will also have control over the headers, descriptions, price qualifiers, price, and final URL.

Similar to message extensions, WordStream clients have found that using pricing extensions leads to a significantly higher CTR: 4x the average to be exact!

adwords price extensions

#4: Purchases on Google

If you were excited by price extensions this may excite you even more. Google has been spreading the news about Purchases on Google since 2015, but as a limited beta many advertisers weren’t able to take advantage.

Luckily, that’s no longer the case! As of May 2017 this feature is in open beta. Enabling Purchases on Google allows advertisers in the US to let shoppers purchase directly through the mobile SERP.

Could life be any easier? Check out how ads using this feature appear on Google below.

purchases on google

There are some limitations to this feature. The two major ones are that the feature is limited to advertisers in the US, and the consumer must have an Android device and Google Wallet to utilize it. For the full scoop, check out this post.

Competition is fierce on the mobile SERP. Taking advantage of as many of Google’s new mobile ad features as you can is sure to set you apart from your competitors and help you rise to the top of the small screen.

About the Author:

Margot is a Customer Success Manager at Wistia. She loves all things digital, and spends her free time running, traveling, and cooking. Follow her on:

Twitter: @ChappyMargot

Google+: +Margot da Cunha

Blog: http://www.margotshealthhub.com/

Find out how you're REALLY doing in AdWords!

Watch the video below on our Free AdWords Grader:

Visit the AdWords Grader.


Freddy Junior
Jun 12, 2017

Hey Margot!

I'm still dabbling with the mobile marketing world. These are very helpful and interesting statistics.

Mobile marketing is growing exponentially. Especially when technology is evolving and we are getting more mobile with our smart devices.

Thanks for the great share!

Cheers! :)

Jun 13, 2017

Some cool features, too many for the average small business owner. But good news for ad managers... it gives us more ways to beat the competition.

Good to optimise CTR. But I always like to look at the resulting impact on conversions. Too often you can increase CTR but get a decrease in conversion rate.

Of course, CTR can help reduce cost-per-click. So, we really need to consider impact on all these variables. As a starting point, this cost-per-click tool helps to predict average cost per click in any market

Leave a comment