Best practices for managing paid search campaigns are full of commonly held assumptions, many of which are more myth than fact—especially when it comes to SEM ad copy. This Myth Busters series tackles these misconceptions one blog post at a time. In this installment, we dispel the myth that you don’t need separate desktop and mobile ads.


The myth

You can use the same ads on desktop and mobile.


The reality

If you were in the digital marketing space in the early days of smartphones, you may have found that investing time in testing mobile-specific ads didn’t lead to stronger KPIs. In more recent times, mobile devices have evolved into personal concierges, sources of entertainment, ever-present decision-making companions, and—oh yeah, communication devices. Brands need to optimize mobile ad creative to keep up with this evolution of mobile user behavior. Here are a few reasons why:


  • User goals are device-specific. According to a Google study, 82% of smartphone users consult their devices when making an in-store purchase. This is something that simply cannot be done from a desktop. It follows that identical ad copy won’t resonate in the same way on all devices.
  • Ad networks don’t necessarily serve description line 2. Depending on how well your mobile ad performs and on the selection of ad extensions you employ, description line 2 of your ad won’t always show. This means mobile ads need to convey the critical message in fewer characters.
  • Users are jaded by poor mobile experiences. Too often, users encounter sites that are frustrating and difficult to navigate from a mobile device. Because of this, customers might avoid clicking your mobile ad due to their false assumptions that your site is not mobile-optimized. This presents an extra challenge to overcome in mobile SEM ad copy.


The opportunity

Customers are looking for different experiences depending on the device they are using, but many brands are still taking a one-size-fits-all approach to SEM ad creative. This presents an enormous opportunity for brands who have traditionally been underdogs in desktop search to gain market share through mobile search.


Where to go from here

Take inventory of why customers might be searching for your brand, product, or services from different devices. Understand the user context and develop customized ads to deliver what they’re looking for. If you haven’t already, develop mobile-specific ads using the mobile-preferred ad type. Due to mobile character constraints, condense the most critical information into a complete sentence in description line 1. Test mobile-specific calls-to-action and let users know that you are ready to deliver an optimal mobile experience by testing and formats of the display URL in mobile ads.


 About Boost Media

Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale.

The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.