Recent weeks have brought a renewed focus on mobile search as it evolves in how consumers connect their physical and digital worlds. In particular, Google’s recent change to how they treat mobile search rankings for non-mobile optimized web pages has raised awareness that desktop and mobile searches are very different animals. While marketers and webmaster debate whether this is #mobilegeddon or not, I think all too often people forget about the paid search part of the search equation and what the rise in constantly connected consumers means to paid search marketing. Today lots of dollars are being left on the table by marketers not understanding and optimizing the differences between desktop and mobile paid search.


Why are these two dramatically different? In a word, context. Being tied to your desk or laptop as opposed to roaming freely on your phone, implies very different types of engagement and what consumers expect from their search results.


In early 2013 Google showed their vision of the future with the launch of enhanced campaigns, and demonstrated how AdWords was evolving for a constantly connected world. This shift to enabling targeting across multiple screens and devices was a leap forward in opening up new means to target consumers with the right message, in the right place, at the right time.


In Google’s words, “signals like location, time of day, and the capabilities of the device people are using have become increasingly important in showing them the right ad.” For example a pizza restaurant probably wants to show one ad to someone searching for “pizza” at 1 PM on their PC at work and a different ad to someone that searches for “pizza” at 8 PM on a smartphone a half-mile from the restaurant.



But opening up new opportunities to reach consumers comes at a price. To benefit in this world of new targeting to the device and context, an advertiser has to have ad creative ready for every different situation. While writing a few variations of ad copy here and there is no big deal, marketers are not prepared to scale ad copy development and testing to address the multitude of new variations across the thousands of keywords under management.


This is the future of search marketing, and it’s a very exciting- yet somewhat daunting- one for many marketers. Keeping up with these new opportunities has left many marketers looking to their agencies, partners and technology vendors to help expand their efforts into these areas as their current capabilities and staffing are not prepared. Just when smart marketers are figuring out device, location, and time of day targeting, Google continues to add new opportunities. Think of targeting your search campaigns based on local weather. A day where it is snowing versus a bright and sunny day implies a very different bid strategy and ad copy to successfully place the right ad in front of that consumer for that particular context.


Advancing your bid strategy has been relatively low hanging fruit. Bid management technologies have a long and successful track record. The bigger challenge for search marketers is the approach to creative testing and optimization has not scaled at the speed of these new expansion opportunities.


One of the tenants of great advertising is to create an emotional connection with a  consumer. While emotional connection engagement has long been a goal of broadcast mediums or small scale targeted campaigns, the true challenge of the next generation of search marketing is scaling the testing and development of creative which connects with consumers. Emotional language must be expanded beyond the few keywords that drive a large part of your campaign volume to all parts of your search campaigns. Your entire account can benefit from improved creative designed for mobile and designed for new more contextual targeting, from the head end of your search terms all the way to the longtail of your keywords.


The past few years in the search space have proven to be very interesting times as we learn and understand more about the differences between desktop and mobile engagement. The next few years will prove to be just as interesting and much more productive as we turn these learnings into action, adapting and scaling the ad creative to better match the current context for each consumer.


Image by Google via Think With Google

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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.