4 Key Mobile AdWords Strategies for 2015



It seems that marketers ignored mobile users for the longest time but are finally rethinking this strategy. Today’s devices are no less than tiny laptops offering incredible specs, brilliant displays and pretty awesome features.

Plus, data about mobile users tells us they research, they look for local stores, and they buy on their devices. How could marketers ignore this?

Some still question why we would want to go after this traffic and point to Google Analytics data that shows mobile users spend less time on our sites, have a higher bounce rate, and are often less engaged.

The valuable part of mobile traffic is how users are using it. Mobile users look for local businesses with an intent to visit, have a higher local purchase intent, and also do valuable product & service research that will lead to desktop conversions later on.

In fact, Radio Shack pushed mobile users to a Store Locator tool through their Adwords ads and measured 40-60% of those clickers actually visiting a store.

This means advertisers have to use specific targeting and campaign intent when chasing mobile users. Fortunately, it’s very easy to target mobile users in Google AdWords. Let’s look at some different models that will make the best use of mobile behaviors:

1. Research-Stage Targeting


We’ve all done research on our phone at the airport, in line for a movie, or when we need a quick answer (“What’s the best cold medicine for a stuffy nose?”). It doesn’t matter if you run an Industrial Tool business, a consumer product company or a local service business, everyone can harness this model and answer frequent user questions.

Intent: Capture interested users at the top of the funnel to market to later.

Ad: Mobile ad copy targeted around non-branded keywords that introduce searchers to your product/service. Use mobile sitelinks like “Get a Coupon”, “Email Me Info” “Request a Call”, or “Get our newsletter” that allow a user to receive information from you to return to later/at home/at the office. Try Google’s interactive mobile sitelinks tutorial to add these to your account. Remember to check the mobile option box.

Settings: Set a device bid adjustment of +50% to +300% for mobile users on the Campaign Settings > Device tab..

bid adjustment

How to Analyze: Segment your Ad Group reports by Device to evaluate mobile performance and conversions.

2. Drive Store Visits

Capturing users searching for a local business to solve their problem is one of the true strengths of AdWords. These stats alone should make you jump right in:


Intent: Push local mobile searches to closest business location.

Ad: Use copy advertising your number of locations. Use specific city/region/zip code copy to match your geographic targeting. Searchers like to see your local ad, not your national one.

Settings: Use Location Ad Extension (Tied to your Google My Business Account). This will display the closest location to the user. Follow RadioShack’s example and use mobile sitelinks to take users to your locations page.

How to Analyze: Use In-Store Visits metric column in AdWords. This tracks a user who clicks your ad and then takes their mobile device to your location. Requirements:

  • Have a Google My Business account linked to your AdWords account
  • Set up location extensions in your Google My Business account
  • Have multiple physical store locations in the US
  • Receive a large number of both ad clicks and store visits

If you are not eligible for the In-Store Visits metric:

You can try reporting from Google Analytics on specific store pages to see how traffic on mobile from the nearby regions is increasing, and hopefully resulting in more conversions.

3. In-Store Searchers

Who else goes to the electronic store near the mall to look at TVs, pulls out their phone, types in the model number  and immediately starts searching for a better deal? Stores have dubbed this trend “showrooming“. How can the retailer compete? By serving a well-placed ad for the in-store user on mobile.

in store1

Intent: Appear in a prominent ad position for users searching for products while in store.

Ad: Copy should play up advantages from the store versus online competitors: installation services, positive reviews/support, warranty, special deals for mobile only like coupons that can be scanned off of the users phone.

Settings: Target 1km radius around store locations only, the smallest radius allowed in AdWords (Users search in the parking lot too!). Set a lower CPC bid then set a device bid adjustment of +300% for mobile traffic.

How to Analyze: Review the Dimensions report by Device and review Conversions column.

4. Drive Phone Leads Using Click-to-Call

We think of Phone call conversions as important to hardware stores and local businesses, but they are also valuable for enterprise solution providers, industrial tool suppliers and other B2B businesses. Adding the Click-To-Call button to your mobile AdWords ads can have a significant impact:

click to call

Intent: Drive users engaged in branded search to your sales team or call center.

Ad: Branded ad copy advertising your customer support that asks users to call your business.

Settings: Set up Call Extensions with Google Forward number for mobile. Use a mobile bid adjustment of  +25% to +300%.

How to Analyze: Add the Phone Call Conversion column from Conversions metrics in AdWords and any relevant columns from the Call Details metrics.

Watch Esurance discuss how this strategy drove down cost per acquisition and increased calls 200%.

Did I miss any? Let me know how you convert mobile users via AdWords in the comments.

Statistics & graphics are from the following studies:

Understanding Consumers Local Search Behavior – Think with Google
Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping: Research Debunks Common Myths – Think with Google
The Role of Click to Call in the Path to Purchase – Think with Google

Michael Bartholow is a Senior Account Manager. He has a special knack for B2B Lead Generation and e-Commerce Marketing. Michael holds an Integrative Arts degree from Penn State University and uses the same SEO & PPC skills he once employed to promote award-winning independent films to help businesses across a variety of verticals find audiences. He has Google certifications in Analytics & AdWords.

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