Originally this post was supposed to be a non-rant about companies utilizing Google AdWords and mobile landing pages. However, a little bit into my research it became clear that most of the ads I clicked on directed me to the main company website. For mobile users, with a tiny 3.5-inch display, regular websites don’t always render images and text in a useful manner making these landing page useless.
If you’re familiar with Google AdWords, then you probably know that within the campaign settings you have the ability to target consumers with smartphones (i.e., full HTML mobile browsers). Google calls this “device platform targeting.” Even better, AdWords allows you to directly launch the iTunes Apps Store, Google Maps or YouTube applications from the sponsored ad.
This seems like a no brainer for companies selling apps and music downloads. Create a campaign – target only mobile users and direct them to your offering in the app store or on iTunes. Keep in mind that you can’t target specific types of smartphones (i.e., only iPhones or only Blackberrys) but with smart keyword and negative keyword choices, you can get pretty darn close.
Tom Tom AdWords ad and corresponding mobile site
Tom Tom provides a soft landing for mobile users and quick access to buy the app in the iTunes App Store.
When not searching from a smart phone, the same ad directs you to the regular website.
Why I’m picking on Apple
I was determined to find examples of companies targeting mobile users and directing them to a mobile version of the site and the most logical company to showcase would be Apple – right? You would think that a company that owns about 11% of the smart phone market and almost all of the mobile searches performed each month would want to show off their mobile prowess with a slick iPhone optimized site. The problem is, this site doesn’t exist.
Each of the AdWords ads (as well as organic search results) for Apple directed me to portions of their main website. It seemed that no matter what I searched for, I couldn’t get a mobile version of their site. Note: I performed the same searches on a Blackberry Pearl and had similar results.
Why is this troubling?
Read any design or usability blog and you’re sure to hear about Apple’s well laid out and intuitive web design. However, when this same design is displayed on mobile browsers, it becomes completely useless.
Apple’s homepage as displayed on the iPhone
Secondary iPhone page displayed on the iPhone
I’m sure you could argue that mobile visitors are only a small percentage of total visitors to Apple.com, but is that really any excuse not to have a mobile site? Compete shows that Apple.com get’s about 23M unique visitors a month. Assuming that even a small percentage of them are mobile users (0.5%), this means that 138,000 visitors are greeted each year to a site that is cumbersome to read and navigate.
AdWords mobile advertising – what you should do
- The first step is to determine if you want to show your AdWords ads to mobile users. If the answer is no, then simply uncheck this option in your AdWords setting. If the answer is yes, move on to the next step.
- Determine if your current landing page is suitable for mobile users. Most likely it will need additional modifications.
- Create a new version of the landing page optimized for mobile browsers
- Copy your existing AdWords campaign but target only mobile users in AdWords settings
Need some inspiration for your iPhone optimized site?
Check out these resources
- Smashing Magazine – showcase of iPhone optimized websites
- CSS iPhone gallery
- Engage interactive mobile site – This site not only displays well in the iPhone browser, it actually responds to movement of the phone. Turn your phone to the left and right and browse the site effortlessly.
Today Google announced new targeting for mobile ads.
- Device targeting now allows you to target specific mobile devices and mobile carries.
- Ads linking to mobile app downloads will automatically appear only on devices that offer those apps. Plus, the ad will display a ‘Download’ link instead of a URL
What do you think – Does Apple need an iPhone optimized version of their website?