Mobile PPC – Keep it Simple, Stupid

I got a new phone this week after my previous phone was ruthlessly crushed by the lap-bar of the Kingda Ka rollercoaster. I now own the Moto X+1 (fanboy alert), with custom leather back. The phone learns my behaviors over time, telling me exactly how long it takes to get to hockey on Monday and Tuesday, where I park my car after hunting around for a spot and even responds when I call it the batphone. My new phone is designed to give me exactly what I need, exactly when I need it.

aaron levy batphone

Mobile PPC should be thought of in exactly the same way.

Too often, advertisers are trying to force their desktop experience across devices. The word “responsive” is like nails on a PPC chalkboard; squishing a long form site into a 6 inch screen is not a good experience. Users don’t want to read, they don’t want to click around and they certainly don’t want to scroll.

A user on the go has needs fundamentally different from one who’s sitting and working. Whatever they need, they need now and they don’t need any obstructions. I’m a minimalist when it comes to mobile, and you should be too. I’ve put together four tips to help you work through the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) Principle of mobile PPC (with one bonus contrarian point).

Simplify keywords – In spite of the multitude of interesting keyboard innovations, typing on a phone sucks. It always has, and likely always will. As a result, you’ll need far fewer long term queries in a mobile campaign. Focus on high-volume head terms, especially those that show in suggest. I recommend using ubersuggest or to make sure your build is comprehensive, but not clunky.

Simplify ad copy – Generally speaking, worry less about wild value propositions and more about being a step ahead of competitors in mobile. They offer a $10 trial? You should offer a $5 one. Don’t get wordy, don’t beat around the bush, and don’t use any superfluous words (like superfluous). AdWords has already taken the liberty of putting mobile ads on a diet, so make sure you get to the point as quickly as possible.

Simplify your landing page – Just like ad copy, users aren’t looking to comparison shop and explore a thousand different features when they’re on the train or at a BBQ. They have an immediate problem to solve; your landing page should address those immediate needs and provide a solution quickly and easily. If your user leaves to look elsewhere, they likely won’t come back.

Get out of the way – Users tell you how they want to convert with their actions. If a user clicks on a headline, they don’t want to make a phone call. They’ll likely be confused when a phone number pops up (I’m looking at you click-to-call ads), so keep them on the path they expect. If users get on your landing page, they don’t want to fill out a 10-field form. Give users hyper simple conversion options, and make sure the conversion is predictable.

Bonus: Congest the SERP – While earlier I advocated for simpler ads before (and I still do), make your ads take up as much space as possible in the mobile SERP. Take advantage of every extension possible to make sure your ad pushes competitors down to oblivion.

mobile landing page optimization



Aaron Levy brings nearly a decade of experience guiding digital marketing and PPC strategies for clients of all shapes and sizes - from internationally recognized brands and institutions to regional spas and local adoption agencies. Aaron prides himself on the ability to transcend digital advertising, instead focusing on using digital tools to develop data driven marketing strategies while always maintaining a customer focus.

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