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Q1 Mobile Impact and Implications for Product Listing Ads


If you’ve been boning up on your search industry knowledge lately, you may have seen Merkle’s release of its Q1 Digital Marketing Report, and how much of an impact mobile had on its client base.


“Phones and tablets produced 53% of total paid search clicks...in Q1,” the report said, supporting the shift of traffic from desktop to mobile being seen industry-wide. These stats are definitely nothing to sneeze at.


Of particular interest in the report was mobile traffic’s impact on Product Listing Ads, or PLAs. Merkle cited its “...customer base skews large US retailer, which makes these quarterly reports something of a bellwether of PLA trends in the US.” Compared to Search, PLAs “...accounted for 43 percent of Merkle’s retail clients’ overall search ad clicks…” and “...PLA spend rose 41 percent year over year…”


Given the above, we see two key trends here:


  • Unsurprisingly, mobile’s share of search and click traffic is continuing to rise, and users should anticipate more and more traffic flowing through mobile, and...
  • PLA spend and click volume is growing as well.


The deprecation of right hand side ads does offer a bit more wiggle room for PLAs, which could also account for increased spend and click volume.


So, what are the takeaways for you, an AdWords advertiser or agency with several clients on AdWords?


Craft strong mobile content - ads, keywords forecast to aggregate high mobile traffic (via the Keyword Planner tool), and bid adjustments. Check out our best practices for creating effective mobile content here.


Analyze your spend by device - Merkle’s clients saw a very high percentage of search traffic flow through mobile. Thus, it’s worth segmenting spend and click volume by device in your account and studying how mobile has impacted KPI’s such as CTR, conversion volume, etc.


Make sure your PLA landing pages are mobile-friendly - If traffic to PLAs is increasing in tandem with mobile search volume, it’s also worth ensuring your PLA’s landing pages are mobile-optimized. I’ve covered this in past posts, but here is an awesome checklist to help you get started.


What other data have you seen lately that’s been guiding your strategy for mobile? Let us know in the comments below!