Mobile First – Google’s Doing it – Should all Marketers Follow Suit?

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April 21st is Google’s ‘Mobile’ day (explained here ). So is it time for marketers to follow Google’s lead and move to a mobile first strategy?

The answer? Read this article; and if you’re a marketer or set the strategy for your clients marketing, you’ll need to decide for yourself.

“Mobile First” is something that Google’s Eric Schmidt was espousing way back in 2010, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of the world has since been following the lead. First let’s look at the stats to see what our target audiences have been up to and if it really is time to shift the focus (and budgets!) across to mobile.

We all know, and hear from numerous sources every day, that the mobile channel is growing rapidly; but is it growing at the cost of desktop?


Over the last 12 months desktop use has decreased 20%, plus, research undertaken by comScore has found that 60% of time spent on digital media was through mobile devices.

Those are some serious stats. But how do they translate into changes in Online Advertising – have marketers in general been keeping up with consumers’ shift to mobile?

Yahoo recently announced that only 15% of search advertisers were tailoring their ad copy by device – where mobile was being created as an add-on to the main desktop advertising.


Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should consider a mobile first approach to your online advertising strategy:


Global revenue from mobile purchases up 120%

Investment in mobile phone advertising increased by 77% in the last year which helped lead to an increase of 120% in mobile purchases. By comparison, all ad metrics (Impressions, Clicks, Spend and Revenue) on desktop were down in 2014 when compared to 2013.

Clicks on paid search ads from desktop are down 16% – perhaps now you can start to understand why Google has made it hard for advertisers to opt out of mobile search ads.

Mobile First Advertising


Mobile’s importance in the customer journey to purchasing continues to increase

It is now the norm and not the exception that customers use a multi-device approach to purchasing. Although the majority of final paid search marketing conversions are still occurring on desktops, mobile plays a major role during the research phase and in creating brand awareness.

So much so that smartphones now make up 32% and tablets 16% of all paid search clicks; that means nearly half of all paid search clicks occur on a mobile device!

Mobile First - Paid Ads


Mobile is catching desktop across all metrics

Not only is mobile increasing across all metrics (Clicks, Conversions, Revenue and Ad Spend) but desktop metrics are all decreasing at the same time – reducing the gap between the two.

Mobile First -3

Over the last year, with mobile clicks increasing 45% and conversions 225% it’s time to stop treating mobile as an add on. With consumers’ confidence increasing in purchasing with their mobiles and with phone screen sizes increasing (thereby enhancing usability) there is only one way things are going.

Given that mobile accounts for over 50% of the time people spend online it might be wise (if you haven’t already) to start thinking mobile first with a strategy that connects to other channels, such as desktop and in-store, to create a seamless customer experience across all devices and touch points.

So even if you’re not quite ready to go “mobile first” it’s time to stop treating mobile as the poor cousin and give it the resource and budget it now warrants.

Brad has spent many years working on client side, developing digital strategies and managing teams to implement those strategies. He understands the challenges and priorities from an online marketer’s perspective ­ the high targets, tight budgets and the education required to gain internal buy ­in to digital strategies. He also likes riding his Mt bike and telling stories about all the mountains he has climbed before becoming a Dad.

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