SEM (Search Engine Marketing) relies on two things: on one side, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) (please read Maxime’s article to catch up-to-date SEO trends), and on the other side, SEA (Search Engine Advertising).
Obviously, everything goes well for Search Engine Advertising. You only have to see how big and profitable Google is to understand that. Of course, other search engines exist, but I have chosen here to focus on Google as it is the most used in France (and in many other countries).
Everyday, mobile is becoming more important in our daily lives. Google has recently reported that more queries are done on mobile than on desktop. Brands have to take that into account when creating ad campaigns. Regarding SEA, mobile campaigns have their own special features which I will explain here. Then, I will emphasize on SDK (Software Development Kits) and how they allow brands to track performance and conversions on mobile.
Source : Google consumer barometer
What are the main differences between a desktop SEA campaign and a mobile one?
First, you have to realize that devices are used in different ways. Indeed, mobile comes with mobility, which is a critical point. It means that people won’t be gently in front of their desk when making queries, they will use Google while commuting, while taking a coffee with a friend… People will be in different situations and locations, so you have to be prepared to this.
This is why you should implement mobile specific AdWords campaigns, and thus specific landing pages. You also may have noticed that Google pushes you to implement your campaign on all devices. In the past, it was possible to directly select the device on which you want to run your campaign; however, some brands were reluctant to have mobile campaigns, so they were used to selecting desktop-only campaigns. Consequently, it is no longer possible (even if you can hone your campaign features afterwards).
Besides, the way AdWords campaigns are displayed on mobile is totally different from the way they are displayed on desktop: you must not forget that there is less room to display ads on mobile, thus you only see the two top positions. As an advertiser, you have to struggle harder to reach them. Another consequence is that ad inventories are smaller, so you have to be smarter in you bid management.
What is a SDK and why is it terrifically helpful?
After having implemented your campaign, the other major point is to track it. Indeed, continuous optimization is key to end up with a successful SEA campaign: when implementing an AdWords campaign, one of the most important things is testing and adapting as it is very rare (not to say impossible) to select the most fitted AdGroups and Keywords if it is the first time that you are using AdWords. You have to work hard to improve your KPI results.
To achieve that, the starting point is to have the right KPI. I will take here a specific example: imagine that the aim of your SEA campaign is to drive app downloads through mobile. What is really interesting is to know where people come from when they download your app. You cannot track it like you would usually do (by implementing a pixel) as App Store and Google Play do not work this way. To measure performance, you have to download what is called a SDK (Software Development Kit) specialized in tracking conversions. Indeed, SDK are developers material to create software, but in our case, they will help us to track down app downloads from various stores (this is also why you have to download one SDK for Android and one DSK for Apple). You have to integrate this little SDK at the source, when developing your app. The most famous SDK providers are Appflyers, HasOffers… But why is it so tremendously critical? Knowing where your app downloads come from allows you to know by device which channels are performing best, and to optimize your KPI and ad campaigns. You’ll know what kinds of formats are most effective, you can A/B test various keywords, channels or creatives to ensure the best ROI.
To sum it up, you should note that mobile search engine campaigns are very specific and different from the ones on desktop. Besides, you must seek the most fitted KPI to improve performance. For instance, SDK are mandatory tools to implement in order to monitor KPI on app downloads. Do not forget that you can easily be attracted by SEA, however ONE THING is for sure: Google is here to help you and to ease your campaigns implementation, but also to take money away from you. Then, be prepared to monitor your campaign as often as can be to avoid spending money in a useless way.