Yesterday, we noted that a bunch of advertisers were unhappy about Google’s changes to its Adwords search advertising product, which will allegedly increase prices for advertisers.Today, let’s hear from one of their competitors who says they’re wrong, and who believes that Google got this right.
The new ad buying interface will consolidate buying so that ads are placed on both mobile and desktop devices at once. The system will be simpler, but it will be harder for advertisers to compare the performance of campaigns targeting different mobile devices, especially tablets.
Critics say this will raise the cost-per-click of ads that run on mobile devices; mobile ads are generally cheaper than desktop ads when bought separately. At the same time, performance may go down. And advertisers won’t be able to buy separate campaigns on tablets to compare performance on those devices with others.
Larry Kim, the CTO of search ad agency Wordstream, worked with Google on the changes. He says those who are complaining about the end of separate device-specific campaign buys are full of it. “I’m thrilled that it’s going away because it was so complicated that almost nobody used it (around 5%),” he tells us.
The reason it was rarely used is because it’s so convoluted: “It looks like some kind of complicated nuclear submarine control panel – there are so many different device and network combinations.”Here’s a screengrab (at right, click to enlarge).
The world of devices is only going to get bigger and more complicated. (Is a Microsoft Surface a laptop or a tablet?) Most advertisers simply won’t want to run 100 different campaigns on 100 different devices.
Kim notes that the people who are complaining the loudest — like Adobe — are the tiny number of elite advertisers who have big budgets and sophisticated operations.
They spend so much that incremental differences between tablet and laptop performance might be meaningful.
Photo: Larry Kim
But most Google advertisers aren’t those kind of clients, he says.”The companies who are most likely to get the most from mobile search are local businesses (like dentists, or restaurants, car dealerships, etc.). [They] happen to be the least sophisticated advertisers, yet in the old Adwords system, the mobile search options were the most complicated things to properly implement.”
For those advertisers, tablets and laptops are pretty much the same thing, Kim believes. “Tablet searches are largely a replacement for searches that would have otherwise been conducted in the home on a laptop/desktop. Since the search intent is similar, then the need for tablet-specific ad targeting is lessened.”
It’s also worth noting that although the new Adwords will lump desktop and mobile buying together, clients can still buy mobile-only, or desktop-only, campaigns. If they move the mobile/desktop weighting to -100 per cent, for instance, campaigns won’t run on any mobile devices.
Kim does, however, agree with one point Google’s critics make: Prices will likely go up for Google’s advertisers. “Yes, certain targeting options are going away, and mobile CPC’s are likely going up. No push-back there. I can certainly understand the anxiety from the elite [pay-per-click] marketers out there,” but, he says, “My bottom line: The vast majority of advertisers are more likely to see positive ROI from mobile search than before.”
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