Is Your Jaded Outlook On Mobile Destroying Your Search Campaigns?

As with many digital marketing concepts, marketers have beaten the mobile drum to death. This can lead to a worrisome “boy who cried wolf” situation, where a false prophets’ parade of mobile cliches might lead to business owners blocking out all the mobile noise.

It’s  still shocking how poor some mobile sites are. Even some legitimate retailers doing north of $10 million in annual revenue seems as if they’re in mobile denial.  

In 2013, Google tried to force AdWords advertisers to step up their mobile game with enhanced CPCs. Advertisers in mobile denial reacted by dramatically lowering the mobile CPCs because “our customers don’t use their phones to shop.”

In 2014, Google began using mobile-friendly labels on its search engine results pages to help users identify mobile-optimized sites before clicking through. Mobile deniers claimed that since the label didn’t influence their organic rankings, this didn’t actually matter.



In 2015, Google rolled out its mobile-friendly algorithm update (MOBILEGEDDON!!!) to reward Web properties with mobile-optimized sites. You guessed it: Mobile deniers still pointed to the relatively minor changes in organic rankings.

If you know anyone who is a mobile denier, please forward them the letter below immediately. The future of their business may depend on it.

Dear Mobile Denier,

I know you can’t stand the hype, and have learned to distinguish between the real trends impacting your business and the trendy flavor-of-the-month that marketers are shoving down your throat.

You heard the term omnichannel and you laughed because your gut told you that your business could survive without a thorough omnichannel strategy. You were right.

You have been hearing about social for years, and you told your team not to believe the hype. You trusted your gut and your business is surviving with a basic social media strategy. Once again, you were right.

You have always been hesitant to pay per impression for display, for the same reason that you don’t buy billboards. You want to invest in channels with an immediate ROI, and paying per impression to drive awareness is something you will leave for the mega-brands with money to blow. You were right that your business could survive without investing heavily in display.

You have never heard anything more ridiculous than SoLoMo (social + local + mobile) and you were right to question why these three completely separate areas of your business would be grouped together.

You still don’t understand what programmatic is, but your gut will probably be right once again, and your business will most likely survive without a programmatic strategy.

In almost every case, your instinct to avoid the hype has been the right move for your business.  But you are dead wrong about mobile.

Google is the lifeblood of your business, and it has been telling you for years to get your mobile act together. I know you question Google’s motives, but even you must understand that it’s the best company in the world at understanding exactly what its users want. Google has sent the message loud and clear, over and over again, that mobile searches are growing at an astronomically fast pace, and users want a mobile-optimized experience.

I would quote the mobile stats — but since you don’t trust statistics, I’m gonna avoid using any data whatsoever.

Instead, I will make a plea for you to go to the most intelligent, most rational people you trust and watch them access your site on their phones. Don’t tell them what to do, just observe them and ask them how you could improve your site experience. Do this at least 10 times and see what trends emerge.

You may not perform searches on your phone, but the rest of the world does. So please, please, please stop being a mobile denier and admit that you may have a serious mobile problem. Because once you admit you have a problem, you’ve taken the crucial first step to solve it.

Best regards,

1 comment about "Is Your Jaded Outlook On Mobile Destroying Your Search Campaigns?".
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  1. Timothy Daly from Vincodo, June 24, 2015 at 11:52 a.m.

    Lots of banter to read to get to the bottom and not receive one valuable recommendation that helps the "mobile denier" start testing and conducting those testing efforts in a tangible manner. Lots of buzz words and stats produced by other entities, but nothing of substance in regards to strategic ideas to encourage changes.

    We could start that education by informing marketers on the differences between deterministic and probabilistic cross device tracking, how to evaluate those data elements and integrate them into marketing platforms for success.  Seems to me that would be a better communication approach than to shaming marketers with a bunch of blather that lacks any substance.

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