There have been two separate announcements made on the Inside AdWords blog over the last couple of weeks, showing that Google is still striving to improve the ad experience on mobile for both users and advertisers.

The first is that they are changing the way in which clicks are recorded on image/banner ads on mobile, as they have discovered that a lot of the clicks on these banners are, or appear to be, accidental. This isn’t only annoying for users, as they are being diverted off to a site that didn’t want to visit, but it is also very irritating for advertisers as it’s costing them money.

These latest updates include:

  1. Blocking clicks that happen close to the image edge: The edge of image ads are prone to getting clicked on accidentally by users who are trying to click or scroll to content that is close by. Google has now altered this and users must click on a more central part of the image for the click to ‘count’ – for the user to be diverted to the advertiser’s landing page and the advertiser to be charged for the click.
  2. Blocking clicks on the app icon: There is now a call-to-action button that users must click on to visit an app store page and install the app. It will no longer be possible for users to click on the app icon to install an ad.
  3. Adding a clickability delay: Now ads will not be clickable until they’ve been onscreen for a short period of time. This means it is less likely that a user will click on it accidentally if they didn’t expect to see it there – it gives users enough time to examine the content of an ad before they choose to click on it.

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The second update is improvements in cross-device conversion tracking. Google launched cross-device tracking in AdWords last year and since then advertisers have seen the number of conversions being attributed to paid search ads increase quite considerably.

Google has now shared conversion uplift benchmarks for four countries, across multiple industries. To learn how much uplift they have seen in US, Japan, Germany and UK see:

http://services.google.com/fh/files/blogs/adwords_crossdevice_final_all.pdf

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From the infographic we can see that advertisers saw the largest increases in conversions in industries such as Travel, Retail and Automotive – areas that naturally lend themselves to requiring more research.

Both of these updates are helping advertisers see the value of PPC, by reducing unwanted spend and allowing them to get a better picture of how many of the clicks on their ads have resulted in conversions, allowing them to get a more accurate ROI figure. As an agency we are always striving to show our clients results and there are always going to be a percentage of conversions that can simply not be tracked, for whatever reason, but we are glad to see Google doing more and more to help track cross-device conversions. Unfortunately the customer journey isn’t always as simple as Search > Click > Buy