For a High Value Campaign, Keep Mobile Ads In-House

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ppc-advertisingThe digital marketplace today is overflowing with agencies willing to do your online marketing grunt work for you. However, for some companies, this isn’t always an option. If you work for a smaller company on a budget, or a complex product brand, for example, it’s likely that all digital marketing projects are tackled by your in-house SEO team.

If you’re your company’s in-house online advertising expert, it’s easy to feel insulated about best practices in the pay per click advertising world. To boot, advances in software and technology continue to evolve towards a more mobile experience. However, keeping digital advertising efforts in-house has numerous advantages. If your product line is complex, explaining it to an agency representative might be more effort than its worth. In addition, there’s lots of uncertainty, including turnover, potential lack of results, and a fragmented workflow.

So here you are: the in-house SEO lead, attempting to tackle mobile search advertising, perhaps for the first time. If you think you have little instruction or direction, here are some strategies for utilizing mobile advertising without the infrastructure provided by tech agencies:

Lay Down a Foundation
If you’re just getting involved with mobile advertising for your business, there are a few things you’ll need to get out of the way right off the bat. Creating a mobile friendly website is a must—plan out each mobile-specific function you’d like to feature, and consult with your in-house graphic designers and developers on optimizing the content for smartphones. The same goes for developing a mobile app, which is imperative for a business of any size.

Even if your company might not need to outsource the daily maintenance of its mobile marketing campaign, it still might be beneficial to do so for these back-end setup tasks, such as app development. Freelance mobile developers aren’t charging very high rates these days—if necessary, do take advantage of their expertise, even if it’s just a one-time project.

Mobile Footprints are Hard to Track
One of the current limitations of mobile analytics is that not all essential data is collected. In particular, JavaScript tracking does not always function properly on mobile devices and is considered far less reliable than in desktop internet banner advertising, for example. Always take mobile analytics with a grain of salt.

When it comes to mobile ads, it’s also essential to optimize the layout and copy for phones and tablets, but the analytics data you’ll be segmenting should be different. Generally, keyword referral metrics won’t give you the full picture, especially on mobile. Consider evaluating the performance of mobile ads using experience metrics, such as time spent, pages accessed, and social media shares.

Get to Know Google Webmaster Tools
If your job is to optimize your company’s website for search engines, it can be difficult to keep track of all the recent changes to Google Webmaster Tools. Only recently did the service integrate smartphone tracking data. Previously, data that was categorized as “mobile” only included some segments of phone traffic.

If you’re looking to do anything mobile related in Google Webmaster Tools, you’ll find it in the “Fetch as GoogleBot” section. There, you’ll be able to select different formats of mobile data, including Web, Mobile: XHTML/WML (feature phone), Mobile: cHTML (Japanese feature phone), or Mobile: Smartphone.

Considering all of these challenges, in-house digital marketers can use all the help they can get. But by executing these strategies, you can gain some valuable experience in mobile advertising and deliver a high value product, without the need to fully outsource—and create an internal marketing team that’s well positioned to react to future market developments.