Should You Optimise AdWords Ads for Mobile?

As most of you probably already noticed, your accounts’ mobile traffic volume has been increasing steadily over the past few years – depending on your bid modifier settings of course. Yet, according to Google, you will estimate the value of mobile advertising too low, if you only consider direct sales happening on your website. This is because a large number of users – while they search for products via their smartphones, e.g. on the way to work – ultimately purchase goods via their desktop computers or other devices.

With this in mind, I’ve tested whether or not optimising ads for mobile devices may be the key to maxing out the potential of mobile traffic and to boosting direct sales. The results came as quite a surprise! 

Do Mobile-Optimised Ads Really Lead to Better Performance?

One possible approach to optimising your performance involves modifying your ads. In this context, you have the option to either adjust your ads’ copy text or the display URL, depending on the demands of mobile users.

But do users really need an explicit reference to a mobile-optimised shop when they are using their smartphones? You may think that users who search Google for sports shoes, for example, via their smartphones would expect to automatically land on the pages of mobile shops when clicking an ad.

Do click rates and conversion rates increase if we refer to mobile shops in our call-to-action or in the display URL? I took a closer look at this matter: for 30 days, I placed two different mobile ads for a renowned Brazilian online retailer.

Ad Variant 1: Just your standard ad, without mobile call-to-action or mobile display URL.
Normal Ad

Ad Variant 2: It’s the same ad, only this time we included two mobile references: a call-to-action (“Order via mobile”) and a mobile display URL (“”).

Mobile Ad

Both ads were placed in “mobile preferred” mode in ad groups with high search volumes for a period of 30 days.

The Results: Much Higher Conversion Rates for Mobile-Optimised Ads

We were, in fact, quite surprised by the outcome: The standard ad variant led to a better CTR (+28%) and to lower click prices (-20%), and was therefore a reliable source of information for users. In contrast, the conversion rate of the mobile-optimised ad was 186% higher! Both the reference to the mobile shop and the mobile call-to-action suggest to users that making an online purchase via the shop can be easily done. Potentially, this information provided a greater incentive for the user to go through with buying the sports shoes they were looking at.

Of course this is a sample and every account or campaign can be different. However, you will probably agree when I say that it pays off to invest some time into optimising ads for mobile devices, depending on what you’re aiming for.


If you would like to set up a similar test scenario for mobile ads in your own accounts, keep in mind that mobile traffic is much lower compared to the desktop area. In order to keep your test results relatively unbiased from random variables, you should test no more than two ad versions at the same time. Also, we recommend that you choose ad groups of a particularly high traffic volume.


Eva Bronisch-Holtze

Eva Bronisch –Holtze is a digital marketing expert with 7+ years of experience working across various client verticals such as retail, fashion and food & beverages. Eva has driven successful projects across multiple markets while always finding new ways to improve performance whilst maintaining a laser focus on results.