What’s On

How bad was Google’s Mobilegeddon for marketers?

Highlights
  • A loss of 10 per cent in organic traffic year-over-year for companies from Google in 2 months
  • Marketers pay 6% higher for a tablet click than a desktop click
  • Users prefer Facebook display ads (51 per cent) to Google's (17 per cent)

Google had changed its search algorithm on April 21, which gave mobile-optimised sites preference in ranking for organic searches. The move called ‘Mobilegeddon’ had left marketers worrying about fall in their traffic.

Two months later, a report by Adobe highlights, that there was a loss of 10 per cent in organic traffic year-over-year for companies from Google who failed to address their mobile web strategies.

The report also highlights that brands that failed to optimise their websites for mobile witnessed mobile advertising via Google’s network deliver less value at a greater cost.

This is also impacting Google’s ad business, as the report predicts that for Q2 2015, the search business for Google will grow by one to two per cent QoQ compared to a QoQ increase of 4.5 per cent previously.

“While there wasn’t a precipitous drop among non-friendly sites, the effect is pronounced over the 10 weeks after the event. Such continued loss of traffic suggests that immediate emphasis would have been placed on paid search as a quick way to recover traffic. But that strategy is not necessarily sustainable,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal at ADI.

With this move, global SEM spending increased six per cent YoY, while CTR’s were up nine per cent and CPC was up six per cent. “Increases in CPC stretch marketing budgets due to what is known as click inflation–advertisers have to spend more just to stay even,” Joe Martin, an analyst with ADI, explains.

The data suggests that the expense that marketers are paying for a tablet click is six per cent higher than what they are paying for a desktop click.

The data highlights that this move of Google has made marketers prefer Facebook’s ad network as it is overtaking Google with its ad strategy of delivering more prominent in-line ads optimised for mobile browsers. According to the report although the number of ads delivered via Facebook were halved, this move still resulted in double the engagement rate from before for the social network.

Recently another Adobe report had highlighted that users prefer Facebook display ads (51 per cent) to Google’s (17 per cent). This was due to a perceived higher level of relevance to user’s interests.

“The whole mantra of mobile-first isn’t even enough. It has to be mobile is the experience because the world we live in is not going to be about engagement and ROI in the way we are used to,” Ms Gaffney explained.

The report highlights the need for marketers rethink how they benchmark mobile. When looking at the relationship between mobile engagement and rpv (revenue-per visit), marketers need to develop models that are not dependent on historical desktop results, the report suggests.

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.
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