Validating Landing Pages for Mobile SEM

Jason Rogers

August 29, 2013

Validating Landing Pages for Mobile SEM

Bad landing pages kill SEM campaigns, especially on mobile. We have one rule for mobile SEM: we won’t run a campaign without a solid mobile landing page. Visitors will bounce from a poor mobile page in microseconds. At 2 bucks a click, that’s not a great value for your SEM clients.

mobile SEM landing pageValidating landing pages for mobile SEM is essential. You can’t assume the same page will work on both desktop and mobile. We’ve all experienced websites that are too tiny to use, or worse don’t resolve at all. Even some “mobile optimized” sites are hard to use.

There are a number of reasons we might target mobile users for an SEM campaign. Generally speaking, we want to know what the customer is looking for. Local brick and mortar stores? Definitely mobile. E-tail? Maybe, if they have a slick mobile site. Patio awnings? Probably not. We also ask, where is our customer? If they are out and about, we definitely include mobile in our SEM mix.

That said, we will consider mobile SEM for any client with a mobile website, irrespective of who, what, where. The line between desktop and mobile is ever-fuzzier, and more and more businesses are upgrading to responsive websites. Increasingly, tablets are the web browser or choice for many people.

I recently created a mobile real estate campaign, the rationale being that home-buyers are driving from one neighborhood to another. We want to provide them with relevant information while they are on-the-go.

When creating a mobile SEM campaign one could use an iPhone, or whichever smartphone, to test each landing page, but typing on those tiny mobile keyboards gets old fast. Wouldn’t it be easier to work on desktop?

The solution is a mobile emulator where I can easily type (cut & paste!) my landing page URL to see what it looks like on various mobile devices and easily compare them with the full site.

Here’s an example from my real estate campaign:

The full site

mobile or desktop

The same page on an iPhone

SEM for iPhone and Galaxy

Another landing page for the same campaign:

desktop SEM landing page

And on the HTC Evo

mobile-sem-landing-page-3      mobile-sem-landing-page-4     mobile-sem-landing-page-5

In the later, I think the mobile version is even better than the full site, especially for someone driving around looking at new homes.

I’m happy I did the testing. I was afraid my landing pages would look like this:

bad mobile SEM landing page

For this project I used the Mobilizer desktop app from Springbox, and a browser app, the Mobile Smartphone Emulator from pixmobi. Knowing I have strong, usable landing pages I can focus my efforts on optimizing text ads and keywords for mobile.