It’s been made clear here and other places that mobile devices enable advertising that’s much more granular and targeted than the PC. We’ve also argued that the ad formats and campaign objectives should therefore be de-coupled from online equivalents.
But there is one big caveat. Along with granularity and newfangled metrics comes complexity. This is especially true for advertisers whose heads are comfortably wrapped around the nice neat buckets where online metrics — like clicks and impressions — currently lie. This goes for large and small advertisers alike.
So at early stages, it’s all about simplicity and bundling. We see a fair amount of this from local media publishers that wish to get the ball rolling with mobile: It is relegated to a “value add” or retention tool for cross-media campaigns. National ads are likewise measured as additional distribution for branding campaigns.
Generally speaking Google is thinking in these terms too. And it should. Product Manager Surojit Chatterjee demonstrated at our ILM conference in December that Google’s mobile advertising has consisted mostly of check box-like simplicity to “add mobile” within the AdWords dashboard.
As it integrates more mobile distribution options and formats (AdMob acquisition will accelerate these if passed), it walks a fine line between simplicity and the targeting that mobile is capable of. The latest example is last month’s launch of mobile pay-per-call ads, with the same check-box navigation.
Though calls are valued differently from clicks by certain advertisers, Google is pricing them exactly the same at the onset. The result is a steal for advertisers that value calls higher than clicks. That translates to trade services and businesses that schedule appointments or reservations over the phone.
“It’s probably a bargain for advertisers in many verticals who pay a lot more for phone leads,” Chatterjee told me last week. “But we wanted to keep it simple. If you have a local ad with AdWords, it’s easy to turn on the click-to-call link for high-end mobile devices like Android and iPhone.”
Stepping back, it’s interesting that the discreet monetization these calls can potentially drive took a back seat to the simplicity required for the program to get off the ground. Probably a smart move … after all, any self-serve ad product, no matter how fancy, is only as good as the businesses that show up to use it.
The rest of the conversation with Chatterjee, and more details about the PPC program, are in my Seach Engine Watch column.