Should You Show Ads to Mobile Users? |

Should You Show Ads to Mobile Users?

By Richard Fergie / December 8, 2008

Recently Google have added an option in the campaign settings menu which allows you to choose not to show your ads on mobile phones running standard browsers. This is different to the mobile format ads; it is to do with modern phones (like the iPhone) that can view web pages with a normal internet browser.

Quite a lot of people use their phones for searches but I don’t know anyone who has ever bought anything from a website with their phone. It could be that phone traffic converts very badly so, particularly for sites with a very short buying cycle, it will be worth preventing ads from showing to people with mobile devices.

The real question is how do you tell if mobile traffic is working for you? I don’t know how you can analyse the behaviour of people who visit your site through a mobile and then purchase on their PC, but at least part of the question involves looking at the behaviour of mobile visitors.

I’ve made a Google Analytics segment for mobile devices; it wasn’t obvious how to do this and capture all of the wide variety of mobile platforms. My first thought was to do it by screen size. When I looked at the Google Analytics screen resolution report I realised this wasn’t practical; there are too many screen sizes to select them all individually (people visited this blog with resolutions of 170×174 and 170×176) but excluding traffic above a certain resolution risks including PCs with small screens or excluding high resolution phones.

Instead I segmented based on operating system, and even this time the list was quite long. The mobile operating systems that have visited sites where SEOptimise has GA access are:

  • iPhone
  • iPod
  • SymbianOS
  • Playstation Portable
  • Android
  • Danger Hiptop

I also set the segment to pick visits where the OS contained any of the following:

  • Nokia
  • Motorola
  • O2
  • Mobile
  • Phone
  • Palm

I think this should get most traffic from mobile devices without including any from PCs or laptops (in this context excluding non-mobile devices is more important).

Results? Right now, mobile traffic levels are too low to say anything for sure. I’d expect volume to rise in the New Year so it might be worth keeping an eye on this unique source of traffic

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