Reviewing your paid ads return.

by Jim May 8, 2020

Life is becoming accustomed to working from home and living in one stage of isolation or another, and that is reflected in the huge switch to mobile traffic that we’ve been witnessing lately. If your customer base is now operating from home have you considered the devices they’re using? Watch your traffic and make sure you capitalise on any shifts.

What I learned

  • The mobile swing is real
  • Is your site ready for the new traffic stream?
  • Decision making needs accurate data
  • Will traffic ever return to the old ways?
  • Are your ads converting well?
  • New opportunities mean new revenue


Hey, welcome back Rankers. How you going? Six weeks of isolation and it’s kind of okay here. Hopefully you’re going okay, holding it together.

What’s your mobile traffic doing?

I wanted to talk to you a little bit about the massive switch to mobile that we’ve seen in the last few weeks. You may have seen it yourself on your own site, and we did speak about it a little while back. But now that we’ve got more data, you can see there it is huge. Now I’ve seen this most pronounced in B2B sites. So if you are a B2B, e-commerce site, probably a good idea to go and have a look at your mobile traffic at the moment. So if you’re dealing with tradespeople, if you’re dealing with anybody who used to work in an office, they’re now working from home, a lot of them. So what devices are they using?

Let’s face it, there’s more desktop computers in the office than there is at home. And at home, we have a shortage of devices now because kids have got them. Everyone needs a device, everyone wants their own time, everyone wants their own space. So not only have we seen a big uptick in mobile phone usage, but also in tablet as well. So you need to understand how that’s affecting your sales, because if you’ve seen all this traffic switch to tablet all of a sudden and tablet’s not functioning properly, you’re not going to get those sales. Similarly, if your mobile conversion rates are way lower than the desktop, which is the case for a lot of clients, a lot of businesses out there, how does that impact your revenue? For one client in particular that we just saw, they got a massive uptick in mobile traffic, but they haven’t capitalised at all on that. And that’s because the site was slow, okay? That’s because the site didn’t work as fast.

Just seen another client this week. A new client just came on board where she thought she was getting about eight times return on her ad spend. So every $1 she thought she was getting $8 return, which isn’t too bad, right? And especially for her in the category that she was in. When we went in and had a look, it turned out it was only about $1.50 for every $1 that she was spending. And she was spending a considerable amount, and I’m not talking a small amount of money over the course of the month, and in fact it’s probably more revenue than a lot of retailers out there, smaller retailers would actually be doing that she was spending on ads. So when we went and had a look, the problem was the reports that she was getting. The reports that she was getting were a third-party report and it was collecting all the data from all the different channels. Problem is, some of that data coming in was wrong and your reporting is only as good as your data.

So is your data accurate? That’s what you have to know as well so you can make those decisions. Now, if a lot of this traffic has switched to mobile, what has that done to your AI campaigns? As we know, the Google Ads AI campaigns will learn by looking at a lot of the transactional data that’s actually happening on your website, and as the AI ads grow over time… And here’s an example of that. Oh, actually this is an example of the massive switch to mobile. Look at that, 276% increase in tablet for that particular client. This is a typical AI campaign. They start quite low. We have a couple of weeks of learning where the ads go and learn, and then after that learning period is over it starts to pick up and we like to get around that sort of return. So that’s a 10 to 1 return for your smart shopping campaigns. Not everyone will do that, it varies based on category, product, those sorts of things. But by and large for an e-commerce site, that’s what we like to aim for.

Have your customers changed?

Now with this particular client here, what we found with them was that during the peak of the pandemic, they were a beneficiary of some of the buying. It wasn’t hording, it wasn’t panic buying. It’s just that what happens now is because everyone’s moved to home and working from home, and we’re still going to get a lot of that going forward, right? So there’s certain things that will not change, and one of them will be we still are going to have a larger percentage of people that have gotten used to working from home, that have got used to purchasing on their mobile devices, and may or may not go back to desktop.

So we’ve seen this uptick of people just trying to get stuff because they can’t go out to the shop and get it, right? So there’s this general uptick of everything online, and they were one of the beneficiaries of that uptick to the point where we had to switch their ads off. So that’s why you see all this red here, is because last month it was going through the roof and we switched the ads off here, as you can see, and it just drops. So we only switched some on again last week.

Now, the curious thing with this particular client was that they’re already converting well, but during the pandemic they went up to four and half thousand percent return on ad spend for the shopping campaign, and that was at the point where we switched off and killed it. Currently, we switched it back on and it’s getting two and a half thousand percent straight back on, which actually surprised me a bit because I thought it would still go through a learning period and who knows, maybe it still will go through another learning period and get better, but it’s had all this extra traffic over that period. So I’ll be watching that very, very closely, and specifically how it’s performing on mobile as well because that will give us an idea of what other opportunities there might be within the site that we can maximise.

How is that mobile traffic performing? If it’s coming in from paid, does it convert well? Is it hitting the right pages? Do they use site search when they hit the site? All of these things come into it, and you start to look at all these different opportunities and because the customers have changed. The customer behaviour has changed and with that comes more opportunity. Hopefully that’s helpful.

If you would like me to have a look at your Google Ads and give you a free opportunity report, happy to do so. What we like to do is to say… Well, like with this client I was just talking to, I said to her, “Well, you think you’re getting eight times return, you’re not. I like to get 10 based on the ad spend that you’re doing now. If we got 10 times return on that ad spend, we would triple your overall revenue overnight.” I said, “I don’t think that’s going to happen, right?” I said, “I think you’re actually spending too much on ads, but I think we can get a significant amount more.” We’re actually aiming for a 30% growth over six months year-on-year, and that’s what we’re looking for with her ad campaign. However, I’m hoping it’s basically going to double her revenue over six months. And that’s not something that I would necessarily put down in writing and say, “Hey, this is what we’re going to do.” But I could say, “That’s possible. This is doable.” And that is the 30% growth.

But I think she could see a 100% growth over six months, and that’s what I’ll be working towards. But I know I’ll be able to get the 30% growth. Which for most businesses, let’s face it, in this climate’s pretty good. Could be you. If it is, hit me up, [email protected]. Speak soon. Thanks very much. Bye.

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