As more and more advertisers expand their paid search programs onto mobile phones, it’s natural to wonder what keywords will be most successful. The differences in smartphone versus desktop/tablet SERPs, the clumsiness of users’ thumbs, and the large difference in CPCs between devices dictate that advertisers have to approach these spaces differently. Naturally, advertisers might be questioning if there are differences in how shorter queries perform versus longer queries. And with that data, what changes can we implement to improve performance in our accounts?
Keyword Character Length by DeviceTo help answer these questions, we investigated the performance of keyword character length for non-brand text ads on smartphones relative to desktop across a sample of RKG’s body of clients. Keywords were grouped into buckets of 1-5 characters, 6-10 characters, 11-15 characters, and so on up to 31+ characters. Starting by looking at click share by device, we found that the volume of searches was quite consistent across device types, with the biggest difference in click share (just 2%) coming from the 16-20 character bucket.
Factoring in Exact MatchViewing this data in isolation may not give advertisers the complete picture. If a keyword has a certain character length, but it is a broad or phrase match term, it may be matching to search queries that are significantly different in length than that keyword. Let’s look at similar data, but this time only for exact match terms. The click distribution by device for exact match keywords is very similar to the earlier click share chart, with the plurality of clicks coming from the 11-15 character bucket. However, exact match keywords do have different conversion rate and sales per click values relative to desktop by keyword character length than those for all match types.
Leveraging Character Buckets on SmartphonesThe relative differences between desktop and smartphone conversion rates and SPC did vary by match type, with broad and phrase match smartphone keywords having higher SPC and conversion rates than similar exact match terms, relative to desktop. This suggests that advertisers would benefit by segmenting their ad groups by match type, to take advantage of mobile bid modifiers at the ad group level and by being more aggressive with their bidding on broader match types on smartphones. Traffic distribution by keyword length is similar on both smartphones and desktops. Regardless of how we factor in match type, the differences in smartphone and desktop click share are small. This makes dividing keywords by theme and match type, rather than keyword length, the key to adgroup structure. By creating exact and broad/phrase ad groups, advertisers will have a clearer picture of the value of smartphone traffic relative to desktop, and can create more effective smartphone modifiers in their accounts.
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