As a search engine, Google has become so important that affiliates and marketers everywhere are dancing to its beat. When Google changes its search engine algorithms, it affects *everyone*.
So it’s no wonder that when Google says it’s changing how it looks at pop ads, everyone stands up and takes notice.
As with all things new, this change has also been perceived by many as the end of the world. Doing a simple “mobile pop ads” web search brings up results talking about the “death of mobile pop-ups”, “punishing sites using pop-ups”, and “cracking down on mobile pop-up ads”.
But these are all media exaggerations that have very little in common with truth, or plain sense for that matter. In this article, we’ll take a closer look into what Google is really looking to achieve with this change, how it affects you, how you can adapt and ultimately, make even more money with mobile pop ads.
So let’s get down to business:
Why is Google making your life difficult?
Even though it seems Google is undisputed as a search engine, its competitors like Bing or DuckDuckGo are constantly breathing down its neck. It needs to pay close attention to what web and mobile users desire today, and the biggest trend in the past couple of years was – user experience. That’s why Google decided to give SERP advantage to sites that were optimized for mobile viewing. The next step was to tackle another issue that’s been plaguing user experience since the dawn of the internet – advertising.
Its latest changes, which came into action a mere few months ago, state:
“We’ve recently seen many examples where these pages show intrusive interstitials to users. While the underlying content is present on the page and available to be indexed by Google, content may be visually obscured by an interstitial. This can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result.”
Keyword – frustrate users.
Google continues: “Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller.” Keyword? You get it – “poorer experience”.
As of January 2017, Google will start downranking certain sites in their SERP. Those include:
- Mobile sites that cover the main content with ads,
- Sites with ads which need to be dismissed before visitors can actually consume the content they came for
As you can see – this is hardly the ‘death of mobile pop ads’, or means of punishment. This is actually about putting advertising in order, which is something everyone – both marketers and users, will appreciate. It will organize competition, boost user experience, and most likely be an improvement on the broken image pop ads we currently have.
It’s easy to see how this affects you. The ads you create to promote your business need to be in line with Google’s requirements, otherwise it will be impossible to achieve decent visibility. On the other hand, if you have mobile advertising space to offer, keep an eye out on the ads that you serve, as inadequate ones might downrank your site. Now that we know what the issue is, and the steps Google is taking to remedy it, here is what you can do to fall in line and make even more money with pop ads:
Keep up with the Google(ashians)
Aside from a couple of scenarios (requesting age confirmation, for example), your pop ads can no longer cover the entirety of the mobile screen real estate. Also, you’re no longer allowed to force people into closing the ad before visitors can consume the content, so you’ll need to work around (or within) these boundaries. It’s time to get creative!
Always keep in mind why Google is making these changes – to make user experience as best as it can be. Pop ads, in general, are part of interruption marketing techniques. At first glance, a newbie might think the idea of a smooth user experience, and the idea of interruption marketing can’t go hand-in-hand. But if the contents of the ad are in line with the contents of the site users are visiting, then being interruptive can actually be a good thing, right?
Also keep in mind that you don’t have much time. You have just a couple of seconds (literally), so get straight to the point and be quick at showing visitors what they can gain from tapping on the ad.
You absolutely must have an amazing landing page, as that’s where all the traffic will go. Landing pages for mobile are a world of their own. Things to keep in mind:
- Mobile devices’ limited screen real-estate
- Mobile resolution
- Mobile internet speeds
- Data consumption
Desktops are in landscape mode, mobile devices (usually) in portrait. It makes all the difference in the world when designing landing pages and minding user experience. Screen size and resolution also make a difference. One of the earlier changes Google made was to reward sites people didn’t have to zoom in order to read the content.
Mobile internet is fast, but it isn’t as fast as broadband. With user experience in mind, the landing page needs to load *fast* so keep it light.
Also, don’t forget that not everyone has unlimited mobile data at their disposal. Many people still pay per MB used, which is another reason to keep the landing page as light as it can be.
Compared to search engine ads, social media ads, or native ads, traffic on mobile is mostly cheap. Also, there isn’t much you need to worry about – just landing pages. These things mean mobile is an amazing platform for everyone, especially newbie affiliates. And that means - competition. Stiff, hard, unforgiving competition. If you want to survive and thrive, you need to get everything absolutely spot on. But getting it right is harder than it sounds. You need to be on top of things at all times, and that means monitoring each and every KPI possible – from click through rates, to the effectiveness of your CTA, creatives, colors, size, everything. A/B test every single tiny aspect of your pop ad, and test it frequently. Don’t be afraid to take risks and shuffle a few things around – it’s not like Google will destroy your business overnight.
Nothing is dying, nobody is getting punished
Pop advertising isn’t dying, isn’t getting destroyed, and it isn’t disappearing, it’s just being put in order. Considering that it’s been running rampant for a decade, it’s about time. Google’s rules shouldn’t be seen as disastrous, they should be seen as a benefit for everyone, and a great opportunity for affiliates to add value and pull in visitors. Keep the focus on the visitor and you’ll do great. Now go out there and kick butt.