Google Claims Data and Larger Phones Will Boost Mobile Ads

Some marketers believe fewer customers complete purchases on their small-screen smartphones, but Google says its data on mobile advertising shows otherwise. According to Google’s store-measurement data, one-third of mobile ads for Target led to a customer visit to a Target store during the 2014 holiday season. The rising popularity of larger smartphones, like the Nexus 6, and tablets also helps mobile sales because the screens are bigger and therefore the sites are easier to use.

These findings may help Google start making more money from mobile ads, which are currently about half the price of desktop ads. Marketers will not only find the data regarding store visits encouraging. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Google data show people who have clicked on mobile search ads spend more money in its stores than those who click on desktop search ads.”

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Other companies are seeing the benefits of mobile advertising in their data as well. Deloitte found that about 28 percent of in-store sales were influenced by mobile devices. That’s $970 billion worth of purchases, compared to the $300 billion of online sales that were influenced by mobile devices.

Google sends hundreds of reports on store visits influenced by clicks on their search ads, and that raises some privacy concerns. The Internet giant works with data companies to match browsing cookies on a desktop or mobile Web browser. Those cookies are then linked to an email address, which may have receipts from in-store purchases. The linking process is very difficult because cookies don’t work on mobile apps or Apple’s Safari browser. However, Google is the default search provider on Safari and that deal is on the negotiating table again this year.

Another way the company has dealt with marketers’ hesitation over mobile ads is by highlighting the rise of larger smartphones. As phones get bigger the space issue becomes less challenging,” Google advertising chief Sridhar Ramaswamy told The Wall Street Journal. “[The Nexus 6] is essentially a tablet. People’s ability to navigate sites and fill out forms and such goes up tremendously.”