How to Optimize Your Advertising for Mobile Devices

By Steven Jacobs, Digital and Data Strategist

Mobile devices have quickly become the primary driver of web traffic on the internet, with 52.2% of all website traffic being generated by mobile phones in 2018. Whether someone clicks-to-call a business directly from an ad or views an ad for a product while in-store, mobile devices offer unprecedented opportunities for advertisers to connect to customers. However, mobile devices also come with their own unique set of best practices that advertisers cannot ignore. Here are three ways to optimize your advertising for mobile devices.


1. Optimize Your Budget for Mobile


The simplest way to optimize your advertising for mobile devices is applying device bid adjustments. Device bid adjustments allow you to bid more or less for a particular device, meaning ads are served more or less frequently to that device. If mobile devices are the primary driver of conversions on your website, then you might consider adding a positive bid adjustment to them. Similarly, if desktop and tablet devices are not performing as well as mobile, then you might consider adding a negative bid adjustment to those devices. Since cost-per-click is typically lower for mobile than for desktop, advertisers who want to increase site traffic without increasing budget can use device bid adjustments to get more, cheaper mobile clicks at the expense of fewer, pricier desktop clicks. If your website is not mobile-friendly and performance of mobile device users on your site is very poor, you can use device bid adjustments to limit the number of ads served to mobile devices until your website is mobile-friendly. You can even completely opt out of showing ads on a particular device by applying a -100% bid adjustment.

device bid adjustments


2. Optimize Ads to Display and Function Correctly on Mobile


90% of people use multiple devices before completing a conversion, so advertisers must take additional measures to ensure their ads are displaying and working correctly on all devices, especially mobile. Since Google’s expanded text ads did away with the mobile device preference option, advertisers must now optimize their text ads for mobile users as much as possible without harming the desktop or tablet experience. One way to do this is by redirecting mobile users to the mobile version of your website, which can be done by checking the “Use a different final URL for mobile” option.

use a different url for mobile


Another way to optimize for mobile is by avoiding truncated text, which greatly reduces the readability and click through rate of ads. Even ad extensions like sitelink extensions and structured snippets can be truncated on mobile devices and rendered far less effective. To avoid truncated text, advertisers can use the Ad Preview Tool to adjust ad copy, so it displays correctly on all devices. To avoid truncated ad extensions, you can create new, shorter extensions that are optimized for mobile, and then select the mobile device preference so they are served to mobile devices before any of your other extensions.

mobile device preference


Aside from text ads, advertisers must ensure that ads containing image and video assets are optimized for different placements and devices. On Instagram for example, square and portrait-sized images are preferred due to their ability to take up more “real estate” on a mobile screen, while Facebook continues to prefer landscape images for click-to-site ads. If you ran an ad with a landscape image across Facebook and Instagram, you might miss out on better performance with mobile Instagram users who would see a cropped version of your original image. Video assets also have their own set of specifications, so advertisers have to be careful when using the same video in several placements. By making sure each of your ad placements has a correctly-sized asset, you maximize your ability to reach consumers. Platforms like Facebook allow you to pick which asset you’d like to run in which placement, but if these features are not present, you can create individual ads for specific placements and devices.

customize image for instagram

customize image for different placements


3. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices

If browsing the internet on a desktop is like driving down a country road, then browsing the internet on a mobile device is like driving down the autobahn at warp speed. Mobile users have incredibly high demands of mobile sites, so much so that 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. The fleeting nature of mobile users can be particularly costly since 30% of all online purchases happen on mobile phones. This incredibly high number of mobile online shoppers shows that optimizing your website for mobile users is not just optional, but necessary. Site speed is one of the most important areas to address, and it can be improved drastically by using fewer images on your website, compressing your image file sizes, and utilizing accelerated mobile pages, or AMP. With Google’s PageSpeed Insights, you can discover optimization opportunities that will improve your website’s page load time. You can also make a slew of design optimizations that make your mobile site experience much easier, like not forcing users to pinch and zoom, making product images expandable, and making form entry as quick and easy as possible.




The meteoric rise of website traffic driven by mobile devices is not expected to slow anytime soon, so if your advertising is not providing your mobile users with a tailored experience, then you need to begin making optimizations immediately. Whether you’re making small adjustments like increasing or decreasing device bids or making large adjustments like improving your website’s speed and functionality, optimizing your advertising for mobile devices will maximize your ability to reach this exceedingly large group of consumers.


Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.

Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.