As search momentum shifts towards mobile devices, the Wall Street Journal reports that Google will soon start charging for ads on some mobile devices, such as tablets. See full article: “Google Acts to Raise Mobile-Ad Prices” (7 February 2013, pB7).

Under Google’s change, called “enhanced campaigns,” the company also said it will require advertisers to pay for ads on tablets even if they only want to reach personal-computer users.  All AdWords advertisers will be “upgraded” to “enhanced campaigns” by mid-2013, Google said in its blog post alerting advertisers to the change.

In this blog post, Google said “enhanced campaigns” would allow its more than one million advertisers to set up an AdWords campaign that allows them to control how much they pay to show ads to people who have allowed Google to track their location, time of day and the type of device they are using. Advertisers previously had to manage multiple campaigns to get similar results.  For instance, Google said a retail store will be able to adjust the price it is willing to pay to show an ad to people using smartphones who are half a mile away from the store after 11 a.m.  Advertisers also will be able to show one type of ad to people using smartphones and another type of ad to those using PCs.

WordStream Inc., a firm that helps people advertise on search engines, estimated that less than 4% of small and medium-sized advertisers had set up mobile-ad campaigns “because it was such a hassle.”

Danielle Leitch, an executive at MoreVisibility Inc., which helps companies advertise online, said Google’s move will increase the complexity of running an AdWords campaign. She added that advertisers won’t be able to allocate a greater percentage of their budgets to tablets versus PCs because the two device types will be combined in the new AdWords system. Many advertisers haven’t tailored their websites so that they can be viewed well through tablets, she said.

“If your website right now isn’t well-viewed on tablets, you’re going to need to correct that,” she said.

Our Geek Analysis:
As more and more searches come through mobile devices, a mobile website can help local businesses ensure their online presence is optimized for the smaller form factors and touch screens of handheld devices.

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