Alexandra's Mobile [Ad]itude - We obsess about user experience

Thursday, March 27, 2008 | 1:51 PM

In my last post, some of you expressed concern that intrusive and oversized advertisements on a small screen could result in a poor mobile user experience. You asked how we strike the delicate balance between ensuring a good user experience while providing effective advertising. At Google, we care very deeply about this balance and we're constantly striving to make sure that you have the best experience possible. In this post, I'll tell you more about some of the things we're doing to try to achieve this.

At the core of striking this balance is working hard to improve ad quality. The more relevant the ads, the fewer ads there need to be. In fact, when you go to on your phone and do a search, we now return no more than two text ads per query. These ads can appear above or below the organic search results and most take up just two lines of text on larger mobile screens. And while a single ad may appear at the top or bottom of a mobile content page, a double ad unit can only appear at the bottom of a page. Watch the video below to learn more about ad size and placement.

Of course, we also want to make sure our advertisers have a good experience with Google mobile ads. Fewer ads per page can be beneficial for an advertiser because there is less clutter on each page and each ad gets more visibility. More importantly, showing relevant ads and maintaining a good user experience results in better click-through rates and return on investment.

I hope this addresses some of your questions. Thanks so much for your comments on my last post and keep submitting more questions. This is your opportunity to guide the direction of this series!


Lucas Shaw said...

Thanks for the mobile "screen space" follow up post. The mobile search experience is a different animal, and I'm confident Google recognizes this and will adjust accordingly.

I hope that in future posts to [Ad]itude that you can shed some light on Google's plans for "push vs. pull" advertising. Right now everything is pull, so does Google have plans to push ads on the mobile device?

I also hope that you discuss what role the user's location will play with mobile search queries. How can Google ensure that a geo-based query (i.e. "coffee shop" close to current location) returns relevant geo-based ads in addition to geo-based search results?

For example, a small coffee shop owner "Small Joe" has bought some mobile AdWords ads. They paid less for a mobile add than the "Megabucks" coffee shop two miles away. A mobile user is a block away from Small Joe shop and two miles away from Megabucks. Would the mobile add give Small Joe any preference for being closer geographically? Seems like Small Joe's add is more "relevant" than Megabucks'?

Thanks for keeping the discussion going. This is a very exciting area to watch.