Will Larry Page’s Mobile Websites Slam Affect Google’s Ad Policies?

larry pageWhen it comes to managing your mobile presence, Google currently has a preference for responsive Web design, but doesn’t discriminate against mobile sites. As one of its recommended best practices, however, it strongly recommends against simply using PC sites as mobile landing pages.

Google CEO Larry Page seems to disagree.

A number of articles over the past 24 hours have reacted to some passing comments Page made about his personal frustration with the simplicity and limited information on many mobile websites.

Below is what Page said on the Google earnings call this week. He follows a comment from Google’s Nikesh Arora about advertisers and the growth of mobile landing pages. Page seems to directly contradict what Arora says:

NA: As far as specifically how many advertisers have mobile landing pages that they can send their users to? That number is not as much as we would like it. Obviously, we’ve had programs, we have talked about in the past earning calls like GoMo which help businesses go mobile, so those efforts are bearing fruit but broadly speaking, I think we are happy with the progress we have made both on getting advertisers to be more mobilized and also what we are doing from a campaign management perspective to get more and more campaigns that can run across all devices and form factors.

LP:  I’ll just add on the mobile question. We don’t necessarily want them to have mobile sites some are too simple and I find I get kind of frustrated on my phone sometimes when I have these mobile specific sites because I am using a modern Nexus 4 that can actually view up the full site and I just find it confusing.

(emphasis added.)

mobile websites

Page seems to be discouraging developers and publishes from designing specifically for mobile. Will this attitude “trickle down” and impact Google’s mobile rankings or AdWords policies? (AdWords rewards mobile landing pages and sites with better position.) I don’t think we’ll see any impact whatsoever from Page’s remarks.

He’s speaking exclusively about his personal experience and his desire for more information. He says the Nexus 4 can handle displaying full PC websites. However the majority of smartphone users will experience frustration and abandon sites that are too hard to read or load too slowly on mobile devices.

Yet, Page’s more general critique about the poor quality of many mobile sites is valid. Marketers should take more time to think about the mobile user experience and provide sufficient information and content to enable users to get the information they need and make buying decisions.

There’s a parallel problem with mobile display advertising. Most mobile display ad creative is quite weak. More time and care needs to be taken with developing mobile ads that are more compelling and engaging to users.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile Marketing | Google: Mobile | Mobile Marketing

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • http://twitter.com/Bro_ver_16 Jason Brover

    i think it is more of a concern in regards to the content of the mobile site. most go with the more simplistic approach. this in theory, is the right way to go, however, most people tend to strip their content to “work” with mobile. This is far from ideal, as it makes more sense to streamline content. designing for mobile allows you to think about what the most important pieces of your business are.

  • Peter @SparkPage.com

    I’m biased, but I think that’s just Mr. Page going on the defensive and trying to talk down something that’s actually a really big deal.

    When so few advertisers have mobile landing pages, their conversion rates remain low, so the Cost Per Acquisition rises and in turn Google’s CPC on mobile stay way lower than desktop.

    If their advertisers can’t turn mobile visitors to sales, the price for mobile ads won’t rise in the way Google needs it to (as mobile replaces desktop), so this is a big deal for them.

  • Rajesh Magar

    Yes his comment might be affect on developer to think again to start with different version for mobile site or not. But as per my prospective I am agree with Larry Page too.
    Thing is like the way new mobile, tablets product are people getting engaging with are enough potential to display the whole what you are and that even more friendly for user to know you business in that single visit. So in many case it may happens people get confuse for watching different different versions and will opt-out from you site.

  • http://www.brysonmeunier.com/ Bryson Meunier

    I doubt it, honestly, as it’s not the first time that Larry’s made comments of this sort and the mobile advertising team continues to promote the value of mobile content. Google has never been a place that depends on the HIPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) but instead relies on data and testing. No doubt his opinion means a lot at Google but the data that they present to the public shows the value of mobile content.

    It would be nice, though, if Google would stop speaking out of both sides of their mouth on this issue and come down on one side or the other.

    His point about stripped down mobile sites has merit, however. I think as more and more people access the Internet from mobile devices more content providers will make their content adaptive (not necessarily responsive) and provide mobile-specific content when it makes sense. That way the experience is catered to the most common use cases, but all content is accessible regardless of device, should the user require it.

  • Pat Grady

    I think Conversion Rates are low because people checkout on other devices, fix that (NFC), and things will change. And G knows the world is multi-device, keep giving people reasons to be signed into G somehow, to unify the tracking. Then CPC rates will rise.

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