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Saturday, March 20, 2010

As a Top Contributor in the AdWords Help forum, I'm concerned about recent questions concerning traffic. For instance, in the "how do I block 'adsense for mobile apps' in my adwords account?" thread, an advertisers writes:
what is this "adsense for mobile apps" anyway. It strikes me as a scam of some sort.
I answered:
Unfortunately, I can understand this sentiment. It's not a scam, but Google has not implemented this in a transparent manner for advertisers. It should be opt-in, not opt-out and most advertisers aren't even aware of AdSense for Mobile Apps until they see a spike in traffic.
The problem, here, is that any advertiser who hasn't altered the default campaign settings will be opted into this kind of traffic. Contextual advertising on mobile applications should not be turned on, by default. This is a tangent to the core concept of AdWords - search engine advertising. These default settings need to be changed:

Google AdWords default network distribution settings

For a more detailed explanation, here's an answer I posted in the "I see a sudden increase in clicks on Is this actual clicks or is there a problem?" thread:
I think what's important is to educate advertisers that this new kind of contextual advertising is in place. I've seen quite a few posts on blogs like Inside AdWords talking about mobile, but not specifically about the intersection of mobile and content ads. For example, this post:

has some very good advice:

Now is the perfect time to optimize how you target consumers on-the-go. Here are a few best practices we think you'll find helpful:
  • Create separate campaigns and ad groups for your ads that appear on mobile devices. This makes it easier to customize ads, keywords and bids to optimize performance.
  • Put your call to action in a spot on your landing page that's easy to find. Keep in mind that it's a bit more difficult to navigate websites on a mobile device, so consider shortening your checkout process.
  • Most mobile phones don't support flash, so make sure your landing page is written in HTML and contains little or no Flash.
I think the advice to create "separate campaigns and ad groups for your ads that appear on mobile devices" is very important. Since the default settings for advertisers are content network on + mobile devices on, there could be quite a few advertisers experiencing unusual spikes in traffic.
If you use AdWords, make sure you understand traffic.