Surviving the Google Mobile Advertising Bootcamp

On Friday, I attended the Google Mobile Advertising Bootcamp. I have been managing PPC campaigns since 2004. However, mobile PPC is still in its relative infancy and I looked forward to a day focused exclusively on mobile marketing matters.

Adwords Advanced Certification Bootcamp Mobile Advertising

Adwords Advanced Certification Bootcamp Mobile Advertising

The Bootcamp

The mobile bootcamp is a day long training course with a built in exam at the end. The course was held at Google’s London Victoria offices. The course was well attended, with approximately 50 or so delegates. All seemed to be owners of, staff members from, small Google Adwords agencies.

Google Adwords Certification

Successful completion of the Google mobile advertising exam provides and additional certification in the Google Adwords Partner series. Official recognition as a Google Agency Partner requires current certification in the Google Adwords Fundamentals exam and certification in at least one other subject area. There are currently 6 different exam certifications available:

  1. Google Adwords Fundamentals
  2. Google Adwords Advanced Search Advertising
  3. Google Adwords Display Advertising
  4. Google Video Advertising
  5. Google Adwords Shopping Advertising
  6. Google Mobile Advertising

Passing an Adwords Certification exam provides a 12-month validity for the individual certification. Where Simply Clicks has a currently valid certification, it has been bolded in the list above. There is also a web analytics certification. This is called the Google Analytics IQ exam. This certification is also held by Simply Clicks but is outside of the Google Adwords system. However, a knowledge of Google Analytics, and web analytics in general, is highly useful in passing many of the Adwords Certificated subjects.

Training Course Structure

The Google Mobile Advertising course consisted of 4 training sessions plus the exam.

  1. Understanding the value to sell Mobile: A Mobile overview
  2. Developing a Mobile Strategy for Success
  3. Reports and Attribution Modelling
  4. Advertising Mobile Apps

Session 1 was very much a study of the current dynamics of the mobile search market. One of the first concepts covered was show rooming. The process whereby people visit a physical store then check prices and features of similar products via their mobile phone. The opening session came across as an attempt by Google to convince the audience of the value of the mobile market. With my recent experience of several successful mobile marketing campaigns, I am a keen advocate of a mobile-first mindset.

Adwords Mobile Bid Adjustment Calculation

Adwords Mobile Bid Adjustment Calculation

The Value of Mobile Search

Session 2 mainly covered how to incorporate a mobile approach into an existing Google Adwords campaign structure. Making sure that you have a mobile adapted, or responsive, website, landing pages and conversion funnel. Then calculating and adjusting mobile bids relative to bids for desktop and laptop. Again, Google appeared to be slightly defensive regarding the value of mobile search. As most of the discussion concerned the down-weighting of mobile bids. The discussion largely focused on search as opposed to display advertising.There was some coverage of display as well as a short mention for Admob. The Google-owned, but separately managed, mobile-only advertising network.

Mobile Bidding Strategy

In my own experience, I have up weighted mobile bids above those for desktop and laptop. Simply because of the relative value and the propensity of mobile users to convert. The key message, however, was the requirement to target the top 2 advertising positions. This is based on October 2014 research that shows an acute difference in click-through rate (CTR) of mobile searches vs desktop and laptop searches. Position 1 on mobile generates a mean click through rate of 27.5% vs 19% for the same position  in desktop search. Essentially, if you are not in the top 2 positions for mobile search, you may as well be on page 2.

Adwords Mobile and Desktop CTR by Position

Adwords Mobile and Desktop CTR by Position

Web Analytics and Mobile Attribution

Session 3 looked at the issues surround analytics. It was made clear that typical performance analysis measures under-valued mobile search. Essentially because many searches that began on a mobile concluded with a store visit or desktop sale or lead completion. The reverse of this sequence also takes place, but not to the same degree. The key approach to addressing this misattribution was to understand and properly measure cross-device search activity. Data regarding this could be found within Google Analytics. However, to be recorded accurately this requires people to be logged into Google and be using the same login across all devices.

Advertising on and Understanding Mobile Apps

The last part of the course was focused on apps. This was pretty tough for me, and it seems for many others on the course, as I have no previous experience of this area. I use apps. But I barely notice the advertising. I am a great fan of permission-based marketing, but advertising on apps comes across as a touch too intrusive for me. However, the app advertising market exists, Google promotes it, and understanding app downloads and promotion is part of the exam. So I had to grin and bear it.

The Mobile Advertising Exam

The exam follows the same format to others in the Adwords Certification programme. It is online. Taken on a laptop. Is multiple choice. And is against the clock. The mobile version  consists of 70 questions and lasts 90 minutes. The pass mark is 80%. Requiring no more than 14 incorrect answers. The timing clock on the exam counts down both the time and the number of questions. Allowing you to track your progress. Throughout, I appeared to be on schedule. However, one downside of taking the exam at the same time as 50 other people was that either the site or the wifi appeared to be running very slowly. After you have completed exam you are asked some feedback questions. These are before you are given your pass mark.

Fortunately, I passed the exam. Along with most people in the room. Once you are finished you are required to give your score – pass or fail – to one of the Google invigilators. This entitles you to a Google Goodie Bag. And then it is time for a bit of fun and networking with the other candidates. The score from the exam is then fed through to your Google Adwords Certification page. Mine appeared the following day.

Mobile Search – Where Next?

The day proved well worth the time, cost and effort involved. I learned some valuable tips about mobile pay per click, web analytics and mobile advertising in general. These will all be put in place as soon as possible. And later this week, I am attending Google’s video advertising bootcamp.


Travel and Leisure Leads Way in Loyalty Awards

Jet Blue Loyalty Scheme

Jet Blue Loyalty Scheme

A Sparkling Evening at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel

Last night I attended The Loyalty Awards 2015 at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel as a guest of Comarch UK. Comarch were co-sponsors of the event and also had clients that had made the shortlist for a number of loyalty industry awards. In the event, the evening’s proceedings were dominated by winners from the travel and leisure categories.

Sponsors Banner Loyalty Awards 2015

Sponsors Banner Loyalty Awards 2015

JetBlue Airways – Loyalty Programme of the Year

The most significant winner of the evening was JetBlue Airways. JetBlue picked up the winners award for best use of gamification with its TrueBlue Badges, as well as being highly commended for the best use of communications in a loyalty programme and loyalty programme of the year – Travel, for the same programme.

According to the awards judges:

“JetBlue has taken online loyalty to a different level on and off aeroplanes. The massive results really engage the users. Excellent data”.

JetBlue is a US based airline, which although largely unknown in the UK employs 16,000 staff, has a turnover in excess of $5,800 million, flies to 87 destinations and carried 32 million passengers in 2014. Based on revenues the airline is ranked 31st in the world.

The loyalty programme for JetBlue Airways is provided by Comarch and includes three major components; Comarch Customer Engagement, Comarch Smart Analytics and Comarch Loyalty Management. These  are focused on Engagement and social, Analytics and recognition and lastly Transactions.

David Burdon and Lauren Hogg at the Loyalty Awards

David Burdon and Lauren Hogg at the Loyalty Awards

Travel and Leisure Industry Winners

The other winners from the travel and leisure sector included Avios, the loyalty scheme formerly known as Air Miles and closely associated with British Airways, The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and Whitbread Restaurants. An eye-opening winner, for me anyway, of two awards was the little-known ski resort of Tatry Mountains in Slovakia.

The evening was compered by famous comedian Ramesh Ranganathan, a regular star of TV show “Mock the Week”.  It also featured a charity

Ramesh Ranganathan Loyalty Awards Compere

Ramesh Ranganathan – Loyalty Awards Compere

collection for the Save The Children Fund. Once the formal part of the evening concluded guests were entertained with a disco show.


Google Adwords Certification Bootcamp

How to Think Like Google

Yesterday I attended the Google Adwords Certification Bootcamp in London. Organised by Google, the bootcamp is held with the sole purpose of getting as many digital agency delegates as possible to pass their Google Adwords Partner certification. The training course was led by a course leader with a number of years experience of managing Google Adwords. The course leader affirmed on several occasions that the exams would be passed as long as the delegates “Think like Google”. The more experienced PPC managers were also told to forget about any of their unorthodox approaches and to focus instead throughout on Google’s officially recommended approach.

The Google Partner Badge

The Google Partner Badge

The Benefits of Being a Google Partner

Once delegates pass both the Adwords Fundamentals and Advanced Adwords exams they, and their agencies, are entitled to display the Google Partner badge on their websites (See Google Partner image). This links to a central register controlled by Google. As Google Partners, they also gain the benefit of increased marketing support.

Each exam tests delegates across approximately 100 questions relating to their understanding of the following subject areas:

The core components of both exams are as follows:

Adwords Fundamentals Certification

  • Introduction to AdWords
  • Account Management
  • Campaign and Ad Group Management
  • Keyword, language and location targeting
  • Ad Formats
  • Budgets and Bidding
  • Measurements and Optimisation
  • Managing Multiple Accounts
  • Performance, Profitability and Growth

Adwords Advanced Certification

  • Ad Formats
  • Ad & Site Quality
  • AdWords Tools
  • Performance Monitoring & Reporting
  • Optimising Performance
  • Performance, Profitability & Growth
  • AdWords API

The Google Certification Pass Rate

Both Google exams require an 80% pass rate. Despite working with Google Adwords since 2004, and also having successfully led many PPC training courses, I have never previously taken either exam. The course was held for about 50 delegates. Fortunately, I passed both exams and, as a result, the Simply Clicks website now carries the Google Partners badge.

Key Observations from the Bootcamp

My key observation is that the Adwords Bootcamp is extremely well organised by Google, with lots of good content. And from participant feedback, it appears that most delegates passed both exams. I certainly improved my knowledge of areas such as display and mobile search. However, in many ways, the course does not teach you how to manage a PPC campaign. At no point are you asked to analyse any data, structure a campaign or write an effective ad. The exam merely sets a minimum benchmark of quality.

The good news is that attending the course has increased my appetite for learning more about digital marketing. And my next step will be to start the process of preparing for and taking the Google Analytics exam. Unfortunately, for that there is no bootcamp!