Device Orientation Optimisation

Posted on 01. Aug, 2011 by in Thoughts



If you work in paid search or run synergies between organic and paid search, your role has just been made harder with the introduction of device orientation optimisation.

Thanks to a blog post on Google Mobile Ads Blog post entitled “A new Google search ads experience for tablet devices” that talks about the rise of tablet use, and a refreshed Google search for tablet users, it also mentions that depending on a tablets devices orientation e.g. landscape vs. portrait, Google will return a different number of ads.

Device orientation optimisation (DOO) is the technique of trying to influence your ad position based on the likeliness of a user’s device orientation e.g. landscape vs. portrait. It also covers synergies between organic and paid search where rank (organic) and position (paid) are married up to capture as much search landscape as possible, amongst other goals.

Since the phrase “device orientation optimisation” is new to digital marketing, I thought I would try and define it. Who knows, if the term picks up this blog post should get referenced within a Wikipedia article – go on, you know you want too!

From the blog post, Google says that based on the orientation of the tablet, users will see a different number of ads above the search results:

  • Landscape: maximum of two top ads above the search results. Example
  • Portrait: maximum of three ads above the search results. Example

Noticeably, there will still be a maximum of three ads below the search results for both orientations. That is the same for smartphone mobile devices too.

Position vs. Orientation

This leads us into the mechanics of device orientation optimisation. If you are an advertiser, you will likely aim to be above the search results. Click-through rates (CTR) are greater and your ads are seen by more, etc. But based on the devices orientation, your ad which is in position three in landscape (above results) may maintain position three but be below the search results in portrait – less clicks. It means for advertisers that the position goal for tablets is clearly position one or two.

Interestingly for desktop search, advertisers must have a strong Quality Score (QS) and Cost-Per-Click (CPC) to be eligible for ad placement above the search results. Does the same apply to tablet and mobile?

Secondly, those whom are cross-channel orientated often look to optimise placements based on organic rank and paid position. For example, rank first organically, aim for third in paid (or vice-versa). This can be applied to tablet too, but it gets a little more complicated. Let’s say your website ranks second organically and you’re aiming for ad placement below the search results – you want to saturate top and bottom. Based on the devices orientation, you ad could get moved from the bottom (portrait) to the top (landscape) all because of the orientation. That means you have a paid and organic placements in close proximity – defeats synergy purpose.

Overall, I know the new term device orientation optimisation is far-fetched, but so was SEO (search engine optimisation). Terms aside, Im excited by the enhancements to mobile and tablet. Changes in placement, ad extentions and device refinements have all made paid search for me a more exciting medium to work with. What do you think, device orientation optimisation here to stay or another Michael stinker? Be gentle.

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