AdWords announces individual device bid adjustments

Many exciting announcements came out of the Google Performance Summit last month and, unsurprisingly, adjusting bids per device was touted for a roll-out.

Up until now, since the unpopular introduction of Enhanced Campaigns in 2013, we have not been able to break tablet targeting away from desktop, something that apparently helped to increase adoption rates of mobile advertising among SMEs and also addressed complex campaign set up and tracking issues.

We have already seen a device tab appear in the campaign settings within AdWords where, as we are accustomed to, mobile bid adjustments can be set. In the coming months we expect to see that desktop and tablet bid adjustments will also be able to set, making it possible to set mobile as the base bid.

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In the blog post announcing the change, it seems that Google is making it easier to manage various targeting methods more accurately whilst keeping things simple in one campaign. This is a welcome change, as I have found that landing page experiences can differ hugely from desktop to tablet. Considering this is a factor in building up Keyword Quality Score and Ad Rank, this can only mean greater optimisation opportunities in the future.

Along with other product updates from the Summit and SERP layout changes, it could be the time for tablet performance to pick up. The SERP is now unified on all devices, with paid search adverts being a prominent above-the-fold feature, something tablet browsers struggled with previously, with some showing a mobile website, and others the desktop.

Thinking back to the days when tablet bidding was available, the biggest optimisation opportunities generally arose around the fact that the tablet was the “home” device, the second screen whilst watching TV, the e-reader or the family candy crush competition. It will be interesting to see what bid adjustments to this device will impact campaigns going forward.

Bidding strategies will have to be considered, especially if automated scripts or software is involved as the CPC and other metrics by device will have to be considered before optimising, rather than those metrics at a campaign level, something that wasn’t a problem back in the day due to splitting these out into many accounts. However, this approach should make optimisations not just possible, but also manageable.

This not only sets the platform for the other ‘mobile-first’ changes that Google has mentioned changing within AdWords but also opens the door to the possibility of optimisation on other wearable-tech in the future, aligning with what we are seeing regarding longer tail, higher intent searches coming through since the emergence of digital assistants such as OK Google, Siri and Cortana.

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