Paid Search (PPC)

Since the introduction of AdWords Enhanced Campaigns in 2013, Google AdWords users have been unable to set bid adjustments targeting just tablet devices. When Enhanced Campaigns were introduced over 3 years ago, desktop and tablet bid adjustments were grouped together. Now that's about to change..

Given that browsing behaviour and conversion rates are vastly different on desktop and tablet devices, the decision to group them together was deemed as nonsensical by many AdWords users.

The good news is that tablet device targeting in AdWords is back. You can now target tablet users again as Google has recently allowed individual bid adjustments to be set for each device type, including mobile, desktop and tablet.

adwords-tablet-bid-adjustment-return

Bid adjustments can be applied to all campaign types including Google Shopping campaigns. Advertisers also have increased flexibility with bid modifiers which can be set at -100% and as high as +900%.

What Does this Mean for AdWords Advertisers?

In 2015 the percentage of households owning a tablet was 54%, up from just 2% in 2011. According to Ofcom, tablet ownership is projected to increase to 74% in 2016. With the ability to set bid adjustments in AdWords for tablet users, you can now target tablet users more effectively.

Tablet usage over the last five years has expanded significantly and the Ofcom infographic below contains some interesting stats.

Five Years of Tablet Devices - Ofcom infographic

Five Years of Tablet Devices – Ofcom infographic. Source Ofcom

How the Bid Adjustments work in practice

You can set a default bid for one device type and then have the option to set bid adjustments for the other two, at either 100% below or 900% above the device type bid. It is possible to set the baseline bid for tablet and then increase or decrease the bids for desktop and mobile.

Bid adjustments by device can be set at campaign or Ad Group level. To set a tablet bid adjustment simply click on the desired campaign or Ad Group and click on settings and then devices.

Setting Tablet bid adjustments in Google AdWords in the campaign settings

Setting Tablet bid adjustments in Google AdWords in the campaign settings. Adjustments can be set at campaign or Ad Group level.

How to calculate what bid adjustments to set for your devices?

The starting place for setting bid adjustments is to look at your Google AdWords data.

  1. Visit the “Campaigns” tab at the top of the page.
  2. Select a campaign you wish to see statistics for.
  3. Click “Segment” and then choose “Device”.
  4. Expand the “Total – all campaigns” tab at the very bottom of the results page.
  5. Compare the conversion rates for “Computers” vs. “Mobile devices” vs. “Tablets”.
Segment AdWords traffic by device type to see tablet conversion rates and costs

Segment AdWords traffic by device type to see tablet conversion rates and costs

Expand all Ad Groups under segment by device to see a summary of device conversion rates

Expand all Ad Groups under segment by device to see a summary of device conversion rates

You can also look at Google Analytics data to get a feel for the conversion rates by device from all traffic sources.

  1. Login to Google Analytics and select a reasonable date range that contains a good amount of data.
  2. Under the reporting tab in Google Analytics click on Audience.
  3. Select Mobile.
  4. Click on Overview.
  5. Click “Segment” and then choose “Device”.
View traffic by tablet, mobile and desktop device types in Google Analytics

View traffic by tablet, mobile and desktop device types in Google Analytics

 

You could get clever and create a custom report in Google Analytics to show AdWords traffic by Ad Group and device and then export the data to Excel. This could be used to calculate your bid adjustment percentage increases by calculating the percentage difference between the baseline conversion rate for desktop and the other device types.

Hang on a Minute – What About Cross Device Attribution?

In practice we know that users start their purchase journey on one device and then convert on another. According to recent research conducted by IPSOS Connect and Google, 6 in 10 internet users in the US start shopping on one device but continue or finish on a different one. This certainly gives us food for thought when setting mobile or tablet bid adjustments.

Percentage of conversions by industry that include search impressions across devices. Source Google

Percentage of conversions by industry that include search impressions across devices. Source Google

The good news is that Google has made three new cross-device attribution reports and benchmarks reports available in the attribution section of AdWords. This is to help users gain a better understanding of device usage during the conversion journey.  In summary these reports offer the following:

  • Devices – The ability to view the volume of cross device activity happening in your AdWords account.
  • Assisting Devices – inform your device bid adjustments by learning how often each devices assisted conversions on other devices.
  • Device Paths – examine the top conversion paths for your customers using two or more devices.

I recommend that you take a look at these reports. For more information, read Google’s announcement on their new cross device attribution reports.

Good luck with setting your device bid adjustments!

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