AdWords overhaul introduces device-level bids

Last week’s Google Performance Summit brought welcome news of profound changes coming soon to AdWords.

Google is revamping its pay per click ad platform, with the goal of providing advertisers better functionality with which to manage AdWords campaigns in an increasingly mobile-centric marketplace.

Notably, and top of most advertisers’ wish lists: the base bid for Enhanced Campaigns need no longer be the desktop bid, with adjustments available for all device types.

Advertisers will soon be able to set a base bid for the device type most important to them. Bid adjustments will be available for tablets (not just mobiles and desktops/tablets, as is currently the case). And bid modifications will range from -100 percent to +900 percent (up from the current 300 percent). 

texting while driving

Don’t want to show your AdWords ads to someone using a smartphone? Then don’t.

Why should you care?

If you’ve not given much thought previously to how your campaigns perform across different devices, then you really should. Not just because we’re telling you to, mind, but because conversion performance can differ dramatically across device types.

With this change to AdWords it will become possible to ensure some campaigns are limited to mobile (or just to desktop or tablet) — just add a -100 percent bid adjustment.

That apart, the option to separate tablet bids from those for desktop and mobile is one we especially welcome. As some of our clients will already be aware, tablet performance in particular can vary significantly from that for desktop. No longer will bids for tablet and desktop be conjoined like Siamese twins, and that’s reason enough in itself for celebration.

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About the Author Jeremy Templer

Jeremy is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire. Jeremy has been working in search since 1996, when he joined the Australian search engine, LookSmart. After relocating to San Francisco, he was instrumental in the development of the company’s paid search ad platform. At analytics company Coremetrics (now owned by IBM) he established an in-house search agency managing campaigns for Coremetrics clients such as Macy’s, Bass Pro and Lands End. At Acxiom he managed members of the pioneering SEO firm Marketleap and worked with clients such as Capital One, American General Finance and Kaiser Health. Joining SureFire in 2009, he is the head of Paid Search Advertising and oversees the delivery of AdWords and other PPC campaigns. He also helps clients make sense of their website data.