Mobile Bid Adjustments – Using Device bid adjustments in Google Ads

There are many ways you can optimise your campaigns in Google Ads. In today’s article we will be looking at mobile bid adjustments and how you can adjust bids based on the user’s device.

This feature allows you to adjust your bids based on the three main device types. Mobile, Tablet & Computers.

Mobile bid adjustments have been available since February 2013 when Google launched something called “enhanced campaigns”. Prior to this, you could target different device types in separate campaigns.

When Google launched enhanced campaigns, advertisers were forced to use all devices in the same campaigns. At the time this was a big change, as paid search on mobile devices hadn’t been adopted that widely.

Many advertisers would exclude mobile traffic altogether and those that didn’t would separate them into completely different campaigns. This would usually mean two, almost identical campaigns, one for mobile and one for computers.

Now in 2018, things are very different, mobile traffic has grown significantly. According to Statistics portal Statista Mobile traffic currently accounts for 52% of all internet traffic and in recent years  platforms like Google Ads have invested a lot of time into tools and features, which help mobile advertisers.

How to use mobile bid adjustments

Mobile bid adjustments can be found in the devices tab in the left column of your Google ads account.

You can make bid adjustments on all three device types individually. However, this has not always been the case. Google used to bundle desktop and tablets together. However, since 2016 advertisers now have total control over each, individually device type.

The range for mobile bid adjustment is -100% to +900% this gives advertisers a lot of flexibility between different devices.

Because you can reduce the bid by 100% this also means that you can exclude devices altogether. This is not always a great idea, but it can work well for certain industries.

For example, we work with a lot of roadside recovery companies. This industry receives most of the traffic from mobile devices. Nearly all their calls are made from the side of the road and are emergency call out.

Running desktop and tablet traffic on a campaign like this doesn’t make sense. Anyone searching via another device are usually not broken down at the roadside. This means that the calls are often just enquiries and conversion rates are dramatically lower and far more expensive.

Campaign and Ad group mobile bid adjustments

When making your bid adjustments you have the option to set them at the campaign level, or the ad group level. Generally, you will start with a campaign bid adjustment and start including ad group bid adjustments as more data becomes available.

As with most ad group setting, your ad group bid adjustment will override your campaign adjustments. This means that you can have an overall campaign adjustment but if individual groups are performing differently you can manage their bids separately.

The only time this is not true, is if you have a -100% device bid adjustment at the campaign level.

Mobile bid adjustment Example

In the image below, you can see a new campaign we have started working on. This is data from one month and as you can see there is a decent amount of traffic and conversions. However, there is quite a big difference in the costs, based on devices.

before mobile bid adjustments

This client has a maximum CPA (cost per acquisition) target of £65. Currently we are at just over £40 which is great. However, the traffic is limited in their specific industry. For this reason, one of the best ways we can increase traffic and potentially conversions is by improving their position.

As you can see mobile is already costing £68 per led, so we don’t want to increase bids here. At the same time the position on mobile is 3.4 on average, so we don’t really want to lower the bid either, as this may affect delivery, due to less chance of showing in higher positions.

Tablet and computer on the other hand are almost half the price of Mobile conversions. Whats more, they represent 78% of total conversions.

By increasing the bids on computers and tablets we can push our ads into a higher position which should increase our click through rate. This will increase clicks and conversions on these devices.

If we aim for £55 per lead on computers that would mean increasing the bid by roughly 70%, as the prices are quite similar for tablets. I would also increase bids by 70% on tablets, as the current CPA is very similar.

To increase the bids we just need to click the small horizontal line in the bid adjustment column for the device we want to adjust.

mobile bid adjustments

Once we have adjusted both of the bids our max CPC for the device will be increased by 70% in future ad auctions.

I hope you have found this article on mobile bid adjustments useful. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact the team here at CPS Media LTD via the contact form here. Or alternatively give us a call on 0800 043 3034

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