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Device bidding – Back to the Future!

In 2013, Google removed the ability in its AdWords platform to target devices separately. They wanted to match PPC advertiser exposure on mobile devices to the traffic levels. Google were of course right in their predictions, as we have since seen significant increases in mobile traffic for almost every vertical; typically, over 50% of traffic is coming from mobile devices.

However, desktop, and to some extent tablet, continue to drive higher conversion rates. As such, desktop conversion rates have improved and mobile has remained fairly constant, in some cases dropping slightly due to the sheer increase in traffic. A popular research platform, mobile is at the top of the purchase funnel, but can also be used as a DR medium or in-store for retail vouchers.

Technology allows bidding strategies to automate bid adjustments for mobiles, meaning performance hasn’t suffered as a result of the change. However, problems have occurred when a budget was designated only for mobile, such as a “hotels near me” campaign for travel. Without the ability to target a single device, the inclusion of desktop and tablet traffic could potentially reduce ROI. It’s also worth noting that unlike Google, Bing always allowed for device multipliers.

Back to August 2016

In August 2016, Google announced that device level bidding adjustments would be rolling out to PPC accounts. The benefits include more control over bid adjustments and more flexibility them.

We agree with Google’s recommendation to not restructure campaigns back to device level as it will effectively triple management time. Whilst this change isn’t a complete reversal of what Google said 3 years ago, we are now able to isolate devices and bid accordingly on them based on performance.

This is a welcome change for clients that utilise mobile conversion via apps and desktop as part of the media mix to drive awareness. It will now be possible to have DR mobile campaigns driving performance and top of the funnel research campaigns on desktop with separate goals (using DoubleClick Smart Bidding accordingly) to maximise ROI. Further to just the delivery, it will also allow us to plan more effectively in terms of having DR and awareness budgets on the PPC line of a media plan and being able to activate on those plans accordingly! It is giving the power back to the advertiser to optimise campaigns to suit wide ranging objectives, rather than assuming that increased clicks and traffic is the sole target, which is a welcome move from our point of view.