Google AdWords to separate tablet and desktop and enable mobile base bids

26 May 2016 in

It’s the news that many digital marketers have been patiently waiting for: Google has announced significant changes to the AdWords platform that promise to give advertisers a new degree of control over device-level bidding by enabling mobile base bids. For many it’s a change that’s been a long time coming and a timely reaction to the increasingly widespread belief that marketers now operate in a mobile-first environment.

Google clarified this shift towards mobile and the necessity of an AdWords rethink, stating that it’s seen a marked increase in search volume and claiming that it now handles trillions of searches globally – a significant increase on the previously stated hundreds of billions. The fact that over half of those searches are attributed to mobile devices makes clear the logic behind Google’s decision to enable mobile base bids.

Why did they wait until now to make the change?

Google has been well aware of the steady growth in mobile and tablet use over the years but claims that until now the typical advertiser wasn’t interested in the shift from desktop to other devices. Jerry Dischler, from AdWords product management, stated that advertisers are only now catching on and starting to demand Google give them the tools to react.

What does the change mean?

We’ve all seen the rise in mobile and tablet use, especially in the last two years, but until now advertisers have been unable to bid separately for the three main devices – desktop, tablet and mobile. Previously Google grouped desktop and tablet together as one bid and advertisers could only use a bid modifier to appear on mobile devices, with no more than a 300% increase on the desktop bid possible.

At the Google Performance Summit 2016 in San Francisco the search giant made clear that, going forward, it wants to make it easier for advertisers to scale mobile by allowing them to set individual bid adjustments for desktop, mobile and tablet. In a blog post accompanying the announcement, Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President of Ads and Commerce, explained that the change will allow you to target the device most valuable to your business.

The update is likely to be positive news for advertisers who have been looking for a way to bid more freely (and higher) on mobile and tablet. And because it will now be considerably easier to create and run properly targeted click to call and call-only campaigns, the change is likely to have the knock-on effect of increasing incoming calls from mobiles.

The change is set to roll out over the coming months and it looks likely to answer the shifting demands of online advertisers. To target a mobile device, all you’ll need to do is set a base bid for the desired device, you’ll then have the option to set bid adjustments for the other two. These adjustments can be anything from -100% up to 900%, which represents a significant increase on the current 300% limit.

Perhaps the best thing about the change is the fact that you don’t have to set up multiple campaigns for different devices if you don’t want to. In theory what you’ll now get is the freedom to set up a campaign that you can optimise with much greater precision across the three main devices.

We predict, as with most major changes, the new functionality will take some getting used to but ultimately it can only be a good thing for anyone aiming to drive phone calls to their business.

Alex Worth

Alex Worth

Senior Digital Marketing Manager
Digital marketing enthusiast at Infinity and when not at work is kept on her toes by two cheeky little boys.

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