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A Further Look into Device Bid Adjustments


May has been an exciting month for AdWords and Analytics users thanks to some interesting announcements at the 2016 Google Performance Summit. One upcoming change has got AdWords users particularly happy, that being the decision to split bid adjustments across the three device types. 


This causes for a celebration as we’ve historically only been able to change mobile device bid adjustments (at a device level). Having the ability to modify bid adjustments for desktops, tablets and mobile devices individually gives us a lot more control to act on signals more effectively.


While the change hasn’t been implemented yet, I have been given some recommendations to share with you in preparation for the release:


  • Setting a bid adjustment of +0% will set that particular device as the base device, where the max CPC bid corresponds to that device bid. Note that this isn’t a requirement but might make bidding more straightforward.


  • The device bid adjustment range will be -90% to +900%, while a bid of -100% will opt-out of that device as we experienced previously with mobile.


  • Don’t be tempted to split campaigns by device, as the efficiency improvement you may get from keyword level device bids vs ad group level device bids will be marginal, while the effort required to manage the campaigns will increase dramatically. You’ll essentially be managing three times as many campaigns per account!


  • Bidding complexity will increase with device bid adjustments, meaning that you might want to consider using Target CPA or Target ROAS as part of your bidding strategy in some accounts.


I’m interested to know whether you’re as excited as me for this upcoming change. How much of an impact do you think it will have on the performance of your accounts?

about Scott Dunroe

I have been managing AdWords accounts for over 8 years now at an international marketing agency level and also as a freelancer. I am very passionate about Google's PPC platform and pretty much anything else that is Google related. My theory in life is to learn something new every day and this community is definitely a good place to do so; I would recommend anyone reading this to stick around as it's an excellent source of information with great people contributing to it.

Danny F
September 2016
The set bid adjustments for different devices (computers, mobile, and tablets) has been rolled out this month to my account and i have noticed something quite worrying on how much i am paying across the different devices - only since this change/update came into effect. Prior to being able to set different different bids across devices the avg.cpc i was paying (on all devices) was approx around the 'est top page bids' given in my account. Post the bid adjustment rollout i've noticed my computer devices incoming avg cpc's have stayed the same, however mobile and tablet avg cpc's have almost trebbled in price. Mobile and tablet devices just seem to be using default bids without any keyword history. (default ad rank calculation) No problem if they've rolled out bid adjustments for different devices, but all devices should all still be using the est first/top page estimates for that keyword(s)