On Thursday, February 21st, Google completed their second Webcast in the Enhanced Campaign Series, called “Device Bid Adjustments and Smarter Mobile Ads.”

Andy Miller, Google’s Head of Mobile Search Sales and Strategy and one of the presenters, stated that less than 5% of AdWords advertisers had separate mobile campaigns (mobile is defined by Google AdWords as a Smart Phone and does not include Tablets). Enhanced Campaigns were created to “simplify” the situation for that 5%. This begs the question, if so few advertisers were doing it, why was it so important to combine all devices back into one campaign? That question was not answered.

But to focus on what’s coming, and how it may impact your PPC management, here’s the pros and cons of the new Device Targeting.


– The ability to set a base PC bid, and then set a bid adjustment either higher or lower for a mobile device (from -100% to +300%).

– The ability to bid differently based on geographic location (range is from -90% to +900%). For example, I can set my bid adjustment to 200% for someone who searches and is within 5 miles of my pizza place.

– The ability to set my bid adjustment based on time of day (range is from -90% to +900%). This is something they’ve always had, so not really new, they just didn’t take it away.

– Google will determine which ad makes the most sense to show to a searcher, based on device (also see Con list). You can create a mobile-optimized ad, and click a check-box for Mobile preferred, and if the searcher is on a mobile device, your mobile preferred ad takes precedence over your standard text ad.

– According to Google, it will make management of your campaigns simpler. Instead of having copies of campaigns for each device and having to manage and optimize each separately, now there will only be one place to manage it.


– You can’t opt out of mobile. We have clients whose sites do not work on mobile devices, due to flash or other reasons. We don’t want to show on them. We can’t opt out. The best we can do is set our mobile bid adjustment to -100%. That’s supposed to prevent you from showing on mobile devices.

– You can’t opt out of showing on tablets. I have clients whose sites do not work on tablets, but I have absolutely no way to stop them from showing on those devices.

– You also can’t bid differently, higher or lower, on tablets. We also have clients where we specifically target tablets more aggressively than desktop, but I can’t do that either.

– All bid adjustments are at the campaign level only. That means if I have an AdGroup or a keyword that performs differently (either better or worse) than the PC/tablet, I can’t bid differently.

– Google will determine which ad makes the most sense to show to a searcher, based on device (see Pro list). You can create a mobile-optimized ad, and click a checkbox for mobile preferred, but based on comments I’m seeing on Twitter from people who have Mobile Preferred ads, those ads are being truncated, so for now, it’s in the Con column.

– You can’t opt out of specific operating systems and you can’t bid differently to them. If I have an iPhone app that I want to advertise, I can’t stop my ads from showing on Android devices. We have clients that have iPad-only apps, but  I can’t stop my ads from showing on Android tablets at all, and I’ll have to make sure to bid at -100% for mobile devices.

– You can’t opt out of desktop. We’re absolutely stuck here. There’s no way to bid higher on a mobile device and lower on desktop, because desktop bids are the baseline bid that all bid adjustments work off of.

@bsquatch tweeted during the webcast: “Sorry, you still have to order anchovies, just request 100% less than normal.” That is a fantastic analogy. To take it a bit further, let’s “order” a Google AdWords pizza. You hate anchovies, green peppers and onions, so you ask for -100% less of those toppings, and -50% mushrooms because you’re not a huge mushroom fan but some is okay. You really like tomatoes and garlic, so you order 150% of those. And finally, you’re trying to be good and would like thin crust, but it’s not an option – your only option is deep dish. That’s how the Enhanced Campaign rollout is at the moment – but the hope is that over time, more options will come available.

I’m trying really hard to refrain from judgement on whether Enhanced Campaigns will be good for our clients or not until we start running them and see how they perform. I honestly think there’s some great things about it for those advertisers who are local or have brick-and-mortar stores. The clients I’m most worried about are ecommerce without brick-and-mortars. Only will time will tell how this affects them.