The Recent Changes to Adwords Ad Bids, Demystified

Do your eyes glaze over when you hear the words ‘Google Adwords’? We understand – the platform’s capabilities are overwhelming. Recent changes to the Adwords platform have made it a more customizeable tool for marketing your business, if you understand it well enough to harness its power.  Educate yourself with the help of this article.

google-mobile-iphone-keyboard-ss-1920This summer, Google made substantial changes to its ad platform, Google Adwords. Previously, users could manually set the amount of money each of their campaigns spent for ad placement across devices. It also offered an option called “enhanced bidding,” for which Google Adwords promised to apply several algorithms to your ad sets, optimizing device ad bids.

Adwords specializes in the strategic placement of ads on Google’s search engine using relevant keywords and search terms. Marketers had continually expressed frustration with both the enhanced and manual ad bid options on the platform because calculations were based off ad placement on desktop search results. Many saw the mobile device usage takeover as inevitable, and this year, it happened — desktop use has recently been eclipsed by mobile use, making mobile the most important device for digital ad spends.

It is timely, then, that several months ago, Google announced the introduction of more flexible ad bidding. The update allowed for marketers manually adjusting their ad bids to select mobile as their primary device. Tablet, a device previously paired with desktop within the device bids settings, has been given its own category. The new campaign bid adjustments are also better programmed to optimize your ads across all devices, resulting in better performance on desktop, mobile, and tablet. Additionally, Google is now allowing for higher percentages of increase and decrease in ad bidding.

Although the increased flexibility within Adwords ad bids should be considered a marketing win, there are several ways in which building device-specific campaigns could now be made more complicated. Because devices are now separated into categories, keyword performance will likely be less consistent. If your business is running separate campaigns on each device, you will now need to use negative keywords to delineate them and accurately track their performance.

If you choose to keep your various ads within the same campaign, you now need to create as many ad sets as devices you wish to use, assuming you are also planning to employ the device-specific ad bids feature. Lastly, with more control comes more work. That is, with Google handing the reigns to the users, the expectation must be that more hours will now be required of them to optimize their campaigns themselves. Small business owners – that means you. Before you decide to make any adjustments to your bids to keep pace with these changes, consider the following:

Considerations When Adjusting Device Ad Bids for Tablet

  • Cost per click is historically roughly half the cost of desktop
  • Conversion rates are lower on tablet
  • Use rates increase each year, but at slower rate than mobile use

Considerations When Adjusting Device Ad Bids for Mobile

  • Value cannot simply be calculated using cost per action (CPA) math because it is used for other actions besides clicks and conversions
  • Mobile allows for engagement with apps
  • Mobile devices are accessed at home, at work and while shopping

This new bid adjustment tool comes equipped with an automated option that takes the power of mobile into account and adjusts campaigns according to updated algorithms. If, however, you wish to closely control the bids of your ads across multiple devices, you will need to factor in an increased CPA for mobile that takes its high marketing value into account. You will then be able to calculate the percentage amount each device bid should be adjusted.

The individual device optimization features are still quite new, and as such there is not a great deal of data examining its benefits. Suffice it to say that if you currently run Adwords campaigns, device bidding is an area you should become more familiar with, as it may be required that you re-work your current campaigns, or build better optimized ones that better align with additional new features, in the near future.

If you are curious about running digital ads, or would like to improve your business’ digital marketing strategy, contact the digital marketing gurus at Zest today.