Google Back on Track to Help Advertisers Improve Marketing Performance

June 17, 2016
Johannes Källgren, VP Insights

Last week Google announced that in the coming months we will be able to bid separately for tablet and desktop traffic again. This is a development we have been hoping for since that ability was removed three years ago. It is significant because it will greatly improve the ability for advertisers to enhance their performance on mobile devices.

Prior to the release of Enhanced Campaigns, Google was on track to add more dimensions for advertisers to optimize and better reach their target audience. They were quick to add the ability to bid separately for iOS and Android in the early smart phone days and later added new ways to control search query matching with Broad Match Modifiers released in July 2010. But with the move to Enhanced Campaigns in July 2013, Google switched its focus to bidding simplicity. The company removed many of the tools that advanced advertisers were using to get the most out of their ad spend.

For some advertisers this was devastating, with conversion rates varying wildly between tablets and desktops. In some cases, double-digit performance efficiencies were lost by these removed dimensions.

The re-introduction of tablet bidding is hugely important for several reasons:

  • Promoting device applications stretches beyond App Ads - For a business that promotes a tablet app as part of their business model, the conversion rate and flows of acquiring customers can vary wildly between desktop and tablet searchers. If you have a model where users searching on a tablet arrive at a web browser landing page with a full or partial goal to download an app, that experience will be very different from the desktop experience. By the same token, desktop performance can also be improved as it will no longer need to make trade-offs with tablet performance.
  • Behavior and Intention changes by Time and Device - The behavior and intention of consumers at different times of the day can be very different across devices. From using a phone during the morning commute, to a computer at work, to picking up a tablet in the sofa after dinner. As the devices and times of day vary, so does what the user is searching for. This has a large impact on purchase intentions, and something that can be optimized for at the device-level using high frequency bidding.
  • Bidding with High Frequency across Devices – Advances in Predictive Search Bidding makes advertisers able to understand and optimize to the differences in device behavior using high frequency bidding. With the right technology to predict and bid on the differences in hourly conversion behavior, additional performance can be gained. And with tablet adding to this mix, this potential will become even greater.
  • Device Modifiers vs Keyword Bids - From the information released so far, it seems that Google's strategy is still centered on using bid modifiers, and that these modifiers will still be placed on an ad group level. For advertisers who wanted to bid to devices at the keyword level, they have had to either use single-keyword ad groups or create campaigns using a +300% mobile modifier to try to capture only mobile traffic in a separate campaign. These strategies have required either greatly increased complexity in managing accounts, or have included "leakage" of desktop traffic into the mobile campaign, making it hard to optimize to the right target.
  • Pure device campaigns - With the base bids getting introduced by Google, advertisers may have the option to take back keyword control of their device bidding. If it ends up being possible to set a tablet as the base bid in one campaign with desktop and mobile at -100%, and then duplicate that strategy for desktop and mobile across two campaigns with the same content, a marketer could choose to bid on every device with its correct value on a keyword level. The trade-off would be having 3x the amount of campaigns to manage, but for advertisers who have a smart, automated bidding solution, this move could have a huge impact on their marketing performance.

I applaud this move by Google and hope they will keep going! My hope is that the next move for Google will be to increase its capabilities for audience targeting and adding back important features like bidding to phone or browser type (let's hope this doesn't take another 3 years). With every added dimension, there are new pockets of performance to be exploited and used to a competitive advantage.

Click here to read via LinkedIn Pulse.

Johannes Källgren, VP Insights
Johannes Källgren, VP Insights

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