Google AdWords: The Return of Desktop, Mobile & Tablet Device Segmentation

Google has rolled out several new updates for advertisers using its Google AdWords product, with the two most impactful being, of course, Enhanced Text Ads and Device Segmentation, both of which were initially available only to those on the beta whitelist.

In this article, we’ll focus on Device Segmentation, which, while seemingly a new feature, was once used on a regular basis —  before the introduction of Enhanced Campaigns removed this level of segmentation, essentially combining mobile and tablet into one category.

How Should SEM Specialists Respond?

As with most Google updates, it’s best to start with a solid strategy before making widespread changes across your clients’ accounts and campaigns. We advise beginning with only a few Google AdWords campaigns to see how this level of segmentation could potentially impact your key performance indicators (KPIs). In most cases, it’ll be clear based on historical account data which campaigns could benefit from the additional level of granularity.

For instance, there could be an example where campaign traffic from mobile devices has a substantially lower cost-per-conversion (CPA), while also driving more overall conversions. In this instance, it would be best to make this a mobile-only campaign, while setting the duplicated campaign to respond to only desktop traffic – of course, with the appropriate bids in place to maximize return on ad spend.

Segmenting Your AdWords Campaigns

It’s a pretty easy setup process – simply navigate to the “Settings” tab for each campaign and add -100 bid adjustments for the traffic sources you’d like to exclude.  In the example above, we would be adding negative adjustments for desktop and traffic sources, while maintaining our bid for mobile traffic. We’ll have to perform the inverse operation in the duplicated campaign, adding -100 bid adjustments for mobile and tablet traffic.

When it comes times to make these changes within your Google AdWords account there’s a chance you’ll come across campaigns with similar performance across devices.

When this happens, we recommend separating your campaigns based on the device that receives the lower traffic numbers. e.g., when mobile and desktop have similar conversion rates, but mobile traffic makes up a majority of your traffic and spend, you should make that campaign mobile only while using the duplicate campaign to target desktop search queries.

Final Thoughts About Device Segmentation

As mentioned above, it’s best to test this campaign where applicable, as you may find you’d rather leave certain campaigns untouched – even without the benefit of mobile-specific ads. In this case, it’s worth testing how this method compares to results you’re seeing elsewhere. There is definitely the possibility that you’ll have to engage in agile marketing and create new campaigns if you see performance decline on any device segments.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below as you begin using device segmentation to optimize and grow what works!

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