Responding to Device Changes in Google and Bing

Back in January, I wrote a post on why it’s time for B2B advertisers to go mobile. I hope you’ve added mobile to your PPC strategy this year. Recently, both Bing and Google announced some changes to mobile advertising that you need to be aware of and react to within your PPC campaigns.

Track Your Results and Adjust Bids.

In the past week, Bing rolled out the first wave of planned campaign settings changes that affect mobile advertisers. Bing Ads advertisers can no longer use separate campaigns for tablets. Tablets are now part of desktop campaigns.

Tablet-only campaigns weren’t commonly used by PPC advertisers, so that alone isn’t a big deal for most people. But you’ll want to check your traffic, CPCs, and conversion rates carefully over the next few weeks.

Watch for spikes in these key metrics. Spikes could indicate an unwanted bump in non-converting traffic from tablets. If you see that your conversion rates are decreasing and cost per conversion is going up, you’ll want to adjust your keyword and ad group bids accordingly.

Use the Tablet Modifier.

While it’s sad to lose control over tablet traffic in Bing Ads, the good news is that Bing Ads has given us a tablet bid modifier. Tablet bids can be modified from -20 percent (decrease by 20 percent) to 300 percent (increase by 300 percent).

If you see spikes in CPCs without a spike in conversion, consider using the tablet modifier and reducing bids by 20 percent to mitigate the impact on your return on investment (ROI).

Conversely, if you see an increase in conversions, it might be coming from tablets. Consider adding a positive bid modifier for tablet traffic.

Start Using Mobile Bid Modifiers.

While Bing Ads still has the option to use mobile-only campaigns, that option is going away in early 2015, so it’s a good idea to get used to using mobile bid modifiers if you aren’t already. Review your performance by device in Bing Ads by running a device report:

bing-device-report

Export your data and then use a pivot table to summarize stats by device. You’ll get something like this:

Device  Impressions  Clicks  Cost  Conversions  Cost/Conv 
Computer 310,480 12,032 $37,396.89 67 $558.16
Smartphone 90,483 1,379 $2,945.73 0 $0.00
Tablet 44,910 1,464 $4,727.63 5 $945.53

This data will help you decide where to set your modifiers. In this case, I’d set mobile to -100 percent. Unlike tablets, Bing Ads still offers a mobile opt-out by using a -100 percent modifier. If your mobile performance is comparable to computers, though, you may not want to use a modifier at all. Make sure to look at the data so you are making an informed decision one way or another.

Use Improved Dayparting.

Bing Ads recently improved its dayparting capabilities. Previously, you could only schedule ads during multi-hour blocks of time, which wasn’t ideal for most advertisers. Those who needed to schedule in a tighter time frame were forced over to Google.

Bing Ads is now on an even playing field with ad scheduling, offering 15-minute increments:

bing-ad-scheduling

If you find that you’re getting a lot of mobile traffic during certain times of the day that isn’t converting, or that’s converting better than average, you may want to adjust your ad schedule to modify bids during that time.

Use Mobile-Preferred Ads for Bing and Google

Both Bing Ads and Google AdWords offer mobile-preferred ads.

bing-mobile-preferred

While mobile-preferred ads aren’t guaranteed to show up on mobile devices only, setting them up in the engines enables you to use ad copy that would appeal to mobile searchers.

Think about your customers, and what they might be looking for on a mobile device. Then work that into your ad copy. Using mobile-preferred ads can often improve your conversion rate on mobile devices.

Start Testing Mobile Ad Copy.

Google recently announced that it will begin truncating the second description line of ad copy on mobile devices. The challenge with this change is that many advertisers traditionally put their call to action in the second line of ad copy.

Consider this ad, which follows a common e-commerce convention:

Buy Blue Widgets

Huge Selection of Quality Widgets.

Save 50% + Free Shipping! Buy Now.

That last line is compelling – it contains all the reasons to buy from this advertiser. But the truncated mobile version would be:

Buy Blue Widgets

Huge Selection of Quality Widgets.

Pretty boring, right? There’s no call to action and nothing unique here.

The ad might still convert well, which is why you need to test it. But you’ll probably want to test switching the first and second description lines, like this:

Buy Blue Widgets

Save 50% + Free Shipping! Buy Now.

Huge Selection of Quality Widgets.

With this ad, the truncated version becomes:

Buy Blue Widgets

Save 50% + Free Shipping! Buy Now.

This ad is a lot more compelling than the previous truncated version.

You’ll want to run this test in both Google and Bing, if for no other reason than Bing tends to follow Google, so they may soon decide to start truncating mobile ads, too. Plus, you might find the test ad performs better even in its full version!

With a little vigilance, you can quickly adapt to the latest device changes in both Google and Bing.

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