Using Bid Modifiers for Mobile Devices to Improve CPA

By Amanda Sides | Nov 18, 2013
More Articles by Amanda


Screenshot_2013-11-15-17-46-50Whether you’re new to the whole AdWords game or have been a heavy hitter for years now, a ton of changes have happened over the past few months that we’re all still warming up to. One of those changes is how Google looks at mobile. Google is trying to promote ads on mobile more and more these days, and if you aren’t careful, it could be extremely detrimental to your performance.

Yes, mobile is a great avenue for ads and, depending on the product or service being advertised, could be the best place for you to spend your ad budget; but if you aren’t aware of how the money is being spent, then it could all be for nothing.

If you aren’t familiar with device bid modifiers, start gettin’ cozy. While Google may try to persuade you from using them, they are indeed your allies. If you haven’t yet, take a quick look at your performance and segment by device; you may be shocked at the amount of money you are spending on mobile and how much you’re NOT getting from it.

For a sample of client accounts (see clients A through D below), we started implementing pretty aggressive bid modifiers for campaigns based on how mobile performance weighed in. Some would be reduced by 20%, some by 75%, some even increased 15% or 20% if mobile performance was doing well for certain campaigns. After some time passed, I decided to take a look at how that impacted performance.

mobile bid adj perf

Based on our data for mobile performance, it hasn’t had an effect, positive or negative, on click-through rates or conversion volumes; however, cost-per-click and cost-per-conversion performance have significantly improved.

Cost-per-click improved anywhere from 12% to 55%, and cost-per-conversion improved anywhere between 69% to 90%.

Note that this study includes Search and Display campaign data, including Remarketing data (does not include view-through data), and these clients all have either responsive design landing pages or custom landing pages specifically for mobile.

One thing to note is you will likely see significant changes in impression and click volumes as you implement bid modifiers. You’ll want to keep a close eye on everything and see how your bid adjustments are impacting your performance, and keep adjusting until you find your sweet spot. Keep in mind that if you dramatically reduce bids through bid modifiers you could be knocking yourself off of the page since there are so few ads on mobile devices. If impression share and branding are more important to you than cost-per-conversion, you’ll want to use a different strategy than the one mentioned here.

Now go take 5 minutes to look your account over and be on your way to better performance from mobile ads!

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