Last Updated on July 31, 2020
Picking Your Targets
User behavior is different depending on the device we’re using. Our habits and intentions are different when we’re looking at a website on our phone, compared to when we’re looking at the same website on our mobile. If user habits change, then so should our marketing tactics. That’s why you need to get to grips with device targeting if you’re running any PPC campaigns on Google Ads.
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Over the last few years we’ve spent a lot of time on this blog discussing the importance of having a website that is mobile friendly. The rise of smartphone usage has made mobile internet browsing the rule, rather than the exception, with around 60% of all searches carried out on Google being made on mobile devices. If you’re not already, you need to be creating marketing for different types of device.
What is Device Targeting?
Device targeting is a tool in Google Ads that lets you choose which ads are shown on which devices. You can create mobile only campaigns. Or specific ad variations for tablets. Or run different bidding strategies for desktop ad groups.
In Google Ads you have three choices:
You can also break things down further by specifically targeting different operating systems, so if for example you’re selling software that only works on iPhones, you could exclude ads on Google Chrome (although that may be a risky tactic as iPhone users could still be using Chrome).
You can send users from mobile devices to a mobile specific landing page or create totally different ads for users who are using iOS. Being able to create specific ads for specific platforms has another knock on effect. It also allows you to increase, or decrease, bids separately for different devices. If you notice that mobile users are more likely to convert than desktop, then you can add bid adjustments for those campaigns or ad groups.
For example, imagine you sell handbags online, and 60% of your customers come from mobile. Additionally, you’ve also noticed that the number of buyers from mobile is growing faster than those on other devices. With the hope of growing your customer base faster, you decide to set up a 25% bid increase for mobile phones. This means that Google will push most of your daily budget towards mobile users, instead of spending it on desktop clicks that have a lower likelihood of converting.
If you’re setting up different ads for different devices the first thing to think about is; why? What different behaviors or trends have you noticed from mobile users that will influence any changes.
Putting aside differences that will be specific to every business there are several basic things to consider when considering mobile users:
- Screen size – A mobile or tablet screen is smaller than a desktop one. Because of this the search engine results page (and your landing pages/ website) will display differently. If your ads are shown in positions one or two on mobile, then they will be at the top of the SERP and take up almost the whole mobile screen. On desktop the SERP is larger, so your ads will take up a lower percentage of the screen, potentially making the ads less valuable.
- On the move – Another thing to consider is what the user is doing while on mobile. When someone is using a desktop computer to browse Google they’re typically sat down and relatively settled. Mobile users could be doing anything, from riding the subway, to working out at the gym. Because of this attention spans will differ. Keeping your mobile ads, and landing pages, simple and easy to skim while for mobile users is important.
- High value products – Considered purchases (defined as; a complex buying decision with a high degree of financial and/or emotional risk and reward) may be less likely to happen on a mobile device. With only 34% of online purchases happening on mobile, you potentially need to rethink your goals when running mobile only campaigns. Instead of focusing them on purchases, perhaps use CTAs offering more content, or suggesting they join your mailing list.
The same ideas apply for desktop only campaigns. Desktop users will act differently to their mobile counterparts. If you’re not sure how to find this information we have a number of suggestions.
- A/B Test – The simplest way to find out how/ if your users behave differently is by creating two identical campaigns and running one campaign on mobile, and the other on desktop. Then look at the results. Once you have some data you can start tweaking each campaign, and see how they develop differently.
- Get into your Analytics – Information on your website usage is broken down by device in Google Analytics. You just need to go to Audience > Mobile to see some information on how your users behave when browsing on different devices.
- Use a tool like Hotjar – HotJar will record users who visit your website giving you insight into how your website is used on different devices. You can look at heatmaps showing where clicks happen, or how far a page is scrolled down, and also look at individual recordings of users browsing your site.
Hopefully by now we’ve piqued your interest in setting up device targeting for some of your Google Ads campaigns. Here’s our step by step video on how to get it up and running.
How to Set up Device Targeting
Short on time and want to skip directly to the step-by-step instructions? Here they are:
- To set up device targeting first sign in to your AdWords account.
- From the page menu on the left, click “Devices”.
- Select the type of device you’d like to adjust, and click “Edit,” then click “Change bid adjustments.”
- If you don’t want to show your ads from this campaign on a specific device type, decrease your bid by 100%. This means you will bid a max of $0.00 for that device, which effectively turns it off.
- Then, click “Apply” to save your changes.
- You can also change your bid adjustments directly from the table here. Simply click on the current bid adjustment, then choose “Increase” or “Decrease,” and type in your new bid adjustment.
You can also use device targeting with Display campaigns. In addition to device types and operating systems, Display campaigns will allow you to target specific device models, carriers and wireless networks, as well as ad inventory, meaning space where publishers allow ads to run. Some of these advanced mobile and tablet options aren’t available for other campaign types.
To target device models, carriers, networks and ad inventory, you’ll need to do the setup somewhere else. If you want to do that then:
- Click the Campaigns tab.
- Select one of your “Display Network only – All features” campaigns.
- Click the Settings tab.
- Under Additional settings, expand the “Device” tab, and select “Set specific targeting for devices”.
- To opt out of showing ads on a specific device or ad inventory type, uncheck the box next to it.
- To target specific device operating systems, models, carriers, or networks, click “All options”. In the pop-up window, select where you’d like your ads to show.
- To set bid adjustments, go to the Devices tab from the page menu on the left, and do the same as we’ve mentioned earlier on.
As always, there’s more than one way to set something up in AdWords. If you find anything new about Device Targeting or a quicker way to get bid adjustments for devices set up, please feel free to leave a comment below!
Hitting your Targets
We think that setting up device targeting is an important step in setting up an efficient Google Ads campaign. If you’re not paying attention to your customers’ behavior then you can’t understand their motivations.