How are mobile devices currently targeted?
Currently you can target your campaigns by different device – desktop, tablet and mobile. This has always been recommended by Google as people’s searching habits are very different on a mobile compared to a desktop. Consequently you will find different conversion rates, CPC, average positions and competition depending on the device you are targeting.
Progressive PPC practitioners have made this work very well for their clients. How? Well, in simple terms, the competition for clicks is lower on mobile devices than for desktop devices. Why? Because advertisers have really been pretty slow to spot the difference and set up new campaigns specifically for mobile devices. As a consequence, the average CPC for a desktop has typically been higher than for mobile devices (where the traffic ironically is gravitating towards) and therefore of course, the CPA for Desktops is higher and the ROI for mobile devices better.
Of course the progressive PPC practitioners love this as they had a kind of ‘secret advantage’, and Google hated it because advertisers were being slow to add mobile-specific campaigns (and therefore more ad spend for Google) to the desktop ones.
So what’s changing?
With ‘Enhanced Campaign Feature’ the PPC practitioner will no longer be able to differentiate between device users in the same way and develop separate strategies accordingly. By default all campaigns will play on all devices. As we stated above, people’s search habits have proved to be different on mobiles and desktops, and indeed tablets. For example, take Pull Digital’s (fictitious for purposes of illustration) client. They have Google campaigns that are split by desktop, mobile and tablet and therefore might have a months’ worth of data that looks like this:
If their goal was cost per conversion, they should consider lowering their budget or stopping their mobile campaign all-together and concentrating more on tablets. With the new ‘enhanced campaign’s’ you are not able to do this. If you have a campaign live, you have to target desktops and tablets and can only opt out of targeting mobile devices by modifying your bid. Some may argue that this is a good thing – many of our clients’ accounts has been growing various campaigns segmented by different devices – and what this change does do, is make that easier to manage.
Why have Google done this?
It’s about the money! Experience shows that Google rarely does things just for their advertisers - there has to be something in it for them. We saw it with Google shopping and now we are seeing it here. Google have been trying to push mobile for the past few years, and now by making these changes they will get more advertisers advertising more widely through this route. It feels as though Google have got fed up with advertisers being so slow to add mobile device campaigns and forced the issue. This takes away the advantage that accounts have where the competition is less on mobile devices, the CPC lower and ROI accordingly better. Google are eliminating the ability to strictly segment by device. Campaigns will be opted into all devices by default.
Is there any good news?
There are a few things that Google are introducing that we very much welcome:
· Site Links – You can now target by ad group rather than just campaign level
· Better stats on site links – these have always been uninformative
There is still much uncertainty surrounding this but we have until June 2013 to get prepared. Having said this, you are able to prepare your campaigns for the transition now, although given the advantage advertisers have who currently target mobile devices separately, we recommend waiting as long as possible until you make this transition.