AdWords’ New Device Bidding Best Practice Recommendations

I watched the live hangout earlier today, talking about the upcoming changes to Device Bidding and I was surprised at how short it was (about 15 minutes including taking online questions). Rather than generating a ton of tweets, I thought I’d just share some of my notes and thoughts in a post.

It’s Official… Do Not Break Campaigns Into Multiples For Each Device

This was their official recommendation and best practice, keep your campaigns as one entity and just use the bid adjustments to control spend by devices. Why is this their position? Essentially because it is less work to do it this way. Also, according to the presenters, all of the “perceived benefits” of doing separate campaigns are totally available within AdWords, so it’s not worth the trouble.

Here is the slide (for some reason all of the slides were cut off, even in full screen view):

Keep AdWords Campaigns Consolidated

Source: Google AdWords Hangout (linked below)

For example – want device specific messaging? Just use ad customizers! Awesome, but what about non-commerce organizations? Cause customizers are very heavily commerce skewed. Here is the skinny on setting up Customizers.

I’m not saying that every single account should have every single campaign broken into 3 with one for each device now, but this feels like a massive oversimplification of real world account behavior and the need to manage them both efficiently AND effectively.

Guess What? Smart Bidding (Formerly Automated Bidding) Solves All The Headaches!

I mean you *can* still manually set and manage bids, but again, that is a lot of work. Why not just let AdWords do it for you? And, using Smart Bidding is their official recommendation/best practice.

The example they used had the smart bidding based on Target CPA. Which I was following along with ok (although Target CPA is more applicable in some industries than others, for sure), but then the wheels came off a bit when they suggested that really, what you should do is to set your bidding based on “Full Value CPA”. What is that, you ask? Well, it is essentially making up adjustment figures for your AdWords CPA conversion data based on other data, which could be from Assisting Device report or “your own metrics”. They actually said “try to guess the best number” for your full value CPAs, which are to become the basis for the bid adjustments?!?

Again the slide:

Full Value CPA Sources

Source: Google AdWords Hangout (linked below)

Also, it is a best practice to NOT choose one of the device categories as your baseline bid and adjust the other two, but rather it was suggested that you set your base bids at the aggregate performance for the ad group or keyword and then apply modifiers to all three devices. Huh? As performance changes across devices that aggregate bid might become quite disproportional faster than using one device as the base bid and using modifiers for the other two, at least that makes way more sense to me?

Your stance on automated bidding, whether via AdWords or a third party tool, probably varies by industry and scale of accounts being managed. Again, I don’t think there is necessarily only one way to manage one’s bids. The Smart Bidding just reminds me a little too much of Smart Goals (which I called “made up conversions” when they were announced).

One more tidbit, in case you didn’t know – Target CPA bidding by itself will ignore bid adjustments, but if you use Smart Bidding, then you can have them (according to the presenters). Full disclosure, I don’t use Target CPA bidding, so I’m not as familiar with how they interact with bid adjustments? Seemed like an interesting point to me when I heard it. And from AdWords’ own help page, here is what it currently says:

Keep in mind – Because Target CPA optimizes your bids based on real-time data, your existing bid adjustments are not used. There is one exception: You can still set mobile bid adjustments of -100%. Note that you don’t need to remove bid adjustments—they just won’t be used.

What If You Use Third Party Bid Management Tools?

This question was asked and the answer was pretty much to contact your vendor to find out when and how they will support device bidding in their platforms.

When Will Everyone Have Device Bidding In Their Accounts?

It is rolling out now and will continue to through August and September, according to the presenters.

Looking For Help On How Device Bidding Will Work?

AdWords help and support pages don’t seem to be quite up to date on this just yet.

Overall, I am excited to even have the option to set bids differently by device. I think this is a much, much needed change to the AdWords platform. But, as usual, I find the “official recommendations and best practices” to be a bit confounding.

Here is the link to the recorded hangout. And please, if you hear or understand something differently that what I did, let me know! I love hearing others’ thoughts on things like this.


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