How to use Adwords mobile bid adjustments to Generate More Conversions

If you are looking to improve your Adwords conversion rate while reducing your cost per conversion, implementing Adwords mobile bid adjustments is a quick and straightforwards tactic that will allow you to do this.

Naturally your conversion rate will vary depending on what devices users are browsing on. If your website is not as well optimised for mobile devices as it is for desktop devices then your conversion rate is likely to be lower on mobile devices.

Research by IBM from a range of retailers showed that on average desktop devices convert the best and mobile devices convert the worst, with tablet in the middle.

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Image credit: Swiftype

This presents you with a good opportunity to optimise how you are spending your Adwords budget. You will want to spend as much of your budget as possible on the devices that is converting the best and the least amount of your budget on the devices that is converting the worst

By doing this you will generate the maximum number of conversions for your budget, whether they are sales on your website, phone enquires or users filling out a contact form on your website.

In this guide I’m going to be teaching you how to can use Adwords mobile bid adjustments to do just that so you can start seeing improved conversion rates within a few hours.

What Are Adwords Mobile Bid Adjustments?

If at this point you are wondering, what are Adwords mobile bid modifiers? Then the answer is fairly simple. They allow you to tell Google how much you want to increase or decrease your bids by on each device.

Lets say for example that your adverts convert twice as well on mobile devices than they do on desktop devices then you may want to double your bids on mobile devices so that they get twice as much of your budget.

To double the bids you would need to use an Adwords bid adjustment of 100%. So say for example that your current bid on a keywords is £3 then this would increase this bid to £6 on mobile devices which would mean that it will appear higher in the search results and generate more traffic and conversions.

Where Can I Find Mobile Bid Adjustments?

Adwords Mobile bid adjustments can be set in both the standard Adwords interface or using Adwords editor for more advanced users.

Within the standard Adwords interface mobile bid adjustments can be found within the campaign settings of your account. Once here you will need to navigate to the devices sub tab as shown below.

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At this point you should be able to see a breakdown of your account performance by device. Adwords bid adjustments can be set for mobile, tablet and devices since Google updated this in May 2016 that replaced the single mobile bid adjustment.

To set a mobile bid adjustment you should select the two dashed line that can be seen within the bid adjustment column. Once you have done this you have two options. You can either increase bids by a certain percentage, or decrease bids by a certain percentage.

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The percentage must be a whole number between -100% to +900%. If no bid adjustment is entered the bid on mobile devices will be the same as desktop.

One thing to consider is multiple bid modifiers and how these will affect each other. The more advanced users out their will know that you can set bid adjustments for more than just devices, you can set them for locations, hours of the day and day or the week and for RLSA.

When you set bid adjustments in several different dimensions they are multiplied together not summed. So for example if you had a starting bid of £1 and then you increased your bids by 20% on Mondays your bid would then be increased to £1.20. If you then increase your bids on mobile devices by 30% then you would increase £1.20 by 30% which would give you a bid of £1.56.

To make this easier for you to calculate so that you don’t have to do the maths every time Google have created a bid calculator that you can use to show how your bid would be effected by using different bid modifiers.

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In the next section I will be explaining how to calculate your bid adjustments based on your gaols.

How to calculate Adwords Mobile Bid Adjustments

The first thing that you need to do to make any calculating within Adwords is to ensure that you have enough data to make a statistically significant decision. To so this we would suggest that you look at 30 – 90 days of data.

If you have a particular seasonal account, where the performance of your account varies widely depending on what time of year it is, you may want to only use data from the last 30 days or use data from the same time period the previous year to make sure that you have enough data to make the correct calculation.

Once you have enough data to look at the next step is to determine the goal of your Adwords account and then calculate your bid modifiers based on that.

I want to Increase my conversion rate

If you want to increase your conversion rate then you should calculate your bid modifiers using the following formula.

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So for example if your conversion rate for mobile devices is 5.68% and the average conversion rate for the campaign (for all 3 devices) is 3.49% you will see that mobile devices are converting well and more budget should be allocated towards them. In this case by plugging the numbers into this formula you will end up with a mobile bid adjustment of 63%.

I want to Generate more phone leads

If the aim of your campings is to generate more phone leads then a really cool way to do this is to distribute more budget to the device that is generating the most calls. To use this analysis you will need to have call tracking setup within your account using either Adwords call tracking or call tracking from a 3rd party provider.

The way to see this data is to apply something called a segment. To do this when viewing your device report click segment > conversions > conversion name as shown below

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It should give you a report that shows the number of phone calls, website enquires etc that have been generated by each device that looks something like the one below.

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Once you have done this total up all of the phone call conversions across the 3 devices and divide this number by 3 so you know the average number of phone calls per device. So for example if there were 180 phone call conversions you would have expected that 60 would have come from each device. Then use the following formula.

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So using the example above if i saw that mobile devices had generate 100 out of the 180 total phone calls then I would make the calculation (100/60)-1*100. Here the 60 the number of phone calls expected based on the 180 total if each devices were equally responsible for each phone lead.

You could also use this method to optimise bids to generate the maximum number of offline conversions which would be useful for most service based companies.

I want more revenue per click

This is the option that Google suggest that you use and is more stable than ROAS bidding. This option like ROAS bidding will not be suitable for advertisers that don’t have accurate conversion values in place.

Here is the calculation that you would need to use.screen-shot-2016-11-12-at-21-31-53For example if you have a retailer that has sold £15K on desktop devices this month from 10K clicks the value per click or revenue per click would be £1.50. Similar if the advertisers had sold £12K on mobile devices from 10K clicks the value pre click would be £1.20. If we plug these numbers into this calculation then we would get a mobile bid adjustment of -20%.

Never set and forget!

As with all online marketing techniques, mobile bid adjustments aren’t something you should just “set and forget.” Frequent iteration and testing will help you account for changes in seasonality or business operations.. For high traffic accounts you may want to do this weekly but for smaller accounts you will only need to do this monthly or bi monthly.

For thee very advanced strategies for setting Adwords mobile bid adjustments I would suggest reading “3 Advanced Tips For Bid Adjustments In Google Enhanced Campaigns” by .

In his article he talks in depth about advanced strategies such as using weighted ratios as opposed to averages when calculating adjusted bids, setting minimum and maximum limits to your bid adjustments and when you should opt to use ROAS calculations over RPC calculations.

Adwords Scripts that calculate Adwords mobile bid adjustments

For more advanced users there are several Adwords Scripts that allow you to calculate your Adwords mobile bid adjustments automatically. Adwords Scripts for those of you who are unfamiliar are pieces of javascript code that can be passed into your Adwords account to automate certain tasks.

Russell Savage an Adwords script veteran and ex Googler Frederick Valleys have come together to create a fantastic Adwords script that can be copied and pasted into Adwords that will automatically calculate and set bid adjustments. You can download the mobile bid adjustment script here.

It was built based on Kohki Yamaguchi’s methodology as explained on MarketingLand.com to determine bid multipliers based on ROAS (return on ads spend) or RPC (revenue per click) data. This makes it very versatile and should be sutiable for the vast majority of advertisers.

The AdWords Script can set the mobile bid multiplier at the campaign level, but if you want to get more granular and apply bid modifiers to ad groups, you have to take the outputs as a spreadsheet for use with AdWords Editor because ad group level modifiers are not yet supported in Scripts.

For full documentation on how to setup and customise the script for advanced users can be found here. For users who are just starting out with Adwords Scripts here is a short guide that will explain how to copy and paste the script into Adwords and get it up and running.

Conclusion

Overall Adwords mobile bid modifiers present a great opportunity for advertisers to improve the performance of their Adwords accounts by distributing more budget to the best performing devices.

When it comes to calculating your mobile bid adjustments you first need to ensure that you have enough data to make a statistically significant decision. Then secondly you need to make sure that you have choose the right calculation to make based on your goals, whether it be to generate more conversions, maximise ROAS or generate more phone calls.

If you are managing a very large scale Adwords account I would urge you to read  article that provides 3 advanced strategies that will help you take your Adwords accounts to the next level.

For the more advanced advertisers out their that may manage accounts with thousands of campings automating this task is essential and this is where Adwords Scripts can come in useful for automatically calculating your mobile bid modifiers and setting them.

wesley parker
About wesley parker

Wesley is Founder and CEO at Clicteq. He currently manages a £6 Mil Adwords portfolio across a range of different sectors. He regulally features in leading search publications such as Search Engine Journal, Econsultancy and Certified Knowledge.

4 thoughts on “How to use Adwords mobile bid adjustments to Generate More Conversions

  • Another golden post as I find my way through your blog feed.

    Q: Some PPC specialist are fond of the idea to split campaigns by device to gain more control of bids. Are you a big fan of splitting campaigns by device type? I can understand why, but always interesting to gain the perspective of other experts in the field to valid such tactics.

    I’m looking at taking our AdWords accounts to another level, so I’m gathering ideas around a couple of tactics and practices to apply come the new year.

    • Hi Wiehan, for larger accounts that have a large search volume I’m a fan of splitting the accounts of by device, however for lower search volume accounts its not always the best option as you have to aggregate data to get statistical significance.

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