Google Announces Forthcoming Changes to Device Bidding In AdWords

Desktop mobile tablet

It’s the announcement the Paid Search team at Anicca have been waiting for since the shake-up to device targeting back in 2013 – Google is soon to allow individual bidding across all device types, with the option to select which device is your primary target; opening up a ‘mobile-first world’ as described by Google themselves.

At present Google restricts your control over which devices you would like your ads to show on, and how much you are willing to pay for each. As marketers we know however the users behaviour on each device is very different, and a blanket bid across all 3 (desktop, mobile & tablets), with just the ability to bid up or down on mobile just wasn’t suited to this user dynamic.

The current situation

For the last few years desktop and tablet had been grouped together under one umbrella bid, with no option to separate the two despite how they performed (for most clients very differently); meaning that we were less than pleased to apply a blanket bid across the 2.

Currently mobile bids are too set based on the overarching desktop bid, although you do have some control over the end bid through the use of positive or negative bid adjustments. This necessary desktop bid also ruled out the possibility of mobile only campaigns – although achievable to some level with low bids on desktop, there is always some desktop traffic filtering through.

What the update means

Advertisers will now be able to set the base bid to primarily target any one of the 3 devices, and then apply bid adjustments to the secondary targets as needed. This will allow advertisers to create desktop and mobile only campaigns with different strategies for each; giving you more control and flexibility within their optimisation, with focus towards the device that is of most value to you. You will also have extra control in campaigns targeting all devices.

You will be able to apply a maximum bid adjustment of up to +900% across any of the devices; giving you more precision in your bidding strategies to lower your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and improve your Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) for devices that don’t perform so well for your business model.


The new update allows businesses to shape their strategies more around your business models, rather than a one size fits all approach currently in effect.

It is certainly an exciting announcement and I for one can’t wait for this to come into effect in a couple of months’ time.

If you need any help with your Paid Search Activity and ensuring you are up-to-date and ready for these new Google changes then get in touch with us on 0116 298 7496.


Get in touch.
Let’s talk.

0116 254 7224