Increase Conversions with Adwords Bid Targeting by Device

Continuing my writings on making money online and using online advertising to increase retail sales, I wanted to take a look at another simple trick that I’ve used to generate more conversions. This involves targeted bidding on Google Adwords, specifically through the type of electronic device that is being used by the potential customer. Certain ads need to be boosted, in order to maximize the results that they get, beyond just writing and testing new ad copy.


Increasing Ad Bids?

I know that it can be frustrating to have to increase your bids and therefore the amount of money you are spending per click on Adwords. Sometimes though, increasing you bid in a targeted manner is the only way to climb to the number one average position versus your competitors.

The two levers for getting more sales through online advertising are:

  • Getting more relevant clicks
  • Increasing your conversion rate


Ideally, you want to increase both metrics as much as possible, and utterly dominate the market that you’re in. However, you can knock sales out of the park simply by increasing that first metric, and getting more sales just through sheer numbers.

How does targeting by device work into this?

In some ad categories, the only way you are going to get a leg up on the competition is through maxing out your bid. It’s not always worth going this route for every advertisement (which I’ll explain shortly) but there are times when this can really boost sales.

For example, in one of the retail niches that I do marketing for, I had an ad group that I simply could not outrank the major competitor in that market for. I would create new ads, utilize ad extensions, had good conversion metrics, and had a perfect 10/10 relevance score. None of this got me over the last hurdle of outranking this competitor business.

This ad was seemingly stuck in the 1.8-2.3 average position and could only be counted to contribute a limited number of sales each month. The only way to remedy this was to increase my bid, but not the general advertising bid. Instead, I would have to target the individual devices and outmaneuver the competitor through this manner.

Did the average CPC go up? Yes, it almost doubled.

Did the number of conversions go up? Yes, by 2.5x.

More was spent but much more revenue was brought in. So, while conversions increased by 2.5 times the previous amount, your revenue goes up by more because of those random sales where people go on a spending spree.

Add to the fact, that there are a high percentage of repeat customers in many retail niches and you can start to see how valuable getting that number one spot can be. It’s not unusual to get a brand new customer, and have them place 3-4 orders over the next year, which makes the doubling of the CPC not such a big deal.


How to Use Targeted Device Bid Increases

In Google Adwords, devices are split into 3 types: computers, mobile, and tablets.

If you want to see your current bidding and metrics for these devices:

  1. Log into your Adwords account
  2. Click on the Campaign you want to see
  3. Click on a specific Ad Group you want to look at the metrics for.
  4. Click Devices on the left hand column

Once you’re in the Devices section, you will see how your ad is doing on each of the three types of devices. As well as, its current Average Position on each of the devices.

Notice also, the column labeled Bid Adj. (Bid Adjustment). This is how you are able to increase your bid on each individual type of device. You can increase your bid by up to 900%. Now, this doesn’t mean you’ll be paying 900% more, but you are telling Google that you’re willing to do whatever it takes for that number one spot.

It doesn’t always take a huge percentage increase to grab the top spot. Much of the time, it’s just a slight shift upward, and your ad gets shown many more times than it used to.

You may also have times where only one type of device needs to have its bid adjusted. For instance, you may want to really hammer the bid specifically for mobile devices. I always like to do slight revisions upward with the bid. Then, give it a few days to see where it’s no Average Position has settled.


Is It Always Worth Getting the Top Spot?

Short answer, no.

As I wrote about yesterday, online advertising platforms can all too often show your ads for irrelevant searches.

Meaning, if you adjust your bids higher, you’ll get a higher rank. The downside is that, you’ll be ranking higher for searches that aren’t going to get you any more sales.

There is also a danger of adjusting certain bids too high and eating up your daily budget. Some ads simply won’t convert at a high percentage, no matter how many potential customers you send at it. These ads will cost more money and take away money from better performing advertisements.

You might end up lowering your revenue stream from Adwords inadvertently, trying to reach higher for extra clicks on a mediocre ad. There are these weird ad groups you can get that are only profitable with a lower number of clicks…as counter intuitive as that sounds.

Finally, some ads just don’t need to be adjusted. Low competition ads can generally have the number one spot on lock down, without having to bid more. Don’t give Google more money, if you’re not getting benefits from it.



After going through my accounts and experimenting for months with device bid adjustments, I came to the conclusion that it was only beneficial to do for maybe 60% of my Ad Groups.

Some didn’t need adjustments. Others didn’t gain any more sales from adjustments. Then there were the one’s who responded extremely well, like the aforementioned example. There were also ads that I increased bids on computers only and started getting extra conversions each month.

Go through your own Adwords account and take stock of what needs to be done to get the highest average position. Experiment with a few ads to see if it’s worth it or if you need to be extra ruthless with how you use your negative keyword list. Remember that even small improvements can have major impacts over the time frame of the entire year.

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