Google overhauls AdWords for multi-device search

Google has unveiled a host of changes to how advertisers bid on search terms making it less complicated to book campaigns for multiple devices as consumers increasingly search on smartphones and tablets.


The changes to Google’s AdWords platform mean advertisers can now adjust their bids for ad impressions on smartphones, location and on time of day using a single interface.

For example, a restaurant targeting mobile users searching for ‘restaurants’ near its outlets can use bid adjustments to pay 50 per cent more for searches on smartphones because the clicks are deemed more valuable.

The business can also bid 25 per cent higher for people searching within a mile of their premises and 20 per cent lower for searches in the morning, as these searches are deemed less vaulable.

These bid adjustments can apply to all ads and all keywords in one single campaign interface whereas previously this would have required separate campaigns to target users in the different scenarios.

As part of the update, advertisers’ campaign copy can now be automatically tailored to appear on specific device types meaning brands don’t have to edit each each campaign for every possible scenario.

Enhanced campaigns also provides brands with improved measurement of mobile elements of their campaigns with improved analytics tools making it easier to count the number of calls or app downloads generated by each AdWords campaign.

The update announcements, made by Google’s senior vice president of engineering Sridhar Ramaswamy, are scheduled to roll out over the coming weeks and have been made to accommodate consumers’ search habits increasingly spanning multiple devices.

It comes as research from Google indicates that tablet penetration of the UK is currently at 22 per cent and that 90 per cent of “multi-device consumers” move sequentially between several screens to accomplish a task, according to Ramaswamy.

“Enhanced campaigns help you reach people with the right ads, based on their context like location, time of day and device type, across all devices without having to set up and manage several separate campaigns,” he adds.

Earlier today the search giant’s intention to pay $125m for e-commerce firm Channel Intelligence was also announced by its parent company ICG Group.


Ronan Shields

In a world where users are beginning to research products on one device and then continue this process on a number of different channels, this development will undoubtedly help marketers contextualise their campaigns appropriately.

Coming from the company that effectively coined the term ‘mobile first’, this is a welcome development from Google, as it does remove a major barrier to entry, i.e. the sheer amount of time it took to deploy a mobile campaign.

However, as mobile effectively becomes opted-in by default, brands must ensure their online properties are optimised for visits by users of such devices. So with over 40 per cent of brands still not having a mobile optimised site, according to the latest IAB figures, this surely means that brands many out there have a lot of catching up to do.

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