Finally! Tablet Device Bidding is Back in AdWords | DMA

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Finally! Tablet Device Bidding is Back in AdWords


Here at Periscopix we’re really pleased to see the roll-out of one of the most requested AdWords features in recent years; the ability to set bid adjustments for users searching on tablets. In this blog post, I will discuss why Google have decided to make such a big change, why we are so excited to see the launch of this feature and what this means from a performance perspective.

Some of you PPC veterans may remember that before the release of Enhanced Campaigns (#tbt to 2013), we could target separate devices in separate campaigns. When Google announced the launch of Enhanced Campaigns in June 2013, this targeting was all combined into one campaign with the ability to implement separate bid modifiers for mobile only, with desktop being the baseline. Although split out in the stats, in terms of bidding, tablet was always grouped together with desktop with no way to adjust this separately.

Why have Google made this change?

With the launch of Enhanced Campaigns in 2013, Google stated that “as devices converge, consumer behaviours on tablets and desktops are becoming very similar” (Source: Now, with over half of all web traffic now coming from mobile and tablet devices and mobile finally overtaking desktop traffic in 2015 (Source:, it’s clear that this couldn’t be further from the truth in today’s multi-device world.

Luckily for us, Google have recognised the need to adapt their device targeting options in this mobile-first world and this is just one of many recent updates to help us reach users more efficiently and effectively across a spectrum of devices.

So, why are we so excited about this finally arriving?

Impact on performance – As I’m sure you’re aware, users often act very differently on tablet than they do to desktop or mobile and up until now, we’ve been unable to react to these changes as effectively as we would like. Across our current portfolio:

  • Tablet cost per click (CPC) is 49% lower than desktop
  • Tablet conversion rate is 33% lower than desktop
  • Tablet CPC is 39% higher than mobile
  • Tablet conversion rate is 28% higher than mobile

However, we also see that for some verticals, tablet outperforms both mobile and desktop. With a B2B Telecoms client seeing a tablet outperform both other devices with a CPA 70% lower and a conversion rate 31% higher than desktop!

Although we could report back to clients on how tablet was performing with interesting insights, there were very few “next steps” that we could implement within AdWords itself to build on this, which was definitely a cause of frustration for many a Periscopix Account Manager. We’re really excited to be able to adjust our campaigns and drive further performance improvements over time with much more precise adjustments.

Implementing bid adjustments – It gives us the ability to up-weight or down-weight our bids for users on tablets based on performance metrics, in exactly the same way that we’re used to doing for mobile.

Using higher bid adjustments – We can now set bid adjustments from -100% to +900% for devices, up from the previous maximum amount of +300%, allowing us to bid even more aggressively for our most important audiences.

Setting base bids – We can now use the device most valuable to our account as the anchor, setting bid adjustments for the other two devices based on this baseline. Historically, desktop has always been the “base”, with it only being possible to layer mobile bid adjustments over this. We can now set our default bid for one device (either mobile, desktop or tablet) and then apply bid adjustments from -100% to +900% for the other two devices.

For campaigns where we see the majority of traffic coming from mobile, we can now use this device as the bid anchor and set bid adjustments for desktop and tablet on top of this.

What's next?


You need to start assessing your current device set up across your AdWords campaigns. As the ability to implement tablet modifiers rolls out across the board over the coming weeks, make sure you’re staying ahead of the curve and reviewing this as soon as possible.

Get working on tablet bid adjustments as well as checking in on your current mobile bid set-up, making sure to use calculated adjustments. As we can now implement adjustments up to +900%, it’s the perfect opportunity for a review of performance across all devices.

You will naturally need to leave enough time to gather data before reviewing performance but we are confident that this will give us the ability to better target and reach the most engaged and relevant audience base.

If you have any further questions on this or anything else to do with your AdWords campaigns, please visit this blog written by Emma Searle on the Periscopix website and get in touch.

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