Google Caves on Ad Group–Level Mobile Bids

April 9, 2018

Earlier this week Google announced some upcoming changes to Enhanced Campaigns. Soon, advertisers will be able to set mobile bid adjustments at the ad group level:

To provide more control and precision over bids in an enhanced campaign, advertisers will soon be able to set a mobile bid adjustment at the ad group level. This functionality will be available to all advertisers in mid-May. We think this may be useful if you’ve been operating large scale campaigns and found that your optimal bids for some keywords would require significantly different mobile bid adjustments within an enhanced campaign.

When Google originally announced the shift to Enhanced Campaigns, mobile bid adjustments were only available at the campaign level, a detail that AdWords power users were especially unhappy about.

(MORE: Bid Adjustments: How Do They Work? The Math Behind Combined Bid Adjustments)


Ad Group Mobile Bid Adjustments

Oh look, a cave. I wonder if Google has been here.

The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease? Advertisers’ Top 3 Complaints About Enhanced Campaigns

Since the big announcement in February, a lot of AdWords advertisers have been very vocal about their disappointment with Enhanced Campaigns, to the point that I’m one of the few people who see the bright side (LOL):


ad group mobile bids

Most of the complaints around Enhanced Campaigns have had to do with loss of control. I see the top three most common complaints as being:

  • The bundling of tablet and desktop devices – Matt Umbro tweeted at the time of the release “The lack of tablet vs. desktop segmentation I believe is the most WTF feature of #enhancedcampaigns.” Most advertisers believe that ads perform differently on tablets and desktops and that they should be able to segment these out. I argue that it’s really user context that matters, more than the device, and Enhanced Campaigns give advertisers more ability to tweak bids depending on context (location and time).
  • Loss of device targeting – Enhanced Campaigns give us mobile bid adjustments, so we can bid up or down when an ad appears on a mobile device, but this removes the option of creating mobile-only campaigns.
  • Loss of keyword-level bidding for mobile – As mentioned above, at the time of the original roll-out, mobile bid adjustments were only available at the campaign level.

The additional flexibility that Google has just announced goes far in addressing complaint #3 – starting in May advertisers will have the ability to set mobile bids on a per-adgroup basis as opposed to per campaign. What we don’t know is whether Google was planning to release this more granular targeting all along, or whether they caved in response to overwhelming user outcry.

(MORE: An Interview with Surojit Chatterjee, Head of Global Mobile Search Ads)

What do you think?

Whether or not you’re one of those angry SEM’s who isn’t happy with the changes in AdWords, do you think Google will cave in other demands? Will mobile-only campaigns be back in our arsenal? Will Google admit that tablets and desktops aren’t the same after all?

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Larry Kim

Larry Kim

Larry Kim is the founder of WordStream and CEO of MobileMonkey, a chatbot building platform.