Bing Ads Copies Google, Kills Mobile Device Targeting

August 7, 2019

Bing Ads plans to roll out two changes to its device targeting options: first, they will combine PCs and tablets into a single device, then eliminate mobile device targeting.

The upcoming changes were driven by users basically telling Bing, "We want you to be more like AdWords," according to the blog post announcement. While Bing Ads still offered the flexibility of device targeting, it made it difficult for some to manage cross-channel tools.

bing ads device targeting

Yes, this latest announcement is a far cry from Bing's April 2013 assurances, when they said Enhanced Campaigns are a bad idea. At the time, they assured advertisers then that they would not follow Google's lead by bundling desktop and tablet targeting. So much for that.

However, their user feedback seems to indicate this change in direction is needed, so kudos to them for listening to their advertisers. Here's what's changing:

Tablets & Desktops to be Combined in September 2014

The first change will reduce the number of targeting options available to advertisers to just two: desktop or mobile. Having both bid modifiers in enhanced campaigns and the ability to target tablets, desktops/laptops and mobiles made the system too complex, they said.

As a result, desktops, laptops and tablets will be rolled into one targeting option. It will look like this:

Bing Ads Device Targeting Options

The Bing Ads team notes that advertisers will still be able to make bid adjustments to their tablet bids. In addition, Bing is updating the allowable bid modifiers for tablet targeting – in September, the allowable bid modifier for tablets will range from +300% to -20%.

In an email, the Bing Ads team said they are advising advertisers to prepare for traffic from tablets and consider this information in their bidding strategies.

Mobile Device Targeting to be Eliminated Next Year

Bing plans to "unify" management of device targeting across campaigns by ditching mobile device targeting in favor of bid modifiers. This will, they say, result in complete compatibility between AdWords and Bing Ads campaigns when the changes roll out in 2015.

Bing also plans to launch app promotion ads (see Google’s version here), which will download apps with a single ad click. They will only appear to users on devices where the app can be installed and are meant to replace OS-specific targeting.

Get Ready for It…

Bing Ads made this announcement wayyyy in advance so you would have plenty of time to prepare. Here's what to do:

  1. Make sure your site works well on tablets – you're going to start seeing that traffic when PC and tablet targeting are combined.
  2. Start moving your dedicated mobile campaigns to unified campaigns using bid modifiers. You might as well get used to it now, before the forced migration kicks in.
  3. In the API, specify tablet and desktop together in the DeviceOSTarget object so you can specify your bid adjustments for tablet.

How do you feel about the upcoming Bing Ads targeting changes?