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Start Adjusting: Tablet Bid Adjustments for Google Shopping Have Arrived

For years, it’s been right there, gleefully taunting e-commerce marketers. I’m talking, of course, about the performance data for “Tablets with full browsers” that appears when you segment a Google Shopping campaign (or any AdWords campaign, really) by device.

Though Google happily displays this data, AdWords users have been left powerless to do much of anything with it. Until now …

After announcing the addition of tablet bid adjustments to AdWords back in May, Google has begun rolling out the feature to advertiser accounts. Here’s what you need to know to be ready when tablet bid adjustments hit your Google Shopping campaigns — if they haven’t already.


The Dilemma

Across AdWords, mobile bid adjustments only covered smartphones, while tablets were lumped together with desktop traffic. This lead to some inefficient bidding and performance.

In Google Shopping, tablet efficiency often trails efficiency for desktops and mobile — sometimes by a whole lot. Seeing this data, but not being able to actually take action, can quickly get very frustrating.

AdWords Tablet Performance

Up until now, advertisers could only rely on calculating combined desktop and tablet performance to help inform the sweet spot for their bids.

Admittedly not a perfect solution, but when Google gives you lemons…


We Are Living in A Mobility World

Fast forward to May, when Google noted that more than half of the trillions of searches happening every year came from smartphones or tablets, acknowledging that it was time to make a change.

In addition to the tablet-level bid adjustments, Google announced it would soon be possible for advertisers to anchor device-level bid adjustments to whichever device — desktop, smartphones, or tablets — they wanted.

And in several of our customers’ AdWords accounts over the last few weeks, we have seen the option to set a bid adjustment for tablets in the campaign Settings tab.

Tablet Bid Adjustments

Even though e-commerce marketers everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief when tablet bid adjustments were announced, the actual rollout has proceeded with little fanfare.

Well, here at Sidecar, our hearts warm every time we see the new bidding features in another one of our customer’s accounts.


Take Advantage

Fuzzy feelings aside, what’s our recommended plan of attack for marketers using Google Shopping?

First thing’s first: if you haven’t checked out the Settings tab for your Shopping campaigns in a while, take a look and see if the feature is live in your AdWords account. (Sadly, there’s no formal alerting system in place.)

New bidding features not live in your account yet? Be patient, since this is a gradual rollout.

But if tablet bid adjustments ARE available in your account, here’s how to proceed:

1. If you’ve been ignoring tablet performance data, start paying attention! You may have gotten used to overlooking tablet performance data in your campaigns. Sure the information was available, but it since it was not actionable, why spend much time analyzing it?

With tablet bid adjustments it’s time to take another look and work out exactly what a tablet click is worth to your campaigns. If your tablet performance mirrors that of most advertisers, you’ll probably need to…

2. Considering reducing your bids for tablet traffic. Take the actions your data dictates, but chances are your first order of business will be setting a negative bid adjustment for your tablet traffic. That’s OK. You might be forfeiting some sales from tablets, but if those sales are not cost-efficient, it’s better to invest your dollars across other device types. In fact, you shouldn’t be afraid to…

3. Take more drastic actions if tablet traffic is not efficient. We have seen a few of our customers negate traffic from tablets entirely because the returns just aren’t there. Again, you might be wary of making such a bold move (especially since tablet clicks that don’t convert can lead to sales down the line), but if the data says it’s not worth it, don’t be afraid to pull the plug.

4. If you have enough traffic, create a separate campaign just for tablets. Though helpful, blanket bid adjustments are still not precise enough for a complex channel like Google Shopping, which demands every product, from a catalog of possibly millions, receive its own bid.

If you have sufficient tablet traffic — we’re talking thousands of clicks from tablets each month — you may want to create a separate campaign for tablets. In this campaign, you can set precisely the right tablet bid for each of your products, as well as using more advanced techniques, like dayparting to connect with shoppers relaxing at home with their tablets in the evenings.

As you measure your performance over time, you can refine your approach to tablet traffic. In the here and now, however, you can rejoice that tablet bid adjustments have arrived!

It’s been a long time coming, but Google has finally made some delicious lemonade out of those lemons.

And for more ways to maximize mobile and tablet traffic in Google Shopping, download our e-book 3 Metrics for Optimizing Google Shopping Campaigns for Mobile Traffic.

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