Why Mobile Matters: Leveraging AdWords Tools and Features

AdWords has been hammering advertisers about the importance of mobile for some time. The introduction of Enhanced Campaigns early last year was meant to make it easier for us to up-level our mobile efforts by consolidating targeting (now mandatory) for all devices into the same campaign and providing a number of ad serving and reporting enhancements.


Inability to create mobile-only campaigns

AdWords removed the ability to segment campaigns by device type. This was meant to simplify and streamline multi-device ad serving but it was a real blow to advanced SEMs who considered device-specific campaign segmentation to be a fundamental best practice. Google still provides the ability to remove mobile targeting from a campaign type altogether, though this isn’t the case for tablets.


This is definitely the main drawback to Enhanced Campaigns. That said, let’s look at the primary enhancements to mobile serving we’ve seen in the past few years:


  • Device bid modifiers — Set custom bids for mobile devices, or eliminate mobile targeting altogether by setting a custom bid modifier. For example, if mobile CPAs are twice as high on mobile than desktop, you can set a modifier of -50% for mobile ads. (Don’t forget to factor in attribution before estimating value of mobile!)


Mobile bid adjustments


  • Mobile-preferred ad option — This setting allows you to give creatives priority for mobile serving. This is handy if you want to feature mobile-specific messaging in your ads.


Mobile only setting


  • Sitelink extensions — While these enhancements are beneficial for targeting on all devices, some have particular application for mobile, such as location and call extensions.


Call Extensions


  • Enhanced conversion reporting for call extensions – You can specify how long a mobile call from your ad needs to last before it’s considered a conversion.


Call conversions

  • “Call Only” setting – This setting gives you the option to limit the functionality of your mobile ads to only facilitate calls, as opposed to also linking to your website.


Call only setting


  • Cross-device conversion reports – This suite of conversion metrics estimates how many conversions you received from users who reached your site via an AdWords ad but later converted on the different device or browser. This is great for understanding the indirect contribution of your mobile advertising.


Estimated cross device reporting


  • Device segmentation reports — This report allows you to see your performance at the device level for campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. This is very handy for understanding the direct value of each device.


device segmented reports

  • App Ads – This mobile ad format allows advertisers to target users who’ve already downloaded their app in order to encourage future use. You can link the ads to pages within the app which may encourage future engagement. Google estimates that the majority of downloaded apps are used only once.


App ads



  • App extensions — Use this extension to drive mobile users directly to your app’s download page within Google Play or iTune App Store (depending on their device).
  • Call details in “Dimensions” tab — Beyond your click-to-call conversion data, you can also view the area codes from which your calls originated, and call status data — received / missed.



  • AdWords provides a number of helpful tools and features for better mobile targeting, bidding and tracking
  • Primary areas of mobile enhancements are: messaging flexibility, sitelink functionality, device-level segmentation data, conversion reporting