AdWords enhanced campaigns offer SEM Managers some great new features that many considered long overdue (ad group level sitelinks), but they have also been a thorn in the side of many advertisers who are preparing to transition to the new campaign structure over the next few months.

One particular point of contention among the SEM community has been Google’s decision to prohibit the ability for advertisers to target or exclude specific device types (computers, smartphones, tablets) at a campaign level. For many advertisers and website owners who either rely heavily on mobile traffic only, or others who haven’t invested in a smartphone-friendly website, not being able to target or exclude mobile traffic is quite a big deal.

Performance focused advertisers who see vastly different results from keyword-to-keyword across different device types are also feeling the pinch as they prepare to make the switch to enhanced campaigns, with Google initially only allowing advertisers to set mobile bid adjustments at a campaign level. Google offered some slight relief for advertisers when they announced ad group level mobile bid adjustments for enhanced campaigns last week, with the feature rolling out in early May 2013. While the solutions still isn’t ideal, it does offer advertisers one more degree of granularity and flexibility when setting mobile bid adjustments.

So how should you be setting your mobile bid adjustments as you migrate to enhanced campaigns? We’ve shared some tips below to get you started.

Setting AdWords Enhanced Campaigns Mobile Bid Adjustments

When deciding on a mobile bid adjustment strategy for enhanced campaigns, you should first be taking into account your overall account strategy, and what is going to help you achieve your overall KPI targets. We’ve described two mobile bid adjustment scenarios below, for campaigns focused on delivering traffic to a website, and performance (CPA) focused campaigns with the goal of driving sales, leads or enquiries.

Mobile Bid Adjustments For Traffic-Focused Campaigns

When you begin rolling an existing campaign over to an enhanced campaign, AdWords does a fairly good job at letting you know how different bid adjustment levels will impact your overall traffic levels, using data for your targeted keywords from the last 7 days. If your campaign goals involve driving traffic to your website only (no sales/conversions), these estimates will give you a good starting point that you can fine-tune later on.

Mobile Bid Adjustments for Performance (CPA) Focused Campaigns

Setting a mobile bid adjustment for a performance focused campaign is a little more complicated for several reasons. As we know, mobile devices often perform quite differently from desktops from a conversion perspective, which can significantly change the level of performance of each keyword between the two device types.

Mobile conversion rate is the most important metric to consider when setting mobile bid adjustments, as the conversion rate will impact the maximum CPC bid that can be applied to achieve a target CPA, and will likely differ from your desktop conversion rate, depending whether you have a mobile landing page or not.

Maximum CPC = (Target CPA) * (Conversion Rate %)

The typical formula we use to apply performance CPC bids should still apply to setting mobile bid adjustments, however we now need to reflect the mobile bid as a percentage of the desktop bid, for each particular campaign or ad group. This calculation is fairly straightforward:

Mobile Bid Adjustment % = (Mobile CPC Bid – Desktop CPC Bid) / (Desktop CPC Bid)

Or combining both of these formulas into one equation gives us:

Mobile Bid Adjustment % = ((Target Mobile CPA) * (Mobile Conversion Rate %)) – Desktop CPC Bid) / (Desktop CPC Bid)

Remember to use the mobile conversion rate for each campaign or ad group you are applying a bid adjustment to.