Google skips tablets, enhances AdWords for more targeted smartphone campaigns

February 7, 2013
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The new features let advertisers schedule an ad campaign to run at certain times of the day, location or type of device, though surprisingly, this last option appears limited to smartphones, not tablets, at least as a distinct ad target. Google lists examples of how smartphones can be used in enhanced campaigns while it claims tablets are increasingly being used in the same way as desktops.

“…there are many more digital screens and devices to come, with the lines between them continuing to blur,” said Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior VP of Engineering at Google, in a blog post today. “For example, as devices converge, consumer behaviors on tablets and desktops are becoming very similar.”

Google could not be reached by press time for comment.

“That’s my impression, Google is saying you aren’t going to be able to specifically target tablets separately for this,” Greg Sterling, Senior Analyst with Opus Research, told TabTimes.

“And I think there is truth to the idea that tablets are being used more like desktops, if you put aside 7-inch devices like the Nexus 7 or iPad mini. Traditional 10-inch tablets are being used more at home much like PCs, they’re just a lot easier to move around.”

Sterling said mobile ads have traditionally been harder to track than online ads directed at desktop users and Google hopes the enhanced AdWords will generate more mobile revenue by giving potential advertisers more options and easier ways to target mobile users. 

In one example, Ramaswamy explains how a breakfast cafe might want to reach people searching for “coffee” or “breakfast” on their smartphone.

“Using bid adjustments, with three simple entries, they can bid 25% higher for people searching a half-mile away, 20% lower for searches after 11am, and 50% higher for searches on smartphones. These bid adjustments can apply to all ads and all keywords in one single campaign.” 

Smartphones versus tablets

In a study the search giant conducted last year that’s referenced in the blog post, Google found that 90% of mobile device users move sequentially between several screens to accomplish a task. In Google’s study, activities related to tablets were conducted at home 79% of the time and only 21% of the time out of the home.

The study highlighted select user comments as representative of its findings. For example:

“My phone … I consider it my personal device, my go-to-device. It’s close to me. If I need that quick, precise feedback.”

“When I need to be more in-depth, that’s when I start using my tablet ….”


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