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Upcoming Changes to Device Targeting in Bing Ads

A few months ago, we rolled out compatibility with AdWords enhanced campaigns, which enabled advertisers on Bing Ads to easily import AdWords campaigns into Bing Ads while still preserving flexibility around device targeting. During this time, we’ve been monitoring usage of this functionality and listening to feedback from advertisers like you.

Today, we’d like to announce the next phase of changes designed to maintain compatibility with your AdWords campaigns, while still giving you the control and flexibility you have come to expect from Bing Ads.

Changes to Targeting Tablet Devices Coming in September

Since rolling out compatibility with AdWords enhanced campaigns, we’ve learned that for many of our customers, there is a thin line between offering flexibility and increasing the complexity of our product relative to other products in the marketplace.

Specifically, we have gotten feedback that having both the enhanced campaigns model of bid modifiers and explicit device targeting adds complexity to managing paid search campaigns in Bing Ads. More importantly, we have seen that user’s search behavior and advertiser performance is similar between desktops and tablets on the Yahoo Bing Network. Given these realizations, we will be making changes to how tablet targeting works in Bing Ads.

Below are the current device targeting options available in Bing Ads

Figure 1: Current device targeting options

As mentioned earlier, PCs and tablets have very similar performance characteristics and are managed as a single unit in competing platforms. To this end, we will be updating the device targeting options available in Bing Ads during to month of September in the following way.

Figure 2: Upcoming device targeting options (September 2014)

Although we will combine PCs and tablets into a single device target, advertisers who see performance differences between PCs and tablets will still have an option to make bid adjustments to their tablet bids. We will be updating the allowable bid modifiers when targeting tablet devices. Historically, the industry has seen about a 15% - 20% difference in performance between tablet devices and desktop PCs.

Source: Smart Insights

To ensure advertisers will have the flexibility to manage the performance differences between tablets and desktops, when this change is made in September, the allowable bid modifier on tablet devices will range from +300% to -20%. 

Changes in Targeting Mobile Devices Coming in Early 2015

We also plan to make a number of changes to simplify our mobile device targeting options and better provide compatibility with AdWords enhanced campaigns for our advertisers by the first quarter of next year.

The first upcoming change for mobile device targeting in the Yahoo Bing Network will be the introduction of app promotion ads which will provide end users a way to download apps directly from popular mobile app stores in a single click from the ad. These ads will only show up on mobile devices where the app can be installed. These app promotion ads will replace the existing operating system specific targeting which exists today for mobile devices.

The second change will be to unify management of device targeting across campaigns by eliminating explicit mobile device targeting and leveraging bid modifiers instead. Once this change is rolled out, there should be complete compatibility between how ad campaigns are managed in Google’s AdWords and in Bing Ads.

Figure 3: Upcoming device targeting options (Q1 2015)

How to Prepare for These Changes

If you currently have campaigns that target desktops and laptops, but not tablets, you should be prepared to start receiving traffic from tablet visitors starting in September of 2014. You should take this time to ensure your sites work well on tablets and to prepare your campaign structure or bidding strategy as necessary.

Similarly, if you have campaigns that target only tablet devices, you should be prepared to start receiving traffic from visitors on desktops and laptops in September of 2014. Advertisers who are already using bid modifiers on tablets should be aware that the allowable range will be adjusted to +300% to -20% which means any bid modifiers that are currently below -20% will be set at -20%.

To prepare for the mobile device changes, our recommendation is to transition any usage of dedicated campaigns for managing mobile devices to unified campaigns for managing all devices which use bid modifiers to adjust bids on mobile devices relative to the performance you have seen.

For more information, check out our FAQ page, and for details on how these changes will affect the Bing Ads API, please see the corresponding Bing Ads API blog post.

Dare Obasanjo

Group Program Manager, Bing Ads Applications and Developer Platform