Optimizing Desktop PPC Ads for Cross-Device Conversions

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It should be no surprise to advertisers that mobile devices are important to robust PPC strategies. But that doesn’t mean that mobile PPC is the only important part of digital advertising. Desktop PPC ads are still a critical part of high-performing PPC strategies. Although mobile advertising is on the rise, desktop traffic still represents a significant audience segment for most industries. Because many conversions still happen at on desktop devices, measuring cross-device conversions is more important than ever.

In this post, we’ll discuss why desktop ads should stay within savvy advertisers’ sightlines moving forward, and how you can develop a strong cross-device strategy in a mobile-centric digital climate.

Why Desktop Ads Are Still Critical to PPC Strategy

It is often tempting to jump on new AdWords features or trends revealed by industry data — and it is true that the rise of mobile device traffic has been a boon for many advertisers. But while mobile devices now constitute the majority of web traffic, nearly half of web traffic still comes from desktop devices. Putting all of your PPC focus on mobile ads carries the risk of losing out on a huge segment of your audience.

What’s more, the way that buyers are engaging with devices is changing.Many web users now use multiple devices while making a purchasing decision, meaning that both desktop and mobile devices can be part of the buying process. Desktop devices play a major role in many purchase conversions. Additionally, the actual point of conversion still happens most frequently on desktop devices. Up to 80% of consumer conversions still happen on desktop devices.This is especially true for businesses with consumer audiences.

Best Practices for Optimizing Cross-Device Campaigns

The key to getting the most out of desktop PPC in a mobile-first world is leveraging desktop ads as part of your holistic cross-device PPC strategy. The introduction AdWords’ new expanded text ad format encourages advertisers to create device-agnostic campaigns. However, advertisers can still make an effort to improve their ad performance on specific devices. Here are three of the top strategic moves that you can make in order to optimize your campaigns for cross-device conversions.

Leverage Responsive Landing Pages & Website

With Google’s new expanded text ad format minimizing the gap between mobile and desktop formats, it’s important for your landing pages and website to work seamlessly on a variety of devices and screen sizes. If your advertising materials aren’t yet optimized for cross-device viewing, it’s time to invest in a redesign aimed at responsiveness.

In addition to maintaining a responsive layout, updating the content of your pages matters. Be sure to revisit the copy and messaging of your landing pages and web pages. Ensuring a consistent message and experience across all devices will help repeat visitors have the optimal experience of your brand, and will encourage the trust necessary to secure conversions.

2. Measure Cross-Device Conversions

Tracking your audience’s behavior will help you understand what messaging works best for your campaigns. One study found that as much as 65% of ecommerce revenue is generated by purchases made across multiple challenges. But tracking your audience as they jump from device to device over time can be challenging. Fortunately, Google now allows advertisers to track cross-device conversions to better understand and track their audience.

Enabling “cross-device conversion tracking” in your AdWords account will allow you to access and use data about how your audience moves between different devices and platforms before converting. You may also want to consider expanding your conversion window, if necessary, in order to capture more accurate data.

3. Adjust Bidding Strategy Based on Cross-Device Conversions

Bidding strategies can be built to lean into the conversion behaviors that your audience exhibits, saving you money and helping you get more out of your ad spend. Use the data you gather from your cross-device conversions to build a more spend-efficient bidding strategy.

Using Target CPA bidding allows you to make automated bid adjustments by conversion channel, including by device. This will allow you to optimize your bidding for the devices that convert best for your business. However, keep in mind that AdWords’ Conversion Optimizer isn’t a silver bullet for PPC success. While Target CPA bidding can help you optimize for device-based conversions, it does require that your campaigns already have a relatively steady conversion rate to begin with. For many advertisers, leveraging the help of an experienced PPC manager can be a more effective way to develop a bidding strategy that will yield the best results.

Build Cross-Device Campaigns with Webrageous

Navigating the complexities of building campaigns optimized for cross-device users can be challenging. Webrageous has over ten years of experience building successful PPC campaigns for clients in a variety of industries. We have been designing and implementing mobile PPC strategies for as long as they have been available on AdWords.

Our experienced team of PPC specialists can help you develop cross-device campaigns that make the most of both your desktop and mobile search traffic. Contact Webrageous today to learn more about our services and to get started with your campaign optimization.

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Conversion Optimizer: Weighing the Pros and Cons



With all the data you can track with Google AdWords, it can be easy to get sidetracked by relatively short-term metrics, such as CPC and CTR. But for most businesses, the ultimate goal of PPC campaigns is leveraging that data to give your ads a high conversion rate. Google’s Conversion Optimizer feature is designed to help advertisers hone in on the metrics that matter in order to optimize the conversion rates of their campaigns, and it can be a very effective tool for improving the performance of your PPC campaigns.

But the Conversion Optimizer isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution that will make all your lead flow woes disappear overnight. Before you put all your faith in this powerful feature, it’s important to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of Conversion Optimizer. Here are some of the pros and cons of using Conversion Optimizer to help you decide what role it might play in your PPC campaigns.

Pros of Conversion Optimizer

Focus on Getting New Business

Google AdWords gives advertisers the option to track two kinds of conversions: conversions, which are simply the total number of conversions for the campaign, and converted clicks, which are unique clicks that lead to a conversion within a 30-day period. Being able to track and optimize for the latter can be a very effective campaign optimization technique. By using the Conversion Optimizer feature to focus on increasing “converted clicks,” advertisers can increase the flow of new prospects and leads coming into their funnel. This is especially important for companies where a steady flow of new business is important, such as in the legal industry.

Optimize Budget for Conversions

For advertisers with a limited budget, Conversion Optimizer can be an effective tool for getting the most conversions for your ad spend. The tool allows you to set either a maximum or target CPA (cost per acquisition), ensuring that your lead flow goals and your budget are well-aligned. Compared to manual bid management techniques, Conversion Optimizer can yield much more cost-effective results for your campaigns, without the extensive time commitment to making manual bid adjustments.

“Smart Management” Without the Expertise

The upside of Conversion Optimizer can be boiled down to a simple benefit: it helps advertisers with limited experience or knowledge of PPC improve their campaigns more effectively. Poorly run campaigns can waste advertising dollars and other resources. Conversion Optimizer provides a relatively easy way to capture more leads and waste less of your budget. Additionally, Conversion Optimizer is a free tool, making it a much more budget-friendly alternative to bid management and PPC management services. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that Conversion Optimizer completely replaces the knowledge of a true PPC expert. There’s no substitute for experience.

Cons of Conversion Optimizer

Less Control Over Campaigns

By its nature, Conversion Optimizer gives you less granular control over your bidding strategy. When you use the tool, you’ll only be able to make bids at the ad group level. Because the feature optimizes your bids automatically, you won’t be able to make keyword level adjustments to your bidding strategy. While this isn’t always a problem, it can spell disaster if your ad groups aren’t well organized.

You’ll also have less transparency into why decisions are being made. Conversion Optimizer makes decisions based on a complex algorithm and doesn’t provide an explanation for why it makes changes when it does. Ultimately, using Conversion Optimizer requires advertisers to have complete trust in Google’s management of their campaigns.  

Your Conversion Rate Must Already Be High

Another downside of Conversion Optimizer is that your campaigns already need to be high-performing to use your existing campaigns as a baseline for performance, so you must already be receiving conversions from your campaign for Conversion Optimizer to work. Google recommends at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days to give Conversion Optimizer enough data to work effectively.

Unfortunately, this means that for campaigns with very low existing conversion rates, Conversion Optimizer may not be a viable option until you’ve already invested time and resources in manually improving your conversion rate. Conversion Optimizer won’t magically fix a bad AdWords campaign. If you do plan to use it, try to use it to improve campaigns that are already doing fairly well, but could do better with a little extra push.

Automated Bid Management Won’t Give Innovative Results

One quirk of automated management tools is that they tend to give relatively predictable results. If you use Conversion Optimizer to run your campaigns, AdWords will focus on keywords that seem like a sure thing to make sure that you hit your conversion goals.  While this can be a good thing — taking advantage of “low-hanging fruit” is always a solid strategy — it probably won’t give you any interesting insights into how to manage your campaigns. Once again, it’s important to remember that while Conversion Optimizer is a powerful tool, but when it comes to creative problem solving, it can’t beat a human bid manager.

Optimizing Ad Results with Webrageous

Conversion Optimizer can be a highly effective tool for advertisers who are looking to get better results from lackluster campaigns. But the bottom line is that the performance of any automated PPC tool will only be as good as the work you put into it. In many cases, a combination of sophisticated tools like Conversion Optimizer and a solid foundation of PPC knowledge will be the best way to ensure that you get the best possible results from your campaigns.

The nuances of how AdWords functions, and best practices for running high-converting PPC campaigns, change constantly. Busy advertisers often don’t have time to run their campaigns themselves often turn to automation tools to help them manage their campaigns more effectively. Webrageous’ team of PPC experts can guide your digital advertising strategy and help you transform your campaigns into high-converting lead sources. Contact us today to learn how Webrageous can boost your PPC conversions and help you develop a more competitive bidding strategy.

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