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Q4 AdWords Data by Device: How Do Desktops and Tablets Compare?

Published: January 13, 2014

Author: Joe Kerschbaum

Desktop WInsPerhaps the most frequent complaint of SEMs when Google unleashed Enhanced Campaigns last year was the inability to split bidding for desktops and tablets. Google’s pitch was basically that behavior on the devices is indistinguishable; we rolled our eyes but had no choice but to go with it (and all the goodies that came along with it, like bid modifiers and enhanced sitelinks).
So here we are, with our first Q4 in Google’s new world order in the books. What does the data show us about device behavior?
I crunched some numbers on a few of our ecommerce accounts; for scale purposes, this data covers more than 1.2B impressions, 15M clicks, and 340K conversions across both search and the GDN (non-brand terms).

What do the search numbers show?

Search Numbers
Average Order Value
Per Visit Value
Okay, that’s pretty stark. Even with CPCs coming in lower for tablets than desktops (not surprising, of course, though it does make you question why bidding needs to be identical), value per visit on desktops is more than 100% greater than on tablets, thanks to a combination of significantly higher CVR and higher AOV. (If the high mobile CTR looks surprising, it’s not really; it’s the effect of relatively low traffic.)
(Note: we also crunched some data for non-brand PLAs, which smoothed things a bit…nearly identical CPCs and a 33% value-per-visit advantage for desktop. With PLAs becoming more and more important, that’s a hopeful sign.)

What do the GDN numbers show?

Conv Rate
Average Order Value
Per Visit Value
It’s pretty much the same story, though per-visit value is even more stark: over 300% higher in desktops than in mobile.
The moral? Well, it’s nothing we can do anything about…unless there’s a groundswell of similar findings that make Google possibly sit up and take notice.
On that note, how’s your performance-by-device data looking?

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