Getting Started with Mobile Bid Modifiers

Ryan Moothart


Ever since Google AdWords introduced enhanced campaigns, targeting mobile traffic effectively using mobile bid modifiers has been an important strategy for all PPC managers.  Some of you may have mobile bid modifiers set in your campaigns already, but aren’t seeing very good results from mobile traffic.  Others may have your mobile bid modifiers set at -100% because mobile traffic has never been very reliable for you in the past.

We all know mobile traffic is becoming increasingly important; the percentage of mobile users on the web keeps growing.  Having an ineffective or non-existent mobile targeting strategy in your PPC campaigns will not be a viable option for much longer.  You need to figure out a way to target these users effectively so you can maintain profitability.


One simple way to figure out what your mobile bid modifier should be for any given campaign is to focus on the difference in average value per session or per user between computer/tablet traffic and mobile traffic.  If you’re trying to answer the question of how much more or less you should bid for a mobile user, then it stands to reason to reference the average value of these users compared to other traffic.

For example, there’s a campaign in which the average value per session is $2.99 for a non-mobile user and $1.63 for a mobile user.   This is a 45% difference:

ryan blog

Since mobile users are 45% less valuable on average than non-mobile users in this campaign, we want to bid down by 45% for mobile traffic.  Hence, the mobile bid modifier should be set to -45%.


We at Portent tried this strategy with one of our e-commerce clients, applying the appropriately calculated mobile bid modifier according to the example above to all campaigns.  The before & after results are as follows:

MetricTime Period Prior to ChangeTime Period After ChangeChange
Mobile Clicks2,7231,779-35%
Mobile Cost$5,180$1,975-62%
% of Mobile Clicks to All Clicks25%16%-36%
Mobile Transactions1730+77%
Mobile Conversion Rate0.64%1.48%+131%
Mobile Revenue$2,712$5,410+99%
Mobile Profit-$2,468$3,435

As you can see, changing the mobile bid modifiers to coincide with the differences in values we were already seeing allowed us to make mobile targeting efficient and profitable. Do you have any strategies for setting mobile bid modifiers?  What results have you seen?  Share your ideas below.

Ryan Moothart
PPC Architect

Ryan is a PPC architect at Portent, with nearly a decade of experience managing large-scale e-commerce, international B2B lead generation campaigns, and everything in between. He became a published author in 2016 with the release of his book, Towards Cascadia, which is a non-fiction exploration of Pacific Northwest identity, bioregionalism, and nationhood. Outside of work, Ryan and his husband, Paul, enjoy traveling and are avid followers of Sounders FC, Seattle’s Major League Soccer club.

Start call to action

See how Portent can help you own your piece of the web.

End call to action
Close search overlay