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When to Use Mobile Bid Modifiers

When To Use Mobile Bid Modifiers

Mobile bid modifiers are one of the many advertising options in search advertising platforms such as Google Adwords and Bing Ads. With the rise of mobile search, mobile bid modifiers have become more important.

What Are Mobile Bid Modifiers?

Mobile bid modifiers are an option to raise or lower your bids to better target or dissuade mobile visitors. You’ll want to use mobile bid modifiers for a variety of reasons. Here are some common ones:

1.) You Have A Mobile-Optimized Website

You have not just a mobile-optimized website, but one with a high conversion rate for mobile traffic. You may have a bid for desktop traffic that places your ad in positions 4-6, but since your conversion rate for mobile traffic is high, you can get away with bidding for the first position on mobile traffic.

2.) To Take Advantage of Mobile Click-to-Call Ads

It makes sense for many businesses to bid for first position on mobile ads. Think of a pizza chain in ad position 1 for pizza-related terms with call extensions. Many users will convert from the text ad and not even go to the website. Call extensions on a mobile device make conversions easier for business with a lot of incoming business over the phone.

3.) Your Target Demographic Skews Young And Has a Low Income

Those who use primarily cell phones to access the internet tend to be younger and live in a household with less than $30,000/year in income. They primarily use their phones to access the internet because they can’t afford tablets or desktop computers on a limited budget. Who needs a tablet when they have a  7-inch screen on their cell phone anyway? Brands who make products and services for this demographic should have a mobile-optimized website, and a conversion process and use mobile bid modifiers on their advertising.

cell phone internet use by demographics

4.) Your Website Has An Awful Mobile Experience

Which you should change ASAP. It’s no longer acceptable to have a website that isn’t mobile responsive, and it’s going to hurt your brand more and more as time goes on. Those brands who use search advertising but have a bad mobile experience should use negative mobile bid modifiers. For these brands, I recommend cutting out mobile traffic from advertising by using a “-100%” bid modifier.

5.) Mobile Traffic Doesn’t Convert Because Your Conversion Process For Mobile Sucks

Even if you have a mobile-optimized website, that doesn’t guarantee that mobile conversions are going to skyrocket. Look at your conversion rate for mobile in Google Analytics and adjust your mobile bids in correlation with that.

Tweak your mobile bids depending on conversion rates

A conversion rate bidding strategy using mobile bid modifiers is a smart way to utilize this tool. Look at your conversion rates on both mobile traffic and desktop traffic and adjust your mobile bids by the difference. For example, if your conversion rate is 5% on desktop and 4% on mobile you would want to use a mobile bid modifier of “-20%” for your search ads.

In that scenario, because a mobile click isn’t as valuable as a desktop click (the desktop click converts 20% more often), you don’t want to pay the same for a mobile click as a desktop click. Why pay more for something that isn’t as valuable?

Other information on mobile Internet use

I think many internet marketers will find these charts valuable.


No surprise here. With the rise of smart phones, it’s almost unthinkable that internet usage among cell phone users wouldn’t also go up. This highlights the importance of having a mobile-optimized website. If you don’t have one yet, you’d better get one because it’s hurting your brand.


Again, no surprise here that the young, urban, and educated tend to have smartphones. I expect these numbers to increase across the board over the coming years as smartphones become cheaper and are considered a “must have” in today’s world.


As smartphones have gained prevalence year over year, increase in cell phone internet use is no surprise. Look for these numbers to increase in the coming years until there’s near 100% penetration.

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