iPad AdWords Targeting: Insights & Tips

The online space is growing, but at the same time fragmenting across more platforms and devices than ever before. This includes new ways to buy display and social media. It also includes the explosion of mobile and the growing amount of tablet computers.

Mobile searches now account for 12 percent of overall search volume up from 5 percent a year ago, according to Google. Then you add in tablet computers, the fact that iPad 2s are selling out, and Blackberry, Motorola, and others are entering the marketplace.

The question becomes: how do these different devices perform for your search marketing campaigns? Are tablet users more likely to convert than smartphones, or desktops? How does user behavior, and usage alter the way you think about your marketing approach?

First things first, you have to target these campaigns separately if you ever expect to understand the behavior. If you aren’t granular in your approach, everything just gets rolled up into one number, and you may never understand it, and therefore miss an opportunity. This is something that I first encouraged around these devices last in “How Will Mobile Search Impact Your Paid Campaigns?

Now that tablet volume has started to show some volume and consistency in the data, I wanted to share some findings around iPad targeting. Our data shows some interesting points that demonstrate user behavior when searching on various devices. All data is compared to mobile devices.


  • ROI is >5,000 percent better on both desktops and tablets. This indicates the improved user experience on those devices.
  • While tablet devices have significantly less search volume than mobile devices, the amount of orders is much higher. This indicates the local nature of mobile devices. While the use of mobile devices is much heavier the intent of those users is much less conversion focused.
  • CPCs on tablets are the most expensive of the three devices. This was surprising. I was expecting competition to be lower, and with a higher CTR than mobile relevancy scores to be much higher. Not sure I can even explain this, but this is another important reason why breaking these campaigns out separately given some data points defy logic, and require more research, or different action. Without that data you would manage based on your opinion, and that won’t lead to better results.


The targeting settings occur at the campaign level, and there are many other targets available. You can target cellular carriers and various mobile OS as well.

All these options can give valuable insight into user behavior. Data is what makes search a great advertising medium. Taking advantage of these granular targeting options provide improved ability to optimize your campaigns.

As more tablet devices hit the market they will continue to grow as a percent of the search population. There are clearly some opportunities to set specific bids, and control the keyword lists differently.

I encourage you to take a look at your tablet specific data, and see what you can learn and apply to your search marketing campaigns.

Related reading

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what can we learn from voice search in 2018?
Google Ads 2019: What to look out for
mobile search and video in 2019: how visible are you?