Device TargetingSometimes, simpler is better. Since rolling out compatibility with AdWords enhanced campaigns, we learned that flexibility can at times increase complexity. We listened, and are making some vital changes in how we handle device targeting.

Read below for answers to frequently asked questions about changes to Bing Ads device targeting. With a unified management approach, you’ll control more efficient and effective campaigns.

Overview of Unified Device Targeting

What will be happening and when?
Beginning September 15 and concluding October 3, Bing Ads will combine tablet and PC/laptop campaigns. With this change, the targeting selection for desktop/laptop and tablet will be merged in the Bing Ads web UI, Bing Ads Editor and API. Advertisers will be able to maintain control of their tablet targeting with bid modifiers (-20 to +300 percent).

In the first quarter of 2015, we’ll take further steps to unify device targeting by combining smartphone campaigns with PC/Tablet. Once this change is rolled out, there should be full structural alignment between how ad campaigns are managed in Google’s AdWords and in Bing Ads. At that time, bid modifiers for smartphones will be updated to (-100 and +300 percent).

Why Unified Device Targeting?
At Bing Ads, we listen to your feedback and work hard to deliver solutions that balance the needs of all of our various advertisers. We're making changes to address these specific advertiser pain points:

  • Simplicity: Advertisers have asked us to simplify Bing Ads so that they can get more done in less time. This streamlined targeting approach helps you to focus more time on meeting your business objectives and less on managing your Bing Ads campaigns.
  • Efficiency: The additional steps required to migrate and manage Bing Ads campaigns when they are structurally different from others’ are a point of friction for advertisers managing across multiple search platforms. These changes will remove those points of friction.
  • Control: Our goal is to balance advertisers’ needs for control vs simplicity. Providing familiar targeting options - with bid modifiers for tablets - gives you additional controls without adding complexity.

What will it look like?
To see the updated interface, starting September 15, log into your account on Bing Ads, and select “Settings.” Select a campaign. Under “Advanced Targeting Options” click the “Device” targeting link. When the Device Targeting section opens, you will see that desktops, laptops and tablet devices are now grouped together with a single bid modifier option.

Before look

After look

What are the new bid modifiers?

Bid modifiers


Not available


-20 to +300 percent


-100 to +300 percent*

*Mobile bid modifiers will take effect with phase II of the Unified Device Targeting migration.

Why minus 20 percent for tablet traffic?
Bing Ads and industry sources report tablet conversions to be consistently within 15-20 percent of desktop/laptop ("traditional") conversions.* Given that PC and tablet campaigns perform very similarly, allowing bid modifiers of -20 percent through +300 percent should give advertisers the controls they need to maintain their campaign ROI.

Conversion rates by device*

Q4 2012

Q1 2013

Q2 2013

Q3 2013

Q4 2013













*Source: Smart Insights, 3/25/2014, Ecommerce Conversion Rates

Why not PC bid modifiers?
Your PC bid is the baseline on which you will apply bid modifiers for tablet and mobile campaigns. Applying a modifier to the baseline bid would be redundant.

How will Unified Device Targeting impact the following...

Current campaigns?
This chart outlines currently available combinations of device targeting and impact of Unified Device Targeting.

Current device targeted


Changes to device targeting



Tablet added



PC added

Smart phone + tablet


PC added

PC + smart phone


Tablet added

PC + tablet



PC + smart phone + tablet



Smart phone



Please note: While mobile campaigns will not be impacted by this migration, we strongly encourage advertisers to combine all of their campaigns now for mobile, PC and tablet. This will help avoid further disruption in Q1 of 2015, and allow advertisers to gain valuable learnings about campaign performance.

Existing bid modifiers?
If existing bid modifiers are within the allowed ranges, they will not be changed. If they are outside of the bid adjustment ranges, then they will be automatically updated to be within the limits.

NOTE: Because there will no longer be modifiers available for PC bids, we recommend updating any modified PC bids to reflect the actual bid price after modifier is applied. This will help avoid any unexpected losses in bid rank, clicks and traffic.

Duplicate keywords?
If you have the same keyword in more than one campaign today, you may end up with multiple bids for the same keyword once campaigns are combined during the Unified Device Targeting migration. In this scenario, your ads will compete against each other as the keyword with the best combination of bid and ad quality will be chosen to participate in the auction.

Our recommendation is that you review all of your campaigns, and update their device targeting settings to “all devices.” This will ensure that you are prepared for both phases of Unified Device Targeting migration.

If there are duplicate keywords across campaigns, we recommend choosing your better performing campaign(s) as the primary and eliminating the redundant one(s). See the section on Preparation and Best Practices for more tips on how to combine campaigns.

Quality Score?
Quality Score is based on the historical performance of an ad against a particular keyword. With this change, ads that were only showing for desktops and laptops or only for tablets may face increased competition from more participants in the auction. Any increases or decreases in quality score that occur following this change will be due to the performance of your ads against the specific keywords in this new, combined marketplace.

We will continue to offer the same level of reporting, including mobile, tablet and PC, with the exception that OS-level reports will no longer be available for tablet. After the second phase of Unified Device Targeting migration is complete, we will no longer provide OS-level reports for tablet or mobile.

Conversion tracking?
There are no planned changes to conversion tracking.

Content network?
The Unified Device Targeting changes will apply to the content network.

Preparation and best practices

Are there required actions?
All Bing Ads advertisers will automatically be migrated to Unified Device beginning September 15, 2014. We strongly encourage all advertisers to review their accounts, combine all campaigns (including mobile in preparation for additional changes planned for Phase II of the Unified Device Targeting migration), eliminate duplicate keywords among accounts, and adjust bid modifiers in order to proactively prepare for the change. This will help avoid any unanticipated impact from the migration.

Tips for combining campaigns?
This chart outlines high-level scenarios and recommended actions:


Targeting Combinations

Phase I Migration Impact

Recommended Action

1 PC Tablet added

We strongly recommend that all advertisers review and combine campaigns prior to Phase I migrations

Suggestions for combining campaigns

  • If >50% overlap in keywords, keep the better performing campaign, delete or pause lower performing ads. Migrate remaining keywords/ads to combined campaign
  • If < 50% overlap in keywords, maintain separate campaigns, delete/pause lower performing ads, and migrate duplicate keywords/ads to desired campaign

Note: While phase I of Unified Device Targeting migration will not impact campaigns targeting smartphone traffic, these campaigns will be combined with PC/Tablet campaigns in early 2015.

Bing Ads recommends proactively combining mobile campaigns with PC/Tablet campaigns (effectively targeting all devices) beginning now in order to avoid disruption during Q1 2015.

2 Tablet PC added
3 PC + Smart Phone Tablet added
4 Smart phone + Tablet PC added
5 PC + Smart phone + Tablet No Impact
6 Smart phone No Impact
7 PC + Tablet No Impact
8 Smart phone No Impact

What are some best practices?
Here are some additional best practices to consider - before or after the migration.

Take a test and learn approach to campaign migration. Instead of focusing on just migrating existing campaigns, take the opportunity to optimize and revitalize your Bing Ads campaigns.

Review and refresh your existing campaigns:

  • Review your tablet and mobile landing page(s) or website(s): Walk your customers’ path to purchase across all screens. Fix usability problems that may keep your audience from taking action.
  • Fix things that are keeping your ads from serving: budgets, bids that are too low, negative keyword conflicts, and editorial disapprovals.
    • Budget. Make sure that you have enough budget to cover additional volume from tablet searchers. Use Bing Ads Intelligence or Campaign Tools to estimate how much additional volume to expect from tablets. Remember that if a campaign runs out of budget, your ads won’t be shown.
    • Bids. Experiment with bid modifiers, and make sure your bids aren’t too low. Using bid suggestions or accessing real bid data in Bing Ads Intelligence can help you set more competitive bids. Once Unified Device Targeting has rolled out for tablet, and then for smartphone, be sure to review your bids and modify as needed.
    • Keywords. Use Bing Ads Intelligence to identify opportunities to expand your keywords to cover tablet scenarios. Add or refine negative keywords to help capture more qualified traffic. Fix disapproved keywords. Remove duplicate and poorly performing terms to avoid spending on terms that are not helping you achieve your marketing objectives.
  • Quality Score. If your keywords have low quality scores, your ads are less likely to show. Review quality score best practices for tips on how to improve your quality scores.
  • Targeting. Review your targeting options to ensure you’re targeting the locations, days, time of week, ages, genders and other factors that best describe your ideal customer.

Campaign management

What about new accounts?
New campaigns set up after September 15, 2014 will see the new interface, and there will be no option to create separate PC/tablet campaigns.

How can I calculate my final max bid?
Note: the following is excerpted from Bing Ads’ documentation on How to target my customers by adjusting my bids.

The following example illustrates how to calculate your max bid using various combinations of bid modifiers:

  • Keyword bid = $3.00
  • Target location = Chicago, Bid adjustment = Bid + 20 percent
  • Target days = Saturday, Bid adjustment = Bid + 10 percent
  • Target device = Tablet, Bid adjustment = Bid - 20 percent

If more than one of your target criterion is met and your ad is clicked, you pay for each of the bid adjustments that match (but not for those that don't match).

Given the above data, the potential maximum amount for your bid using the new method is as follows:

Lives in Chicago

Searching on Saturday

Using a tablet device

Max bid

Search user

Approved example
Multiply by 120%

Approved example
Multiply by 110%


$3.00 X 1.20 X 1.10

Search user


Approved example
Multiply by 110%


$3.00 X 1.10 = $3.30

Search user

Approved example
Multiply by 120%


Approved example
Multiply by 80%

$3.00 X 1.20 X 0.80

Search user

(No matches)

(No matches)

(No matches)


Will ads ever double-serve?
No. Even if there are duplicate keywords in your combined campaigns post migration, ads will never double serve.

However, it is possible that you will end up in a situation where you have multiple bids for the same keyword across campaigns if you are not proactive about preparing your campaigns for this change. In this situation, you effectively will be competing against yourself as your best combination of bid and quality score will be chosen to participate in the auction.

We recommend that you review all campaigns that target tablets separately from desktops and laptops, and mark them as targeting both of those options. If there are duplicates, we recommend choosing your better performing campaign as the primary and eliminating the redundant one.

Can device bid modifiers be set at campaign and ad group level?
Yes. Device bid modifiers can be set at both the campaign and ad group level.

Can I still use query strings?
We will continue to support URL parameters to pass device type and other information via Query Strings. Click here to learn more about using query string parameters.

Will bid modifiers be available in Bing Ads Editor?
Yes, advertisers will be able to use Bing Ads Editor to implement bid modifiers.

Enhanced Campaigns vs. Unified Device Targeting

What is the difference?
Bing Ads enables advertisers to control tablet traffic with bid modifiers ranging from -20 to +300 percent, while Google does not offer any bid modifiers for tablet. Tablet bid modifiers in Bing Ads allow advertisers to efficiently reach more customers without impacting their ROI.

The table below demonstrates the differences between the two platforms after the second phase of Unified Device Targeting migration is completed:


Bing Ads

Google AdWords

Targeting selection

Unified across devices

Unified across devices

Bid modifiers


Not available

Not available


-20% to +300%*

Not available


-100% to +300%

-100% to +300%

‘If mobile’ URLs



Mobile Preference



Will there be complete parity with Google?
Once the Unified Device Targeting migration is complete, there will be full structural alignment between how ad campaigns are managed in Google’s AdWords and in Bing Ads, making it easier for advertisers to manage campaigns between platforms.

API & Unified Device Targeting

How will API users be impacted?
If you currently have campaigns that target desktops and laptops but not tablets, you should be prepared to start receiving traffic from tablet visitors starting September 15, 2014.

In the API, when specifying the array of devices to target in the DeviceOSTarget object, both desktop and tablet must always be specified together. Whenever you specify a DeviceOSTargetBid with Desktop, you must also have a DeviceOSTargetBid with Tablet. This allows you to specify the bid adjustments you’d like to make for tablets which will now range from -20 to 300 percent. Here’s a table to illustrate all the conditions.








Default. Target all devices.




Tablet automatically added as well. Same outcome as Row 4.




Computers automatically added as well. Same outcome as Row 4.




Target both desktop and tablet




Only target mobile.




Tablet automatically added as well. Same outcome as Row 8.




Computers automatically added as well. Same outcome as Row 8.




Same as target all devices.

To prepare for the mobile device changes we recommend transitioning any dedicated mobile or tablet campaigns to combined campaigns. Use bid modifiers to adjust bids on mobile devices relative to the performance you have seen. Starting September 15, 2014, we will begin migrating device targets such that desktop and tablet will always be targeted together.

Can we test the API before it goes live?
The API currently supports the enhanced campaigns semantics so you can start coding now. See questions #1, or the MSDN blog for more information.

Mobile-related questions

When will mobile be included in Unified Device Targeting?
Unified Device Targeting phase II, in which smartphone campaigns will be merged into Unified Device Targeting will begin during the first quarter of 2015. We will notify advertisers and partners of exact dates a minimum of 120 days prior to the beginning of migration.

Once smartphone traffic is merged into Unified Device Targeting, all campaigns will be automatically configured to reach searchers across all devices. Advertisers should apply bid adjustments for their existing mobile-only campaigns, which influences bids, ad position, and click volume on mobile devices.

Can I still have separate mobile ads?
Once smartphone traffic is merged into Unified Device Targeting, advertisers who are interested in optimizing for mobile will be able to select “mobile preferred.” This will provide cues to Bing Ads that these ads are optimized for mobile.

Will OS targeting be available?

Once smartphone traffic is merged into Unified Device Targeting, OS targeting for tablet and smartphone no longer be an option.

Will Quality Score be available for mobile?
There are no planned changes to how we provide Quality Score information. Currently, we do not provide QS breakdown by device.

What is "mobile preferred"?
"Mobile preferred" is a hint to prefer to show the ad on mobile. It does not guarantee that an ad will only be served on mobile devices.

Mobile preference cannot be set at the ad group level. If all ads in an ad group are set to “mobile preferred” some will likely be displayed on PC/tablet. Therefore, if you use the “mobile preferred” setting, it is a best practice to also ensure that there are non-mobile preferred ads included in the ad group in order to ensure that you have ads which will perform well on PC/tablet.

How will mobile preferred impact extensions?
At this time, there is no impact to extensions planned.

What should I do to prepare for phase II?
See the section on “Best Practices” for more detailed recommendations on combining campaigns. Here's a summary of recommended actions:

  • Proactively combine all campaigns, including mobile-targeted in advance of Phase I migrations.
  • Test different bid modifiers to gain insights prior to the migration.
  • Determine which ads will be designated as “mobile preferred.”

Get more info

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