Want to Target Tablet Users Specifically with AdWords? (Or Not?)

By Justin Seibert| 3 Min Read | March 22, 2011
Google AdWords Targeting Tablet Users

Either way, you’re in luck.  While you’re currently able to target the iPad, you haven’t been able to specifically segment out other types of tablets.

Google, though, just announced that over the next few weeks AdWords:

will be launching new targeting functionality in your Google AdWords account. To give you greater control over your ads, we are changing the way you can target tablet devices such as the Apple iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab or the Motorola Xoom. The ‘Tablets with full browsers’ check box will be located on your ‘Settings’ tab under ‘Networks and Devices’ and will enable you to select more precisely which types of devices and operating systems will display your AdWords ads.

The decision makes sense, as does the placement of the controls. While you currently get defaulted into all available devices accessing the internet (capable of seeing the ads), you do have the option of segmenting out desktops/laptops from smartphones.  Then within smartphones, you can further choose from four specific types of mobile devices and/or from seven different mobile carriers*.  Click on the screenshot below to enlarge:

* At least in the United States, with options for AT&T, Cricket, Metro PCS, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.  This varies by country. In the United Kingdom, your options are 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, and Vodafone.  In Australia, you get 3, Optus Mobile, Telstra, and Vodafone.  And so on.

Separately, I wonder how long Google will continue to describe the smartphone segment as “iPhones and other mobile devices with full Internet browsers.”  Perhaps they change “iPhones” to “Droids” when this update goes into effect?

If You Don’t Want to Target Tablet Devices…

You’ll need to opt-out specifically.  Google’s announcement states, “Ads on tablet devices provide a similar user experience to ads on desktop devices and are an effective way to reach tablet users.  In the coming weeks, your ads will automatically begin showing on tablet devices and no further action will be necessary on your part.”

That sounds about right.  The experience is so similar – other than typing without a keyboard extension or if you’re evil and design your site in flash – that this doesn’t seem to be a money-grab on Google’s part.  They note that “this change may result in an increase in costs to your AdWords campaigns. If you don’t want your ads to appear on tablet devices, you will be able to specify this preference in your device targeting settings.”

Don’t worry – they will put a message up in the user interface once the change goes into effect.  It will give you instructions on how to make changes if you wish, but they should be really, really basic and easy to do.  Plus, if you’re not sure whether or not you want to appear on tablets, Google will make it easy to test performance without needing to split up campaigns (though you may want to still do so).

Measuring Performance of Tablets

Just as you can now through segments,  you will be able to get data broken down for tablets to see how devices such as Google’s own Android tablets perform for you in relation to computers and smartphones.

More options, more win for advertisers.  Great news from Google.

Full-Scope Online Marketing Services | justin-seibert-headshot

Written by Justin Seibert

Justin Seibert is the President of Direct Online Marketing. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University. He contributes a wide range of online business-oriented topics, including the subject of exporting. His contributions can be found on publications such as the Pittsburgh Business Times, AdAge, SES Magazine, and La Voz del interior. Justin and his family enjoy learning about new cultures during their travels.

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