Smartphones & Black Boxes:

How Segmenting by Device Can Help You Find Money in Places You Didn’t Realize It Was Hiding

One of the most important aspects of the success of any business is being able to understand each of the moving parts that contribute to ROI. If you don’t know what’s working and what’s not, you will never be able to improve. This is especially true for search engine marketing, specifically, Google Ads. To understand the moving parts of your digital marketing efforts, you need to understand and implement segmentation within your campaigns. This is a topic that the team at Empirical360 is passionate about! We’ve experienced firsthand just how effective segmenting campaigns can be in producing higher ROI, but we fear many business owners may not have a solid grasp of this incredibly important tactic.

What is segmentation, and how do I do it?

Basically, segmentation is dividing your account into separate parts or sections. Having no segmentation within your Ads account is a black box operation. You’re just guessing at how to enhance your campaigns if you can’t see exactly what’s performing well.

Segmentation by Device

One of the easiest ways to begin segmenting your campaigns is to segment by device (for people who try to use bid adjustments to control traffic allocation, this is a much easier way!). You control how much you want to spend on mobile ads, desktop ads, and tablet ads. For each campaign you run, you should segment by device, in order to see which device is performing best and allocate more money to that device. Most people allocate their budget to all devices (money→devices→leads). However, say your CPA on desktop is $80, and your CPA on mobile is $40. You could change the flow to (more money→mobile→ more leads) and (less money→desktop→leads) instead; this would give you an increased amount of leads and allow you to spend less. When you don’t segment by device, the budget is only changeable at the campaign level. You can’t easily isolate variables to AB test, and you’re not spending your money as efficiently as possible.

Here’s an illustration:

Say you decide you want to invest $500 and give it to your bank. You get $1,500 back. Sounds pretty good! However, if you take an inside look, you see that your bank invested $300 in Amazon with an ROI of $350 (16%); $100 in Amazon with an ROI of $150 (50%); and $100 in Netflix with an ROI of $1,000 (900%). Netflix is clearly the winner at getting you the most bang for your buck. But because you just gave all your money to the bank and didn’t choose yourself how much money would go to each investment, the bank chose for you, and spent the least amount on Netflix. If you had properly allocated your budget to maximize ROI, you could have made an additional $3,500. (Suddenly the $1,500 isn’t as satisfying, is it?)
You can compare Google Ads to the bank. If you don’t segment, it controls how much you spend and where you spend it. If you really want to make sure you are going to get the highest ROI possible, you need to segment your campaigns and allocate to the best performing device. See our video episode on this topic to see a step-by-step tutorial of how to implement segmentation in your Ads account!

Shea Duncan - Author

Director of Content Marketing


Shea is an expert content writer and is a classic literary nerd! She loves writing highly engaging content and has a knack for making it convert!