Updated: Upcoming Changes to Device Targeting in Bing Ads

Updated August 15 2014: Based on feedback from our API partners, we have updated the section on how to prepare for these changes. An error will NOT be returned if an attempt is made to set only tablet or desktops and laptops as a device target after the change is rolled out. .  

A few months ago we rolled out compatibility with AdWords enhanced campaigns which enabled advertisers on Bing Ads to easily import AdWords campaigns into Bing Ads while still preserving flexibility around device targeting. During this time we’ve been monitoring usage of this functionality and listening to feedback from advertisers like you. The feedback we’ve heard from developers is that even small discrepancies in platform behavior can be challenging for cross-channel tools to manage and maintain.

Today we’d like to announce the next phase of changes designed to maintain compatibility with your AdWords campaigns while still giving you the control and flexibility you have come to expect from Bing Ads.

We’ll first talk about the changes from a high level and then dive deeper into how this impacts our APIs.

Changes to Targeting Tablet Devices Coming in September

Since rolling out compatibility with AdWords enhanced campaigns, we’ve learned that for many of our customers there is a thin line between offering flexibility and increasing the complexity of our product relative to other products in the marketplace.

Specifically, we have gotten feedback that having both the enhanced campaigns model of bid modifiers and explicit device targeting adds complexity to managing paid search campaigns in Bing Ads. More importantly, we have seen that user’s search behavior and advertiser performance is similar between desktops and tablets on the Yahoo Bing Network. Given these realizations we will be making changes to how tablet targeting works in Bing Ads.

Below are the current device targeting options available in Bing Ads


Figure 1: Current device targeting options

As mentioned earlier, PCs and tablets have very similar performance characteristics and are managed as a single unit in competing platforms. To this end, we will be updating the device targeting options available in Bing Ads during to month of September in the following way.


Figure 2: Upcoming device targeting options (September 2014)


Although we will combine PCs and tablets into a single device target, advertisers who see performance differences between PCs and tablets will still have an option to make bid adjustments to their tablet bids. We will be updating the allowable bid modifiers when targeting tablet devices. Historically the industry has seen about a 15% - 20% difference in performance between tablet devices and desktop PCs.


Source: Smart Insights

To ensure advertisers will have the flexibility to manage the performance differences between tablets and desktops, when this change is made in September, the allowable bid modifier on tablet devices will range from +300% to -20%. 

Changes in Targeting Mobile Devices Coming in Early 2015

We also plan to make a number of changes to simplify our mobile device targeting options and better provide compatibility with AdWords enhanced campaigns for our advertisers by the first quarter of next year.

The first upcoming change for mobile device targeting in the Yahoo Bing Network will be the introduction of app promotion ads which will provide end users a way to download apps directly from popular mobile app stores in a single click from the ad. These ads will only show up on mobile devices where the app can be installed. These app promotion ads will replace the existing operating system specific targeting which exists today for mobile devices.

The second change will be to unify management of device targeting across campaigns by eliminating explicit mobile device targeting and leveraging bid modifiers instead. Once this change is rolled out there should be complete compatibility between how ad campaigns are managed in Google’s AdWords and in Bing Ads.


Figure 3: Upcoming device targeting options (Q1 2015)

How to Prepare for These Changes

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 in September of 2014. You should take this time to ensure your sites work well on tablets and to prepare your campaign structure or bidding strategy as necessary.


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%. 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 our recommendation is to transition any usage of dedicated campaigns for managing mobile devices to unified campaigns for managing all devices which use bid modifiers to adjust bids on mobile devices relative to the performance you have seen. Starting September we will being migrating device targets to this new model where desktop and tablet will always be targeted together.


If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments section below. As always, we’d love to hear from you.


Dare Obasanjo

Group Program Manager, Bing Ads Applications and Developer Platform