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Increase Conversions 1190% with Device Targeting

Money First, Not Mobile First

In emerging markets, companies’ best customers are often those countrymen and woman with purchasing power. Beyond the United States and a few western European countries, explicitly targeting on income is limited. As a result, marketers need to get creative in how they advertise to high-value, high-income users. One of the simplest, cleanest ways of targeting these users is by focusing on mobile device brand.

Mobile Device Brand as Demographics

The mobile device a user accesses your platform on can be indicative of their level of wealth and digital sophistication.

Apple products tend to be more expensive than Android products. According to Apple's investor relations, in Q1 2017, the average iPhone cost $695! On the other end of the spectrum, the average retail price of a smartphone in low-spec, Android-dominated India is $158.

Apple products are vastly more expensive than other mobile devices

Simply put, a user who owns an Apple product will generally have higher purchasing power.

In emerging markets where per capita income is depressed, the amount of capital required to purchase Apple devices as a percent of monthly income is beyond the reach for most common folk. In addition and not to be overlooked, purchasing power impacts a person's data plan and ultimately ability to access your website outside of Wi-Fi hot spots.

For international brands looking to make initial headway in a new market, targeting iOS users is a great way of reaching the expatriate community. Travelling Americans have a 44% chance of being iOS users, travelling Brits a 48% chance, and travelling Japanese an high as a 57% chance. Travelling iOS users correlate to the highest purchasing power in the world.

"Finding qualified users, with the savviness and income to make non-essential purchases online, is incredibly difficult. My advice, be money-first, not mobile first."

As a result of greater purchasing power, iPhone users tend to have higher conversion rates than users of other brands. Analyzing nearly 14 million users around the world across a variety of verticals, this trend reveals itself. In particular, some of the top markets where Apple products outperform country averages are in emerging markets like India, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Moldova. Apple products' conversion rate outperforms across a variety of more developed nations as well, though to a lesser extent. Examples include Israel (50%), Austria (25%), Norway (20%), and even UAE (15%).

Apple products convert higher than most mobile brands

Segmenting campaigns based on user device is a simple, yet powerful mechanism of income targeting in emerging markets where Facebook and Google have limitations in their respective abilities to income target.

Target iPhone Users on Facebook

Facebook makes it the easiest, by far, to explicitly target iPhone users. When creating a new ad set, in the "Placements" section select "Edit Placements" rather than "Automatic Placements."

Next, click "Specific Mobile Devices & Operating Systems" selecting "iOS Devices Only."

Facebook setting for targeting iOS devices

Target iPhone Users on the Google Display Network

The Google Display Network (GDN) uniquely enables advertisers to target iPhone users, though the setting is a bit buried. The first step in creating a new GDN campaign is to select campaign settings. At the bottom of the page there is a callout to "Show additional settings." Expand this option as well as the "Device: target device types, specific devices, and device connection types."

From here, you can explicitly choose to advertise to all iOS users or even to specific iPhone model owners. For best results, start broadly targeting all iOS and then analyze data from Google Analytics or your tracking partner to determine if their is variance among devices and segment according to performance.

Target iPhone Users within Google Search

While the standard Google Search product does not allow for browser and device targeting, there are a couple of creative ways of still achieving device level segmentation. Both methods involve the use of Google Analytics to build out audiences.

Method #1: Similar Audiences: First create a custom audience in google analytics based on only users of Apple devices. Next, in AdWords, create a "Similar Audience" to this list and set the audience targeting to "Bid and Target." If done properly, you will be targeting only Apple users in your new campaign.

Method #2: RLSA for Devices: Similar to method #1, you will need to create a custom audience in Google Analytics based on the user's device. But, unlike method #1, add this audience to your campaigns with the targeting "Bid Only." Now, you will have the power to change bids based on the mobile brand without risking a limiting of traffic.


In many areas of the world and for many people, mobile phones were the first touch point to the internet. Often times, marketing managers mistakenly look to total number of mobile phone brand users rather than accounting for purchasing power and internet savviness when building out their marketing roadmaps.

An e-commerce company selling gadgets, fashion, and furniture, may make poor short-term decisions staking their company on trying to sell non-essentials to people who may not even have running water or electricity. In India, for example, just 1% of the country is responsible for 70% of digital ecommerce spend.

To reach these users and realize outsized gains to your marketing effort begin to think of your device strategy as a demographic strategy.

Finding qualified users, with the savviness and income to make non-essential purchases online, is incredibly difficult. My advice, be money-first, not mobile first.

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