Nine out of ten consumers today move between multiple devices when making a purchase. Shutterfly, which sells all of its personalized photo products online, wanted to better understand these patterns. By tracking estimated cross-device conversions in AdWords, the company gained key insights into its customers" mobile buying behaviors. As a result, Shutterfly chose to opt 100% of keywords into showing up on mobile devices and increased mobile bids across campaigns. Now the company is more competitive in the market and can better connect with its multi-device audience.


  • Better understand the full value of mobile
  • Quantify cross-device conversions


  • Measured estimated cross-device conversions


  • Uncovered a 15% increase in overall conversions for non-brand terms when factoring in cross-device conversions
  • Uncovered a 60% increase in mobile conversions for non-brand terms when factoring in mobile-to-desktop conversions
  • Uncovered a 19% increase in desktop conversions for non-brand terms when factoring in browser-to-browser conversions
  • Opted 100% of keywords into showing on mobile devices
  • Increased mobile bids substantially across campaigns
February 2014

Shutterfly, Inc., is a leading manufacturer and retailer of high-quality personalized products and services offered through a family of lifestyle brands including Shutterfly, TinyPrints, WeddingPaperDivas and more.

Digital is at the core of Shutterfly’s business, so it’s no surprise the company also runs many of its customer acquisition and loyalty programs online, too. AdWords is Shutterfly’s largest online marketing channel, and is used to strengthen branding, measure demand for products and understand the competition.

Looking through a cross-device lens

Shutterfly recently started to measure cross-device conversions in AdWords to understand sales of products that start on one device and are completed on another. This decision comes from Shutterfly’s understanding of consumer multi-screen behavior trends, such as the fact that nine out of ten consumers today move between multiple devices in the purchase process.1 Cross-device conversion data helps Shutterfly properly attribute all of the sales driven by its AdWords marketing. This data can then be used to make budget decisions.

John Boris, senior VP and CMO of Shutterfly, shares, “Given the growth in mobile traffic and mobile’s importance to our business, we’ve recently enhanced our mobile solutions to reach our target audience. We know our customers are looking for our products on the go and then buying on their desktops. If we do not measure and analyze these cross-device conversions, we are vastly underrepresenting the value of mobile in our overall ecosystem.”


Picture-perfect results

Measuring AdWords cross-device conversions has helped Shutterfly uncover valuable data to better understand how consumers search and shop for its products across all devices.

For example, the company discovered a 15% increase in overall conversions from AdWords ads when factoring in cross-device conversions and a 60% increase in AdWords mobile conversions when factoring in mobile-to-desktop conversions. It also uncovered a 19% increase in AdWords desktop conversions when factoring in cross-browser conversions. All of these clicks came from the company’s non-brand terms on Google.

Nadir Hussain, director of Shutterfly’s search engine marketing (SEM) team, shares, “The numbers were so good, we immediately began incorporating them into our media spending.”

Focusing on action

Shutterfly has made a number of account changes based on the company’s cross-device statistics. Due to the increased number of conversions it sees starting as clicks from mobile ads, the company has chosen to opt 100% of keywords into showing on mobile devices. It has also increased mobile bids substantially across campaigns. These optimizations allow the company to be more competitive in the auction and reach customers better using multiple devices. Hussain explains, “There are still a number of mobile customers out there to be found, and increasing our mobile bid adjustment helps us find them.”

Shutterfly also plans to increase bids for keywords on desktop/tablet soon because cross-device conversion data has revealed a higher AdWords ROI on those devices than previously thought.

Shutterfly is already reaping the benefits of this first round of optimizations. For example, its 10x increase in mobile spend in AdWords (inspired in large part by its cross-device statistics) has led to over 115x conversions (Q4 2012 v. Q4 2013). Hussain shares, “The increase in clicks we’re seeing is leading to more sales—and all of this is done with a higher ROI than we’ve seen before.”

[1]Google/Ipsos. Industry Multi-Screen Study. 2013.