In this two part series we will take a look at Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns. In this first post we will introduce you to the new changes you will see within your campaigns and some strategies to prepare for and take full advantage of these changes. In the second part of this series we will discuss why this change is taking place and address some of the common critiques (both positive and negative) surrounding the change.
What Are Enhanced Campaigns?
In February, Google announced the release of Enhanced Campaigns, their new approach to mobile search advertising. By upgrading from Legacy campaigns to Enhanced campaigns, advertisers are consolidating their device targeting to include desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. No more duplicating campaigns to track mobile usage separately, and (hopefully) no more leaving mobile out of the equation all together.
With this new system advertisers are being forced to give mobile search the same consideration as their desktop campaigns, no longer accepting that “mobile traffic just doesn’t convert.” Sure, there are still ways to exclude your mobile traffic (more on this to come), but Google has made this process much more labor intensive than unchecking a box within your settings, which in many advertisers case may be enough to make them reconsider.
When Will I Be Impacted By This?
In perhaps the most surprising move, this Google update is being rolled out slowly with considerable written notice and ample time for user feedback before fully taking the plunge. Not a common practice for anyone familiar with Google’s usual “act first, announce later” approach.
Released in February, Enhanced campaigns should now be an available upgrade for all those who wish to manually update their campaigns. In a recent announcement, Google stated that campaigns will begin automatically updating on July 22, 2013. But this is no time to procrastinate (says the guy writing this blog post at 2am). By letting Google’s system automatically update your campaigns for you, you are giving up control over your bids, and worse yet, putting it in the hands of the one who stands to profit. I’ve haggled at flea markets enough to know that if you’re looking for a bargain, you don’t put all your cash in the vendor’s hand and ask what he thinks is fair.
These next 3 months will be critical time to get up to speed on all things “Enhanced”, including key features, differences in bidding strategies, and how to navigate the new interface.
So What’s Different?
There are several new features to Enhanced Campaigns, some of which serve to simplify targeting and increase mobile adoption, and some of which are carrots to offer advertisers feeling like they are losing control over their sophisticated campaign structures.
Campaign level bid adjustments by device
Mobile devices will no longer be parsed into separate campaigns (as was the best practice up until now). Instead, a percentage bid adjustment will be made at the campaign level that applies to all keywords being queried on a mobile device.
If a keyword has a $3.00 bid and you want to reduce the bid to $1.50 on mobile devices, a -50% bid modifier would be placed for that campaign. As mentioned above, if you still wish to remove all mobile targeting, a -100% bid will do the trick.
Google has announced that in mid-May, bid adjustments by device will be available at the Ad Group level rather than just the Campaign level. This may have already been in the roadmap, or may be in response to feedback from early adopters. Proof that you should get on board now and voice your concerns.
Bid Adjustments by Location, Time-of-Day
For time and geographic location, you will be able to modify your bids between -100% and +300%. This is particularly important for any businesses with a brick and mortar presence. Retailers may want to increase bids within a specified radius around their stores, a pizza place could increase their mobile bid during dinner hours, or a brand operating a call center can schedule their mobile ads to only appear during business hours.
Ads Customized for Mobile
By default, the ads you create for your desktop targeting will now be served to mobile as well. To remedy this, you can create mobile specific ads which will override your standard ad when served on a mobile device.
This change will also apply to ad extensions, meaning you can designate which extensions (sitelinks, social extensions, call extensions, etc) will appear in mobile vs. desktop/tablet.
Calls Can Now be Counted as Conversions
If Google is to increase mobile adoption, they must also improve mobile tracking. One step in that direction comes in the form of calls being recorded as conversions. Now you will be able to import calls with specific attributes (such as calls over 60 seconds in length) as a conversion, helping to bridge the gap between perceived and actual mobile performance.
Ad Extension Scheduling and Additional Tracking
The first carrot comes in the form of additional targeting and reporting options for ad extensions (specifically sitelinks). You will now have the ability to schedule your ad extensions to appear by time of day, giving greater control over your messaging. A B2B organization with various resources might target whitepapers by day, but their video content in the evenings where users can consume data more easily on their mobile devices.
Sitelinks will now be available at the Ad Group level rather than Campaign level, and reporting will be based on each individual sitelink rather than the group. No longer are the days of aggregated numbers and guess work as to what is your strongest messaging.
Ad Group Level Bid Adjustments for Display Targeting
If we’re offering up carrots, we can’t neglect Display campaigns. With Enhanced Campaigns you will now be able to set bid adjustments based on any display target type, including placements, topics, remarketing lists, etc.
Why is This Happening to Me?
It’s true, change can be difficult to handle sometimes, especially when it is forcefully imposed upon you. Hopefully this post will arm you with the basic understanding of Enhanced Campaigns and how you can take advantage of the new features to comfortably and effectively navigate this changing landscape.
In part two of this series we will discuss the true intentions behind this change, how marketers have responded in this first 60 days since the announcement, and what these changes will ultimately mean for you and for digital marketing as a whole.