Enhanced Campaigns: Major Update by Google Adwords

February 6, 2013

Today at exactly 12pm Pacific, Google officially announced its plan to roll out major changes to the Adwords campaign functionality. Calling the “upgrade” Enhanced Campaigns, Google has said this is the “first step to help you more simply and smartly manage” Adwords campaigns as it pertains to the different devices, locations, day scheduling, and conversions across these segments.

Previously, we made it a best practice to segment campaigns based on different devices and locations. Now with Enhanced Campaigns, Google is going to force all devices and locations for keywords to be managed in 1 campaign, making for less overall campaigns.

For advertisers who don’t have mobile-optimized websites or ads, this is definitely the wakeup call they have been in need of. Search has been completely turned upside down with the growth in mobile device browsing. It is expected that by 2016, 75% of all internet searches will be on a mobile device and much of these searches will be with local intent. Google is anticipating this growth and making these changes to push advertisers to evolve with the times.

What Exactly Is Changing?

There are several changes happening in ALL Google Adwords Accounts. These updates mainly affect Search only (non-Display Advertising) campaigns. These changes will require account preparation to avoid undesired results. (See Below). The most significant changes are:

The Consolidation of Campaigns segmented for Devices, Locations, and Time of Day Served. Now these campaigns will be managed under a single campaign. The way in which ad spend for devices, locations, and scheduling will be controlled is by bidding a percentage higher or lower than the campaign/adgroup default bid. Here is an example used by Google:

Example: A breakfast cafe wants to reach people nearby searching for “coffee” or “breakfast” on a smartphone. Using bid adjustments, with three simple entries, they can bid 25% higher for people searching a half-mile away, 20% lower for searches after 11am, and 50% higher for searches on smartphones. These bid adjustments can apply to all ads and all keywords in one single campaign.

Ad Format Control or “Smart Ads” that will allow advertisers to display different ad text and sitelink extensions (or apps) without having to edit the various campaigns for possible combinations of devices, location, and time of day. Here is an example of this:

Example: A national retailer with both physical locations and a website can show ads with click-to-call and location extensions for people searching on their smartphones, while showing an ad for their e-commerce website to people searching on a PC — all within a single campaign.

Enhanced Call Reporting that comes from phone numbers in site extensions. Where we could before track only the phone call before, we can now set parameters around how long a call has to be before it is deemed a conversion.

Example: You can count phone calls of 60 seconds or longer that result from a click-to-call ad as a conversion in your AdWords reports, and compare them to other conversions like leads, sales and downloads.

The Good

Less Clicking In and Out of Campaigns to manage segmentation.

Designation of Mobile-Optimized Ads that Include Click-To-Call, Location, and other Sitelink or App extensions with the ability to bid higher or lower based on device type.

Location-Optimized Ads that Include Location Extensions with the ability to bid higher or lower based on location or distance from your location.

Day Parting Ads with the ability to bid higher or lower based on time of day your ads show.

Added Conversion Reporting and functionality primarily around phone calls that come from site extensions and digital downloads. Removal of Phone Fees for Call Reporting

Sure, we could get the above “enhancements” while maintaining separate campaigns. The picture Google is trying to paint is that: It’s good to have all these upgrades but the true long-term benefit is in them all working in a single integrated fashion with less moving parts.

What Are the Ramifications?

One of the biggest implications of Enhanced Campaigns is closure on the bid gap between desktop and mobile devices. Sure you will be able to bid down and have the control on mobile but it doesn’t mean you’ll get the same ROI you did before. Larry Kim from Wordstream made a statement that CEO, Larry Page from Google has publicly acknowledged his excitement toward an “improvement” in mobile CPC.

If you are performing in mobile ads but want to spend less (because you are not as efficient), you have to bid down by a percentage rather than directly controlling the budget. If you don’t want to run them at all, it’s easy. You just bid down 100%. But trying to control budget by decreasing percentages could prove tricky and exhausting.

Losing control of the budget allocation on mobile campaigns is of great concern. Losing control of budget on location-based campaigns is greater because more people have separate location campaigns than device campaigns or ad scheduled campaigns.

Another concern, according to Search Engine Land is that tablets are going to be lumped in with desktop data, removing the transparency of those searches. Those who have a real advantage or disadvantage on tablet based browsing will now be the ones missing out.

Some initial concerns from outside agencies and advertisers surround the Quality Score Issue though Google has reinforced that Historical Quality Score has always accounted for the device types and will continue to do so as those searches merge.

We don’t have a ton of insight yet on how Google is setting up these new campaigns. (We know there will be a sub-nav off the Campaign Settings tab for Locations, Ad Scheduling, and Devices.) Simplicity is one of Google’s selling points, though we are now faced with the challenge of managing multiple devices, locations, and ad scheduling in a single campaign.

Before we can do that effectively, we have to face the challenge of “merging and consolidating” multiple instances of keywords, ads, and ad groups into a single campaign. This actually rewards the advertisers who never took the time to segment campaigns. We are offering to help our clients with this if they need it.

When Is This Going To Happen?

In the next weeks, Enhanced Campaigns will be available through opt-in only means. There will be an option in Adwords to upgrade. At some time in June, advertisers are going to be forced into the merge. Those that haven’t done this voluntarily will probably see undesired results including disproportioned bidding and budgets, overlapping keywords, ad, and ad groups, improper location serving, and other consequences.

What Can We Do About It?

In the sense of asking how this could be avoided; it can’t. The most important things an advertiser can do are prepare for the changes ahead of time. Of course, we will be helping advertisers with this turbulent change. But if you insist on doing it yourself, there are some necessary resources you will need to familiarize yourself with.

Google has published a web page: Adwords Enhanced Campaigns. Here you will find some resources including this 32-page guide: Upgrading to Enhanced Campaigns.

There will also be a series of webinars in the upcoming weeks which we are looking forward to participating. This will be some of the first glimpse advertisers will see into how these new campaigns will operate.

Next week, our Agency Team is coming to Southern California and meeting with us to discuss the roll out in greater depth. If anyone has an interest in having our Google team look into your account, please let us know.

Authored by Peter Dulay

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