If you are not plugged in to the Pay Per Click advertising community pretty closely, you may have missed Google’s announcement of a fundamental shift in AdWords campaign structures with huge implications for PPC marketers.
It’s called AdWords Enhanced Campaigns and it’s going to rock the PPC boat in the coming months. The premise is simple: Google wants to help advertisers reach prospective customers with the right ad at the right time on the right device.
Here is the slick promo video that attempts to explain the new campaign structures:
At first glance, I am concerned that the changes will sacrifice the granular level of control that sophisticated PPC managers have in favor of a “one size fits all” approach. However, like any new feature, there will be ways to out-optimize competitors to achieve better results with rigorous testing and refinement.
Cynics could say it is designed for Google to squeeze more money from less sophisticated advertisers that will raise CPCs for all.
Taking the long view, I suspect that savvy PPC managers will benefit at the expense of those with less experience. It’s just one more reason to pay close attention to AdWords results to avoid losing control and wasting money.
Despite the long-winded intro (there’s a lot to say!), here are my 5 things to watch out for with AdWords Enhanced Campaigns:
No More Mobile-Only Campaigns
The new “default” campaigns will include all device types: desktops, tablets, and smartphones. It will not be possible to target “only” desktops or “only” mobile devices. This will hurt lead generation campaigns that are heavily optimized to a “Cost Per Phone Lead” or ROI-focused e-commerce campaigns for sites that are not mobile-optimized.
More advanced PPC managers will miss the granular, but complicated campaign structures that give us a lot of flexibility today.
More Complex Bidding Configuration
Advertisers will gain more granular bidding options for device, day part, location. Local businesses with a physical location can increase CPC bids for people within walking distance of their shop. Dentists can lower their CPC bids during the overnight hours when their front desk is not answering the phones.
Sounds great, right? We can already do these things with automated rules, ad scheduling and geo-targeted campaigns. However, being able to combine these features may yield more actionable insights and result in time savings for campaign managers.
Doing Nothing is not an option
Ready or not, all current AdWords campaigns will be migrated to Enhanced Campaigns in June 2013. Advertisers will have access to Enhanced Campaigns in the coming weeks. Smart PPC advertisers will begin testing and refining their campaigns early to avoid getting caught off guard in June.
If you choose to do nothing, you run the risk of your campaign settings “automatically” being opted-in to target devices or dayparts that you don’t want to target. This will cost you a lot of extra money. Additionally, results will be sub-optimal if you don’t take advantage of the advanced bidding and ad creative rotation options to show the right ads at the right times of day.
More Conversion Tracking Options
I am most excited about the promised advancements in phone call tracking. We use a 3rd party call tracking system but would like better ways of integrating conversion data into the AdWords interface. This is a welcome enhancement.
Just as exciting, the integrated campaigns can track conversions (sales, leads, downloads, etc.) that involve several visits to your site across multiple devices. There are many cases where a visitor requires multiple interactions with your company before becoming a customer. Tying together these disparate engagement points is a huge problem for marketers, and perfectly suited for AdWords’ cross-browser tracking capabilities.
Expanded Extensions Options
For those in the know, Ad Extensions are a PPC marketer’s best friend. They expand your ads’ visibility and improve Click-Through Rates while helping get your prospects one click closer to accomplishing their objectives.
Previously, ad extensions were only available at the campaign level. Enhanced Campaigns will allow for extensions at the ad group level. Extensions can be scheduled to only show at certain times of the day.
These are just some of the new features available. The rest are just as mind-boggling and will require a lot of attention to detail!
What does it all mean?
There are a lot of unanswered questions, but we know this for sure: this is the biggest overhaul to AdWords since they launched the Google Display Network years ago.
Advertisers need to pay close attention to avoid losing money and missing opportunities to convert more visitors into customers.
Google can re-draw the playing field, but we’ll always be there to take advantage of new features and optimize campaigns based on actual results.
Stay tuned as we cover these changes in future posts. As always, if you need more info, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation to determine how these changes will impact your campaigns!
(image credit: Google AdWords)