Whether you’re a marketer who effectively utilizes device campaigns or someone who’s just figuring out PPC advertising for your own business and cannot believe they’re changing the rules on you, everyone seems to have an opinion regarding Google’s new enhanced campaigns. The intention of Google’s enhanced campaigns is to connect businesses with customers under the right conditions and ensure the greatest satisfaction for both searchers and advertisers. Whether it accomplishes this goal, and whether it makes these changes at the expense of advertiser control, is under hot debate.
For the uninitiated, here’s Google’s promo video for Enhanced Campaigns:
There are a lot of different aspects of enhanced campaigns to examine. For the moment, without arguing for or against the system or deciding whether Google’s changes will ruin your campaigns, let’s take a look at one of the biggest concerns regarding the upgrade: the amount of control advertisers will maintain over their accounts.
Major Enhanced Campaign Changes
Campaigns are no longer associated with one specific device type. Tablets are now aligned with computers/laptops in terms of both campaign structure and bidding strategies. Although you have the option to select certain ads as “mobile-preferred”, there are no more “mobile-only” campaigns and it’s not guaranteed that mobile-preferred ads won’t also show on other devices. The idea behind this change is to make sure customers are being reached on all devices, something that many PPC experts will argue they were doing just fine with separate campaigns. For advertisers who track their conversions at a device level and have separate budgets and ads for tablets, mobile, and computers, this probably embodies the biggest loss of advertiser control. Even if you don’t track conversions at a device level or consider this ability essential to your business, keep in mind that your ads will now serve to tablets and mobiles by default, regardless of whether or not your ads are relevant to tablet-users or convert on those devices.
Bid adjustments for enhanced campaigns take CPC bidding to a complex new level by adding the ability to manage bids by mobile device, day part, and geographic location (Google has a full explanation of these capabilities). The new features eliminate the need for different campaigns based on geography so advertisers who have complex campaign organization due to location separation can experience an added level of control over their geographic bids. Day part bid management takes ad scheduling even further by providing control over not just when to display the ads, but how much to pay for displaying during a particular time of day. With just a little extra math you can adjust your bid based on the cost per acquisition for each location and time of day, expanding your opportunity to generate revenue at a lower cost.
On the negative side, there are already complaints that mobile bidding is limited; only a +300% bid adjustment is allowed for mobile, compared to the +600% limit for other devices, and ads will still show on computers if you’re trying to work around the absence of “mobile-only” campaigns. Also, the ability to greatly increase bids could result in huge overspending if advertisers aren’t careful with the calculations. Overall, bid management with enhanced campaigns takes a little extra work that will be worth the added amount of control over your costs.
In what appears to be the most celebrated, advertiser-friendly upgrade, ad extensions have increased capabilities and reporting capacity. There are actually a lot of positive changes regarding ad extensions, so for details see Google’s coverage of all the extensions upgrades here. The new features include ad scheduling by extension, ad group level control, mobile-preferred option, more detailed and segmented reporting, and call extension forwarding at no extra charge (previously $1/call), along with better call tracking options (like the ability to only count phone calls that last 60 seconds or longer as a conversion). All of these changes provide a new level of control over reaching customers with extended ad copy and making sure you do so when and how you want.
Do Your Homework
There is a surplus of material available on the topic of enhanced campaigns, from opinionated blog posts to helpful webinars (Google, PPC Hero, and Wordstream all have both webinars and articles). Make sure to take a look at all the information and evaluate all your options before deciding to automatically hate the new system. In terms of how to make the switch, Brad Geddes of Certified Knowledge has some great recommendations for how to determine the best time to upgrade your account. No matter when or how you choose to convert, take a look at Google’s basic instructions for making the change to become familiar with the amount of work that will go into the transition based on the size of your account. Make sure to keep up-to-date on the new policies as the changes are implemented, especially if you’re going to be taking your AdWords Certification Exam any time soon, as the test questions are likely to change continually as Google fine-tunes the system.
Who’s in Control?
The short answer: Google is always in control of what they’ll allow advertisers to do, but it’s up to you as the advertiser to learn the best ways to use the system. Enhanced campaigns bring a lot of change, both positive and negative, but by doing your research and making some adjustments to your campaign management, you can maintain control over your accounts.
If you don’t have the time or desire to learn entirely new account management skills, consider letting someone else do all the work. We’re committed to keeping up with the ongoing changes and can handle your enhanced campaigns for you. Whether you manage your own AdWords account or we work with you, it’s important that you keep control of your advertising and make sure you’re getting the most out of your PPC campaigns.