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Google Adwords Enhanced Campaigns Explained

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Andy MacLean

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I'm Andy MacLean, blogger & SEO consultant. If you like this blog post (pretty) please leave a comment below or share it. Thanks for reading!

Changes have been coming and some seem great, some seem like a way to squeeze more revenue out of its advertisers, though I reserve judgement just now. The biggest gripe would appear to be about the inability to target campaigns individually at desktop/pc/tablet level which is an important tactic as cpc’s conversion rates and CPA’s differ across devices. Ill report more soon. Heres an email I had from Google today together with my analysis, which admittedly is based purely on my understanding of the imminent changes and not based on my actual experience of them yet…

Google is continually given feedback everyday and a lot of the feedback we receive are really awesome ideas. Engineering heard this feedback and I’m really excited to let you know about the launch of Google AdWords Enhanced campaigns!

As smartphones and tablets continue to grow in popularity and consumers are seamlessly switching between devices, a new, multi-device world is developing. Enhanced campaigns introduce new marketing tools for this multi-device world, from smarter ads optimized for varying user contexts to advanced reporting to measure new conversion types. The idea is to make campaign management smarter and more simple.

So what’s different with enhanced campaigns versus current AdWords campaigns?

  • Campaign level bid adjustments by device, location (formally bid by distance beta) and time in search (Campaign level bid adjustments by device is probably the big controversy here, as I understand it you will not adjust bids targeting mobile devices at keyword level anymore. Adjusting bids at campaign and not keyword level just seems weird! Adjusting bids by location and time sounds very cool.) 
  • Adgroup-level bid adjustments by placement, topic, remarketing and more in display (Yep thats better)
  • Ads customized for mobile (Dont we have this already?)
  • Individual sitelink management (Way overdue. So now we dont have to guess which sitelinks are improving performance).
  • Extension scheduling (Yep I can see how that would be useful e.g. time limited offers)
  • Dynamic KW URLs based on user device (Ok but couldnt we do this anyway with separate campaigns targeting different devices?)
  • Calls as conversion tracking (Ive really wanted this one for ages, very useful. Always seemed odd that we could count a ‘thank you’ page or ‘brouchure request’ as a conversion but not a red hot sales call!)
  • Offer Extensions out of beta and available (Woohoo, I think ad extensions together with rich snippets are going to be huge in 2013)
  • Coming soon: music and book downloads, digital to store tracking, cross-device conversions (Oh very nice)

What’s changing specifically:

  • All campaigns reach all devices. You can opt out of mobile by bidding down on the device, but you won’t be able to opt out of desktop/tablet all together (Ouch, I can see why Google has done this, partly to stop the need for having 3 campaigns (desktop, tablet, mobile) when one will do but this really is going hurt many Adwords advertisers. Im not sure how this is great for the amateur advertiser who wont even think to bid down on mobile to reduce his CPA.)
  • Mobile bids adjusted at the campaign level (Whaaaaaatttt? Bids adjusted at the campaign level, really? Did I just read that right? I think I did. Are we going backwards in time here? We cant adjust mobile bids at the keyword level? I hope its not but it seems like a way improving revenue for Google not CPA’s for advertisers).
  • Tablet bids equal to desktop bids (Google generalises that tablet performs similar to desktop. Generalisations arent reality and this will hurt alot of advertisers who see CPA’s higher on tablets than desktop.)
  • Enhanced campaigns for Search or Search+Display do not offer device, carrier, or OS targeting. The enhanced campaigns for display only will continue to have device, carrier and OS targeting options. (Still trying to think what that suggests).
  • Promote messages across all devices in one campaign (aka no more mobile separate campaigns). Ads will show on all devices by default with the ability to specify mobile preferred ads as needed. (They’ve said this in other words above. I really dont think this is a great deal for advertisers, or at least it wouldnt be so bad BUT we are going to lose the ability to bid at keyword level for mobile!!!)
  • Bid by geographic location (i.e. targeting US but most sales come from New York), by device (i.e. a pizza place might bid up on mobile around dinner time), and by time of day (i.e. No one is in the office after 6pm so I don’t want calls coming in). (Oh ye, now this is a very good one, offers alot of flexibility for advertisers).
  • Sitelinks=> add in at the campaign or ad group level, it is a per-link (not group) approval, edit inline and retain performance, per link data, can do mobile preferred/disabled, dayparting now available. (Way overdue. Will provide alot of valuable insight)
  • App extensions=> mobile and tablet extension (use to be mobile only), allow mobile preferred (or disable mobile), dayparting now available (Like it, very cool. A big bonus for those wishing to push their apps).
  • Call extensions=> Call metrics is now free (in US, UK DE), advertiser’s own phone number allowed in desktop/tablet call extension, dayparting is now available, allow mobile-preferred (Great, if its really free, for advertisers where the phone call is key, this is brilliant news. Seems like alot of revenue to lose though, rather than ‘free’ I wonder if it will actually, count as a click with the cpc being that of the keyword searched for?)
  • Offer extensions=> extension dayparting available, replaces offer distribution start/end dates (Like it, I can see this becoming very important)

What’s not changing:

  • Separate search and display campaigns still a best practice
  • Account hierarchy not changed
  • KW match types not changed
  • Network targeting options remain
  • Quality Score calculations not changing
  • KW bidding remains
  • Device, OS and carrier targeting for Display remain
  • Smartpricing for AFS in Display not changed

After enhanced campaigns launch (today) they will become the default campaign type. For a limited time (currently through June 2013), users may still create the old version of campaigns, but we strongly recommend that all new campaigns be enhanced to take advantage of the new features.