Google’s Enhanced Campaigns – And What it Means for Advertisers

This past February, Google began rolling out what they called ‘Enhanced Campaigns’ for the AdWords platform.  As the campaign is the main framework within which ad groups, ads, keywords, etc. reside – any type of change to the product architecture will likely have a direct impact on overall performance.

Why Is Google Making This Change?

Numerous, industry-leading analysis firms report that mobile ad consumption is exploding, and that multi-device marketing is a necessity. One goal of enhanced campaigns is to enable seamless advertising capability across all devices.  Next, it is all about context – and not just context in the form of a user’s browsing history.  According to Google, Enhanced Campaigns will use various signals to serve ads: device, time of day, location, and conversion type — thereby making the search ad experience more relevant to each user by showing the right content in the right place at the right time – all based upon the combined context of these factors.  A very powerful concept, no?  At Core and More Technologies, we feel that enhanced campaigns stand to significantly increase the ability of advertisers to refine their strategies to a near perfect science.

So, what does it mean?

1.     Search campaigns will no longer be device specific

Up until now, a renown best practice was to split up campaigns depending upon the specific device (desktop, tablet, mobile) to be targeted.   With Enhanced Campaigns, this is no longer necessary. Google now offers a bid modifier that can be applied to mobile devices. The modifier ranges from -100 percent — meaning mobile is not included — to +300 percent. So, if you don’t want your ads to show on mobile devices, simply use the -100 percent modifier.

Interesting to note that Google has lumped tablets and computers together, and that the only bid adjustment variation is applicable to mobile devices.  That is, at least for Search campaigns.  To be honest, we are not sure yet what Google’s grand plan is on this.  However, there is much buzz going on about the internet marketing community – hoping that Google will change this approach prior to July. 

Mobile bid adjustments can now be applied at the Ad Group level

2.     Sitelinks Are Now at the Ad Group Level

A welcomed addition.  This means that the powerful concept of sitelinks can now be applied in a much more granular way than in the past – where sitelinks could only be applied broadly at the ad group level. The real value here is that it will enable more flexibility and control for advertisers who previously struggled to make their sitelinks broad enough so as to be relevant to every ad group in a campaign.

3.     Bid Multipliers. Ad Scheduling

Ad scheduling has been taken to a whole new level…and a much more granular level at that.

Next Steps/Best Practices?

Upgrading to enhanced campaigns will present challenges – most notably on the bidding configuration side. Based upon the experience gained since initial launch, we can share a good deal of information that should help to convey a clear understanding of what it all means, and then how best to leverage the new features.  But first, it must be understood that the upgrade is not just a matter of ‘upgrading’.  We strongly recommend that you develop a strategy around the upgrade consideration.  Use the following checklist to get started:

  1. Target Development: Research every target option that is relevant to you
  2. Ad Group Update: Incorporate those targets into your campaigns, at the ad group level
  3. Integrated Strategy: Decide how those targets should interact (for example, say somebody searching on your keywords also shows behavior that matches a particular interest – such a match should have a bid multiplier of X% more than your default). Further, tf they are also on a target placement,  the bid should increase to X% + Y% -and so forth.

Having taken these steps, you will have moved that much closer to achieving what every advertiser and, quite frankly, what the Google AdWords advertising platform strives for; matching your ad to your target user with higher bids applied appropriately depending directly upon the number of targets matched.  Said simply, your bid will be at one level when a user is likely to convert, then another when the user is more likely to convert , and so on.

All Campaigns Will Be Upgraded Starting July 22, 2013

Last Tuesday, May 14th we received notification from Google that the process of upgrading all legacy campaigns would commence on July 22.   Of course, there is the option of upgrading campaigns anytime in advance.  Hopefully, marketers have been using the past 90 days to familiarize themselves with the features now available through Enhanced Campaign via smaller campaigns, in preparation for the now mandatory process of moving larger, higher-value campaigns to the new system.

UCentryGoogle is rolling out an Upgrade Center to help streamline the process for advertisers and agencies.  See illustration:

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