Google's Enhanced Campaigns – Automatic Upgrades Coming Soon

Posted on June 26th, 2013 by True Media

Our Senior Digital Project Manager Jennifer Shaw explains Google’s new “Enhanced Campaigns.”
This past February, in an effort to “simplify” search advertising, Google announced an update to AdWords called Enhanced Campaigns, a new campaign structure that is meant to make it easier to reach users in the new multi-screen world. Needless to say, anytime Google makes a major change within their platforms, marketers tend to break out into a cold sweat.
Up until now, this upgrade has been voluntary, allowing search marketers to plan ahead for the transition in an effort to avoid any negative consequences to their campaigns. However, beginning July 22nd, Google will start automatically upgrading all campaigns, making it a good time to review what these changes mean and how they may affect a paid search campaign.

Let’s take a look at the three major changes coming:
Mobile-Only No More: The most significant change, and concern to marketers, is Google eliminating mobile-only campaigns. Up until now, mobile could be separated out from regular campaigns allowing for different bidding strategies, keywords, and budgets to these devices. Now, all devices must run within the same campaign, only allowing marketers the option of opting out of mobile or using bid modifiers to control bidding across each device.
For advertisers who’ve been slow to jump on the mobile bandwagon, this may be a good way to get up and running with mobile campaigns without a lot of extra work. However, for those advertisers who’ve put a lot of effort into managing separate mobile campaigns, this not only requires extra work to merge campaigns back together, but it’s also being seen as a loss of granular control over mobile campaigns, particularly for those that don’t want to advertise on desktops at all.
But one of the biggest concerns over this integration is focused around increased costs. Historically, mobile ads have had much lower cost-per-clicks (CPCs) and cost-per-acquisitions (CPAs) than desktop ads. Marketers are worried that integrating devices will increase these costs. Early reports indicate this concern may have merit, as some marketers are reporting cost increases of 5% – 10% over the mobile-only campaigns.
A couple of other concerns with mobile and desktop/laptop integration include:

  • Keyword development: some believe that mobile devices require simpler, broader level keywords to accommodate different search habits, while desktop searches may be more precise or exact. This may require marketers to strategize differently when creating their ad copy, keeping in mind all devices.
  • Tablets: Google is moving tablets from the mobile category and lumping them in with laptops and desktops. This removes the ability for separate bidding on these devices. Google asserts these devices are interchangeable in terms of user search habits, but not all marketers agree and feel this is another loss of control over their campaigns.

More Relevant Sitelinks: The second major change has been more positively received by search managers – the ability to have sitelink extensions set at the ad group level instead of the campaign level. Sitelink extensions are additional links that are displayed underneath a PPC text ad that gives users the opportunity to click to the most relevant page on the site straight from the ad.
This update gives advertisers a lot more flexibility in applying the most relevant sitelinks to each ad group, boosting performance and making the links more relevant to the ad copy. These sitelinks can also be dayparted, targeted by device, and scheduled for start and end dates. Using a Google favorite example of a pizza restaurant, someone on a mobile device looking for dine in or carry out could now receive a different sitelinks than someone who’s at home on their desktop searching for pizza delivery. This provides a more relevant experience and allows marketers to better target based on the context of the search query.
Beyond this, Google just announced last week that marketers will now have control of the ad copy associated with each sitelink. This will give marketers the ability to create more relevant ad copy and possibly increase CTRs overall.
More Robust Conversion Reports: Lastly, Enhanced Campaigns offers conversion reporting that will allow a paid search manager to get more granular in measuring conversion types, particularly with detailed call reporting, although additional conversion types are still to come. Any new level of reporting that can help you adjust your strategy and improve campaign performance is always welcome.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out once the transition is complete. Google has invited feedback from marketers on these changes, and marketers haven’t been shy about doing so. It remains to be seen how Google will react to concerns about this integration and whether changes will be made to alleviate them, or if marketers will learn to adjust accordingly.
While many search marketers have already begun shifting their campaigns, the full ramifications of these changes won’t likely be seen until all accounts are migrated. So we can definitely expect more to come on this topic!