The change is coming, be prepared for Google's enhanced campaigns
In February Google announced significant changes to the way AdWords works, in the form of enhanced campaigns. Now that the deadline to make the changes to your accounts is only round the corner, we have taken a look at how the new system will affect your business.
Enhanced campaigns is trying to achieve a better system to cope with the shift in user behaviour that now stretches across several platforms, often for one task. The increased use of smartphones and tablets means users have more flexibility as to when and where they search, it is no longer exclusively from a desktop. Google's aim is to cater for this change and give advertisers more control over accounts in order to deliver better and more relevant searches.
Account managers and PPC executives must implement the changes to their clients' accounts before 22 July 2013, or Google will make them automatically. The concern is that some of the initial modifications will be more time consuming for larger businesses with device specific campaigns, as they will have to alter their mobile bids based on current performance.
The subject has been largely debated in PPC circles since February, so we have explored some of the major differences businesses can expect to see with enhanced campaigns.
A change that will be of huge benefit to advertisers is bid adjustment, the key points to which are:
- Users can increase and decrease bids in order to bid more competitively over locations, times, dates and devices.
- You can adjust bids based on performance; the more accurately informed you are the more able you will be to target valuable customers, which should result in an improved ROI.
- Spending on individual clicks may vary but your daily budget won't change, as with the current ad scheduling system, the budget will be spread across the time you have allocated for that calendar day.
- Users can adjust bids according to whether their ads are optimised for mobiles; if they are not you are able to decrease bids to -100% and vice versa.
Users can still optimise URLs and bids to override the Ad Group settings, but with enhanced campaigns you can no longer set different keywords for mobile and desktop devices. This group-level mobile bid adjustment has become an increasing concern for search marketers as it won't be possible to increase or decrease keywords in a campaign depending on the device.
If you consider a keyword to be more relevant to mobile than desktop, you can't exclude it or change it to specifically target desktop searchers. PPC experts could compensate for this change by applying a principle which largely consists of isolating brand keywords into separate ad groups. Brand keywords represent a small percentage of active keywords but are responsible for a considerable amount of clicks, conversions and revenue.
Using this strategy could allow users to maintain control of ROI's and the current workload. By creating separate ad groups, you can designate keywords that are appropriate to optimise a mobile ad, and create a different ad group with a desktop relevant keyword for a desktop ad.
Targeted ad extensions
Under the current AdWords system, ad extensions are set at campaign level. With enhanced campaigns there is increased control over ad extensions at Ad Group level, which will allow users to improve ad relevance by varying call extensions, site links and app extensions for each ad group.
The illustrative example given by Google is that if your business has a physical shop that is open during the day, and a website where customers can make purchases online, within a single campaign you can customise your ad headlines, landing page and text accordingly. This ensures smartphone users see ads that take them to your mobile site, while computer and tablet users see relevant links to the desktop site.
Ad extensions create the right context for users depending on your ad scheduling; during your hours of business your ad may include a store locator and phone number, and when you are closed your ad may direct straight to your website where orders can be made. With enhanced campaigns you can adjust when and on which devices these ad extensions appear.
The Top 5 things to know about enhanced campaigns
- Visits and clicks will be integrated so that users will be able to see those attributed to the current ad group or campaign name. This lays the ground work for adding new AdWords dimensions quickly and creating new reports, allowing users to modify their ROI settings based on the information rich reporting with targeting settings and bid adjustments.
- Bid adjustments give you more control over when and where your ads are shown. Enhanced campaign scheduling allows you to increase or decrease your bids for specific days, hours and more including different time zones and across devices; you can view reporting from the Ad Schedule tab which will tell you when your ads are getting the best results, so you can adjust your scheduling accordingly. You can set multiple bid adjustments to target what is most important to you and AdWords will automatically find the best ad to appear.
- Although ads that aren't optimised for mobiles have been catered for, tablets and desktops have been put in the same bracket, so targeting settings cannot be set for one or the other. AdWords currently allows users to tailor ads for desktop and tablet separately, whereas categorising them both under the same settings reduces the amount of targeted ads, and does not take into account the difference in screen size from tablet to desktop.
- Enhanced campaigns will continue to bring you conversion tracking that shows you what customers do once they have clicked on your ad, for example: downloading your business's app, make a purchase over the phone or start shopping on one device and complete on another. You can benefit from new features to track what is encouraging conversions and which keywords best lead to clicks and conversions, allowing your business to better invest and increase your ROI.
- There are increased benefits to having Sitelinks in your ad with enhanced campaigns: you will gain increased flexibility as to which ads your links show alongside, and reporting in more detail so you can find out the number of clicks that occurred on any part of your ad every time that individual Sitelink appeared. You can breakdown the statistics by campaign, ad or ad group, and separate these statistics using The Extension versus Other to see the number of clicks on an individual Sitelink rather than the headline.
Adapting to the changes
Google's enhanced campaigns carries many significant benefits to businesses that will create strategic, results-based ad campaigns and allow greater flexibility across devices. Making multi-platform compatible ads according to time of day and location should enable a greater conversion rate in particular for small convenience businesses such as takeaways, launderettes, car services, hairdressers and coffee shops.
However, for agencies and professional marketers it remains to be seen whether it will increase flexibility, particularly for smaller businesses. For instance, call forwarding is not instant; this means the phone number allocated by Google that enables you to track calls to your business is not active until you have reached an undisclosed impression threshold.
Enhanced campaigns is the biggest change to happen to AdWords in recent years, and with that come both the positive and negative aspects that coincide with any major shift to the way we use an advertising tool.
Matthew Lawson, senior PPC executive at theEword said: "The geographical bid modifiers at campaign level are a great addition as they'll reduce the need to build separate campaigns for each location, that is currently required to manage bids in different areas.
"The integration of tablet and mobile with desktops may result in some larger advertisers experiencing higher CPC's and CPA's as they will no longer be able to optimise bids by the specific device."