Living in an 'Enhanced' World
A minor doomsday for search marketers is on the horizon that will strike less than a month from now. On the (hopefully sunny) Monday morning of July 22nd, all campaigns in Google Adwords will find themselves operating in “Enhanced” mode – whether you want them to or not. Enhanced implies improvement via the addition of new features. While Enhanced campaigns do offer some improvements over standard, now so-called “legacy” accounts (you can tell by its name that Google wants this campaign type to skedaddle), they also present challenges to many account managers.
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
It appears that Google’s forced adoption of Enhanced campaigns has something to do with the explosive growth of mobile device traffic and the company’s urge to harness advertising revenues from it. With Legacy campaigns, you could specify on the campaign level whether you wanted to target mobiles, tablets, desktops, or all three. With such flexibility, it was easy to create multiple closely-linked campaigns, one targeting desktop traffic and another targeting mobile traffic, with similar call to actions but differing budgets, bid cost and ad copy. Bid costs and budget allocations could be different across device types, a vital feature for campaigns that needed to garner control over their user segments. With Enhanced campaigns, Google wants to rein in a bit of this freedom. Campaigns will now target all devices by default, and managers can now adjust bids for mobile traffic as a percentage of non-mobile bids. If you select 0%, your ads won’t show to mobile users at all. In addition, you can now choose a “mobile” as a device preference for each of your ad variations so that the desktop and mobile users can receive specialized ads. Unfortunately you’re left with little granularity on the tablet front: tablet traffic is treated the same way as desktop traffic, and ads can’t be specifically blocked or bid adjusted for tablet users. Since you can’t set tablet-specific Destination URLs, you should make sure your website is tablet-friendly.
Ad Extensions: Upgrades Galore
Ad Extensions, those neat (some say pesky) little options that sometimes accompany Google-served ads just got an upgrade with the introduction of Enhanced campaigns. Click to call, sitelinks, mobile apps, and offer extensions now possess “upgraded” status, enabling you to apply them to either the campaign or ad group level. In addition, much like ad copy, you can specify which extensions you would prefer to show to mobile traffic. More granular data, like the performance of individual sitelinks, is now reported in the Adwords interface, along with extension scheduling.
It’s always hard adapting to new rules, and the rules of Enhanced campaigns are no exception. The era of giving each device type its own campaign with its own budget and ad copy is now over. Google wants you to manage all traffic sources in one campaign, effectively disabling control over tablet traffic yet enabling better control over mobile bid adjustments. As with life, you win some and you lose some. Once again, make sure your website is tablet-friendly, because if it isn’t, you can’t shut down tablet traffic from seeing your ad. If you begin to show ads to mobile traffic for the first time, you also want to make sure your website is optimized for mobile traffic. Otherwise, you risk losing precious conversions. If you have a phone number for customers, it may also be best to enable the call extension for mobile traffic, allowing smartphone users to call your business with one click (this can be tracked as a conversion in Adwords).
We Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
Google isn’t done rolling out changes for Enhanced campaigns. The company recently unveiled optional sitelink descriptions and image integration search ads (More on that soon). Adwords is continually evolving, and the switch to Enhanced campaign is just one of many changes marketers will need to adopt to as Google looks to capitalize on emerging trends that require changes to how it operates its advertising platform.