Enhanced campaigns are now upon us, with advertisers having the opportunity to opt-in to the new format, before a forced roll-out occurs in June 2013. The announcement has been met with mixed feelings, depending largely on the advertiser, the sector that they operate in, and how their user base is accessing and engaging with their website.

So why the mixed feelings towards these new ‘intelligent’ campaigns?

Well, in short, the ability to previously target tablet devices separately, was extremely useful for many of our clients, especially e-commerce clients, who have noticed that average order values from tablet users are typically higher than from desktop or mobile visitors, often making this traffic more profitable than traditional desktop/laptop traffic.

Separating out this traffic, with dedicated tablet campaigns, previously meant that advertisers could use a different bidding strategy for tablet devices (including by operating system), with of course, different ad copy encouraging users to ‘buy on their iPad, etc.’, thus giving them a greater and more granular level of control over the traffic provided by AdWords, and maximising ROI from certain devices.

Enhanced campaigns, on the other hand, will not allow for this level of targeting, with Desktop and Tablet traffic being considered largely one and the same, with only mobile (smartphone) traffic, being separate. It is therefore not surprising that many have been left frustrated and concerned.

Flash Concerns with enhanced Campaigns.

Many advertisers, including those in the gaming sector have wider concerns about Enhanced campaigns, especially those using flash-based browser games, given that Apple products (which comprise a large share of the tablet market) do not support Flash.

Being able to filter out this tablet traffic, focusing on say Android devices only, is pivotal for many of these campaigns and the ROI that they deliver, but again, with Enhanced campaigns, this level of control is lost, thus meaning that iOS traffic could potentially reappear as of June 2013, having previously been filtered.

Whilst this is indeed the case, and worrying for many, following a meeting with Google at their offices in Dublin on the 6th March, we were told a work-around for this problem. Basically, if a user has flash based games, or other content which requires flash, and they wish to continue operating as they are, in tandem with enhanced campaigns, they will need to have some sort of flash present on the landing page that their PPC ads are driving traffic to.

Why I hear you say? Because the new campaigns are more ‘intelligent’, and can apparently detect the flash, thus meaning that the system will automatically NOT display ads to those using iOS, which of course, cannot support the content. And voila! It’s not pretty, but it is a work-around, at least for the time being. Will we regain greater control over device and operating systems targeting in future? We hope so, but watch this space…!

Matt Loughlin, Head of Paid Search