We always look forward to these here at Receptional. It means that we are roused from the shackles of routine; we take up digital arms and face the beast head on with our heroic integrity, a power known only to digital marketers and consultants. Well, only the best in the business, just sayin'. Surprisingly this announcement hasn't been met with too much criticism, leaving many ad campaign marketers smiling like Cheshire cats because finally, the erratic Mad Hatter style riddles have been answered.
Why Google Enhanced Campaigns?
Earlier in February, Google announced an upgrade to Adwords, aptly called 'Adwords Enhanced Campaigns', a system that changes the way that campaigns are now managed across multiple devices by multi-platform consumers. You may be one of these and not think anything of it, but Google does. According to their recent survey, we are a 'nation of multi-screeners'. No, that isn't an insult, it's an obvious fact. The majority of our media time is spent in front of a screen: a mobile, tablet, desktop and even the TV, often simultaneously. Therefore it is becoming difficult to distinguish one device from the next. I recently touched upon this proliferation of devices in my recent navigating the search landscape blog post. This amalgamation of devices is happening - and Adwords has harnessed this with the upgrade. Basically, Enhanced Adwords help ads target users based upon context and search term. These signals include:
- Time of day
- Device type
And all of these no longer have to be configured across several separate devices, integrating smarter campaign management, simples right? And it doesn't stop there
Key features of Enhanced Google Adwords
Certain tools from Adwords have been given a shiny new make-over specifically for Enhanced Google Adwords Campaigns:
Intelligent marketing tools for multi-device campaigns
People want search results that are relevant to the context they are in, from their position where they stand in the ether, to the time of day - at that very moment. Enhanced campaigns allow you to manage budgets and campaigns across all devices. Using the new bid adjustment tool you can bid higher for the customers searching for your business at particular times of day using a smartphone. Similarly if you are a local business, but know that you have a national scope and greater conversions in certain areas, you can target these with a bid multiplier. These bid adjustments can apply to all ads and all keywords in one single campaign.
This one is the common sense enhancement. If a user is mobile and searching for a retailer, they want to visit their closest store, similarly, if someone is searching from home they more than likely would like to browse the retailer's website. There are no fixed definitions, as devices are seamless, but Google will now auto-detect ads based on your device. The good news is, you can now synthesis your campaigns with different right ad text, sitelink, app or extensions without having to think of every single possible combination of devices, locations and times of day - hooray!
People are now able to respond to adverts in new ways. Customers may see your ad and are able to directly call the number from their smartphone or download a featured app. Previously, it has been hard for marketers to easily measure and compare how consumers have interacted with ads. Now you can measure the full value of your campaigns in relevant terms from counting calls to the number of app downloads. You'll be able to see the performance of each individual sitelink.
Pitfalls of Enhanced Google Adwords features
Is it all rainbows and unicorns? As usual there have been some grumblings within the industry, and maybe it will be a blow for you too...
Removal of targeted Tablet Adword Campaigns
With all this talk of integrated devices, Google have identified that the behaviour of tablets and desktops are very similar, therefore targeted Tablet bidding will soon be no more, even though sales from tablets in retail/e-commerce are 20% up on sales on laptops/desktops. Therefore your bids will need to increase for sales to actually be profitable.
Don't forget, even though tablet bidding has gone, it still lurks within with the desktop/laptop category, so responsive design for tablet resolution must still be a consideration.
You can't have a mobile-only campaign
That's right; it's all about the proliferation of devices remember! Google recognises that certain keywords are much more profitable on a mobile as they are on desktops because longer terms are shortened anyway. Yet, any campaign that you run on a mobile must also run on a Desktop, thanks to device integration. Also removed as part of the changes, will be the ability to target specific mobiles devices and carriers.
What does our Head of PPC think about the new Adwords?
Receptional's home grown Head of Paid Search, Matt Loughlin, has had his hand at the grindstone of Google Adwords for a number of years, and welcomes the changes:
"I think it's a very good upgrade, and will give us a lot more granular control over our campaigns and ad groups"
In response to the multi-device campaign management, Matt feels "If anything, it makes sense to have the campaigns 'all under one roof', so to speak, as we will effectively have less campaigns to manage, due to us not having separate campaigns for different devices".
"The winners from such a move will be advertisers, and of course Google, so long as they can get advertisers to spend more. The losers will be those companies offering bid management software, which can be very expensive".
But is this just another ploy for Google to reap the rewards? Matt said: "I think Google are hoping to reduce people's reliance on third party bid management tools, and campaign management software, so that they can redirect their funds to advertising. They currently make around 97% of their revenues from AdWords advertising, so it's easy to see why they want to upgrade the AdWords system and give advertisers greater control".
And what is your outlook for enhanced campaigns?
"In terms of the future, I think people will embrace the changes, and I can only see the AdWords system heading further down this route in future, given the rise of mobile devices and the complexity of users paths and digital touch points for most industries"
The Final Word
You'll have around 6 months to voluntarily switch. Will you be fighting the upgrade until the bitter end? Did you like the distinction between the tablet & pc campaigns - was this an integral part of your marketing campaign? Or do the majority of your sales depend upon mobile only accounts?
As for the pros, are you glad that you can bid change according to geography? And that you can now manage your telephone extensions when lines close for business? We'd like to hear about your reactions to the change.