Google’s Enhanced Campaigns and the New Paid Search Landscape
On July 22, Google AdWords will begin migrating all legacy campaigns to the new enhanced campaigns format, which will automatically serve ads to multiple devices including desktops, tablets and mobile (smartphones). Google provided plenty of lead time for the transition, announcing the mandatory migration to enhanced campaigns nearly six months in advance and publishing many different helpful resources, including articles, blog posts, transition guides and videos to help the search marketing community with the change.
As we reported in our Q1 2013 Global Search Advertising Trends report in April, one out of every five search clicks already originates from a mobile device. With this mobile shift impacting the marketplace, Google's introduction of enhanced campaigns as the new standard is a reflection of changing consumer trends.
To help ensure a seamless transition, search marketers need to take steps now to prepare for the change. This includes organizing accounts, adjusting bids and setting up landing pages for the new era of multidevice search marketing. Those who fail to rethink their approach could see results and budgets change drastically.
Moving from legacy to enhanced campaigns
Before this change, AdWords advertisers were able to build unique campaigns for each device and manage bids and other variables separately down to the keyword level. With enhanced campaigns, this is going to change. Marketers will now set a single bid and then use "bid modifiers" to raise or lower the bid based on device and geography. The mobile bid adjustment is a percentage from -90 percent to +300 percent that's applied to a keyword's desktop/tablet bid to set mobile bids accordingly. You can also use a -100 percent bid modifier to opt out of mobile completely.
Initially, the mobile bid adjustment could only be set at the campaign level, but Google has since introduced ad group-level mobile bid adjustments to give advertisers more granular control of their mobile bids. If you wish to have your campaign target mobile devices, you need to set this mobile bid adjustment to greater than -100 percent. You can use our mobile bid calculator to help determine the proper adjustment for your campaigns.
Best practices for easing the transition
Kenshoo recently published a Best Practices Guide to Enhanced Campaigns Migration, which features a number of helpful tips, including the following:
- Start early and create a plan. Begin with campaigns that have the least amount of changes required — e.g., campaigns that are running on all devices or have no mirrored campaigns targeting mobile devices.
- Identify campaigns that are duplicated and will need to have elements (e.g., keywords, negative keywords, ads) copied into one master campaign that will be enhanced.
- Adjust campaign budgets to reflect any additional device traffic that will be included once the campaign is enhanced.
- Have a plan around directing traffic appropriately for each device.
- Create a mobile bid adjustment strategy or use a bid policy to remove any guesswork.
- QA your campaign settings after, then closely monitor performance.
As with any significant change, there will be a period of adjustment as marketers figure out how best to manage these new enhanced campaigns’ elements, including bidding, ad copy, tracking, etc.