Google recently announced the newest upgrade to the Google AdWords product, Enhanced Campaigns. According to Google’s official blog post, “Enhanced campaigns help you reach people with the right ads, based on their context like location, time of day and device type, across all devices without having to set up and manage several separate campaigns”.
For a real-life example, say Discount Mattress Company wants to reach on-the-go customers within five miles of their store during business hours. Now, starting with a single campaign that reaches people across all devices, Discount Mattress can easily increase bids by 20% for a prospective customer searching on a smartphone who’s five miles from the store, or decrease bids by 30% during the hours the store is closed.
Currently enhanced campaign features are being rolled out on an account by account basis, however starting in mid-2013 all campaigns will be migrated to the new Enhanced format.
This development is very timely as search behavior continues to shift toward a multiple-screen experience for most searchers. Last year Google, Ipsos and Sterling completed a study about the new multi-screen world. This study highlights that 90% of people use multiple screens sequentially. Google’s move to enhanced campaigns is embracing the future. This move will force advertisers into a more cohesive integrated approach across devices. It will also make advertisers get ready for the future where mobile search volume will overtake desktop, which is predicted by the end of this year. This change encourages advertisers to get their mobile website experience streamlined and responsive in design, particularly when it comes to keyword-level destination URL’s, and the ability to take a mobile searcher to a mobile-friendly site.
Will this help improve Google’s revenue? I am sure it will, mainly because a large percent of advertisers stick to the default settings. According to Google less than 5% of advertisers actually broke out a mobile-only campaign. The default for Enhanced Campaigns is for the mobile bid multiplier to be set to 0% which means it will inherit the same cost-per-clicks (CPCs) as the traditionally-higher desktop CPC cost. A 0% multiplier that means that you are opting in to all devices and paying the same for mobile and desktop clicks.
Does the change take away functionality from search marketers? On many levels it certainly does. Essentially we are going to be reliant on an algorithm to show the right ad at the right time, and can no longer control mobile bids at the keyword level or adjust mobile to show in the top two positions. It will also be challenging if a client has different goals from mobile than they do for desktop. We have only just started transitioning to the new Enhanced Campaigns setup and have little statistical data to place any judgment as to how this will impact performance, optimizations, CPC’s, etc.
I spoke with Jared Schroder our VP of Data Intelligence and a veteran in the paid search space, for his perspective on this change:
“Like it or not, in the near term we are likely to see CPCs on mobile increase quickly as an influx of new mobile advertisers flood the market. Unlike with desktop search, in mobile search you are essentially competing for two ad positions in order to have your ad display. As a result, the influx of advertiser competition will result in heavy bid competition on mobile, making this previously cost-effective medium far less so. As mobile becomes much more competitive, advertisers will need to catch up quickly to get their sites up to par and decide whether or not it’s cost-effective for them to compete in this soon-to-be saturated market.
“The simplicity is a temporary gain for basic SMB’s and a knock for savvy advertisers already capitalizing on mobile. The loss of optimization control, limited SERP real estate to grab and influx of competition will inevitably make this a zero-sum game of winners and losers. The big guys willing to pay the premium CPCs in mobile will inevitably dominate the space, but pay more than they are accustomed to do so,” Jared said
I also reached out to Anne Baum our Local Paid Search Expert. Anne said, “We have come to a point where the majority of internet usage spans across multiple screens which makes advertising on all devices almost mandatory. Having an understanding of your customer and their search behavior will drive your AdWords search strategy. Enhanced Campaigns make it easier to execute that strategy to get you in front of your customers at the right time.” Read her initial post on Enhanced Campaigns here.
This is one of the biggest changes to AdWords since it launched. Will SMBs be convinced by the new simplicity to adopt mobile advertising strategies? Will current AdWords advertisers like the new simplicity enough to accept the loss of control? Check back each Thursday in March as I outline our findings in a series titled “How to use Enhanced Campaigns”. I will cover specific instructions for bid adjustments, ad extensions, tracking and more.