Enhanced Campaigns: A Real Life PPC Success Story

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Enhanced Campaigns were the biggest story of the year in paid search. It affected every advertiser using Google AdWords in one way or another. Most of the savvy marketers were quick to complain that certain controls were being taken from them, but we all had to make the inevitable transition. There were several new features with the change including bid adjustment by location, bid adjustment by time of day and day of week, sitelink level data, ad group level call extensions, and many others.

Maybe the biggest change was the consolidation of all devices into one campaign. Before enhanced campaigns, the best practice was to separate your campaigns by device because each performs differently. This strategy was ideal for advertisers that had websites optimized for phones/tablets or got a lot of their business from phone calls.

One of my clients does a lot of business over the phone, so this change by Google wasn’t welcomed with open arms. Besides the legwork of migrating the mobile campaigns into the desktop campaigns, the mobile components would be starting from scratch. We had the mobile campaigns dialed in and performing like a well-oiled machine. After the transition, conversions decreased 24% and the cost per conversion increased by 83%. Initial performance was not encouraging, so we cut back in the worst performing category. Spend was reduced by 44% to stop the bleeding but that wasn’t enough to turn things around.

The problem wasn’t that we were spending too much money, but we were spending too much money in the wrong places. Mobile has always outperformed desktop for this client. We’ve seen it generate over 50% of conversions while spending only 15% of the budget.

What Eddie Vedder is to Pearl Jam, click-to-call is to this client.

So how do we optimize our mobile campaigns with our hands tied by Google? Our analysis uncovered that the desktop campaigns were the main culprit- spending a lot and generating very little in return. Campaigns had been hitting their daily budgets due to the desktop traffic, leaving little for mobile. We knew that mobile conversions were still floating overall volume, so we couldn’t cut back any more than we were. In order to push mobile we had to utilize the bid by device feature. Originally, mobile was only given a 20% bid increase. We decided to “cut the fat” and reduce default bids by 60% with the idea that it would drop the position of the ads on desktop and spend less. Increasing the mobile bid to the 300% max would allow us to keep those ads in higher positions, even improving in many campaigns. This has opened up mobile to get a lot more impressions, resulting in many more opportunities for conversions. Since this strategy was implemented there have been almost 8% more conversions generated on 17% less spend, and the cost per conversion decreased by 23%.

Enhanced Campaigns may have changed the game a bit, but there is plenty of opportunity to improve your business if you know which strings to pull. If you own a local business are you using location bid adjustments to reach nearby customers? Are you utilizing sitelink descriptions to promote your other offers? What other ways are you taking advantage of Enhanced Campaigns’ features?

 

 

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