Google Enhanced Campaigns: A Huge Shakeup for PPC

Google announced last week that’s it is changing its approach to paid search campaigns, from now on all new campaigns are to be created as Adwords Enhanced Campaigns. Google are growing more contextually aware, their focus is changing to ‘reaching the right audience in the right context, rather than just targeting a specific device’.

Enhanced Campaigns has been designed with a focus on device convergence, with its aim to ‘simplify the ad creation and management for the multi device world’. But what does it mean for companies and marketers?

What can marketers expect to see from the Enhanced Adwords Service?

The fundamental change is the reduction of campaigns to a one size fits all concept. Instead of running different campaigns for different platforms such as mobile and desktop, there are now enhanced campaigns which will run across all devices. You have the option to opt in or out of mobile ads, but no option to opt for mobile only.

Despite these merging campaigns you do have certain controls, mainly over your chosen ad extensions. You have the ability to choose who you show extensions to, which device each extension appears on, and the time of day in which they appear. This change is giving businesses more control over the traffic they target. For example if you are a shop or restaurant you could choose to show to mobile users within a five mile radius, and only during your opening hours. Enhanced is attempting to make search more user relevant, whilst producing a better return for companies.

Google are the first to champion the idea that the way we use different devices is not as different as first believed. The original predictions for tablet usage have been proved to be wrong, yet ad campaigns for tablets stayed in mobile territory. With Google enhanced tablet search is now aligned with desktop users. This is due to research proving fewer tablet owners use their devices on the move, than originally anticipated. The emergence of these changes are proof that Google are finally attempting to understand the search journey of tablet users, as well as bringing an end to the bargain CPC’s marketers were benefiting from on mobile campaigns.

Marketers have been desperate for new reports to measure the value of their campaigns. Enhanced has created more advanced reporting metrics including monitoring of calls and downloads, as well as new conversion types including in store conversions and cross device conversions. All these reports are designed to build a better picture of the searcher, allowing companies to tailor their campaigns to be very specific to those who matter.

What Do These Changes Mean for Paid Search?

One qualm advertisers seem to be voicing is the removal of the flexibility and choice involved in current campaigns. In Google’s bid to appeal to a smaller business, more sophisticated marketers are losing the use of the finer details that they implement on a day to day basis. Not to mention the time consuming nature of transferring all campaigns and merging mobile and desktop ads.

The change that has met most controversy from marketers is the decision to align tablets with desktops. Tablet and desktop searchers are fundamentally different, tablet search landscape is cleaner, and their search terms are incredibly different. This change alone has huge implications. Advertisers are going to have to completely rethink the way they target tablet users, moving from the quick and clear search terms of mobile ads to the more detailed search of a desktop user. But most importantly we cannot yet tell to what success.

By combining tablets and desktops and the inability to opt for a purely mobile campaign, there’s a strong possibility lots of companies could be entering into auctions that won’t deliver them a return. For example, software companies are less likely to want to advertise on a tablet device, just as some companies would not benefit from advertising their app on a desktop. This change has the potential to hinder many paid search campaigns, and affect many advertisers ROI.

Most importantly, keyword strategies are going to have to be cleverly manipulated. With a one campaign fits all strategy, marketers shall have to find the right balance. With short generic keywords not gaining good return on desktop searchers and longer tail keywords being lost on mobile users, keyword research strategies are going to have to be completely rethought. The period between switch over will have to be used to ascertain the best and most economical approach to this completely new system.

The manner in which campaigns are researched, developed and structured will have to be altered. The time spanning between now and June, when the compulsory switch over is put in place, is going to be a real chance for trial and error. Marketers are going to have to slowly transfer their campaigns experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. Best practices are going to have to be evolved, especially for creative teams who will have to develop advanced targeting and performance measurement.

For more information about ‘upgrading to enhanced campaigns’ download the Google PDF guide , or simply contact us for more information about our Paid Search services.

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