Google Is Listening: Enhancing the Enhanced Campaign

By April 11th, 2013

Morpheus Enhanced Campaigns Mobile Bid AdjustmentsOn Tuesday Google announced that advertisers will soon be able to set mobile bid adjustments at the ad group level, in addition to the campaign level, for enhanced campaigns. This comes on the heels of Google’s release of two new ValueTrack parameters: {ifmobile:[value]} and {ifnotmobile:[value]}. Google also indicated July 22, 2013 as the start of the migration deadline, when AdWords will begin automatically upgrading legacy campaigns to enhanced campaigns.

These recent announcements shouldn’t come as a surprise to search marketers. Google has historically made adjustments to new AdWords features as market demands became more evident. (A recent example is last year’s update to the campaign ad rotation settings.) Sophisticated search marketers have been asking for additional enhanced campaign features to provide additional control and transparency for optimizing their paid search programs. Today, we’ll review the two recently announced enhancements to enhanced campaigns and discuss their importance to search marketers who operate in a multi-device world.

Ad Group Mobile Bid Adjustment

Before this Announcement: A mobile bid adjustment could only be set at the campaign level, which allows advertisers to boost desktop keyword bids for searches on mobile devices by -100% to 300% across the entire campaign.

The Ask from Marketers: Search marketers are used to granularity. From management to reporting to optimization, sophisticated marketers often desire to operate at the most granular levels possible, which often means making decisions down at the keyword level. The reason is that clicks, cost, conversions, and revenue data are all attributed at the keyword level; and in order to optimize bids and maximize performance, keyword-level bids needed to be calculated and applied individually.

The Updated Approach: Google will now allow advertisers to set a mobile bid adjustment at the ad group level. Once implemented, the same boost range, from -100% to 300%, can be applied to all desktop keyword bids within a given ad group for searches made on mobile devices. The campaign level mobile bid adjustment will be ignored if an ad group level bid adjustment has been set.

What It Means: The enhancement to allow group-level mobile bid adjustments provides search marketers with additional control over their enhanced campaigns and mobile performance. For advertisers that follow account best practices, where ad groups contain a small set of like or similar performing keywords, this enhancement should meet the requirements for most paid search programs. Although some search marketers may long for keyword-level mobile bid adjustments, keep in mind that the goal of enhanced campaigns is to simplify the way advertisers manage their paid search campaigns across device, location, and time of day. Group-level adjustments appear to be a reasonable and effective compromise.

{ifmobile} and {ifnotmobile} ValueTrack Parameter

Before this Announcement: Search marketers could only leverage one landing page across all devices rather than have the ability to direct users to optimized landing pages based on device. The other option was to remove keyword level destination URLs in favor of creative level URLs.

The Ask from Marketers: Screen sizes and user behavior varies significantly between desktop and mobile devices. Presenting users with a device-specific landing page is critical to improving the user experience and maximizing paid search performance. Consequently, advertisers wanted the ability to define two destination URLs at the keyword level in order to present the most relevant content and optimal experience based on the device the user is searching on.

Device Optimized Website - NY Times

The Updated Approach: The {ifmobile} and {ifnotmobile} ValueTrack parameters will enable search marketers to direct users to device-specific landing pages at the keyword level. Additionally, these new parameters enable the measurement of the effectiveness of campaigns by device for advertisers who are unable to leverage the {device} ValueTrack parameter.

What It Means: The ability to assign a device-specific landing page falls directly in line with Google’s approach to a multi-device world—helping advertisers reach consumers with the right ad experience based on device, location, and time of day. As users move across device, this enhancement will enable search marketers to remain relevant and engaging.

Google Is Listening

Clearly, Google is open to enhancing enhanced campaigns based on industry feedback. However, I wouldn’t expect any further changes to be announced ahead of the migration deadline as advertisers nail down their migration plans and establish revised best practices before heading into the holiday season. In order for enhanced campaigns to be a win-win-win solution (for Google, the consumer, and the advertiser), Google will need to continue collecting and applying market feedback, especially once all advertisers have migrated over to enhanced campaigns.

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