Yesterday Google announced the rollout of enhanced campaigns, a major AdWords product release that attempts to simplify the management of campaigns across devices. With enhanced campaigns, search marketers will be able to target consumers based on device, location, and time of day through a single campaign. However, for search marketers that currently leverage separate desktop, tablet, and mobile campaigns, Google’s enhanced campaigns will remove some of the control and transparency we’re used to having. Additional details on enhanced campaigns can be found here.
What Does This Mean? To understand the implications of Google’s enhanced campaigns, let’s review the benefits and concerns.
Google plans to roll out enhanced campaigns across advertisers over the next few weeks. As a result, advertisers may not have immediate access to this feature within their accounts. By mid-2013, all campaigns are expected to have been transitioned to enhanced campaigns.
Consumers are increasingly using their mobile and tablet devices to perform searches. According to Marin’s most recent research, mobile devices accounted for 15% of all UK paid search clicks in December 2011. As mobile devices become more proliferated, tablets, smartphones, and desktops are requiring separate targeting and optimisation strategies to be successful. The first step is to separate the campaigns. Separate campaigns will allow you to bid, target and optimise to the nuances of mobile ad formats, such as higher click-through-rates (CTR), different time of day trends and lower cost-per-clicks (CPC). This gives marketers more control over search campaigns and ultimately drives higher overall performance.
Separate device targeting will also allow you to optimise bids based on when your consumers browse on different devices. For example, a consumer may use his or her smartphone to search in the morning on his or her way to work, research further on a desktop at lunchtime and convert on a tablet device while watching TV in the evening. Consumers in your vertical may behave differently across devices. To optimise paid search activity for your consumers’ device behaviour, follow these two steps:
Analyse your data for varying volume and conversions through the day on the separate devices. For times/hours where you experience higher conversion rates on certain devices boost your position and drive more traffic for those devices. Reduce position for time periods with lower conversion rates. Each advertiser will have slightly different business goals, so you need to look at the times where a boost or de-boost will improve the performance of your key performance indicators (KPIs).
By looking at the average time to purchase and testing how different boost timetables work on certain devices–such as boosting when consumers are in the research phase–you can improve your hourly strategy to maximise performance. Device path-to-conversion information will help towards achieving this. Moreover, it’s worth looking at your day-of-week trends to find more signals to optimise to.
In the UK, the average CPC on a smartphone is roughly half that of a corresponding desktop click, while tablet CPCs are just over two-thirds the cost of a desktop click. With these favorable advertising conditions, following these simple steps will put you ahead of the curve and provide significant improvements to your paid search program.
We love our mobile devices, and according to our recent study of mobile paid search, we love searching on them. In looking across our client base the trend was unanimous, mobile search is up, way up.
In the U.S., we saw ad clicks from mobile devices increase 132% during 2011, and by the end of this year mobile will comprise 25% of all paid search clicks. Similarly, in the UK mobile ended the year with 15% of all clicks in the UK. And, even though it’s not as significant a percentage, mobile clicks in the Eurozone more than doubled in 2011.
Things get even more interesting for marketers when looking at the differences between smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Generally (UK was the sole exception), smartphones carry higher CTRs and lower CPCs, but the lowest conversion rates. Tablets beat desktops in CTR and CPC, come close to trumping desktops in conversion rate, and edge all devices out in cost per conversion.
So, what’s this all mean?
Mobile devices are not only changing the way consumers search and shop, but how marketers advertise. The immediate response by advertisers is to devote more budget to mobile search (we project ad budgets will fall just a bit short of click volume in 2012). However, down the road as savvy marketers adapt to mobile search scenarios, click to call, location-based promos, and integration with social will all become common place. Furthermore, attribution becomes a much larger issue, particularly in a scenario where a mobile search directly leads to an in-store sale. Who gets the credit?
How do you foresee search marketing changing with the increased adoption and use of smartphones and tablets?