This week Google announced a big change to the functionality of Google Adwords – Google Enhanced Campaigns. The aim of the change is to acknowledge that our advertising audiences are ‘constantly connected’, and to make targeting ads to these audiences more simple. Google are going to achieve this by ‘enhancing’ their campaign capabilities and allowing you to use a single campaign to target different devices, locations and times. Currently this can’t be done because locations and devices were selected at the campaign level, meaning you had to make separate campaigns for different locations and devices.
No longer will you need different campaigns like “Sydney mobile”, “Sydney desktop”, “Melbourne desktop”, etc. These can all be merged into one campaign which will target multiple devices and areas. Google is selling this idea as allowing you to focus more on your advertising and your audience, rather than your technology. It isn’t really offering much you couldn’t do before (although there are a few things) – but it is making it a lot easier and quicker.
You can upgrade your campaigns at any time (once it is enabled in your account), but Google plans to have all upgrades complete by mid 2013. The new features include:
- Bid adjustments for devices, times, days and locations
- Allowing separate ads for different devices within a single ad group (there will be a checkbox for ‘mobile preferred’ ads)
- Allowing ad extensions at the ad group level rather than campaign level
- Allowing ad extensions to be scheduled – so you could have different ones for sale times, opening hours, weekends, etc.
- Allowing mobile-specific extensions even though they’re in the same campaign
- New: Showing clicks on individual sitelinks, rather than just ‘sitelinks’ in general.
- New: If you change your extensions, performance history will be maintained (previously was deleted)
- New:Conversion types – digital downloads (apps) and calls (longer than 60 seconds would be a conversion). Not sure if these will be available in Australia though.
Note that you won’t be able to use these extensions and bidding features until you create an enhanced campaign – and if you want the new extensions features, then you will also have to create new extensions in your enhanced campaign.
What do marketers think?
Initial thoughts from the marketing world are that Google is helping out smaller businesses (who might have less time) at the expense of larger businesses and agencies (who might appreciate more granularity).
While there is much praise of the geotargeting and sitelinks changes, there is concern about the device targeting capabilities. In particular that advertisers won’t be able to opt out of desktop advertising, and that tablets and desktops are being grouped together (except in display).
Some people say this is Google’s way of forcing advertisers onto the mobile network, but I disagree because a)You will be able to exclude mobile by using a -100% bid, and b) for advertisers who don’t question this change, it is likely their campaigns would have been opted in to all devices anyway.
Note that even if you have only mobile optimised ads, these can still show on desktops and tablets – it doesn’t seem there is a way to opt out of desktop and have a mobile-only campaign.
Most marketers seem to agree that the new interface will make it simpler to manage devices and locations, but it also signals a loss of control.
The other problem is that, like with any change, there is going to be a lot of work to get the existing campaigns updated and merged – Google has a 28 page PDF about how to properly upgrade to enhanced campaigns. The most tricky will be merging your different location campaigns or different devices. Google will have two separate methods:
Simple Upgrade Flow – Use this on one campaign at a time to upgrade to the new features (where there is no merge necessary).
Merge Flow – Helps you combine two very similar campaigns into one (e.g. when only geographic or device differs between them). Use this tool to merge two or more existing campaigns into one new one.
This is a big change, and is requiring a lot of work from Google’s customers (i.e. all of us advertisers). Google wouldn’t be doing this if they didn’t think there was a need for it, and businesses should follow their lead. Not only should businesses fine-tune their advertising targeting, but also start ensuring their websites have the appropriate capabilities, and their businesses have responsiveness, to be able to service the changing demands and habits of their customers.
Read more about the Google Adwords changes on the Google site