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Enhanced Campaigns – Google takes the gloves off

Presently, mobile and tablet campaigns can be set up and managed separately at Google. In the future this will no longer be the case; Google announced in February that a new campaign management system will be introduced in June this year- the ‘Enhanced Campaigns’ tool. This means there will be significant changes to Google’s current campaign management platform, especially for mobile and desktop distribution. Since the announcement, there have been several updates from Google on this topic-namely on bidding, delivery management of mobile pages and timing. The aim of this blog post is to give you an overview of the most important changes and what they mean.

Enhanced campaigns - Google takes the gloves off

Enhanced campaigns - Google takes the gloves off

What will change?

  • Separate campaigns for desktop, mobile, and tablet are no longer possible, ending the distribution of separate budgets.
  • Separate campaigns need to be restructured and merged again for the transition.
  • It will no longer possible to create tailored campaigns for certain devices, operating systems, or suppliers.
  • In the future, desktop and tablet will be shared in the delivery. Additional ads and links for smartphones can be set up within the joint campaign. However, only one report per device is possible.
  • For desktop/tablet keywords cost-per-clicks (CPCs) can still be set up for each keyword. For the other sectors, the CPCs can only be adapted on campaign basis or on AdGroup basis (from mid Mai 2013 on). This allows setting up mobile keywords with, for instance, “-20%” of the “normal” CPCs.
  • Mobile delivery can be preempted by indicating “-100%”.
  • Bid adaptations based on the location can be set up with a few clicks.

‘Enhanced campaigns’ has been available since February 2013 but there was a transition phase when campaigns could be run under the old system. Originally the changeover was scheduled for mid June 2013. However, in a recent blog post on Google it was confirmed that the changeover day has been postponed to 22nd July 2013. This will give SEA managers more time to plan the campaigns’ changeover. In particular, if campaigns have been set up separately, the changeover causes a certain effort as keywords need to be merged in one campaign and mobile texts need to be transferred into the new ‘Enhanced Campaign’.

In the same blog post Google also announced the modified bidding possibilities. From mid May 2013, in addition to the campaign level, it will also be possible to place bids on the AdGroup level-significantly fine-tuning the bidding management of mobile CPCs. Before the changeover, smartphone bids could have been controlled on the keyword level, now at least on AdGroup basis. This accommodates SEA managers since no larger campaign reconstruction will be necessary if until then there have been significant bid differences within a campaign.

With this modification, Google also accommodates advertisers who so far did not have the possibility to transfer mobile users to the additional mobile website. For this, the so-called value track parameter was made available. With this function SEA managers can place two URLs for one keyword – one for desktop/tablet and one for smartphones. For this to happen, the parameters ‘if mobile’ and ‘if not mobile’ need to be added. Google gives the following example and demonstrates how the URLs for the keyword need to look like:

  • {ifmobile:m.example.com/widgets}
  • {ifnotmobile:www.example.com/widgets}

Nevertheless, there are also SEA tools that can place different URLs for a keyword, an AdGroup, or a campaign. Here, the SEA manager can use the normal desktop link for the keyword as usual and the other links will be one-off placed in the background. It would also be possible to place an additional link for tablets. This represents a fine-tuning compared to Google’s value track parameter, but it is only interesting for those advertisers who have a special tablet page.
Advertisers who want to promote their apps, have with ‘click-to-download’ ads the possibility to deliver the ads exclusively to mobile devices. In ‘enhanced campaigns’ ads for Google apps from the Play Store and Apple apps can be managed together. Google automatically recognizes which operating system the smartphone uses and delivers the right ad. The app icon is automatically integrated into the ad. Therefore this pooling simplifies managing those ads.

Of course, not everyone is happy with the new changeover. Google’s goal to simplify campaign management by pooling the devices has definitely not been achieved for all campaigns. Especially experienced SEA managers, who until now set up individual campaigns per device and could distribute individual CPCs. Now they need to readjust. For them, apart from a less detailed campaign management, ‘Enhanced campaigns’ also means accordingly preparing all the campaigns for relocation. It needs to be ensured that all relevant keywords – regardless of the device type –are included in a campaign/AdGroup and are also set up for mobile preferred ad texts. In addition, larger reconstruction might be necessary; for example, creating individual campaigns or AdGroups with different CPC adaptations. This makes the management more complicated than it was before. However, until the final changeover occurs, definite statements cannot be made.

At the beginning it should be sufficient to gather experience with the new ‘Enhanced campaigns’ and to evaluate the CPC levels and the performance values. If the CPCs for smartphones in an AdGroup differ similarly strong from the desktop CPC, no further adaptations are necessary. Saying this, new campaigns should already be set up as ‘Enhanced campaigns’ to save a lot of effort during the changeover.

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