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A Look at Google's New Enhanced Campaigns

Last week Google announced an update to their AdWords platform called "Enhanced Campaigns." The cause of the change is based on research showing that consumers are using multiple devices from various locations at different times of day and are looking for a consistent experience. Up to this point, advertisers had to create separate campaigns for each context (location, time of day, and device) whereas now enhanced campaigns will allow advertisers to control bids, messaging, and ad types across multiple devices without having to create a separate campaign for each.

What Enhanced Campaigns Mean for Today’s Advertisers

In the past, it was a best practice to create different campaigns  in order to display messages based on what device a user was using, how far they were from a store location, or if the search was done during store hours or not.  With the new enhanced campaigns, we can do all of the contextual targeting from the same campaign. We can:

  • Create mobile specific ads within the same campaign
  • Create unique ads based on the time of the search within the same campaign
  • Develop customized messaging based on the distance from the store from the same campaign
  • Set bid multipliers to bid up or down for each one of these context elements 

The goal of the change is to streamline campaigns so that the same user experience can be carried out across multiple devices in an easier fashion. For example, merging your desktop, mobile, and tablet campaigns all into one campaign. The change will allow advertisers to manage bids, messaging and ad types from the same campaign and not have to worry about creating multiple campaigns with repetitive keywords for each device type.

If we know that mobile searches are more valuable to the brand than desktop searches, and if searchers within a mile of each location are more valuable than users outside of this area, we can (hypothetically) set bids such that mobile search bids are worth 20% more than desktop searches and searches within one mile are 100% more valuable than others.  So, if the desktop bid is set at $1.00, then the mobile bid will be bumped to $1.20. Further, a desktop search within one mile of store will become $2.00, and a mobile search within one mile of store will in effect be $2.40.  (The range for the multiplier will be from -100% to +300%, -100% in effect will exclude the ad from the auction). 

How to Approach Enhanced Campaigns

At a strategic level, because mobile campaigns are now going to be merged with desktop campaigns, we will gain access to more advanced reports, including cross device data.  For the first time, we will be able to see online experiences that might start on a mobile device and end in a conversion in desktop (or vice versa).  This will help us discover how customers are behaving across these multiple devices, a question that is frequently asked by many CMOs. The second type of reporting that we can look forward to receiving is online to offline conversion data.  While neither report is available today, we are expecting them to become available soon after the migration which is currently set to occur in June.  However, there are a number of other reports (phone calls generated, digital download reports, etc.) that will be available immediately after the migration.

This will greatly reduce the amount of duplicate keywords across multiple device campaigns into one campaign.  This change from Google is in line with our goal of ensuring a connected marketing strategy, with the primary focus being the customer.  Rather than discussing separate mobile, tablet and desktop strategies, our main focus is eCRM, driving attention to online audiences as they go through the awareness, consideration, acquisition, and retention steps of the customer life cycle.  We set our main digital strategy based on the specific life cycle steps while mobile strategies, local strategies, and time of day strategies become an extension of the main life cycle strategy.

Challenges for Existing Advertisers

This change from Google may also bring up some challenges for existing advertisers:

  1. Upgrading to Enhanced Campaigns: Updating existing “legacy” campaigns to enhanced campaigns could be challenging. Advertisers will need to determine how to upgrade to the new enhanced campaign structure.  Since there will no longer be device-specific or location-specific campaigns, existing campaigns will need to be merged together.
  2. Bidding Adjustments:  In the past, we could set bids at a keyword level for each location, time of day and device based campaign.  Now the bids for all of these contexts will be set as a multiplier of the desktop bid.  In the past, we set a specific bid amount for each keyword in the mobile campaign, and now we have to determine the actual multiplier amount to use for mobile searchers and geo-searchers. 


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