AdWords announced today a major change called enhanced campaigns. This change will affect all advertisers and will impact ad serving. Below, I discuss the major changes, challenges, questions, and resources.
- Manage bids across devices, locations and time within a single campaign. Many advertisers split up campaigns by devices, so they can optimize bids and budgets and use different settings for desktops, mobile, and tablets. Moving forward, advertisers will be forced to use the same campaign for mobile, tablets, and desktops. You’ll be able to adjust bids for each device, but not budgets. This could be problematic for advertisers who have much smaller budgets for mobile, for example. One great new feature is the ability to adjust bids (by using bid multipliers) for regions/cities that are more profitable.
- Ads customized to user context. Showing the right creative, sitelink, app or extension based on user context and device capabilities. You’ll be able to set “preferences” within each campaign to show ads, apps, extensions or sitelinks depending on device. Ad copy management and optimization might get even more complicated.
- Advanced reporting. We’ll be able to track new conversion types such as calls, digital downloads, and cross device conversions.
Questions, Challenges & New Features
I was able to run some of my question by our Google rep and I am summarizing the highlights below.
- Budgets. My first question was if we’ll be able to set different budgets by device and the answer is no. We will not be able to set different budgets for desktops, mobile, and tablets. In enhanced campaigns, budgets will continue to be managed at the campaign level via an individual campaign budget or a shared campaign budget. Similar to hybrid campaigns today, this budget may run across all devices, and advertisers will not be able to set device-specific budgets within an account or a campaign.
- Bidding: For desktop/tablet bidding, you’ll set a dollar amount. Mobile will function as a % of desktop. It will not be possible to set individual keyword-level bids on mobile. This is definitely a concern, especially for advertisers tracking conversions closely and with strict CPA goals.
- Opting out of mobile/tablets. The good news is that you can bid down mobile keywords 100% to opt out completely. The bad news is that tablets will always have the same bid as desktop, so you cannot opt out or adjust bids specifically for tablets.
- Pausing ad groups/keywords by device. You can pause mobile at the campaign level only, by bidding down 100%. However, you won’t be able to do this the other way around because all bids will be pinned to the desktop/tablet bid. For example, you could set your desktop bids to $0.05 and then bid up on mobile by up to 300%, making an effective mobile bid of $0.15.
- Reporting. One of the advantages of having separate campaigns for different devices is aggregate reporting. For example we can easily filter out all mobile campaigns and compare their performance against tablets or desktops. Having all devices lumped into one campaigns will make this much more difficult. AdWords is not planning any major reporting changes at this time. You will still be able to see reporting for mobile/tablet/desktop, using “Device” as a segment, but device numbers will need to then be multiplied across all campaigns to get your totals.
- Mobile ads/URLs. Some of my clients use different URLs for mobile ads. Advertisers will still be able to create mobile preferred ads but there is no such thing as mobile only ads, which we could previously accomplish with separate mobile campaigns. However, mobile preferred ads will almost never show on other devices, unless your ads for other devices are missing or disapproved. On the side, universal ads will almost never show on mobile, unless you are missing mobile ads or they are disapproved. So, generally speaking, mobile URLs or mobile only ads should not be an issue if you set your ad preferences.
- Automated rules. Automated rules will be compatible with enhanced campaigns. However, it does’t sounds like you’ll be able to set rules for tablet-only campaigns, since all tablet bids are shared by desktop. Again, this is not ideal, as it would be nice to automate bidding for tablets specifically based o tablet specific conversion data. AdWords does not yet support adjusting mobile bid modifiers via automated rules. It may be in the pipeline later this year.
- Call forwarding: Google will no longer charge $1 for the call forwarding feature. Also, you’ll have the option to show your own phone number in ads on desktops and tablets, previously only available through call forwarding a number Google assigned you.
- For more information and resources, you can visit the Enhanced Campaign Microsite.
- In-depth guide with step-by-step directions to upgrade can be found in this PDF.
This change will start rolling out slowly to all advertisers over the next few weeks but we will not be required to fully switch over to enhanced campaigns just yet. All advertisers will need to eventually migrate to enhanced campaigns by mid-2013. I recommend you start slow by migrating your lower volume campaigns while you learn the new features and capabilities.