adwords enhanced campaigns.

By February 8, 2013Digital Marketing

according to my google account manager this is the biggest change to adwords in years.

just due to the nature of google’s sheer size there are “announcements” that are released on a daily basis. if you’re like me you’ll skip over most of them and chalk them up to “yup, the non-digital marketing geek will find this interesting” – if you’ve been around the industry for a while you start to ignore these seemingly small announcement. however on february 6th, google made an announcement for it’s adwords ppc product that truly deserves the label “significant”. google announced “adwords enhanced campaigns” for their desktop and mobile ad offerings. if you run any ppc ads with google this will affect you.

what are adwords enhanced campaigns?

as we all know people are constantly connected and moving from one device to another to communicate, shop and stay entertained. a recent study of multi-device consumers by google found that 90% of people move between several screens to accomplish a task. i also know this from personal experience. add on top a multitude of new devices –  laptops, tablets, smartphones, mini-tablets, televisions, and more. plus, there are of course many more digital screens and devices to come, with the lines between them continuing to blur. and,  as devices converge, consumer behaviors on tablets and desktops are becoming very similar.

all of this makes marketing more complex and time-consuming. as an advertiser you want to show different ads depending on the context. one ad to someone searching for “pizza” at 12 pm at work and a different ad to someone searching for “pizza” at 8pm on a smartphone half a mile from the restaurant. location, time of day, and the capabilities of the device people are using are important factors in showing them the right ad – and now  enhanced campaigns lets you manage all of this in one single campaign. this is truly revolutionary for the world of ppc.

adword -enhanced campaigns

one of the great powers of the web is that it is truly ubiquitous. mixing in the zero moment of truth, these enhanced campaigns help you reach people with the right ads, based on location, time of day and device type, across all devices.

the nuts & bolts.

in essence, google is making three main changes.

  1. it will be easier to vary bids by device, location, and time of day, all of which google knows from gps, device signatures, and other data. using the new bid adjustments, you can for example bid 50% higher for searches on smartphones, 25% higher on people searching within a certain radius, and 20% lower if the search is after a certain time. 
  2. ads can change depending on what device a person is using. for example, an ad for a brand with both a physical store and a website could include a click-to-call button or map for a person using on a smartphone, and a link to the website for a person on a computer.
  3. google is providing new ways for advertisers to measure the impact of ads. for example, you will be able to count calls and app downloads, with more metrics coming soon.

word on the street.

according to forbes “it’s one of the biggest changes yet to the adwords system that accounts for the vast majority of google’s revenues.” and wait for it: “the most obvious outcome for google is that it’s likely to see many more businesses bidding for mobile ad placement, increasing competition in google’s auction-based system, and therefore raising prices.” zdnet adds that “what’s good for google may not work out for all the businesses using adwords.” 

business insider sees this change quite positive and points out that google has now “blasted away the wall between desktop and mobile ads,” even though google is in fact eliminating some ad-targeting capabilities  – including the ability to target specific mobile devices like tablets. also, you won’t be able to run mobile only campaigns in the future
not everyone sees this as a good move. blueglass, for example has a much more pessimistic outlook on this change from Google in their recent blog post and point out that for better or worse that “advertisers have no choice but to accept any rule changes Google makes, because while they have options, those options are limited, and unpalatable due to the restricted market exposure.”

conclusion (tl;dr).

google is changing the way you target devices. in the past it was a best practice to target mobile and desktop separably, but with the line between the two blurring google is now rolling them together in adwords. this should make it easier to reach people at the zero moment of truth and help advertisers be at the right place at the right time no matter the time, device or place.

the update is in beta rolling out to everyone and will arrive as an option for advertisers over the next few weeks, but by june it will be applied to all campaigns. yes, you read that correctly: in june google will automatically switch you over to the new enhanced campaigns. also, based on all this i’m predicting that mobile ads are about to get a lot more expensive.

i talked to my google rep today and once i’ve played around a bit more with the enhanced campaigns in beta i’ll post an update here on my blog.

UPDATE: read the official gogole enhanced campaigns announcement emailed adwords advertisers


learn more at the official google adwords enhanced campaigns website.