Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns

Last week Google Announced major changes to their AdWords platform by rolling out an "Upgrade" to AdWords called Enhanced Campaigns. This is one of the largest changes to the AdWords system in years and has been discussed quite frequently by search marketers across the globe.

While this may be an actual enhancement for some, we view it as mostly marketing speak by Google to put a positive spin on a fairly unpopular set of changes among search marketers.

The basic premise of Enhanced Campaigns is that Google wants search marketers to stop thinking about their campaigns as Mobile vs. Desktop searches and start looking at campaigns as one. This can cut down on management time needed to work on campaigns, but also upsets most smart search marketers who are used to creating and managing separate Desktop and Mobile campaigns in order to control for bid and user experience disparities.

Why the Backlash?

The main reason for a backlash and negativity toward these changes are that mobile traffic does not always convert as well as desktop traffic for certain industries and objectives. For example, an e-commerce website may have a much lower conversion rate from mobile visitors than desktop visitors. With an "enhanced" campaign, it will be more difficult to weed out poor performing traffic. While you can reduce your bids on mobile by a % of traffic, the concern is that reports will no longer be transparent about which clicks are desktop and which are mobile. This can very easily drive up costs for many programs without delivering incremental results.

Here is a summary of the changes that come along with enhanced campaigns:

1) Mobile and Desktop Campaigns Merging

Dislike. While some of the features of enhanced campaigns may be ultimately beneficial, we dislike the fact that this is a forced change. Google has not had a great history of forcing changes with search marketers and taking away their ability to optimize accounts. For example, last year when Google forced ad rotation changes, it was such an unpopular move that they were forced to repeal their change and allow indefinite, even ad rotation.

I have a feeling that the forced merging of Mobile and Desktop campaigns may also be repealed in the future.

2) Sitelinks Reporting for Individual Links

Like. This will be a very positive addition to optimization of AdWords. The ability to analyze effectiveness of individual sitelinks in PPC will result in more conversions and potential cost savings. A win-win for marketers and Google.

3) Phone Calls over 60 Seconds Counted as Conversions

Like. Three Deep has been using a 60 second methodology to help determine if a call is a legitimate sales opportunity for years. It is good to see Google also adopt this policy. Why 60 seconds? Because it is long enough to ensure that the call is not wrong number, misdial or other low quality calls. This is not saying that all calls over 60 seconds are legitimate sales leads, but it does indicate that the call was at least connected.

4) User Context Optimization

Mixed. User context optimization is the ability to adjust your bids by a number of factors. Do you want to reduce your mobile bids by 70% at night? This can easily be done with user context optimization. While this sounds good and is great marketing sizzle, I don't see how it will really play out to make things more simple. It seems as if this type of targeting just makes everything a lot more complex for people managing campaigns and has a lot of opportunity to do more harm than good.

5) Bid Adjustments Based on Several New Metrics

Like. I love any change that gives marketers more power to increase response from customers and lower overall costs. While this may make things more complex to manage, savvy agencies will use this to the advantage of their clients.

Overall Thoughts on Recent Google Announcements

We like most changes outside of the Enhanced Campaigns, but enhanced campaigns is such a large change that it makes the positive developments bittersweet for many marketers. While we remain hopeful that the merging of mobile and desktop will have minimal impact on rising costs, that still remains to be seen. The other changes to the platform are mostly quite positive and will help marketers get more bang for their buck!

What do you think of the new Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns? Feel free to leave a comment whether you agree or disagree!