To sum things up, Google is now forcing us to go mobile with their Enhanced Campaigns. Google says this change will make things easier to manage. Sure that might make things a little easier, but they have taken A LOT of control away from us.
Google sure rustled the jimmies of search marketers (see referenced meme here) with this “upgrade”.
Some are speculating there may be some ulterior motive behind this forced “upgrade”. It might not have to be put into place to help us advertisers, but rather Google investors.
Sam Owen of PPC Hero wrote an article back in October of 2012 that foreshadowed this event. He mentions cost per clicks actually fell $0.15 in 2012 – good news for advertisers, bad news for Google and its investors. This could be due to the accelerating switch from desktop to mobile. You can read more from this article here.
A drop in average cost per click is a good thing right? You’d think so. This is actually a byproduct of search marketers doing their jobs correctly. However, like previously mentioned, it’s not good for investors. They need to make up the decrease in net profits from last year. Enter the forceful adoption of mobile PPC campaigns – er…”enhanced campaigns”.
This most likely means the end of low cost per clicks for those of us who were already running mobile campaigns.
Most search marketers have had some time to cool off since this Panda-like announcement. Much to our delight, there is a way we can somewhat opt-out of the mobile campaigns by setting our mobile bids at -100%.
Enough Complaining – What About the 3 Helpful Features?
Google released a few new updates along with the enhanced campaigns, likely to soften the blow. Three of these changes can and will help advertisers out in the long run. Here’s a quick rundown of the updates that came packaged with Enhanced Campaigns:
1. Ad Group Level Sitelinks – Previously, site links were only available to use at the campaign level. Sitelinks were already a great future and really helped text ads stand out. But this change gives advertisers more control and the ability have more, less, different sitelinks in their ad groups. If ad groups are different “themes” or groups of keywords, why shouldn’t they have different themes or groups of sitelinks? Adwords also now gives us the abilitly to day-part our sitelinks (i.e. lunch time specials, Saturday only deals etc.)
This is a great update and should be a home run for all PPC advertisers.
2. Geo targeting or Geo-bidding – With this new feature, advertisers can now change geographic bids up or down by a percentage increase or decrease. For example, if I’m running a statewide Texas campaign and see that Houston’s conversion rate is 20% higher than average, I can place bids in Houston that are 20% higher.
3. Search Funnels – This wasn’t bundled with the Enhanced campaigns update, but was released about the same time. It may have been overlooked, but should NOT be ignored. These metrics could help out advertisers tremendously while optimizing their campaigns.
Google says search funnels “help you see the full picture by giving you insight into the ads your customers interact with during their shopping [or lead form submitting] process.” They enable you to see which particular ads had clicks or even impressions throughout a user’s purchase/lead gen cycle. This significantly affects ad testing. We can now see which ads might have aided the conversion – without even ever receiving a click.
The switch to Enhanced Campaigns is mandatory, but Google is giving advertisers until June to roll everything over and become accustomed to the changes.
I have been managing PPC campaigns since 2008 and have seen many changes within Adwords. I usually throw a fit at first and wonder why they would put me through this agony of being forced to learn something new. Then the changes grow on me.
The process looks a little like this: Throw a fit > Research > Embrace
The enhanced campaigns update is probably the biggest change I’ve seen in regards to PPC, but I’ve already noticed some good things come out of it – like the three features discussed in this post.
I’m anxious to see the eventual outcome of these changes – will it really make things easier to manage like Google promised? Or will it make search marketers’ lives a living nightmare? Either way I will have to deal with it and make the best out of it.