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AdWords Enhanced Campaigns Month 1:

Well it’s been about a month now since we first got access to enhanced campaigns. So, what have we learned in that time? Has Google relaxed it’s draconian anti-device segmentation position? Are call only, or mobile only campaigns somehow possible now – Has anyone come up with a surefire effective strategy for such campaigns? Nope. There has however been a steady stream of information coming out about enhanced campaigns. Some of it has been good, some of it… not so much. Let’s go over some of what we have learned about enhanced campaigns, and some of the problems which still (and apparently will continue to) exist.

Mobile only campaigns:

First of all, apparently the lexicon regarding the term “mobile device” varies per user. When we speak about “mobile devices” here in the TCC blog, we are referring to essentially smart phones, or any devices that are listed as mobile devices in the AdWords “legacy” campaign settings. Some believe that any device is a mobile device as long as it is not currently plugged into the wall (or, plugged into somethingย other than perhaps a pair of ear buds). You can consider a tablet a mobile device if you want to, but in the enhanced campaigns world – Tablets and desktop/laptop computers are the same as far as Google AdWords is concerned.

Because Google considers all “PC’s” as the same devices, mobile devices (or, smartphones) is the only distinction between all devices Google makes with enhanced campaigns. Hence, enhanced campaigns are the end of device segmentation, or mobile only campaigns in AdWords. Yes, you can adjust your bids on mobile devices, or even opt out of all devices Google considers mobile devices by bidding -100%. However, no bid adjustments are possible which allow you to opt out of all PC’s (computers or tablets). If all the products or services you are advertising rely on mobile devices, you will have to not only pay for clicks through to your website from PC users, but also risk a “bad user experience”, (read) a lower quality score.

So, not only will you have to pay for unwanted PC traffic, not having an effective PC website (do you sell mobile apps only, for example?) will inevitably reduce your PC quality score (if not your overall QS, depending on if there is, or are not, any device variables) and increase the expense of those clicks. As always, if you are making more per click than you are paying per click (including additional external costs per click), then those clicks are still worth whatever they cost. But, if you are not making anything from a PC click, then all those clicks will only cost you even more money.

Google does state in their enhanced campaigns PDF that: “Ads for app promotion will only appear on devices that the app operates on. For example, ads that promote your latest Android tablet app will only show on Android tablets.” Ok, Android tablet apps, but what about apps for smartphones, or as Google labels them “mobile devices”?

Call only campaigns:

As far as call only campaigns are concerned, there is no way to assure that all your clicks will be click to call clicks, like you could with legacy campaigns. If click to call only campaigns are your bread and butter, then eat all you can while you can, because sooner rather than later you’re going to go hungry! There are some good things regarding phone calls and enhanced campaigns, but click to call only campaigns are a thing of the past.ย  Perhaps, a particular series of circumstances allows for most, if not all of the clicks for a specific campaign or keyword are click to call clicks from mobile devices, but there is no surefire way to guarantee that result.

There are three good things that have happened in regards to getting phone calls from AdWords, which are now confirmed after the first month of enhanced campaigns:

1. The ability to track phone calls as conversions within the AdWords interface. As long as you are using Google call forwarding numbers and call metrics – When you upgrade or create these enhanced call extensions, you will be prompted with the options of tracking a call over a specific duration (which you can set) as a conversion. You can easily do this all within the AdWords interface. You don’t need any third party call tracking software, and integrate the call data within Google analytics using a bunch expensive coding, and then import those goals into AdWords as a conversion. If calls are the only focus of your AdWords advertising, by using CPA bidding with calls as the only conversion, you may very well be able to get even more qualified phone call leads through AdWords with the new enhanced campaigns.

2. There are no longer any additional CPP charges for manually dialed calls using Google voice call extensions. With mobile calls, a click is a click – Whether it’s a click to call click or headline click. Whatever the click would cost to win that position in the ad auction is what you are charged for that click. With legacy campaign manual Google voice number call extensions, there was a minimum $1.00 CPP charge for any calls which resulted from PC ads. Now, there will be no additional CPP charges for PC ads which result in manually dialed calls. So how is Google going to charge for these calls? Since you still can’t click to call from a PC, surely there will be some mechanism to charge for the ad impression which resulted in a phone call instead of a click. So far, we have yet to get any data or insight on how you will (definitely, in some way) be charged for these manual phone calls. This seems like a really good thing, but until enough aggregate data is available to know for sure, we’ll just call it possibly a good thing for now.

3. The ability to show standard call extensions (not Google voice numbers call extensions) using your actual phone number on PC’s. For many small business owners their phone number is their brand. Take Tom Dwyer Automotive for example. Since 1981 their phone number has been the “focus keyword” of Tom’s advertising efforts. Before there was such a thing as the internet, brand awareness of the business phone number was the primary method by which potential customers engaged with the business. The goal of the current advertising strategy, be it radio, internet, newspapers, etc. is still to continue to brand the business phone number. Very few new customers are going to physically walk into the shop as their first interaction with the business. Even if the website is the first point of engagement, calling the shop on the phone is the most direct and effective way to determine how to go about bringing in your vehicle.

That phone number, that necessary step in the conversion funnel can NOT be subject to change via terms or whims of Google voice. Branding the phone number you own and control, that has existed since the first day you went into business, is key to retaining the lifetime business of your customers. If they had put the Google forwarding number in their phone book as your business number and that number changes, then that customer will have to repeat the buying cycle all over again to reach the point of engagement. There is a lot of risk in that situation that the customer might abandon the conversion funnel in favor of a competitor in the interest or awareness stages. For many small local businesses whose phone number is their brand, this is a very, very good thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

A warning about enhanced campaigns call extensions:

As of April, any ads with a phone number in the ad text will be disapproved for enhanced campaigns! For click to call only legacy campaigns, you may have added a phone number to the ad text knowing that – a. A call extension is not guaranteed to show with the ad, and b. A phone number in the ad text becomes a click to call number when shown on mobile devices (so there will always be a phone number shown with the ad). Now, not only can you NOT create a mobile only campaign, you can’t even guarantee that a call extension will always be shown for every ad on a mobile device.

When should you upgrade to enhanced campaigns?

For all of the reasons above, if your primary or only return on ad spend comes from mobile devices – DO NOT “upgrade” to enhanced campaigns until you absolutely have to. Yes, you need to run some kind of experimental enhanced campaign before the switch to get an idea of how you may be able to find some return from enhanced campaigns. Create a new campaign, don’t “upgrade” or “fix” a legacy campaign that ain’t broken. Get what you can while you can to try and absorb any losses during the transition. Slow and steady is the way for you to win this race, given your situation.

On the other hand, if you currently DO NOT advertise on any mobile devices, and target both tablets and desktops, then you don’t really have much to risk. Yes, it still may be a good idea to try and experiment with a new campaign first. But, if in your specific situation you already know that the current tablet and desktop performance is similar, then you shouldn’t expect that performance will immediately and dramatically change due to an enhanced campaign “upgrade”. If that is the case, then go ahead and sprint to the finish line and complete your upgrade. There are some ad extensions for example that are only available for enhanced campaigns you may find effective.

New ad extensions:

The call extensions changes I have outlined above, but you can choose to create or upgrade to enhanced sitelink ad extensions as well. (There is bound to be some confusion here, as there are both enhanced sitelinks, and “upgraded” – to enhanced campaigns – sitelink extensions.) You can now see if each individual link in the group is approved or not. If one is not, then the rest of the group will be eligible to show. The data is also broken down per sitelink so you can see which individual links perform the best. Previously you had to do a bunch of fancy coding to track each individual link in Google analytics, then try to compare that data to the adwords data to try and figure out which group of links performed best together for that campaign. Now, you can get CTR and other performance data right in the interface. You can also create a unique extension group for each adgroup to further improve performance.

On the downside, the data seems to indicate that the impressions per link are based off of CTR – NOT conversions, CPA, or conversion rate. You still have to analyze the data and optimize each sitelink as part of the group. Trying to do this for hundreds or thousands of adroups will definitely be time consuming. Perhaps don’t rush into adgroup level enhanced sitelinks right away. Try upgrading your current campaign level sitelink group, gain some enhanced campaigns data, then start restructuring your sitelink extensions (perhaps along with your adgroups) for enhanced campaigns.

Offer extensions are a new type of ad extension currently only available for enhanced campaigns. If you have special offers associated with your products, and want all the benefits ad extensions offer, then perhaps consider experimenting or upgrading to enhanced campaigns to try and take advantage of this new extension. This is an area which I haven’t experimented much with yet myself, and there is little documentation on. Once we have some more information about offer extensions we will be sure to share in a follow up post. ๐Ÿ™‚

Resources:

By now you already know that Search Engine Land is one of, if not the best, resources for daily updates and information about everything internet. You can find some of the best information about enhanced campaigns, and discover some of the greatest minds on the subject there.

Ginny Marvin wrote a very informative piece detailing some of the new bid adjustment options and how to implement them.

Brad Geddes is by far one of the absolute best in the business. He has written several pieces on enhanced campaigns, including: Geographic Targeting In An Enhanced Campaign World – There are some very interesting geographic targeting possibilities with enhanced campaigns. You can certainly do more within a single campaign now than you could with legacy campaigns, but it’s neither simpler nor easier as the Google sales pitch suggests. While there are quite a few Google fan-boys who will never admit that enhanced campaigns might not be a good thing for everybody, Brad is definitely NOT one of those people. He did a far better job than I of answering the question –ย  Should You Upgrade To AdWords Enhanced Campaigns? Reality is what it is, and I appreciate the fact that Brad is willing to admit that for mobile focused advertisers, you might want to wait a while to upgrade ALL of your campaigns. Another tortoise like myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can find Brad at Certified Knowledge, and I would urge you to subscribe to the daily newsletter if you haven’t already.

Search Engine Watch is another great resource for daily reading, and Alistair Dent is one of their best contributors. He had a great piece on How Display Campaigns Are Becoming Enhanced. Apparently, for the time being we will still have some device targeting options for display campaigns that we are losing with search campaigns. Display is a different critter than search, and it would appear that the targeting options are going to get even more confusing with enhanced campaigns. That will definitely have to be another blog post, if not a series of blog posts to come shortly. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is the Official Google AdWords Upgrading To Enhanced Campaigns .pdf document. You can also check out Inside AdWords for the latest sales pitch from Google promoting enhanced campaigns. I wouldn’tย  recommend The AdWords Community for any unbiased factual information anymore, unfortunately. (Be warned, if you are at all frustrated by enhanced campaigns you will not get a warm reception there.) But, if you disagree with me completely you will definitely be in like company.

 

4 Comments
  1. Hi Tom — thanks for the thorough article. I can tell you that if we could use call tracking to prove out results at a website (not so much in an adwords ad), that we would be able to retain more clients. For example, I used to manage a blog network of close to 160 HVAC customers who signed a 1-year contract. Many at renewal time claimed they did not get enough business, even though we knew we had sent them a considerable amount of traffic.

    What we ended up doing was getting a SKYPE number for each client, then reporting on direct calls from their blog itself (what we promoted for them) as opposed to the website. This did convince a number of people to stay.

    Cheers – Scott

  2. Nice post Jr. – good way to get oriented on the latest in Enhanced Campaigns. Which I needed ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Interesting work-around Scott. What was the resistance rate like when it came to the SKYPE plan?

    -T

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