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New AdWords Enhanced Campaigns Are Coming Soon.

Google has just announced that AdWords enhanced campaigns are coming soon. Over the next few weeks Google will begin rolling out beta tests of AdWords enhanced campaigns to some advertisers, and will apparently be available to all in “mid” 2013. So far we don’t yet have access to a beta test, so we will keep you posted as soon as we do. When is mid 2013 – Don’t know. Perhaps June(?), perhaps it could get pushed back to late 2013 or later? We’ll see. With any big change like this we have to remain flexible and vigilant. Keep an eye out for changes to your campaign settings or campaign types available, and as with any big change, try to take things one set at a time. In the interest of trying to get ahead of the learning curve, here is the information available so far, and my opinion as to some of the possible challenges and opportunities of new enhanced campaigns.

If you are a multimedia visual type person, here is the link to the Google Ads video presentation about enhanced campaigns. (I was having some trouble playing the video from the site, so here is a link to the You Tube video page as well.) To be honest, this is more of a commercial than a learning tool, and I still felt the need for more information.

Eventually, I was able to find the written, long form help document here, which I found to be much more informative. Again, not having access to a beta test yet, there is no way to know exactly how things will actually play out, but after reading through the help document, here are some possible advantages, and concerns that stand out to me.

First of all, let me start with what seems to be the most exciting opportunity we may have with new enhanced campaigns. New “Advanced Call Metrics”!

“Advanced reports to measure new conversion types: Ability to track new conversion types, such as calls, digital downloads, and conversions across devices.”

New reports for:

  • Calls: Count calls as conversions with advanced call metrics

Wow! That’s huge for call focused campaigns. Until now, you could not use calls as conversions within the AdWords interface. With third party software, coding knowledge and some fancy integration, perhaps you could track calls as conversions. But, for small business advertisers without all those resources, this could be the best thing to happen to call optimization in AdWords since Call Metrics rolled out. Now you will be able to use conversion enhanced bidding like Max CPA, or conversion focused ad rotation tools, to further improve the number of phone calls generated, and hopefully improve ROI from phone calls. I am also being hopeful that with “advanced call metrics” we will now be able to see call data at the keyword and ad level, something that, as of yet, is not available without all that fancy third party call tracking stuff. 🙂

It also looks like there will be some really cool stuff happening with ad extensions, especially sitelinks.

Ad extensions

In enhanced campaigns, you’ll be able to use new features on four types of ad extensions: call extensions, app extensions, sitelink extensions, and offer extensions. These are called upgraded extensions. Other extensions will function as you’re used to.

The new features include:

  • Create extensions for your campaigns or ad groups: You can create an extension for your campaign or ad group, which means you’ll have more control over which ads your extensions are shown with.
  • Schedule your extensions: You can schedule start and end dates for your extension to run on specific days of week and times of day.
  • Specify sitelink extensions you want to give preference to on mobile: For example, if you want to highlight your store locator or in-store deals to mobile users, you can create mobile-specific sitelink extensions.
  • Get each extension approved individually: Each extension will go through our ad approval process separately. This means that if you create four sitelinks, for example, and three are approved and one is disapproved, then the three approved sitelinks are still eligible to appear with your ads.
  • Make changes to each extension: You can edit each extension without resetting its performance statistics. By comparison, when you edit an extension in a non-enhanced campaign, we create a new extension and delete the edited one.
  • Monitor each extension’s performance: We’ll show you performance data for each extension. For example, you’ll be able to see how many clicks or impressions an individual sitelink received. This means you’ll be able to better evaluate the performance of each extension.

Another advancement that was simply not available before in the AdWords UI. You could of course manually tag sitelinks, but then you were reliant upon the analytics reports to view your AdWords data. Trying to create advanced segments for each link, and for each data set is confusing, time consuming, and there is no guarantee you can get all the data you are looking for – Much less being able to use and compare it a comprehensive manner in relation to every other aspect of the campaign. Certainly, you will still be able to manually tag sitelinks to get whatever analytics data is of use to you, but now you will be able to get even more granular data with far less effort within the UI. That’s good stuff!

Now, without knowing for certain what things are going to look like and how it’s all going to work, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself complaining about potential concerns. 🙂

“Enhanced campaigns let you easily manage complex targeting, bidding, and ads for different platforms like mobile and computers all within the same campaign. Account management has also been consolidated for tablets and desktops. Additionally, with enhanced campaigns you can reduce the overall number of campaigns you need to create — you no longer need to create a separate campaign for each target device type or location.”

Why is that a concern? Well, more options leads to more possible combinations which you will then have to segment and parse the aggregate data to find the specific data you are looking for. Why do we already segment networks and devices by campaign as per best practices – For one, that way you know exactly what data in each campaign means. It’s not just the ad extensions or ad types that you optimize per campaign, it’s also budget, bidding, ROAS, and every other metric you rely on to effectively manage your account.

When you get used to doing things a certain way, big changes like this can be very scary. They can also end up being very good. Time will tell, and at this point we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. However, let’s hope that we will have the option to create “traditional” or “enhanced” campaigns. It looks like initially this will be an opt in option for beta testers, but so was the new display tab, before it rolled out to all advertisers and became mandatory. The same thing happened with the new impression share columns. We have always been told that more segmentation and optimization was better, let’s hope that this is not a push by Google to go against years of best practices, in an attempt to make AdWords easier for beginning advertisers. That was supposed to be the point of AdWords Express – How did that work out for you? 🙂

Update:

Here is an article from Search Engine Land, Which provides some more insight and an actual screen shot of what enhanced campaigns will look like.

Still more everyday – Pamela Parker’s thoughts. “Why enhanced campaigns aren’t really an upgrade or an improvement”, with a link to a change.org petition against this change. Just in case you think petitions and feedback don’t matter to Google, remember the ad rotation fiasco? Enough people responded that Google did change it’s mind, and eventually offered the “rotate indefinitely” option. Perhaps we can convince Google that more options are better than fewer options, and what’s “right or best” isn’t the same for everyone?

Also, an Article from Search Engine Watch expressing some of the benefits and concerns of enhanced campaigns.

I’m trying not to assume too much or be too negative – But, the more I read the less excited I am…

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