ADOTAS — This year Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that weeks later Google announced significant changes to AdWords with Enhanced Campaigns, meant to help marketers advertise their brands, services, and products across multiple devices and geographies without having to manage and maintain several AdWords campaigns.
After an advertiser opts in to Enhanced Campaigns, all devices and geographic targets will be managed under one campaign, and tablet and desktop computer targeting will be conjoined. Now that the shock has worn off, and the weather is getting warmer, it’s time to do a little spring cleaning with AdWords campaigns. I can hear the collective groan of marketers everywhere. The thought of a campaign migration sounds as unappealing as a real home spring cleaning. Don’t procrastinate – there will be repercussions for accounts that haven’t migrated by the deadline. Just like cleaning out your house, it has to be done at some point, so better sooner than later to prevent making more work for yourself. But don’t worry – we’ll go over some practical ways to clean up your campaigns to avoid the negative repercussions of an automatic migration.
Effects on Advertisers
Even though the spring equinox has passed, there is still time to get your spring cleaning done. Similarly, even though the announcement has long passed, you still have some time before the automatic migration dates in April 2013 for the display network, and June 2013 for the search network. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when preparing for your migration:
- Mobile and Tablet Strategy: As more users adopt and use mobile devices throughout their day, Enhanced Campaigns push marketers utilizing their AdWords platform to implement a strategy for mobile devices. In preparation for structural changes and campaign bid modifiers, look at your device ROI and conversion rate performance. Remember, tablets and desktops will automatically be combined, so you should compare mobile to tablets plus desktops. If you have device specific campaigns now, this performance reporting will give you an idea of how a hybrid campaign will perform. Although cross-device analysis is not a current feature of Enhanced Campaigns, Google has announced that it will be releasing this type of reporting in the future.
- Geo-targeting Strategy: With Enhanced Campaigns, geographic targeting is managed through bid modifications at the campaign level. There are also significant enhancements to how you can geo-target consumers within certain areas. As a result, if you don’t understand how users interact with your brand from different locations or know the impact of bid modifiers versus separate geo campaigns, it’s possible that you may be running irrelevant or ineffective ads.
- Bidding Strategy: Unfortunately, I predict that you will end up paying more per click on mobile devices after Enhanced Campaigns is initiated across all advertisers. In preparation for the enforced deadlines, determine how your site visitors interact with your brand from different devices (and from multiple devices) to better provide users with relevant ad copy and content that aligns with their intent and location. To do so, adopt a holistic approach to paid search marketing that strives to send users influential messages at each stage of their consumer-decision journey across devices and channels. Signals like time of day, device usage, and location make it easier for advertisers to deliver influential messages (aligning user intent with content) at the right place (across channels and devices), at the right time (aligning with the time of day). ROI and conversion rate data from these signals will influence bid adjustments at the campaign level. With these new enhancements, third-party bid platforms will be required to modify their platform to support Enhanced Campaigns. These bid platforms continue to make substantial changes to their algorithms to catch up to this industry disruption and to produce optimal results for advertisers. For many of you, setting bid modifiers through Enhanced Campaigns, by device and by location, will be an exhausting and frustrating activity. You will require new tools, technology, and expertise to make more data-driven bidding decisions that require less trial and error.
- Budget Management: It’s important to recognize that the potentially massive increase in mobile campaigns could flood the already highly competitive mobile search results page and lead to increased competition. As a result, take this opportunity to create ROI through mobile activity, using the intent signals from mobile to deliver the user to the right content that fulfills their needs. Note that the conversion might not be a purchase, but rather an action indicative of intent to purchase, like using your site’s store-locator. It is now apparent that budget segmentation by location or device will become much more complicated and far less transparent. If you are accustomed to having total control over search budgeting, you might need to rethink your campaign structure. Location-specific campaigns will still be possible, but device-specific campaigns will become cumbersome and imperfect.
- Keywords and Ads: With the arrival of Enhanced Campaigns, ad creation and targeting are becoming more nuanced activities, as all targeting can occur under the same campaign. Ad extensions (i.e., Sitelinks and Call Extensions) have been improved to align with devices, scheduling, and sharing across the account. Campaign-level bid modifiers will apply to all keywords in a campaign equally, but this may have a disproportionate effect on keywords with different objectives. Unless given special consideration and treatment, your high-value keywords may experience a significant drop in performance.
Avoid A Campaign Performance Dip
Hopefully you’re convinced to make the migration early. Now it’s time to tackle your migration strategy since Enhanced Campaigns significantly affect account organization and management. If you don’t adequately prepare, there’s a chance that you could experience a dramatic decrease in ROI, Quality Score, conversion rate, and traffic. So what needs to be done?
- Strategy considerations. Determine how customers interact with your brand on different devices and identify account segments vulnerable to performance volatility. Form bid strategies around these observed behaviors.
- Pre-migration planning. Determine the marketing objectives for each device/location and determine how ROI and conversion rates differ for each segment. Identify campaigns and keywords that are susceptible to performance dips, as well as keywords that will underperform and should be removed from the account.
- Migration. Create an account structure that reflects both marketing and budget objectives. Structure new ad groups and campaigns with an eye toward preserving strong ROI, CPA, and conversion rates. Similarly, be careful to protect high-performing keywords against potential volatile performance.
- Post-migration. Develop performance reports that accurately compare pre-migration and post-migration account-level performance. Monitor Enhanced Campaign performance and make necessary changes to account structure, ad copy, and bid optimization post-migration.
So, why put off tomorrow what can be done today? Don’t wait until the weather becomes unbearably hot and you don’t feel like moving to clean the house – get it over with now while the weather is nice. Taking the time to opt in to Enhanced Campaigns now will ensure that it’s done right.