Google’s Biggest-Ever Change To AdWords Is Now Being Forced On Advertisers

    July 27, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

The “biggest-ever change to AdWords” (Google’s words) officially began rolling out to all advertisers this week, though the process will be completed over the course of several weeks.

Are Enhanced Campaigns a step in the right direction for search advertising or do they make the experience worse? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Google announced Enhanced Campaigns in February calling it a first step in more smartly managing ad campaigns in a multi-device world. With the feature, advertisers can manage their bids across devices, locations, time of day, etc. from one campaign, and Google shows ads across devices with the right text, sitelinks, apps, or extensions, without the advertiser having to edit each campaign for all the possible combinations. Enhanced campaigns also let advertisers count calls and app downloads as conversions.

On the company’s earnings call last week, Larry Page revealed that six million AdWords campaigns had been upgraded to Enhanced Campaigns ahead of the official transition date. Now, all accounts will be upgraded to take advantage of Enhanced Campaigns.

The reaction to this new way of doing things has been mixed among advertisers. Many feel that Google has taken away the flexibility of the pre-enhanced AdWords, but marketers are already finding workarounds. Frederick Vallaeys from Top Tier Marketing shares some.

“It may still be desirable to show a different landing page to tablet users, which luckily doesn’t require making a separate ad for tablets,” he says, for example. “Instead, detect tablet devices on your landing page and then customize the experience by suggesting the user download your app or use a tablet-optimized version of your site.”

“One of the easiest ways to determine whether someone who clicked an ad was using a desktop, tablet or mobile is to use the {device} ValueTrack parameter,” he adds. “You can append this to your destination URL, and then Google will replace it with either ‘m’ for mobile, ‘t’ for tablet, or ‘c’ for computer. Based on that, you can vary up the content of your landing page.”

For those worried about bids as they relate to device type, he recommends using Google’s conversion optimizer or Enhanced CPC, which take device type (among other things) into consideration.

With advertiser concern over Enhanced Campaigns, Microsoft saw an opportunity to lure marketers that aren’t thrilled about the move, promising that Bing Ads would not follow Google’s lead with this type of campaign management.

“While Enhanced Campaigns may seem to provide greater management efficiencies and improve mobile traffic, our customers have expressed worry that this change may in fact bring inefficiencies for more sophisticated advertisers or those with specific targeting needs,” a spokesperson for Microsoft told WebProNews in April.

David Pann, GM of Microsoft’s Search Network wrote in a blog post at the time:

At Bing Ads, we believe very strongly in giving advertisers the tools and flexibility to control their spending, target the most relevant audiences, and ensure they can get the best return on investment. We do not believe bundling mobile, desktop and tablet advertising together in an opaque manner is in the best interests of our customers.

Our own customers have been concerned whether we would sacrifice control for convenience, and our answer is no.

We are committed to reducing friction by providing advertisers with the transparency and controls needed to maximize campaign effectiveness. We strive to make it simple for small business advertisers to participate across devices and more sophisticated advertisers to have the fine grain targeting controls they require. Our stated goal of providing advertisers the ability to do in 15 minutes what it takes them 45 minutes to do on Google, should not – and does not – come with any caveats or loss of control.

Bing Ads believes in building long-term trust through consistency, expectancy and transparency.We know budgets and resources are limited – we want to enable our customers, not hinder them.

Larry Kim, founder of WordStream, which was one of a few companies that worked with Google on Enhanced Campaigns ahead of Google’s announcement, told us, “Enhanced Campaigns are great news for advertisers at small and medium-sized businesses. Previously, mobile campaign management was too complicated and time-consuming for all but the biggest-budget, most sophisticated advertisers. Now even small companies can take advantage of the exciting opportunities in mobile search.”

Google has added quite a few features to Enhanced Campaigns since they were first announced. This includes DoubleClick Search support, new ValueTrack parameters, ad group mobile bid adjustments, social annotations, and availability for mobile app advertisers.

About a month ago, Adobe released some research looking at Enhanced Campaigns’ impact on CPCs, finding that they increased by 6%.

Enhanced Campaigns impact on CPCs

“With the introduction of Enhanced Campaigns the historically lower CPCs for tablet campaigns should increase to reflect desktop CPCs,” Adobe said in the report. “We’re only just beginning to see this trend materialize with a 3% increase in tablet CPCs with respect to desktop CPCs, along with a smaller 1% increase in mobile CPCs. These percentages will likely rise as advertisers holding off on migrating to Enhanced Campaigns until the July 22 deadline set by Google are forced to do so.”

I guess we’ll see shortly.

Are you a fan of enhanced campaigns, or do you prefer Microsoft’s approach? Let us know in the comments.

Since February, when Google announced Enhanced Campaigns, the company has been working to educate marketers on how to use them to get more out of their campaigns, hosting numerous webinars and hangouts. Here are a few to help you get started:

  • http://juliusminor.com Julius Minor

    I used to use adwords a lot but they started putting crazy restrictions for your pages and then I got banned out of nowhere. Maybe it’s not for me as I find it easier and cheaper to find advertizing elsewhere..

  • http://www.gbepackaging.com Bob Teal

    Maybe it would be easier for Google if you just gave them direct access to your bank account so they can just take your money faster. In the end that is all that will happen. HEHEHE

    Don’t you just love Google and their young brain washed employees who would ruin your life’s work just because you don’t have time to make the changes they feel you should make. We still have the lowest prices for packaging supplies and I think that is what people are looking for. At least if you are buying supplies that is. Join our customer base and save money. If you want to pay more then call the guys that listen to Google.

  • http://www.merchantanywhere.com Dennis Ideue

    I DO NOT like this. I would rather have a campaign targeted towards desktop, and specify it as desktop only. Then a campaign targeted to mobile, specified as mobile only. Forcing users to change to Google’s “preference” in managing my accounts will cost them a portion of my business.

  • DmdJoe

    Too many junk pay per click on phones and iPads. Big scam

  • http://www.subliminalperception.net Wilf Staton

    If this is a snatch that everyone will be forced to have their ads sent to mobile phones and tablets andf gives no choice to the paying customer. (Yes google they are paying customers) Then this is wrong. Businesses that are paying for ads should be able to select where their ads are going to appear. (Rember again Google it is them paying for them you seem to forget this)

    Apart from this there are some business that have products that are entirely unsuitable for adbertising on mobiles and even tablets.

    Google is trying to force their customers through a funnel of their choosing and could result in a very low click rate thus and affecting the customers click through rate thus jepardizing the imresion/ctr ratio.

  • Brian B

    The hubris of Google knows no bounds.
    With them it’s all about dictatorship and more money. The smaller clients come way down in their ‘value to us’ scale.

  • http://www.seo-freelance.co.uk Drew

    Enhanced campaigns seem useful for local retailers and reducing bids for cell phone visits if less likely to convert. Beyond that, I’m not sure what the fuss is about

    • marta

      the fuss is — it’s about 1000x more difficult to use, that’s what the fuss is about. So they’re not going to get ANY more money from us. b/c we can’t figure out how to use it.
      Pretty simple.

    • marta

      the fuss is — it’s about 1000x more difficult to use, that’s what the fuss is about. So they’re not going to get ANY more money from us. b/c we can’t figure out how to use it.
      Pretty simple.

    • marta

      for us, the fuss is — it’s about 1000x more difficult to use, that’s what the fuss is about. So they’re not going to get ANY more money from us. b/c we can’t figure out how to use it.
      Pretty simple.

  • Pizzaman7

    What is the first rule of business ? The customer comes first. Google forgot this long ago. We should not be required to conform to them…..they should be conforming to us.

    Loss of flexibility, increased costs, being dictated to….I don’t see where this is good customer service.

  • http://MobileReadyResponsive.com Lorelle Smith

    There are a lot of advertisers with websites that display poorly on smartphones. This means they’re going to be paying for clicks that don’t convert at all. Many small “set it and forget it” PPC advertisers are too busy trying to run their businesses (and recover from the recession) to even realize that this change means their website MUST be mobile-ready. Half of them don’t even create targeted landing pages — they just send clicks to the home page. I hope Google continues to let us set the percentage of the CPC separately for mobile, but I fear that’s only temporary.

  • marta

    It’s impossible to decipher the new google adwords. impossible. I’ve switched to other search engine keyword tools. It’s a mess.
    It’s probably better for them financially — because every inch of the screen it
    organized for you to buy, buy, buy — but I won’t use it anymore.
    I can’t even figure it out.
    And I don’t have 10 hours to sit around in webinars to re-learn it.
    That’s just stupid – “here – waste 10 hours of your precious time to learn how to give us more money!”
    No thanks.
    But from the looks of your comments, I’m the only one making this decision, so I’m sure
    Google doesn’t care. They don’t have to.
    Why do software people NEVER sit with users to see how to make it easier for them?
    I’m done.