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

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...
Google’s Biggest-Ever Change To AdWords Is Now Being Forced On Advertisers
Written by Chris Crum
  • 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:

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