Google Introduces Enhanced Campaigns

by cj Advertising | February 14, 2013

This post was written by Abby Woodcock, PPC Specialist at cj Advertising.

On February 6, Google officially announced their latest and “greatest” update to AdWords: Enhanced Campaigns.

What are Enhanced Campaigns?

Previously, best practice for campaign setup was to create separate campaigns according to three main factors – network targeting (Search Network, Display Network), device targeting (desktop, tablet, mobile) and geo targeting. Although this setup could potentially create a high number of campaigns in an account, everything was nicely segmented and allowed for fairly easy management.

The problem Google faced is that some advertisers, especially SMBs and business owners running their own campaigns with limited time to do so, didn’t want to bother with mobile. Larry Kim, founder/CTO of Wordstream, even estimates that “within the small and medium-sized business segment, less than 1 in 25 bothered doing the work of mobile-enabling their PPC campaigns, because it was such a hassle.”

You can see Google’s dilemma.

Mobile advertising can take a lot more work than Desktop/Tablet advertising – responsive/mobile-optimized landing pages or sites tend to work better for mobile-targeted campaigns, your keyword strategy should probably be a little different (more broad match, action-oriented keywords), bidding was different (you needed to be in the top three spots oftentimes for your ad to even show), and more.

To help alleviate this problem, Google has rolled out Enhanced campaigns, which combines all device and location targeting into one, and which will more or less “force” advertisers into mobile advertising. Of course, there is a work around where you can set your mobile bid to -100%, but implementing that will take some work.

How a legal campaign structure might have looked before:

  • Campaign #1: Auto – Desktop – Tulsa
  • Campaign #2: Auto – Tablet – Tulsa
  • Campaign #3: Auto – Mobile – Tulsa
  • Campaign #4: Auto – Desktop – OKC
  • Campaigns #5: Auto – Tablet – OKC
  • Campaign #6: Auto – Mobile – OKC

Now it will look like this:

  • Campaign #1: Auto – Tulsa & OKC

On the surface, this would appear to be somewhat of a management miracle, if you can overlook the glaringly obvious driving force behind why Google’s implementing this change (to gain revenue from mobile advertising, in case you didn’t pick that up earlier..).

But, to be fair, here are the positives we see with this transition:

  1. Fewer campaigns to manage
  2. You can still have separate ads and ad extensions for desktop & mobile
  3. No more mobile call reporting fees
  4. New mobile advertising conversion type
  5. You can still set separate/varied bids per device and location

Here are the potential negatives we see with this transition:  

  1. As far as we can tell, while you can set varying bids according to location and device, you can’t set separate budgets. Regulating monthly spend might be more difficult, per location and device, unless there will be a budget option that just hasn’t been announced yet.
  2. Mobile costs-per-click (CPCs) might skyrocket as competition increases.
  3. If you only want certain keywords running on a certain device you have to bid down for every keyword you want to exclude for that device, whereas before you simply put the keywords you wanted in the campaigns you wanted targeting the device you wanted.
  4. This transition is not optional. In late June of this year, tentatively, all campaigns will be auto-upgraded to Enhanced Campaigns.

Moving Forward:

For users who weren’t following Google’s best practices by splitting all their campaigns out according to network, device and geo-targeting, they’re in luck – they won’t have to change much about their account.

However, for AdWords users who followed their best practices and split everything out, the structure of our accounts has to change.

Beginning this month we’ll start prepping your PPC campaigns to make this transition successfully. There is plenty of time to transition, as the auto upgrade isn’t scheduled to take place until late June.

My hope is that in the long run this will be an advantageous move for advertisers, account managers, and Google, but only time will tell.

For more information on this transition, visit these sources: