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Getting Started with Enhanced Campaigns

Posted on 9.30.2013

Ninety percent of people move between devices – smartphones, PCs, tablets or TVs – to accomplish a goal. 

This new multi-screen journey has its challenges – like 85 percent of us expecting the same experience across devices – but it has an equal amount of opportunities, especially for merchants. By presenting shoppers with relevant messages and taking into account information like a user’s location, device and time of day, they can enhance the user experience, while increasing conversions, loyalty and ROI. 

This summer, Google went live with “Enhanced Campaigns” that was designed to achieve those very goals. Essentially, Enhanced Campaigns was launched to offer advertisers “smarter ads” for the “always-on” user by dynamically displaying device-optimized content. Despite this idealist description, the AdWords’ change is not without criticism and confusion.  For merchants just getting started with Enhanced Campaigns, we’ve turned to five experts in the field to gather tips and clarification to take advantage of this new digital landscape. 

Experts Speak: Getting Started with Enhanced Campaigns


Courtney Herda, Internet Marketing Director at Smarter Searches

Even though Enhanced Campaigns have changed much of the interface and the details involved in PPC management, the top rules for merchants using AdWords remain the same: Think about your customer, target your message from keyword to ad to landing page to that customer, and continually test and track for conversions. Having worked with more than 400 PPC accounts as a PPC manager and now as the owner of a boutique Internet marketing agency, I can say confidently that these rules are the most important ones to follow and will not change even with Enhanced Campaigns. 

What has changed are the details - how sitelinks work, how devices are segmented, and more advanced bidding strategies, targeted to making the account creation process easier for the consumer. In Google fashion, it's meant to make things simpler for the small business owner and merchant, but the fact is that by automatically opting customers into enhanced campaigns, they might have pushed people into an arena, assuming their knowledge base is larger than it truly is. 

Enhanced campaigns assume a lot about user knowledge and leave a lot of room for error. Over time, I think Google will refine the process, but as it is now, many of the details can be confusing to beginners. To combat this, the best thing a merchant can do is evaluate their campaigns and conduct a thorough audit of the account.

Check every setting, eliminate anything that isn't working, use bid adjustments in locations that convert the best, and don't be afraid to use the help guide or look things up. You can also ask a PPC agency to conduct an audit for you and identify areas for improvement. Oftentimes, this can be a more affordable way to get a full evaluation of your account without paying for management.

Kristina Cutura, Online Advertising Professional 

For those just getting started with Enhanced Campaigns, start by reviewing prior mobile performance before deciding what mobile bids to set. Of course, you cannot adjust tablet bids with Enhanced Campaigns, but you should make mobile bid decisions based on past data. In your account, review each campaign's past mobile performance by applying the device segment in your account's campaign management page.

- Adjust mobile bids at the ad group level rather than just at the campaign level. Some of your ad groups could be getting better results on mobile than others, and a default campaign bid adjustment across all ad groups within a campaign may not make sense.

- If your mobile performance is not good, you can always opt out of mobile by applying a 100 percent bid adjustment. However, considering the growth of mobile, you should focus on optimizing your website for the mobile experience.

- If you are using Google's CPA bidding or Conversion Optimizer, you cannot set mobile bid adjustments, but Conversion Optimizer will take conversion data by device into account to get you the most out of your budget. This is the ideal bid option for advertisers who get good results from CPA bidding. Even if you are using CPA bidding, you can still opt out of mobile by applying a 100 percent bid adjustment.

- Create mobile-preferred ads to push your local store. If you'd like to use more aggressive calls-to-action, you can even create mobile  preferred sitelinks for any key/top mobile performers.

- Continue to review device data and make adjustments. Your original enhanced settings should not remain the same over time, as user behavior shifts and your results change.

Sudha Varadarajan, CTO and co-founder of Skava 

Enhanced campaigns make it a lot easier to manage Geo and Date/Time targeting when it comes to Adwords campaigns.  Previously, a retailer would have to create multiple campaigns to manage unique CPCs for their targeting options. For example, one campaign that targets all of the United States at a certain CPC level, another that targets just New York with a little bit higher CPC and a third that targets just Manhattan with an even higher CPC level.

Advertisers can now create a single campaign and use Campaign Modifiers provided by enhanced campaigns to manager different CPC levels. This allows for much simplified setup.

However, advertisers can no longer segment out Tablet traffic versus normal Desktop traffic. This means that advertisers need to make sure that their sites are tablet optimized and ready for touch users. If websites are not touch friendly then advertisers can expect higher overall CPAs.

There also isn't a way to target only mobile traffic. There is no way to guarantee that your ads won't show for desktop and tablet users. This raises a significant issue when campaigns are trying to specifically target users on the go or drive App downloads. Advertisers can work around this issue by setting a low overall CPC but a significantly higher mobile modifier. The hope here is that your base CPC is too low to show on desktop but your modifier raisers is high enough to show on mobile. Again, there is no way to guarantee this since AdWords is an auction system. Therefore, it is important to have a Desktop/Tablet presence for each campaign.

It is important to note that Modifiers compound on top of each other.  Let’s say that an advertiser has a modifier to add 50 percent to the CPC between the hours of 3-8 p.m. There is also a modifier to subtract 20 percent if the user is on a mobile device. Thirdly, there is a modifier to add 40 percent if the person is located in Chicago.  In this case, all three modifiers will be applied for users in Chicago that are on their mobile device between the hours of 3-8 p.m.

Lastly, even though you cannot target mobile specifically, you can still report on mobile separately from desktop and tablet traffic. During the transition process, it will be very important to keep an eye on these reports while trying to bring CPAs to the same level as they were on legacy campaigns.

Experts Speak: Tips for Enhanced Campaigns


Joe Mlnarik, Senior Marketing Strategist at Shopatron

1) Begin utilizing ad group level sitelink extensions. Previously, sitelinks were only available for use on a campaign level basis. Now, with enhanced campaigns, we can more finely target our extensions as they relate to each individual ad group instead of the campaign as a whole. The use of ad group level sitelinks has proven a 30 percent increase in click through rates and a 35 percent increase in conversion rates with some of our individually targeted ad groups.

2) Use the new location bid adjustment feature to drill down into finer levels of data analysis on a by location basis, which enables increased optimization by account. For instance, we found that some states performance was notably lower in comparison to others based on the keywords targeted within specific campaigns. Adjusting bids in these accounts raised our revenue to ad spend ration by up to 50 percent. 

3) Adjust your mobile bid and ad scheduling, which has proved to be very effective. Though they do not apply in all cases, we found that adjusting the mobile bid up or down, based on the mobile interaction history, enables us to increase conversion rates on the campaign as a whole. Ad scheduling can also be very effective, especially if your client has a limited budget, and you want to give them the most bang for their buck.

Brief anecdote:

We began implementing location, ad scheduling, and bid adjustments for a Sporting Goods account that continually receives high click activity. By utilizing some custom formulas, we tested each feature individually to understand their relative effectiveness. We tested the new features over a 30-day period, fined tuned them as our learnings grew, and increased revenue to cost ratios by 50 percent.

Andy Groller, Director of Digital Advertising at DragonSearch

There are several key tips for ensuring success with Enhanced Campaigns as it pertains to merchants:

Tablet Usability - Tablets can no longer excluded from targeting, so it is critical that a company website be tablet-friendly from a usability perspective. Remember, iPads don't support Flash so ensure key elements of your website such as the purchase funnel are tablet friendly. Lack of tablet usability can easily result in low conversion rates and therefore lost sales via AdWords campaigns.

Call Extensions - Google is no longer allowing phone numbers to be shown within ad copy. In fact, they are finishing audits across every advertiser's account to ensure no numbers are found within ad or sitelink text. If Google finds phone numbers during one of these audits, they will disapprove that ad or sitelink immediately. The workaround to this is taking advantage of call extensions, which shows a business' phone number to the right or below of an advertiser's ad. We're finding call extensions are displaying 70 percent of the time or more for our clients, so if a business is not using call extensions currently they need to ensure they are in place as soon as possible. 

Bid Adjustments for Geographic Targeting - Depending on how long an advertiser has been running AdWords, they likely have a significant amount of geographic-specific data regarding conversions, such as conversion rates and cost per conversions. With Enhanced Campaigns, Google is now offering a wide variety of bid adjustment opportunities including for mobile devices, locations and times of day. Utilizing the data a business has available, we would highly recommend implementing bid adjustments for top performing and underperforming geographic regions or cities to improve conversion rates and cost per conversion further.

For example, let's say a national business is targeting the entire United States within their campaign. Their historical data shows New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to be their most profitable cities, while Houston and Phoenix perform at a below average ROI. Using location-level bid adjustments, the advertiser could decrease their bids for Houston and Phoenix by 25 percent of the default bid (e.g. default bid is $10 so bid adjustment for these cities would be $7.50) in an effort to improve cost per conversion.

The opposite can be said for New York, Chicago and Los Angeles where the advertiser has an excellent return and thus they'd like to try and squeeze even more sales out of those locations as they have high average order values. The advertiser could increase the bid for those three cities by 10 percent via a bid adjustment.

So as you see, bid adjustments present a tremendous opportunity for improving conversion rates and cost per conversion across multiple segments including locations.

These are just some of the tips for advertisers to take advantage of within Enhanced Campaigns; however, all of them can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line.

Bonus: Best Practices from Kenshoo 

All enhanced campaigns will target desktop and tablet devices by default. If you do not wish to target mobile devices you can set a mobile bid adjustment to 100 percent.

Ad extensions are not automatically enhanced when you enhance your campaigns. Prior to enhancing ad extensions, make sure the appropriate tracking is in place.

Apply the {device} parameter to URLs to gain device-level insights on enhanced campaigns.

A server side redirect will make managing destination URLs much easier.

Append the {device} ValueTrack parameter to your URLs prior to migrating to enhanced campaigns to gain insights prior to migration and to be able to optimize immediately upon migration.


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