Not long after I talked about building search campaigns that convert, Google rolled out its “Enhanced Campaigns” feature. Designed to integrate mobile campaigns into AdWords more completely, the change has been met with a number of questions and concerns. The biggest question, by far: “Enhanced”" for whom, exactly? Read on and see…
Google has created its Enhanced Campaigns in response to the growth of the mobile web and consumers’ increased use of mobile search. That much is clear. Many of the features recognize mobile’s growth and offer solutions to take advantage.
For instance, Google’s Enhanced Campaigns will now include calls as conversions for no extra charge. This is undoubtedly a “Good Thing.” Yes, I love e-commerce. And, yes, I think it’s surprisingly undervalued by many businesses. But lots of commerce happens away from your site—even when influenced by your site. It’s fantastic that AdWords now recognizes this fact.
Google also makes it much easier to target your customers based on time of day or their location.
But… Google giveth and Google taketh away.
Nowhere is this more obvious than Google’s approach to mobile devices. Going forward, all campaigns target all devices by default. This is a major bummer. Even worse, you can’t target specific operating systems (for example, iOS vs. Android). Today many AdWords advertisers improve conversions and drive down cost-of-sale by targeting campaigns to specific devices in a way that will no longer be possible. For instance, if you find that you get more conversions from Android users and fewer from Apple’s devices, you can no longer bid less for the Apple fans or vice versa. (To be fair, managing that level of sophistication was not simple; however, it was possible).
And while you can run a desktop/tablet-only campaign (by setting the multiplier for mobile bids to “-100%”), you can no longer run a mobile-only campaign. And as hinted at a moment ago, you can no longer target tablet devices separately from desktops. Given that tablets appear to be displacing desktops/laptops in the longer-term, this may not be an issue forever. But in the immediate term, it’s another loss of control. Is that a good definition of “enhanced?” I think not.
The likely outcome of these last few changes? Increased costs for advertisers. When Google makes it more challenging to opt-out of specific channels and target only those channels that work best, your cost-per-click and cost-of-sale will likely rise.
At which point, you know who’ll most likely benefit from “enhanced” campaigns: Google and their shareholders.
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About Tim Peter
Tim Peter helps companies put the web to work to grow their business. Since 1995, he has developed innovative e-commerce and digital marketing programs that have delivered billions of dollars in revenues. An expert in e-commerce and digital marketing strategy, Tim focuses on the growth of the social, local, mobile web and its impact on both consumer behavior and business results.