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Google’s enhanced search campaigns: what you need to know

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 AdWords Enhanced Campaigns: Naughty or ...
Photo credit: Search Influence

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.

Want to learn more about how to improve sales, increase conversions, and reduce the costs from your search marketing? Check out our Biznology Jumpstart Workshop, On-site Search Marketing Training. Taught by three of our Biznology search marketing experts, you’ll learn how to make your search marketing work for your business. Interested in learning more? Check it out.

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Tim Peter


Tim Peter built his first website in 1995 and loves that he still gets to do that every day. Tim has spent almost two decades figuring out where customers are, how they interact with brands online, and delivering those customers to his clients’ front door. These efforts have generated billions of dollars in revenue and reduced costs.

Tim works with client organizations to build effective teams focused on converting browsers to buyers and building their brand and business. He helps those companies discover how marketing, technology, and analytics tie together to drive business results. He doesn't get excited because of the toys or tech. He gets excited because of what it all means for the bottom line.

An expert in e-commerce and digital marketing strategy, web development, search marketing, and analytics, Tim focuses on the growth of the social, local, mobile web and its impact on both consumer behavior and business results. He is a member of the Search Engine Marketers Professional Organization (SEMPO), HSMAI, and the Digital Analytics Association.

Tim currently serves as Senior Advisor at SoloSegment, a marketing technology company that uses machine learning and natural language processing to improve engagement and conversion for large enterprise, B2B companies.

Tim Peter’s recent client work covers a wide range of digital marketing activities including developing digital and mobile marketing strategies, creating digital product roadmaps, assessing organizational capabilities, and conducting vendor evaluations for diverse clients including major hospitality companies, real estate brands, SaaS providers, and marketing agencies.

Prior to launching Tim Peter & Associates, LLC, a full-service e-commerce and internet marketing consulting firm in early 2011, he worked with the world’s largest hotel franchisor, the world’s premier independent luxury hotel representation firm, and a major financial services firm, developing various award-winning products and services for his customers. Tim can be reached at tim@timpeter.com or by phone at 201-305-0055.

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