Big Changes to AdWords with Enhanced Campaigns

Channel Digital

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Last week, Google announced changes to their AdWords platform which are arguably the most significant since the product was launched almost 13 years ago.

Enhanced campaigns are a response to the fact that a lot of internet use now involves searches across multiple devices.  You may start your search on a smartphone, for example, but end up completing your purchase on a desktop.


So these changes are focussed on helping advertisers target searchers and set bids by device and location as well as additional factors including time of day, from just one interface.  Until now, you would have to create each campaign separately.

What is interesting, and worth keeping an eye on, is that these changes involve some fairly fundamental adjustments for advertisers. So we at Channel thought it would be worth taking a good look at the pros and cons of Enhanced Campaigns to get a clearer picture.

Pros and Cons of Enhanced Campaigns

We think the pluses are definitely focussed around the adjustments that you can make to device, time and location identifiers. So, for example, if you have identified that people in Bristol, on a smartphone, between the hours of 6pm and 8pm are particularly high converters for you, then the new interface allows you to “upweight” your bids according to these criteria.

This new platform also enables you to track users across multiple devices (provided they’re logged into a Google service on both). So if they start to browse on a smartphone on their journey home, but don’t convert until later that day and on a PC, you will now be able to attribute the sale to the original mobile clickthrough.

There is no doubt that these changes will move advertisers towards thinking about customers, rather than thinking about devices, and in this sense the changes make a lot of sense.

However, there are things you need to be aware of.

Probably the most glaring is that Google have now removed the capacity for advertisers to target specific campaigns at mobile devices only. Instead, by default, a campaign now targets all devices simultaneously, with a %-based “weighting” applied to each type of device individually.

You can set a campaign with a high weighting for mobile and a low one for desktop, but you will never be able to wholly opt out of targeting desktops with your campaign, or vice versa.

This may take some getting used to for owners of websites who don’t use AdWords regularly.  But Google argue that these changes will be good for those businesses, because up to now setting up a separate mobile campaign has been both difficult and time consuming.

Perhaps slightly strangely, they have also removed the facility to target tablets as a separate group of devices – these are now lumped in with desktop PCs. They have also removed the ability to target tablets and smartphones by type of device or operating system.

Google are also removing the CPC differentiation between mobile, tablet and desktop clicks. This effectively means that your mobile campaign budgets will increase, as, historically, the CPC for tablets has been far lower than that for PCs, so costs will inevitably rise.

And in conclusion

There are some definite pros and cons for the new system and there is no doubt that some campaign reorganisation will be required for larger advertisers – particularly those who’s campaigns have up to now been heavily dependent on mobile devices.

It’s likely that the cost of advertising on mobiles is going to increase for the majority, and, if I were being cynical, I would say that one objective of these changes is that Google intends to inflate tablet CPCs in recognition of their ever increasing use.

If you’d like to discuss how your Adwords campaign can take advantage of these changes, please contact our AdWords Specialists at Channel Digital.

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