Google Adwords is a highly intelligent and well built marketing tool. But because it has evolved over a number of years with layer upon layer of new functions, a well constructed campaign is usually pretty complex. Some of the considerations we have to go through when we start working on a new account are:
- Geographic targeting – should we split out campaigns for different regions/countries and target differently/bid differently?
- How do we handle different devices – do users search for this companies products/services differently on different devices? e.g. click to call on mobiles.
- What types of extensions/sitelinks are relevant for this business? Are they are a locally based bricks and mortar business needing location extensions or do they have great reviews so can leverage reviews extensions?
- What types of conversions do they have on their site? leads, sales, phone calls? What is the best way to track these and apply bidding rules to them?
On top of that you have all the basic structure questions: should we base it on website hierarchy (common e-commerce structure) or on the ways people search for the product/services (common service type structure)? How do we conduct keyword research, what business information do we need for the ad building etc etc.
Why does it all have to be so complicated?
We have noticed that our clients are just confused and so really do need professional help with their Adwords accounts.
This is an issue for all parties as many businesses that have a go themselves, fail, and then may determine that Adwords is no good as a marketing tool and give up. This of course affects Google’s bottom line, reduces customers for PPC agencies and most importantly leaves small businesses failing to sell as much as they could. Adwords should really be accessible for small business owners as not all businesses are in a position of being able to afford professional support – most businesses are 1 person micro businesses.
I am guessing that this was the impetus behind Google’s introduction of enhanced campaigns, which they announced last week.
Here is what Google said about Adwords enhanced campaigns in their announcement:
“People are constantly connected and moving from one device to another to communicate, shop and stay entertained. In fact, a recent study of multi-device consumers found that 90% move sequentially between several screens to accomplish a task. There’s also a proliferation of new devices — PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, hybrid devices, mini-tablets, televisions, and more. And there are many more digital screens and devices to come, with the lines between them continuing to blur. For example, as devices converge, consumer behaviors on tablets and desktops are becoming very similar.
This creates great opportunities for businesses, but can also make marketing more complex and time-consuming. For example, a pizza restaurant probably wants to show one ad to someone searching for “pizza” at 1pm on their PC at work (perhaps a link to an online order form or menu), and a different ad to someone searching for “pizza” at 8pm on a smartphone a half-mile from the restaurant (perhaps a click-to-call phone number and restaurant locator). Signals like location, time of day, and the capabilities of the device people are using have become increasingly important in showing them the right ad.
With enhanced campaigns, instead of having to cobble together and compare several separate campaigns, reports and ad extensions to do this, the pizza restaurant can easily manage all of this in one single place. Enhanced campaigns help you reach people with the right ads, based on their context like location, time of day and device type, across all devices without having to set up and manage several separate campaigns.”
You can read the announcement here, and here is their dubious video explaining it:
Google’s videos are usually great but I am not convinced that this makes the product any clearer for advertisers. Not to worry – we are going to go through it now.
So what are Adwords Enhanced Campaigns?
Currently many advertisers split up their Adwords accounts into very complex set ups so that they can understand how different factors interact. For example – how does geographic location affect sales of different products? How do sales differ by mobile, desktop device? Should I bid lower/higher on mobile devices?
The current answer to these questions is to split up campaigns by region, device and product type. For example if you have 100 products, selling in 50 countries and on 3 devices (mobile, tablet and desktop) we have 15,000 variations. Sam Owen wrote a good article about this over at PPC Hero.
With enhanced campaigns you can now adjust bids based on location and device so there is no need to split them out into different campaigns.
Roll out of enhanced campaigns will occur over the next 4 months with completion by July 2013.
Here is a screenshot that Search Engine Watch took of the new set up – none of our accounts have the functionality yet!
Wait; there is more:
Changes to Sitelinks
A major frustration with the Adwords sitelinks extension has been that you cannot get data on the performance of the individual sitelinks – so it has been impossible to optimise the sitelinks other than by using a bit of nowse and a best guess. This will now change and as well as that we will be able to set sitelinks at an ad group level rather than a campaign level.
I am excited about this as it will allow great opportunities e.g. retailers will be able to have sitelinks for their best selling products with much more flexibility.
New Conversion Types
In their announcement Google gave one specific example:
“Example: You can count phone calls of 60 seconds or longer that result from a click-to-call ad as a conversion in your AdWords reports, and compare them to other conversions like leads, sales and downloads.”
As well as this the calls that result from a click to call ad have been charged at a fixed fee of £1. According to Search Engine Land this is now free – another great little bonus.
Tracking calls that last 60 seconds plus as a conversion sounds quite sensible on the face of it but you will need to monitor the types of calls you are getting as businesses with complex products or services may require more than 1 minute to identify relevance so this type of conversion may just be confusing for that type of business.
What needs to be done by advertisers to prepare for Adwords enhanced campaigns?
If you currently have campaigns separated by device and by Geographic region then you may want to consolidate them; in fact for device targeted campaigns you will need to combine them as you will be opted into all devices by default. If you are 100% sure that you do not want to run ads on a specific device e.g. mobiles then you can reduce bids for mobiles by -100%.
Combining campaigns will mean that when you are running tests on different ad copies or sitelinks etc you will be able to reach statistical significance much more quickly. This will allow you to develop and improve performance more quickly.
If you are not currently separating campaigns by device or region then nothing really needs doing but you should be aware of the new possibilities open to you – run a geographic report in Adwords using the dimensions tab and a separate one by devices so at least you will know where you are.
If you have never done this before then you will find it quite enlightening as there are normally regional and device variations – specifically mobile targeted campaigns usually require a lower bid so you can save a bit of money through separating them out – but obviously do not bother going to this trouble now as you will be able to achieve it through simple device specific bid adjustments once enhanced campaigns is released for your account.
Concerns about Adwords enhanced campaigns
All in all I believe that this is a positive step forward by Google, especially for the less experienced advertisers as it will make life a lot simpler for them and will allow them to take advantage of the optimisations that more advanced marketers have been using for years.
However – my concern is that the simplification will lead to murkiness. What I mean is that with separated out campaigns we can clearly see where we are but with the combined campaigns we will need to run various reports and to cross reference them to get a clear picture of what is working and why. For example – you find that you are getting better conversions on a campaign and need to understand why – you will need to analyse:
- which keywords
- in which locations
- on what devices
are helping you. Most advertisers just will not bother so will become less aware of what is working and what is not unless they find themselves struggling to get their account to perform.
Also – what if you want to bid keyword 1 up in location A and down in location B but they are in the same campaign?
There are a lot of unanswered questions that i am sure will become clear on roll out and also the update of Adwords editor that will accompany the change. I look forward to seeing this new functionality in action and testing it. What do you think? Good or bad move for advertisers?