Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns: Getting Started

Today’s post is a guest entry from Ian Lopuch, a top online marketing executive who has had direct P&L responsibility on over $150 million of search engine marketing spend during his 8+ years in the industry. In his spare time, Lopuch is an avid blogger at PPC Ian.

In the world of pay per click search engine marketing, there is one amazingly hot topic right now: Google AdWords Enhanced campaigns. A few weeks ago, on February 6 to be exact, Google announced their brand new platform on their Inside AdWords Blog. Enhanced campaigns are such a big deal that the online advertising blogosphere has been full of posts about this very topic. So, why add another post to the conversation? I really wanted to take a more tactical approach and offer tips to get started. After briefly explaining Enhanced campaigns, I’ll dive into a actionable tips so you can plan your migration today.

What are AdWords Enhanced Campaigns?

The digital world is truly transforming. Just a few years ago, most searchers primarily leveraged desktop devices (their home computer and their work computer). Thanks to the rapid expansion of mobile smart phones (such as the iPhone), tablets (such as the iPad and iPad Mini), and even smart TVs, consumers have truly changed their search behavior. Search is no longer tied to one single device. Consumers are now searching across all devices, and we live in a “constantly connected world.”

Recognizing this transformation, Google decided to update AdWords by unifying campaign management. Why have separate campaigns and ads for different devices? It gets far too cumbersome, in Google’s opinion. Rather, Google has decided to unify management across devices from a single campaign structure. Set up one set of campaigns and manage all devices from the same location. Want to have different bids by device? No worry: Google will allow you to have a multiplier in place so mobile bids, for example, can be a fraction of your standard search bids. In addition to the simplified structure, Google will offer new Enhanced Campaign reporting.

Facing perhaps the biggest change to Google AdWords in the last several years, what can you do today to prepare? That’s the topic of the rest of today’s post!

Tip 1: Talk To Your Google Account Management Team Immediately

There are so many nuances with Enhanced Campaigns. While the literature online provided by Google is extremely helpful, there is no doubt you will have more questions. Make sure to reach out to your AdWords team (if you have one) and ask all of your questions immediately. Without getting answers to your questions, it will be impossible to formulate your strategy.

As a sub-tip, make sure to reach out to your PPC agency. I’m a huge fan of agencies, especially because they have an amazing array of knowledge across verticals and clients. Leverage your agency to get answers and to derive a strategic plan.

Tip 2: Start Testing Immediately

Log into your Google AdWords account. Navigate into one of your smaller campaigns. You should see a dialog at the top that says, “This campaign will be upgraded to an enhanced campaign in a few months. Or you can upgrade right now.” Under this dialog is a button that says, “Get started”. My recommendation is to start testing with a few campaigns, especially your smaller ones. Time is of the essence and there is a lot of time right now. Leverage that fact to your advantage and get started early. I know I will be testing aggressively over the coming weeks.

Tip 3: Become Very Familiar With Your Mobile and Tablet Bids

Do you have separate campaigns for mobile smart phones and tablets? Many advertisers do, and for good reason. Different devices perform differently, and therefore require unique bids. With the new Enhanced Campaigns paradigm, your separate mobile and tablet campaigns will go away. Your mobile and tablet bids will be a function (percentage) of your search bids. My advice is to study your current mobile and tablet bids closely so the new Enhanced Campaign bids will be as close as possible to your current ones. Since Enhanced Campaign bid percentages will be set on the campaign level, you will lose some granularity in bidding, however a smart campaign structure (and perhaps a little reorganization) can keep things close to your current strategy. The key here is time is on your side (we have a few months) so start testing and experimenting now.

Tip 4: Become Very Familiar With Your Mobile and Tablet Keyword Coverage

If you have separate (newer) campaigns set up for mobile smart phones and tablets, it’s unlikely you have the same full keyword coverage as with your old time search campaigns. However, everything will change with enhanced campaigns. Your keyword coverage on mobile and tablets will expand dramatically (if you want it to). As such, it’s important to start testing now. Keywords can perform quite differently on mobile and tablet devices, as compared to search. Since bid multipliers will be set on a campaign level, it will be important to start testing and thinking about keyword coverage across all devices. As with Tip 3, you may want to consider some reorganization to isolate poor performing keywords into separate campaigns (so they can be shut off on mobile and tablet devices without affecting strong keywords).

Tip 5: Connect With Your SEM Platform

Do you leverage an SEM platform? Make sure to reach out to them immediately. Understand their plans to support Enhanced Campaigns. Are you happy with the answer? If not, you may want to audition other platforms and understand their plans for Enhanced Campaigns. In my opinion, your platform’s adoption of Enhanced Campaigns will be mission critical to your results in 2013. Make sure everything is in place to ensure success. Many SEM platforms have already been collaborating with Google regarding Enhanced Campaigns.

Tip 6: Share Your Plan With Senior Management

As my closing tip today, I wanted to encourage you to educate your senior management team about Google’s big change and your plans to navigate the transition successfully. There is no doubt that your senior executives will hear about Enhanced Campaigns. Make sure they are armed with a strong summary of the changes and inspire confidence in your plan. I hope these tips help and best of luck transitioning over to the new platform!

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