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Google AdWords Product Update: What This Means For You

February 12, 2013 Digital Media Solutions

Google Adwords LogoLast week Google announced a big change to their AdWords platform with the roll-out of Enhanced Campaigns. Enhanced campaigns are designed to help advertisers more successfully market to customers who are searching across multiple devices. While there will definitely be some growing pains along the way, the end goal of being able to more smartly target users and manage fewer campaigns is a positive one.

Let me take a moment to summarize the key changes:

  • Separate campaigns for targeting desktops, tablets, and mobile devices will disappear.
  • Optimization by device is still possible through separate ad text and creative bid adjustments
  • Not looking for Mobile traffic? Unfortunately you can only limit, not exclude it 100%.
    • Geo-targeting is still very much an option!
    • Landing pages can be tracked based on device, but all urls (within the same campaign) must share the same root domain.
    • What are we losing?
    • The option to run Mobile-ONLY campaigns
    • Mobile WAP device targeting

The Good:

An “all-in” approach can lead to greater efficiency and performance over time.  Bringing all AdWords campaigns, regardless of device, under one roof allows you to construct “smarter” campaigns that interplay with each other to great benefit – managing bids for a wide variety of different contexts, for example, or customizing a single campaign to be multi-device compatible.

If you haven’t jumped on the mobile bandwagon yet, expanding campaigns to target mobile devices provides the opportunity for more traffic, leads, and enrollments.  There is a new pool of prospective students that can be targeted through mobile devices. In terms of management, the additional reporting and targeting features, such as those for site-links and the display network, will provide more opportunity for testing.

The Bad (disappointing!):

For early adopters that followed the Google mantra on campaign separation for search versus content, desktop versus mobile, WAP versus smart phone, we feel a bit slighted.  Hours (days!) of work to allow for separate bid strategies, ad copy, and budget allocation; all of which previously produced a list of advantages for the advertiser such as lower CPCs, is potentially lost.  These changes bring a loss of some level of control and transparency, which is always tough news for a paid search enthusiast to swallow.  Leveraging mobile targeting as a low cost barrier to entry may be a thing of the past. What’s worse, the next few months means more hours (days!) restructuring programs to meet the latest Google features and limitations.

Enhanced campaign options will start rolling out to advertisers within the next few weeks, and all campaigns are scheduled to be upgraded by June 2013.  If you are an advertiser, this affects YOU.  You need to react with customized implementation plans and understand how this can impact your accounts – regardless of how sophisticated you are with your paid search marketing today.

After taking some time to really understand what this upgrade means for our clients, we agree that it certainly puts us in a better long-term position, particularly in terms of ease-of-use and believing that “the sum is greater than the parts.”  We’ll plan on providing an update on how things are performing post-upgrade once we have a few months of data, so stay tuned!

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Founded by a team of lifelong athletes, Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. The company’s set of proprietary assets and capabilities in the world of performance marketing and marketing technology allow clients to meticulously target and acquire the right customers. DMS relentlessly pursues flawless execution for top brands within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, careers and automotive.

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