Welcome to AdWords Enhanced Campaigns: Top Tips From the Experts

CountdownToday is July 22, which means AdWords enhanced campaigns are now officially upon us. The final 25 percent (or roughly 2 million) campaigns that have held out until the migration deadline no longer have a choice. Whether you wanted to or not, you’re about to be upgraded!

Although Google has been emphasizing today was a hard deadline, an Inside AdWords blog post reveals that the process is only beginning today:

“…starting today, we will begin upgrading all remaining campaigns automatically, bringing everyone onto the new AdWords platform. As with many product launches, the rollout will be gradually completed over several weeks.

I’ve been writing about search engine marketing and PPC for over seven years, and its clear that practitioners in this field are passionate and opinionated about PPC. Let’s look at some top tips on enhanced campaigns from experts from the industry.

Watch Your Bid Adjustment

Here’s my own advice to kick it off.

With every campaign I have enhanced, the recommended bid adjustment from Google was correct only one time. Take the time to look at the historical data before setting the bid adjustment or you will get nickel-and-dimed over time on mobile clicks.

Get a Quick Win With Geo-bidding

Andrew GoodmanAndrew Goodman (@andrew_goodman), Founder & President of Page Zero Media

They say all change is more palatable if it’s associated with a reward. Get an immediate win with geo-bidding, even if you’re just now upgrading to enhanced campaigns.

Even if you’re not running an international campaign – but, say, a domestic US campaign – AdWords has been keeping track of granular “by region” KPI data all along. You can look back for months or even years to see – in this case – the campaign performance broken down by region (US state).

See states that are performing significantly better than the norm? You can edit location info, adding those regions, and then once added, go ahead and bid them up by a small factor, say 5-6 percent. It’s just another segment that can inform your efforts to improve relevance to those who are most likely to convert.

As always, be mindful of ad position when increasing bids. If you’re already in very high positions, bidding up may increase your costs without doing much to help volume.

For poor performers, of course, do the opposite.

Finally, make sure you have sufficient data. If I see North Carolina and Minnesota doing far better than the norm, but over a short time frame on moderate volumes, I’m not going to adjust regional bids unless it’s an open and shut case. On the other hand, if the business is headquartered in Texas and the Texas performance is clearly better, I’m more likely to bid up because I know there’s a clear reason for the performance.

This means of normalizing ROI by region through bids alone works best for businesses that have consistent messaging nationwide. Some accounts, of course, require a lot of extra elbow grease (possibly, many more campaigns and ad groups) in order to “speak to” local buyers.

Mobile Clicks are Valuable Clicks

Larry KimLarry Kim (@larrykim), Founder & CTO of WordStream

  • Don’t Forget to Upgrade When you Upgrade to Enhanced Campaigns: Running a campaign through the enhanced campaign upgrade wizard take less than 10 seconds if you’re just setting a mobile bid adjustment factor. The key to truly upgrading to enhanced campaigns is to remember to take advantage of all the new features and functions that are now available like new ad formats (including my favorite: mega sized site links), bidding tools, call conversion tracking, etc.
  • Don’t Underestimate the Value of Mobile: Most of my clients (by a 10:1 margin) say that they value desktop clicks more than clicks from mobile devices. But when we actually do the work of measuring the true value of mobile, we often find that calls to a business are worth way more than clicks to a website.

Make a Fresh Start, Take Advantage of New Features

Matt Van WagnerMatt Van Wagner (@mvanwagner), President and Founder of Find Me Faster

  • My biggest tip, especially for accounts that have been online for years, with lots of old deleted campaigns and ad groups, is to take this opportunity to clean house, start fresh with a whole new AdWords account, clean and fresh as a whistle. Over the years, we’ve deleted many more campaigns than we’ve created and even though we can hide them from view, now’s a good time to clean up a bit.
  • Take advantage of newest features, especially in GDN.
  • Organizing GDN campaigns by placements becomes a new key to successful ongoing optimization the high volume winners.

Watch Your Stats Closely!

John LeeJohn Lee (@John_A_Lee), Managing Partner at Clix Marketing

  • If you did not run mobile campaigns before enhanced campaigns, make sure to include the -100% bid modifier in your upgraded campaigns. If you didn’t run tablet campaigns, watch your stats closely!
  • After upgrading display campaigns to enhanced campaigns, you will have access to a different set of device targeting. Specifically, you can adjust what mobile operating systems to target. If you limit to only iOS, it will remove you from desktops completely.
  • Mobile, Geo and Day Parting bid modifiers in enhanced campaigns play differently with Conversion Optimizer and Flexible Bid Strategies. Flexible Bid Strategies work with bid modifiers in place (device, ad schedule and location) but AdWords actually ignores bid modifiers when someone uses Flexible Bid Strategies. Conversion optimizer does not work with bid modifiers in place – you must reset to zero. This presents an advantage to upgrading to Flexible Bid Strategies.
  • YouTube video campaigns are getting an enhanced upgrade as well – deadline is August 8. Just when you thought the fun was ending…

How to Think About the Interaction Between Layers of Targeting

Alistair DentAlistair Dent (@alistairdent)

My top tip for enhanced campaigns regards how to think about the interaction between layers of targeting.

Consider the targeting available:

  • Keywords (what people tell us directly is still their most powerful qualifying factor to determine their likelihood of converting)
  • Device
  • Time of day
  • Location
  • Previous visit status (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads)

By putting these together in different ways we can start to make educated guesses about how people are behaving in different circumstances. Then by looking at the relative conversion rates we can start choosing bid multipliers to maximize performance.

For example:

  • A user searching for a generic term on their mobile at 6:30 p.m. may well be a commuter performing research.
  • A user searching for our brand term on a mobile device while near our store might be looking for directions.
  • Somebody who has previously purchased who looks for a brand term from a desktop/laptop in the evening is a good likelihood for another purchase.

There are thousands or millions of these possible scenarios. By looking at the data to find outliers in user behavior, we can see unusual activity. If we can go some way toward explaining this then we can decide how to treat those users differently: different ads, different landing pages, different bids.

It’s by looking at the complex interactions that we can best serve users the right experience based on their context, and maximize the value from our AdWords campaigns.

Capitalize on Incremental Bidding

john-gagnonJohn Gagnon (@jmgagnon), Bing Ads Evangelist at Microsoft

Capitalize on “new” incremental bidding features. When used effectively, especially in high CPC markets, it can boost conversion rates and drive volume. For auto insurance, Monday mornings in highly profitable geos are a great example.

For years Bing Ads has had incremental bidding – with enhanced campaigns more advertisers will embrace the power of the feature!

Google’s Tips for Success

Google’s aforementioned blog post offered their top tips for success, which are:

  1. Review your mobile bid adjustments. For most campaign types, the auto-upgrade default is based on bids from similar advertisers. Visit the campaign ‘Settings’ tab to optimize for your business.
  2. Identify unwanted keyword duplication in overlapping campaigns. If you previously had similar legacy campaigns for each device type, we suggest identifying matching campaigns and eliminating unwanted duplicate keywords in your enhanced campaigns.
  3. Review Display Network campaigns. Verify that your display ads are reaching users on desired devices and that you’re using your desired bidding strategies.
  4. Start taking advantage of the powerful enhanced campaign features. We recommend trying out upgraded sitelinks and upgraded call extensions to start. Then you can further boost results by creating mobile preferred ads and setting bid adjustments for location and time.

What are your top tips for Google AdWords enhanced campaigns?

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