eCommerce Insiders

Enhanced Campaigns Don’t Suck for Mobile Advertising in AdWords

At the Magento Commerce conference earlier this month, I sat in on an SEM-focused session.  When asked about Enhanced Campaigns, one agency CEO in a panel discussion stated bluntly, “Enhanced Campaigns Suck.”

He went on to say that it was a money-grab by Google that was bad for all advertisers.  My interpretation: he was only trying to sound contrarian for the purpose of appearing to be a straight-shooter that could be trusted and thus get some more clients.

His only real argument?  Enhanced Campaigns remove the ability to target tablets with different bids from desktop devices.  This does kinda suck, but is maybe the 10% downside to the 90% Enhanced Campaign upside.

Let me explain…

Google has undergone quite a transformation with mobile targeting over the past few years.  Mobile was seen as such a different beast that they allowed targeting based on individual phone models and mobile operating systems.  That’s akin to allowing targeting based on web browser version.  Useful?  Perhaps.  Overkill for 99.9% of retail advertisers?  Definitely.

I’m not sure anyone was actually using their ultra-fine-tooth mobile advertising targeting options.  In fact, plagued with lower conversion rates, most retailers have been ignoring mobile advertising altogether.  In order to get positive ROI with mobile PPC advertising, desktop campaigns had to be duplicated so the equivalent mobile campaigns could run in bid silos.  The campaign for desktops had one bid, the mobile campaign needed a much lower bid.

This “duplicate campaign” strategy was fairly effective for those who actually implemented it.  But, as you can imagine,  only the top performing campaigns, if any, would get this special treatment.  If an AdWords account had 30 campaigns running, perhaps 3 had mobile-targeted versions.  The other 27?  Not worth the trouble.  (Mobile traffic is still typically only a single digit percentage of desktop traffic.)

Yet mobile usage by consumers keeps growing by leaps and bounds.  Google had a predicament: their old strategy sucked.  They put too much burden on advertisers to go through the trouble of optimizing their mobile campaigns in silos.  Google’s old mobile advertising tools were simply too cumbersome.  There was no Easy-Button.

Sure, Google wants to make more money on mobile advertising.  In this sense, Enhanced Campaigns are a “money-grab”.  But retail advertisers are smart — they aren’t going to spend their money on advertising that isn’t generating a positive ROI.  Google doesn’t make more money unless their advertisers make even more money.

So what will retailers do once Enhanced Campaigns are forced upon them?

  1. They will start advertising on smartphones for all their PPC campaigns.
  2. They will start appreciating the increased sales brought by these formerly neglected mobile users.
  3. They will feel an urgency to finally create a mobile version of their website with mobile-friendly payment options.
  4. They will get even more sales from these mobile users.
  5. They will be happy.

All the while mobile traffic will continue to increase as the always-connected consumer shifts even more of their browsing from desktops to tablets & smartphones.

Enhanced Campaigns are Google’s much-needed kick-in-the-pants for mobile advertising.  It couldn’t come at a better time.

And yes, it would be even better if they allowed tablet-specific keyword bidding.

Chris Crompton is the Group Marketing Manager at ROI Revolution, a retail-focused digital marketing agency.


One thought on “Enhanced Campaigns Don’t Suck for Mobile Advertising in AdWords

  1. David

    First, yes there are definitely some nice things about the enhanced campaigns, but the control they take away supersedes the positives.

    That “10% downside” of not being able to segregate tablets is HUGE for some of my clients. For one of my larger clients I continue to use the legacy campaigns so that I can separate tablets.

    For that client the CPCs and CTR are similar, but when it comes to conversions, PCs far and away have better performance. I am seeing 6.5% vs. 0.2% on tablets. HUGE difference. Our Google rep continues to tow the company line and say enhanced campaigns are the greatest thing and they have seen great results. Maybe they have, but not all accounts are equal and performance will definitely suffer for this client when I can no longer manage tablets separately.

    Second, not being able to bid only on mobile is lousy as well. There are certain geo-targets where I don’t want to target PCs, but we will no longer have a choice.

    Then, there is not having the mobile bid modifier at the keyword level. At least they are intending to take it to the ad group level, but I would still prefer keyword.

    Yes, if you look at the number of pros/cons list, there are more pros, but when you look at the impact of each…the cons list is more impactful.

    One size does not fit all, they should make it an option rather than a requirement. In that sense, I agree with the guy that spoke up at your conference, it’s all about the bottom line. Drive those mobile and tablet bids up.

    Not to mention, how many advertisers who aren’t on top of things (i.e. mom and pop shops) will know to turn mobile bid modifier to -100% if they don’t have a mobile friendly site.


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