Customer Experience Google Enhanced CampaignsEnhanced campaigns are upon us. Google is rolling out the mandatory AdWords “upgrade” gradually, giving even the laggards a chance to ease into the new format, though whether they’ll ease into a mobile way of life has yet to be determined. The transition is sure to make waves in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) waters, but smart marketers that not only adapt, but see new risks and grab new opportunities, will ride those waves to the top.  

Times Are a-Changin’

The shift to enhanced campaigns is Google’s way of bringing the tried and true pay-per-click model into an increasingly multi-device, multi-channel world. The new campaigns allow marketers to better target audiences in a contextually relevant way.

Ads within a single campaign will be served based on location, time of day and device type depending on how your bids are weighted. It is a change from legacy campaign management, where previously marketers and search teams could separately target different devices (desktop, mobile and tablet; a combination of all three; mobile-only). With the switch, ad campaigns will be streamlined to target all three (desktop, mobile and tablet).

Enhanced campaigns provide an opportunity for marketers to automate campaigns to reach today’s on-the-go consumers who frequently switch back and forth between devices throughout the day, but the transition significantly impacts companies whose business models and budgets favor highly device-targeted advertising.

The ability for a local insurance agency, for example, to increase bids for consumers within a 5-mile radius of its location and reduce bids for consumers further out is incredibly valuable to businesses. But on the other hand, if a company sees higher ROI and prefers to spend solely on mobile, it may be forced to pay for clicks on desktop and tablet ads -- and these clicks may not be as valuable and cost more.

It’s a first step at addressing the need for true multi-channel marketing, though the click is only a small piece of the pie, as consumers have other, more meaningful ways to engage with brands such as phone conversations and offline conversions.

Enhanced Campaign Challenges

Although enhanced campaigns will help (or force, depending on who you ask) advertisers to integrate mobile into their broader marketing strategy, Google now has more control, and some of the transparency and accountability that large, sophisticated search teams relied on will be lost. Bids between desktop, mobile or tablet will be indistinguishable and tracking mobile ROI will be a greater challenge.