Google Enhanced Adwords : Forcing Us to Grow Into Mobile?
Earlier this year, Google Adwords’ blog announced a newly updated advertising platform : Google Enhanced Adwords, that will thoroughly revamp how advertisers create campaigns. The goal is to allow advertisers to create single campaigns that work across desktops, tablets and smartphones, making that possible through improved reporting and ad serving. Google is responding in part to the fact that advertisers have in the past created multiple ad groups and campaigns for different devices in order to effectively manage the different kinds of messaging and advertising that one might serve to users. Advertisers have also done this to avoid particular devices on which their ads don’t perform well, or avoid mobile altogether. Truthfully, Google is also responding to the fact that its average cost per click has not grown as much as in the past.
The idea behind enhanced campaigns is to allow advertisers to run campaigns with ads that change based on the context. For example, if someone is searching for “architects” on their phone, they may be a tourist so a current exhibit at a local museum on architecture might be a fit, versus someone searching from their desktop at home who might be more likely to need an architect for an extension they plan to build. Google is rolling out new tools and reports to make tracking all of this easier.
The flip side of this, however, as some blog posts really just hint at (but that insiders and marketers we are in contact with have confirmed) is that enhanced campaigns will effectively force advertisers to advertise on mobile – a highly controversial move given how poorly mobile has performed to date. This is done through the introduction of “bid multipliers” for mobile devices – you no longer turn mobile/on off, but you set a percentage that’s used to increase or decrease your bids on all mobile devices. Gone, also, is the ability to target tablets. Interestingly enough, it is possible to set all multipliers for mobile to 0 to block bidding on mobile devices, but this is not a setting that converted campaigns that previously avoided mobile advertising, or new campaigns setup by newbie advertisers will default to. You have to know to do this.
Like it or not, all of these changes in their totality mean that advertisers need to start thinking about their campaigns differently and plan for some very important changes:
1. Mobile-friendly Sites. Ad managers need to be sure their web sites and landing pages support mobile devices, whether that means creating a web site with “responsive design” (like the Polar Design site), a specialized mobile site, or a mobile app. Responsive design is a nice solution that nevertheless requires some rethinking of your web site or landing page UI – it scales to any monitor resolution, but the layout and look does necessarily change, so some planning and prototyping is called for.
2. Knowing your Context. Restructuring ad groups based on an understanding of how their target customers access the Internet on different devices, at different times and in different locations.
3. Redoubling Measurement and Reporting Efforts. Remember when quality Google search terms cost $0.20 per click in 2003? The same desirable adwords now cost $1.00 – $15.00 or more per click because of intense competition. Really great advertisers have figured out how to tune their campaigns so perfectly that they can afford high click through rates since they’ve figure out the best combinations of offers, campaign creative, design, and adwords through extensive testing. This effect – growing cost per click thanks to growing competition from skilled advertisers – will only continue as Google’s updated reporting tools will only enable advertisers.
4. Diversify Your Advertising. Google is a very important place to advertise because of its sheer reach, and it tends to be more effective than many but not all alternatives. There are a lot more opportunities now in social media advertising and affiliate marketing worth considering. Now is a good time to rethink your ad mix and explore new, emerging opportunities just in case the changes end up reducing everyone’s campaign ROI.
5. Don’t Rush to Upgrade Your Account to “Enhanced” – be sure that you’ve reviewed what ads and keywords have performed on different platforms and use that information to properly optimize your bids using the new bidding tools. Consult an adwords expert if need be.
As always, don’t hesitate to contact us for enhanced adwords advice!