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PPC Management: Google Enforces Move to AdWords Enhanced

By Snap Agency July 25, 2013

Google’s new AdWords Enhanced Campaign platform began to be offered as an option in February 2013. At that time all accounts had the choice of keeping their campaigns running in the “Legacy” platform or making the switch to the new “Enhanced” platform. As of July 22nd that choice no longer exists. All accounts are required to switch from Legacy to Enhanced or Google will make the “upgrade” for you.

The basic premise behind “Enhanced” is that the way people interact with the internet is changing. Rather than desktop or laptop computers being the only options for cruising the web, people now have the options of using smartphones and/or tablets.

A growing number of people only access the internet using their smartphones, while tablets such as the iPad have completely replaced desktop computers for many. The increase in tablet sales and the corresponding decline in sales of desktop computers appears to support this. In addition people are doing their product purchase research on their smartphones and then later in the day when they are home, are revisiting a website on their desktops to make a purchase.

Google’s “Enhanced” platform is meant to address these changes in search behavior.


One of the biggest changes is the fact that under Legacy, the best practice was to have one campaign targeting computers while another targeted mobile devices, and in which you had the option of opting out of targeting tablets and not advertising on mobile devices at all. However, opting out of tablet and mobile advertising is no longer available. When you switch a Legacy campaign to Enhanced or create a new campaign, your campaign automatically targets all three devices – computers, tablets and mobile. If mobile is not part of your marketing plan, you can choose to “opt-out” by decreasing your bid by 100% (or more). Your ads may still appear on mobile devices every now and again, but for the most part they should not.

Unfortunately, you cannot opt-out of or even reduce bids on tablets. Google–in a decision that has many scratching their heads–has lumped tablets in with desktops and laptops. Down the road this may change, but until it does, if you wish to advertise on computers, you are also going to have to advertise
on tablets. This may work for you; it may not. If not, expect to see drops in click through rate and increases in CPA.

If you do advertise on mobile, you have the option of decreasing or increasing your mobile bid. You can also create ads that are specific to mobile devices. Google provides a neat preview window that shows you what your mobile ad will look like on most mobile devices. Once you use this, it may force you to rethink how you write your mobile ads. Google will also feed your mobile ads to mobile devices, giving them preference over any standard ads you have in the ad group.

Going back to the concept of people using their mobile devices to do their research and then using their desktops to make the purchase – as of this writing, there is no way to track these desktop conversions that originated with mobile, but Google is working on that, and hopefully we will see that rolled out later this year.

It should also be noted that even before this change took place, an increasing number of companies were entering the mobile space. This change is sure to increase that number significantly. Because most advertisers in this space will be fighting for the top 2 positions (or top 3-4 at best), we can expect and are already seeing increased costs to attain and maintain these top mobile positions.

Sitelinks: New and Improved

One of the best things about Enhanced is the new and improved sitelink options.

If you use sitelinks, Enhanced now allows you to target sitelinks at the ad group level rather than the campaign level. So rather than having to use a “one size fits all” or generic approach to sitelinks,
you can gear sitelinks to specific ad groups. So where before all your ad groups under a campaign had to use the same sitelinks, now you can create “ABC” specific sitelinks for your “ABC” ad group and “XYZ” specific sitelinks for your “XYZ” ad group.

Most recently you can now add little descriptions to your sitelinks that help clarify exactly what it is that anyone who clicks on the said sitelink is going to find.

You have the option of display sitelinks on all devices, desktops and tablets only, or mobile devices only.

You can also use the call extension option at the ad group level and, in theory, could assign a different phone number to each of your ad groups.

Other extensions include “Location,” which allows you to increase or decrease bid based on geolocation; “Offer,” which allows you to create special offers which will appear alongside your PPC ad, thus allowing you to grab additional SERP real estate; and “App” extensions for those who offer some sort of mobile phone app.

Ad Schedule

What’s great about Enhanced ad scheduling is that you can set it up so that certain ads show up at certain times, targeting certain devices. So, for example, let’s say you own a pizza or other fast food establishment that caters to the lunch crowd. You could create ads targeted to mobile devices that advertise your lunchtime special and appears from 11am to 1pm or whatever your peak lunchtime periods are. You can then schedule non-mobile ads that appear around dinner time and advertise your dinner
or happy hour specials. Again, you could schedule these to appear only within a certain time period.

In addition, you can target certain locations and adjust bid accordingly. So if you know that you get “x” percentage of your conversions from a certain part of the country or a certain state, you can adjust your bids so that within that area your bids might appear at a higher ad position so as to attract
more clicks. Basically you are telling Google, hey, I like to get traffic from this area and am willing to pay more to get more.

Responsive Design

Google is also pushing for responsive design–that is, a site that auto-detects device and resolution (Amazon is already doing a bang-up job on this). If your site is not responsive, that could, down the road, become an issue and possibly even something that contributes to quality scores. This was not
explicitly stated, but reading between the lines, it’s a direction Google may very well head. So best practices down the road will be to have a responsive site designed for desktop, tablet and mobile, or at least a mobile site for your mobile traffic. This is all being done to improve user experience, and we all know that user experience plays a considerable factor in quality score – so word to the wise.

AdWords Enhanced In a Nutshell

On the plus side, AdWords Enhanced brings more precise targeting and scheduling tools and thus more ways to reach your target audience. Another big plus is the ability to create sitelinks at the more granular ad group level so as to really focus the offer and grab additional SERP space at the same time.

On the not so plus side, you cannot opt out of or even reduce bid on tablets – this may or may not be an issue depending on your niche. Also, if you don’t target mobile and forget to decrease your mobile bid by -100% (or more) you could blow quite a bit of budget before realizing it. I believe that Google may rethink the inability to opt-out of tablets down the road (fingers crossed), and once mobile to desktop tracking is implemented, this may result in many rethinking their mobile stategies as they see (or do not see) the value in mobile advertising.

PPC Management

If you’re not on top of the latest trends for pay per click advertising, you can easily blow your monthly budget in a few days. Let our PPC management experts handle it for you. We can optimize your campaigns, reach your target market, and get more return for your money. Give us a call at (763) 548-2297 or contact us online to get started.