Thursday, 14 February 2013

Enhanced Campaigns - No Mobile Only?

There's a terrible amount of gossip floating around the Web about Google's new Enhanced Campaigns and most of what I've read is about the "loss" of mobile-only Campaigns.  There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth and dire predictions of doom, all of which seems to stem from the idea that you can't turn off desktops and tablets.

Is this true?

Well, in one way, yes.  There are no longer any checkbox options for choosing between desktop, tablet or mobile - and certainly no advanced choices for OS, models, etc. - but there are options that can focus Campaigns heavily towards mobile devices.  How effective they'll be, only time can tell - it's still extraordinarily early in the game - but they are there, so how do they work?

Most of the chatter talks about being able to "turn off" mobiles by setting their bid to -100% - so the Max CPC effectively becomes 0.  There's no option to do this for desktops or tablets - the only bid adjustment is for mobiles but you can make it positive.  This means you set a very large positive bid adjustment for mobiles effectively leaving the bids for desktops and tablets in the dust.  This is best explained by an example.

Let's say you're currently running a mobile-only legacy Campaign and you know that your CPC is generally around the $1 mark.  This is also the sort of bid for a desktop that'll get you in the "top" position in Google Search.  When you change to an Enhanced Campaign you can set your default Max CPC to $0.25 and set a bid adjustment of +300% which will result in a mobile bid of $1 - what it was before.*  However it leaves the desktop and tablet bid at just $0.25, almost certainly far below the threshold for any decent impressions or clicks.

*This wouldn't be the case if I did the math, but it's how Enhanced Campaigns work it out.

And there's more.  Enhanced Campaigns also allow you to specify a "mobile" preference for your Ads - there's a checkbox now in the Ad edit screen that allows you to say that you'd like this Ad to appear on mobile devices in preference to desktop devices.  Before you ask, yes, you can set all your Ads to this but it won't stop them showing on desktops, all it will do is make all the Ads potentially show on desktops.  A smarter course of action is to have just one Ad in each group that you've left as "non-mobile" and to write this Ad carefully, in the knowledge that it'll probably only be seen on desktops.  I wouldn't suggest that you make a bad Ad in the hope it never gets clicked - if the Ad is going to show anyway you may as well make use of it - but you could make it clear the nature of your business or even encourage they visit your site with their mobile.

So, no, there's no checkbox any more to select just mobiles but it's not all doom and gloom; with a combination of smart mobile bid adjustments and mobile-preferences Ads, you can get most of the way there.  When you add in all the other cool improvements that no one is talking about like bid adjustments based on location, better scheduling, vastly improved reporting, etc., much of which is focused on improving mobile support, Enhanced Campaigns are nowhere near the devils they're being painted.

Find out more about the Enhanced Campaign features.
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