Are You Ready to Go Mobile (GoMo) with AdWords Enhanced Campaigns?

by on February 25, 2013

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I stared drafting this post last week, shortly after the AdWords Enhanced Campaigns were announced. I decided to wait until I’d had a chance to sit through Google’s latest (second in the weekly series) webinar on Enhanced Campaigns: Enhanced Campaigns 201: Device bid adjustments & smarter mobile ads before posting. I have incorporated and will call out the key takeaways (specifically to go mobile) throughout my post.

Resistance if futile, so make the most of it

Don’t fear the change, it’s mostly good. While a number of the limitations and changes will cause disruptions for some (OK, many) advertisers, Enhanced Campaigns do also include many cool (that’s a technical term) features and benefits, starting with better attribution across multiple devices and platforms. Enhanced Campaigns will give us better data, including (we were told it is coming!) cross-device conversion tracking, reflective of how our customers typically journey from initial click and interaction with our content (nowadays significantly more likely to happen on a mobile device) to the desired conversion action.

Yes you can! Not go mobile, that is

I thought it would be important to start by correcting a misconception that has been picked up in more than one blog post out there, and that is that opting out of mobile (smartphones) was not going to be possible with Enhanced Campaigns. However, you can opt out of mobile by setting your bid multiplier (more on that later) to -100%. This will guarantee your ads will not show up on smartphones.

Google’s definition of mobile vs. static

It’s important to understand how Google conceives of mobile vs. non-mobile. While tied to devices and platforms, Google’s definition is primarily driven by user behavior. That is, mobile is assumed to mean “on the go” vs. static, as in sitting at your desk or on your couch at home. It is important to keep this in mind when trying to understand the thinking behind Enhanced Campaigns.

Change, impact and what you should do to prepare

As we discussed in a prior post, and what is in fact true, one key differentiating feature of the Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns is that digital advertisers will no longer be able to run distinct campaigns on static (PC) and mobile (tablets, smartphones) platforms the way they were able to up to this point.

1. Tablets & PCs are one.

Google’s explanation is that data shows that tablet accessibility and increasing ubiquity across all levels of income.  At the same time the selection of devices and options in this category including the emergence of hybrid use devices like the Microsoft Surface has been growing.  According to Google, data suggests that tablets are in fact replacing PCs for many users as a primarily static use device. As a result, you will now have a single bid (your “Base Bid” set at the campaign level) target both tablets and PCs.

Who is impacted?

  • Advertisers who don’t have a tablet friendly website.
  • Advertisers whose product or service is less likely to be purchased on a mobile device or whose target market is likely to be less mobile savvy, e.g. a retirement community.  

What can you do to get ready?

You got Flash? Time to flush that. You have until June. If you have the resources, consider a new responsive design for your website, it will adjust to any device your site is viewed on. That goes for landing pages. Make sure your landing pages are designed for “fat thumbs” with buttons easily clickable on smaller screens.  

To determine what your CPA may look like on a tablet, set up a Legacy tablet only campaign right now and run it between now and June to get a baseline. That way you’ll at least have a sense of what happens when you run ads on a tablet for your product or service. 

2. No opt out on PC and tablet.

A corollary to the thinking above, is that Google also believes that while inquiries will be coming in on mobile devices, most conversions will continue to happen on static devices.  And as a consequence of that, Google has made the decision to let advertisers opt out of running AdWords on PCs or tablets.

Who is impacted?

  • Advertisers who have ran campaigns on mobile (smartphones) only.  

What can you do to get ready?

There really is no effective workaround, but one possible technique could be to set your Base Bid (BB) low, and then use the multiplier feature which goes up to 300% your BB. This will not guarantee your ads won’t run on PCs or tablets, but it will reduce the likelihood of your ads attracting clicks since they’re likely to not show up in positions 1-3 at the top of the page.

Since there’s no way to avoid this, test running your ads on PCs and tablets now to determine what CPA you may expect. 

3. Opting out of mobile is a short term solution.

Clearly, the mobile wave is coming, so this is the direction we will all need to go no matter what, Google’s is just forcing advertisers to pick up the pace. The data is clear, more searches are happening on mobile devices, resulting in clicks, app downloads and calls. Click-to-call and app download tracking is a big part of the new Enhanced Campaigns and will be visible as conversions. Understanding the value of those types of actions for your business will be critical.

Who is impacted?

What can you do to get ready?

To determine what your CPA may look like on a mobile device, start testing. On the call the Google presenter confirmed that there’s no way to determine what your performance on mobile will look like without looking at historical data. So, if you have not tested, set up a Legacy mobile only campaign right now. Run it to get a baseline by June. Once everyone transitions there will be more competition, and your cost will likely be higher, but at least you will have a baseline to help you optimize once the transition happens.  

If you’re really not ready, you can opt out of mobile by bidding down on mobile at -100%. In our next post we’ll share step-by-step instructions and screenshots as we take the plunge and upgrade one of our Campaigns to Enhanced and we’ll discuss how to do that.

In conclusion, since we’re all going mobile eventually, might just as well start getting ready now. If you have not thought about developing a mobile version of your website, now is the time to start thinking about it.

There are some (almost) free tools out there to help. In case you were wondering why Google has been so gung-ho pushing mobile on its GOMO website, even offering a free service for creating a mobile version of your website, well, now you know that is wasn’t pure altruism. They were prepping us all for the transition to the brave new, connected mobile device world. Until you have a new responsive design website (the better way to go), a workaround is to use a service like the one offered on the GOMO site to take your business mobile. Design is free and hosting is free for a year.

We’ll continue to document the transition and offer tips. Stay tuned to this blog as we continue to learn and share our knowledge with you.

Related Posts
What Makes AdWords Enhanced Campaigns “Enhanced”?
Brave New AdWords: Google Announces Enhanced Campaigns
A Mini-Primer on Google AdWords Remarketing 

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