One thing that’s pretty obvious about Google is that they are pretty much free to do whatever they want. We see this time and time again with its search algorithm. Just when things start to get comfortable, Google will throw everything upside down with a fresh update to Panda.

The world of paid search sometimes suffers from a similar problem. Google recently announced an upgrade(?) to their current search campaigns, and has dubbed them as “enhanced”.

So what’s so enhanced about these new campaigns?

New Bidding Method

Enhanced campaigns have a new mobile bidding method.Perhaps the biggest change coming to adwords is that bidding by device is getting overhauled. No longer can you bid for tablets and desktops separately. Adwords has irreversibly tied those two devices together claiming they perform “about the same” anyways.

Loads of furious complaints helpful information can be found online from other search marketers about how that simply isn’t true. Empirical evidence can be easily found that shows how desktops and tablets do NOT perform equally well, but for better or worse they now forcibly coexist with each other and will receive the same exact bids across all your keywords.

Mobile bidding has now been integrated into this system as well, but thankfully remains separate from the desktop/tablet hybrid. The bad news here is that you can’t directly choose your bids for mobile devices.

Mobile bidding is now done as a percentage modifier of your desktop bid. In other words, you select how much you bid for mobile devices by telling Adwords to make its bids at x% of the total desktop bid. The ‘x’ can be any percentage you want, even zero (which is actually now the only possible way to turn off mobile bidding for your campaign).

There is no other way to control the bids for mobile devices! Everything is done relative to the desktop/tablet portion of your campaign. Want a mobile ONLY campaign? Tough cookies.

Other Enhancements

In addition to the new ridiculous enhanced bidding method, there actually is some cool stuff coming with this new enhanced campaign type.

For instance there is a boat load of new options for ad extensions. You can now take a standard call extension and have it only show during certain times of day. Phone numbers can also now be set at the ad group level so different groups can now have different numbers.

Sitelink extensions can now be set at the ad group level too, just like phone calls. That means that you can have a different set of links showing up for different keywords, which should help focus your business message.

All in all, this shift to enhanced campaigns seems like a move focused more on convenience instead of function. It’s now much easier to set up a new diversely targeted adwords campaign, but it comes at the cost of precise control. Many advertisers can opt into these changes now, but every single campaign will eventually be rolled over to the new system within the next few months.

Do you like the changes? Hate them? Confused by them? Looking for some help to figure out the finer points of how these changes will affect your individual campaigns? Contact Big Leap below and let us walk you through it!

photo credit: Esther Gibbons via photopin cc

Rob Hughes
Rob Hughes is a Paid Search Analyst at Big Leap who enjoys the creative aspect of online paid advertising. In his free time, Rob is a 3x Intramural Champion, a 17x Intramural Loser, and an avid climber of local mountains.