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Google has already started to roll out the newly announced AdWords enhanced campaigns to select accounts (learn more about enhanced campaigns here and here). Advertisers can expect to see a banner offering the chance to upgrade.

 

All campaigns will be automatically upgraded by “mid-2013”, but we’ve gained access in a few places already and wanted to explore what’s new in a hands-on review. For advertisers planning their strategy for using enhanced campaigns, here’s the good, the bad, and the clunky in this new system.

1. R.I.P. Mobile Specific Campaigns

Account management is being streamlined by having desktop and mobile exist together. It’s still possible to turn mobile campaigns off with a bid modifier of -100%, but it’s never possible to turn desktop off.

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It also appears in the accounts that we’ve upgraded so far that Google is pitching mobile CPCs cheaper than desktop. This could present opportunities for higher click volumes for advertisers who haven’t paid close attention to mobile previously; though with a default setting of 10 percent lower than desktop, Google is still targeting a level higher than many more savvy advertisers will be achieving currently.

 

The other tweak this change will necessitate is the separation of display and search campaigns. This has always been best practice for any knowledgeable advertiser, but with enhanced campaigns anyone leaving things combined will now lose device targeting capability in display campaigns.

2. Extensions Set at the Ad Group Level

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It’s now possible to set extensions at an ad group level. At the moment this applies to sitelinks, call extensions, app extensions, and offers (U.S. only).

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For sitelinks this comes with a bigger change in functionality. The individual links now exist as separate entities, rather than as one block defined at the campaign level. You can now mix and match links, have some individual ones defined as mobile only and get comprehensive performance data, which had been sorely lacking previously.

3. Free Phone Calls

Call metrics, Google’s phone call tracking system, has had a price reduction. Calls generated from tablet and desktop were previously charged at a minimum cost of £1 in the UK. This cost has now disappeared, meaning calls from any device are now free.

 

Google has also included a bit more detail. Call conversions data still isn’t available at a keyword level, but there is data against ad ids, which is a plus.

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4. Location Targeting

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Location targeting is no longer just on or off. One campaign can hold many locations with different bid modifiers.

 

What isn’t clear is what happens if you have overlapping radius targets – if you want to bid 50 percent higher within a 1 mile radius, 25 percent higher within a 5 mile radius and run default bids within a 15 mile radius, it’s not clear whether the overlapping radii targets will conflict.

5. Scheduling

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The visually appealing interface for ad scheduling has gone but in its place is a list-based control. This is less useful in the AdWords interface currently.

 

If you have a lot of dayparts it’s an arduous task setting bid modifiers, even if you want the same pattern every day. You can still copy scheduling between campaigns, although not between enhanced and standard.

What’s Missing?

Bid modifiers are currently a blunt tool and are simply aggregated when multiple modifier types overlap.

 

You can’t boost mobile bids at lunch time and then desktop bids in the afternoon, despite that being an ideal response to expected user behavior. Google produced a lot of data suggesting this was the right thing to do when they first started pushing mobile heavily, so it’s surprising that this option isn’t available immediately.

 

This may be additional functionality that will appear over the course of the rollout or beyond, but it’s also possible that this is a case of breaking things short-term to fix them long-term. Hopefully down the line Google will move further toward user-centric cross-device attribution, meaning this kind of fine control may be reserved for this next step, if and when it comes.

 

Enhanced campaigns are brand new to most AdWords users and will doubtless generate a wealth of new possibilities, and problems.

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