Time, and Place, for a change…
Google today announced what could be the biggest shake up ever to its AdWords advertising platform. Titled ‘Enhanced Campaigns’, it aims to be a better method of delivering relevant content, in the form of search ads, to users based on their location, the device they are using and the time of day they are searching.
The Emperor’s New Clothes?
Those of you familiar with AdWords will already be thinking, aren’t each of those considerations already taken into account at campaign level? Well yes, they are, you can target by location, time of day or device but, if you’re going to deal with each of those areas effectively you may need to create more than one campaign, and in many case the number of campaigns you end up with can run into double figures. With Enhanced Campaigns, it is claimed, you will be able to deal with all of these aspects, effectively, with just one campaign.
Why the Change?
As with all significant Google product updates or releases, this is being explained as a move towards better user experience, only this time it’s driven by the changes in search patterns Google has seen over the past two years. Firstly mobile traffic has grown from about 1% of traffic when the first iPhone was released to about 13% - it’s more when you look at just the UK. Mobile search trends also tend towards location based searches, and on top of that the time of day affects what people are searching for.
How does it work?
There are three new and enhanced features which will determine what ads are shown, when they are shown then and who sees them.
1. Device. Whereas before you needed to create new campaigns if you wanted to target different devices in different ways, everything is now controlled in a single campaign. How you control this in terms of money spent on desktop or mobile devices will be determined through bid management, more on that later.
2. Location. At the moment Geo-Targeting is achieved at campaign level, meaning that for each location you want to target, you need a different campaign. From now on you’ll be able to target several locations within one campaign.
3. Time. If you wanted to have a different strategy in your AdWords account based on different times of day you previously had to set up two campaigns. Time of day will be controllable to such an extent that you’ll be able to have a sophisticated setup within just one campaign.
So what does this change mean?
With this move what Google are doing is saying to advertisers, mobile is the future. Enhanced campaigns do not have an opt-out button for mobile or desktop campaigns. An enhanced campaign is the whole package. You will be bidding for mobile and desktop traffic all at once. And this is perhaps the first major issue that will need to be addressed by businesses and agencies.
The fix for this right now is simply to play the system. As I’ve mentioned at lot of this will come down bid management. It’s not possible to tick a box that says don’t show on mobile but you will be able to bid at minus 300% for mobile devices, relative to your default bid. By doing this Google is saying that will put you out of the mobile game. An answer to a question, yes, but is it a satisfactory one?
On the point of distinguishing between devices, Google will now group desktop and tablet traffic together in AdWords, decreasing the number of options in the device setting from 3 to 2. Putting this down to the fact that most tablet activity is from the home, in the same way that desktop activity is.
Enhanced campaigns are available from today but ‘legacy’ campaigns will still be available for at least 6 months. So there is a period of grace for agencies and business to adapt. However, Google’s aim is to have enhanced campaigns as the only option by the end of the year.
As Google gives out more details on the update over the next few days and weeks there will, no doubt, be some interested questions asked. Look out for more comment and analysis on the High Position blog very soon.