For the past 18 months, PPC’ers all over the world have been happily creating mobile, tablet and desktop campaigns following Google’s announcement that tablets could be targeted. Many advertisers rejoiced at this new found ability to monitor user behaviours by device, optimising campaigns in line with this. Many will have also capitalised on the lower click costs, higher click though rates and stronger conversion rates that we have often observed on tablet campaigns. And, over the course of the past year more and more advertisers will have shifted budget away from desktop campaigns to support this surge in the volume experienced on other devices, with many seeing positive results from this.
Now, however, Google has launched ‘Enhanced Campaigns’, which means that the time of splitting campaigns out into mobile, tablet and desktop is coming to an end. It won’t all happen instantly though; there will be a 5 -month grace period which will come to an end in June, this year.
“Why?” you might ask. Google’s answer … future proofing. The line between tablet and desktop is becoming increasingly blurred and this will only worsen with the emergence of new devices, for example those with detachable keypads. Google suggests that there is now little distinction between the two.
So what does this all mean exactly? Well, in a nutshell, tablet and desktop will be rolled into one group with mobile still considered separate to an extent. For each PPC campaign created you will be able to target desktop and tablet with the option to then either include or exclude mobile. Therefore, all campaigns must now target either all devices or tablet/desktop only; there will be no mobile only campaigns.
We will still be able to see performance break downs across tablet, desktop and mobile and we will be able to bid differently for mobile, using multipliers to up weight keyword bids by a maximum of 300%. We will also be able to assign specific ad copy to show only on mobile devices and Ad scheduling will still be a function whereby you are able to turn off mobile at certain times/ days of the week. Google have also thrown in some great new tools including smarter site link capabilities and cross device tracking in the AdWords interface.
So what does this mean for PPC campaigns? What can we no longer do, and what can we do now that we weren’t able to previously? If we dig a bit deeper into these changes and what they mean we can set out some clear pros and cons of these changes, we’ll start with the cons as I prefer to end on a positive.
1. Reporting of performance by device, whilst still do-able will now be a lot more time consuming as you will need to look at each campaign individually.
2. Whilst we will be able to view tablet performance individually we won’t be able to optimise for it separately, therefore if we want to increase visibility on tablet devices we will also be increasing our visibility on desktop. And vice versa.
3. We will no longer be able to create tablet specific ad copy or site links, or up weight tablet activity at certain times of the day/day of the week.
4. Desktop and tablet campaign structure will need to now be set up with mobile in mind, so additional restructuring may be required.
5. Assigning marketing budgets to each device will be a thing of the past. A shift in mind set will be required in order to think less about where the money is being spent and more about where the ads are appearing as a whole and the user experience.
6. Advertisers that have previously created tablet campaigns for only selected keywords may find that the costs initially increase with volume /CTR’s/CPC’s and other KPI’s affected as now every keyword targeted to desktop will also target tablet too.
1. Less campaigns to manage – no longer will one campaign be turned into three device specific campaigns.
2. We still have the ability to bid at a lower/higher level for mobile.
3. We will now be able to adjust bids by location. For example, a local deli shop would be able to increase their bids by 150% if the searcher was less than 1 mile away, as this may be more valuable to them than someone searching 5 miles away.
4. Previously site links operated in one block but we are now able to see performance by each individual site link in AdWords. We will instantly be able to see which links have the highest click through rates, allowing PPC managers to use these insights to improve performance.
5. We will now be able to schedule site links by time and day of the week and we will be able to assign specific site links to mobile devices.
6. Site links will now also be available at ad group level as well as campaign level allowing for more control over which site links appear with which ads.
7. For desktop and tablet ads call extensions with a Google forwarding phone number will now be free, previously this was charged at £1 per call.
8. Although not available at the moment, Google have said we will eventually be able to track across devices seeing the contribution of mobile to desktop, for example. Google AdWords Conversion Tracking tags will need to be implemented on site for this to work.
Google are changing and adapting in line with technology and trends, and our job is to move with them. Though there are a number of downsides to these changes there are also a lot of positives to come from this update and we will be working with our clients over the next few months to ensure that the transition is as pain free as possible.
Emily Pope, Senior PPC Manager at Amaze