How to adapt to "enhanced" Adwords mobile targeting

At the start of this year, Google announced the biggest update to AdWords since its creation.  The introduction of “Enhanced” campaigns has split the industry into sceptics and strong enthusiasts.  But what exactly has changed? And how beneficial is it for AdWords professionals actually…?

There have been many changes in a number of different areas. These include:

  • Campaign targeting
  • Campaign editing
  • Keyword bidding strategy
  • Ad extensions

Whilst all of these changes are of interest, for this blog post my attention shall be centred upon Mobile (device) targeting.

The Overall Effect

So, what has actually changed and how does this impact work and future strategy? The most visible change is the removal of device targeting from the campaign settings. Historically, you could set a separate campaign for each device, whether it was desktop computers, tablets or mobile phones (with full browsers or WAP). My personal opinion is that this was a great option as targeting strategy for each individual device had to be different and based on the client’s behaviour, keyword use and device display ability. Now Google claims they have made our lives much easier and that we no longer have to think about it... Desktops and tablets are now considered one device and we can only adjust the bids for mobile devices with full browsers (we can set the mobile bid adjustment by setting the percentage of the desktop bid).

So let's talk real life examples - what are the best ways to accommodate these changes?

For one of our clients we have developed a range of device targeted campaigns. We have worked for this client for years and the data we have gathered shows that the target audience has a different behaviour on desktop and tablet. We did not advertise on mobile at all, as the website and ultimately landing pages are a bit content heavy and mobile navigation was an issue.

As the account was complex and consisted of a number of topic specific campaigns for multiple devices, in order to comply with the new standards we not only had to scrap the logic behind tailored device based targeting (which so far had worked perfectly fine) but most importantly, heavily invest time in the labour intensive campaign merging process. All Tablet and Desktop campaigns had to become one and therefore we had to carefully analyse all sets of keywords, ad copy and landing pages to make sure the performance would not be affected.

My second example is a client who owned a retail business running a significantly less complex campaign with no specific device targeting, but still no mobile-optimised landing pages. Here the activity was a lot quicker to sort out. Since we did not have to worry that tablet was potentially going to cause a drop in performance all we had to do was to switch each individual campaign to ‘enhanced’ (all legacy campaigns have this option in the top right message area in the campaign management interface) and change the mobile bid adjustment. In this case the mobile bid adjustment was minus 100%. Still, we were forced to appear for tablet even though this was not our original plan.

In Conclusion

It is such a relief that the almighty Google puts effort in thinking of us mere mortals and wants to “make our life easier” by defining a number of campaign options for us. I remember long before the “Enhanced” campaigns were announced I met a few Google account managers and what stood up was their constant persuasion to go to mobile. “Seize the opportunity!” they said a number of times, showing how much less saturated and competitive the mobile advertising traffic is compared to desktop. Let’s be honest, some of this information was true but again for some websites or even whole businesses, mobile devices and tablets are not suitable. Simply some clients do not want to advertise on other devices other than desktop.

I guess their (Google’s) effort of asking us kindly to move to mobile did not deliver quick enough results. Developing mobile friendly landing pages and paying agencies for campaign restructure is a cost some clients considered unjustified. So they found the way to make us do it by “making our life easier” and removing the device targeting option from their interface.

As a final point if you haven’t upgraded your campaigns to “Enhanced” already, I advise to put this task in the diary sometime soon. All legacy campaigns will be automatically switched to “Enhanced” by the end of next month and not looking into mobile bid adjustment can potentially create wastage you most likely want to avoid.

By Michael Dobraszkiewicz, PPC Manager at Mediarun

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