Mobile advertising becomes a permanent fixture

A month ago, Google launched the extended campaigns in Adwords. Hannes Gasser, head of Webrepublic's Adwords team, shows how they can be implemented in practice and draws an initial interim conclusion.

Much has been written in response to Google's announcement of the so-called "enhanced campaigns" for the Adwords advertising program at the beginning of February ( reported). While business magazines focused primarily on the strategic component and the associated increased mobile value creation by Google, advertisers and agencies feared a loss of control due to the "simplification" of campaign management and the consolidation of data for the various end devices. Common to all contributions was the increased importance of mobile Internet use and correspondingly optimized websites as a result of this step.

The latter may have caught one or the other customer cold, although every website should now have a double-digit percentage of mobile visitors. Google's system change is therefore not much more than an adjustment to reality. Since this will become the standard setting in Adwords in just a few months, we show here how the Enhanced Campaigns can be implemented in practice.

Implementation in practice

In principle, those campaigns that are already targeted at all devices (whether in a single campaign or - with advantage - with separate campaigns per end device) can be most easily migrated to the new system. In this case, instead of having at least three campaigns (desktop, tablet and smartphone) as before, you only have one. This fact can actually be seen as a simplification and trigger the question of what exactly is "enhanced" about it.

The expanded possibilities of the new campaign form are in the location-, time- and device-related adjustments that can be defined at campaign level and multiplied in combination with each other. Google calls this "vector-based bidding", which means that the context of the search queries is given a massively higher priority than it has done so far. (Mind you, the almost same effects could also be achieved with the previous setup, but with massively higher implementation and analysis effort).

When, where, and on which device someone searches now decisively influences the bid for a particular search query, based on the performance data for the respective context. This process is already being used successfully on e-commerce websites and users see different prices or at least different website content depending on their context (access source, existing demographic data, etc.). This practice is now also increasingly being used at the advertising material level.

Fine tuning necessary

In practice, it can be seen for the moment that although the extended bidding options can be applied, the - all-important - conversion data unfortunately does not quite keep pace here yet. These cannot yet be read out at the level of the individual adjustments. In addition, the time period is still too short to be able to draw before-and-after comparisons at the level of the entire accounts.

It can be assumed that until the current campaign control is discontinued at the end of June 2013, one or the other fine-tuning of the Enhanced Campaigns will still happen (for example, that the possibility of controlling tablets separately will be integrated again), but nothing stands in the way of moving the existing campaigns. However, it is then advantageous to take full advantage of the expanded options offered by the new system.

A quick switch to the new system makes sense alone if you want to benefit from new features such as the already available "Offer Enhancement" (promotional codes and offers directly in the text ad). Here Google is putting more or less gentle pressure, in that such features are and will only be available within Enhanced Campaigns. A note on ongoing beta tests at Adwords: Individual betas are not yet completely compatible with the Enhanced Campaigns, here it helps with larger accounts to briefly consult with Google beforehand.

Extended campaigns: Our interim conclusion

Customers and website operators who do not yet have a mobile-optimized website may therefore feel a bit blindsided by this change. In such a case, it is still possible to exclude ad placement on smartphones. However, this is only the second-best solution. Strategically, it would make more sense to put a mobile-optimized website online as soon as possible. This is not primarily to follow Google's step, but to pick up the users and potential customers where they actually are and will be much more often in the future.

Webrepublic is a Swiss search engine marketing agency.

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