Using Google Enhanced Campaigns – tips for improving effectiveness of paid search advertising

19/06/2013

New research from Adobe shows how using Google Enhanced Campaigns boost your online marketing results, so here’s how it works and tips for improving effectiveness of paid search advertising by getting the Google Enhanced Campaigns tools working effectively for you.

Back in February, Google made major changes to its AdWords platform,adding functionality it calls “Enhanced Campaigns”. This new report from Adobe examines how the unification of desktop and mobile targeting is changing how marketers can get the most from their Adwords camapigns.

Put simply, Enhanced Campaigns centralises controls for mobile and desktop advertising campaigns in one place and offers advertisers more data to show the real value of their campaigns.

Previously businesses have had to submit individual advertising campaigns for different devices, locations and times - a labour-intensive process which most times results in their running hundreds of similar campaigns simultaneously.

The report, authored by Sid Shah, director of business analytics at Adobe, uncovers new algorithms in Google Enhanced campaigns that are crucial for advertiser success when using Adwords.

For the report, Adobe looked at the latest search marketing and cost-per-click (CPC) trends across nearly 100 major U.S. advertisers representing more than $100 million in ad spend from March through May 2013.

Here are some of the findings (republished below):

Strong CPC Growth Expected with Google Enhanced Campaigns

Historically lower CPCs for tablet campaigns should increase to reflect desktop CPCs. Adobe has already seen a 3% increase in tablet CPCs with respect to desktop CPCs, along with a smaller 1% increase in mobile CPCs. This will likely rise as advertisers continue migrating to Enhanced Campaigns until the July 22 deadline set by Google.

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Overall CPC trends across all devices show strong growth. Google CPCs increased more than 6% over the last three months alone. Although CPC increases usually occur in spring, especially in retail as marketers increase their ad spend for the summer months, seasonality can be ruled out as the sole driver for this trend. Enhanced Campaign migration is one contributing factor to overall CPC inflation, Adobe found.

One other trend Adobe noticed is that CPCs on Google have stabilised. For the past two years, Google CPCs fell on a year-over-year (YoY) basis due to the increase in mobile and tablet traffic where CPCs were lower. However, for the first time in seven quarters, the CPCs on Google are flat YoY and Adobe predicts CPCs will rise on a YoY basis again starting next quarter.

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Google Mobile Bid Adjustments (MBAs) vs. Adobe MBAs

Adobe asserts that Properly set and managed MBAs, which determine bids on mobile devices relative to bids on desktops/laptops and tablets, are critical to a successful transition. With Enhanced Campaigns, MBAs control how much mobile ad spend is allocated opposed to desktops/laptops and tablets – therefore, it is important for MBAs to be set precisely so return-on-ad-spend (ROAS)/ROI is maximized across all devices.

Google’s MBA suggestions are based on how “similar advertisers” bid on mobile compared to other devices, but Adobe have found that these figures usually don’t reflect the performance of individual campaigns and ad groups. The mobile bid suggestions are not tailored to an advertiser and the performance of a specific campaign. More than 90% of all Google MBAs were either –20% or 0%, which is less than optimal and leaves other values remaining (see chart below).

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If the desktop ROI is much better than mobile, or vice-versa, then it suggests that there is room to further adjust the MBAs and traffic ratio between devices to achieve higher overall efficiency. Adobe examined a sample of four major campaigns in the US, the chart below shows that Adobe MBAs on average achieve an ROI ratio between mobile and desktop/tablet much closer to 100% than Google’s MBAs. Using Google’s MBAs, mobile ROI is lower on average than desktop/tablet, which suggests that Google’s MBA recommendations tend to be too high and mobile bids should be lowered further.

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Adobe has written about how it uses analytics data married with algorithmic bidding for Google Enhanced Campaigns on its recent post here.

http://blogs.adobe.com/digitalmarketing/digital-marketing/search-engine-marketing/amo-sitecatalyst-integration/

As part of its report, Adobe provided 4 key issues that advertisers need to address when using Google Adwords:

1. Algorithms become more important.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to use a manual approach to maximise ROI from a Google paid search campaign, with GEO specific targeting options and device-level and time-of-day/day-of-week options to consider. While MBAs are Google’s attempt to simplify this for marketers, they also complicate matters for the advertiser. Not only does one have to consider the bid, but also the mobile adjustment factor to get the most out of a search campaign. This only increases the need for auto¬mated algorithmic bidding platforms that resolve the complexities to manage such programs.

2. CPCs on Google will continue to increase this quarter to end positive or flat YoY for the first time in almost two years.

The Enhanced campaigns transition will drive competitive pressure on tablet devices through June and July, and the full effect of this change on the market will happen in Q3. Adobe predicts CPCs will rise by 5-10% on a YoY basis in the next two quarters. This increase is partially attributable to Enhanced Campaigns, the other factors being the competitive landscape among advertisers and macro-economic conditions.

3. Spending on Google will increase by 15–20% YoY.

Adobe has seen a 15% YoY increase in ad spend despite a fall in CPCs (i.e. all the increases were volume-driven). As CPCs increase due to the Enhanced Campaign migration, Adobe expects the spend levels on Google to further increase beyond the current 15% YoY growth. Adobe forecasts 15-20% growth in spend on Google due to 10–15% increase in traffic growth and the remainder from the increase in CPCs.

4. Tablet optimized sites become even more important.

Tablet search campaigns have enjoyed significantly higher ROI than equivalent desktop campaigns due to two reasons: a) They convert just as well if not better than desktops. b) They enjoy lower CPCs due to lower competition. As the CPC advantage disappears, marketers have to focus on better user experiences to increase the conversion rate on tablets to drive ROI.

Read the full Adobe report here

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