Google announced recently that it would be implementing several major changes to its widely used Adwords advertising program, an update it referred to collectively as “Enhanced Campaigns.” In fact, all AdWords campaigns will be automatically upgraded to enhanced campaigns starting on July 22, 2013.
The general strategy behind these changes, the company said, was to make Adwords better suited for the wide variety of devices people today use to browse the internet, such as smartphones and tablets.
When Adwords was first created, desktop and laptop computers were the primary means of accessing online information, but this is certainly not the case any longer. Google’s Adwords overhaul is designed to help the program adapt to this modern reality. The new Adwords Enhanced Campaigns features are already being made available for new campaigns, and are expected to be added to all existing campaigns by the middle of the year.
The update will allow advertisers to customize their campaigns based on a wide variety of factors that the program could not previously take into account. The official Google announcement gives the example of a pizza restaurant that “probably wants to show one ad to someone searching for ‘pizza’ at 1 p.m. on their personal computer at work (perhaps a link to an online order form or menu), and a different ad to someone searching for ‘pizza’ at 8 p.m. on a smartphone a half-mile from the restaurant (perhaps a click-to-call phone number and restaurant locator).”
To some degree, this type of customization was possible before, but only on a limited basis. With the new Adwords system, detailed customization will be easy and straightforward, and will be manageable from one campaign rather than through several different awkwardly overlapping (and often confusing) campaigns. Now Adwords will be able to handle you customizing your ads to as high a degree of detail as you wish, rather than forcing you to create a new campaign just for one specific set of circumstances.
Advertisers and PPC specialists will now be able to easily adjust bids and budgets however they wish based on multiple detailed factors, including physical location, distance, time of day and device used, providing a level of customizable not previously available. In a way, these updates were to be expected; InformationWeek reports that by this time next year, Google is expected to be processing more searches originating from mobile devices than from traditional computers. Google simply had to adjust its business model to meet the changing search climate.
Adwords has always included an impressive range of options to allow advertisers to examine reports on the results of their campaigns. Few of these reports are as important as those breaking down conversions. Tracking conversions simply quantifies how many of the people who saw the ad and clicked on it actually took action afterwards. This update allows advertisers to include such actions as app downloads and phone calls as successful conversions.
These additional features do have a downside, however. An Adobe Systems Inc. director of product marketing and strategy for media and advertising solutions, Bill Mungovan, told Bloomberg that he expects the average price for ads on Google to go up in the aftermath of the update. Ads that appeared on tablet devices could previously be purchased separately from those that appeared on ordinary laptop and desktop computers; now, all three types of devices will be handled together. Since tablet ad prices previously tended to be significantly lower than ordinary computer ad prices, the change will likely raise the average ad price across the board.
The update is also expected to substantially increase the total number of mobile ads and mobile advertisers using the Adwords platform. Until now, although large corporations did incorporate mobile advertising into their promotional campaigns to some degree, the significant amount of extra work required to set up an effective mobile advertising campaign limited the number of small and medium-sized businesses attempting to do so. The consolidation and simplification implemented by Google’s new enhanced campaigns will likely make mobile advertising a much more realistic option for local businesses of all sizes.
Of course, while Google has not explicitly stated as much in its announcement, the fact remains that an increased volume of mobile ads and an overall price increase are likely the exact impact the company hopes the update will have. The profitability of mobile ads has so far lagged behind that for traditional ads, a trend that Google would like to see change as smartphone and tablet usage continues to rise.
In the official announcement of the update, Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering Sridhar Ramaswamy called it “a first step to help you more simply and smartly manage your ad campaigns in today’s multidevice world.” To say the least, it will be intriguing to see what additional steps Google takes along these lines in the future.
Google Adwords: “Enhancing Adwords for a Constantly Connected World”
InformationWeek: “Google Updates AdWords for Mobile Era”
Business Insider: “Google Just Blasted Away the Wall Between Desktop and Mobile Ads”
Chris is an online marketing and content strategist here at iSpionage building awareness and engagement within our target markets.