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Adwords Enhanced Campaigns - July 22, 2013 Upgrade Deadline Has Come and Gone

Summary: Gird your loins Adwords advertisers, it's Enhanced Campaign upgrade time! In fact the deadline to upgrade before Google does it for you was Monday, July 22. This transition represents a significant change to how we all advertise on Google so we thought we'd give you a bit of a crash course on what it means for your campaigns and link you to some other helpful resources. The full roll-out of the forced changeover will take place in the coming weeks. We're here to help you prepare if you haven't already and offer our services if you'd like assistance. If you're a Google Adwords advertiser, there's a good chance you've heard mention over the past several months of a major change to how we advertise on Google: Enhanced Campaigns. There was a several month long procrastination period where Google was simply encouraging you to upgrade to "Enhanced Campaigns", but the deadline to do so was Monday, July 22. Now, whether you like it or not, Google will begin to automatically convert all old campaigns so we wanted to make sure you are aware and understand what the transition means. For starters, we recommend you read up about enhanced campaigns, beginning with Google's own resources. In particular, I found this whitepaper provides a nice overview of what is changing and the basics of adapting to those changes, and includes the following sections: II. Prioritize bid adjustments based on your business goals III. Mobile bid adjustments IV. Location bid adjustments V. Time bid adjustments VI. Automate bids to increase performance and save time Among the major changes is the elimination of device targeting, which is discussed in section III. Put more simply, your ads will now be visible on ALL devices even if you previously targeted just desktop or just mobile devices. What's interesting about this change is that while Google claims this "enhancement" will make things easier for advertisers by eliminating the need for multiple campaigns, it's a complete 180° from what they've been saying for years - "Mobile best practice: Separate out mobile campaigns for improved performance".  That post is from the official "Google Mobile Ads Blog". This other post from the same blog actually links to a separate Google Mobile Ads website they created specifically to encourage advertisers to create "mobile ads", which unsurprisingly has now morphed into a catalyst for Enhanced Campaigns. Confused? Don't worry, we were too until we started to convert campaigns. Now, I should mention that you can still write separate ads that you would like to target mobile devices with and select a mobile "device preference" option (though this is still VERY different than separate campaigns): Adwords Mobile Device Preference Still, "preference" doesn't sound like much of a guaranteed result and there are certainly other caveats to consider, like these items you'll see if you click on that little "device preference" question mark when editing/writing an ad:
How it works: Mobile-optimized text ads and extensions will be given preference on mobile devices. Standard text ads and extensions will be given preference on desktop and laptop computers or tablets. Good to know: If your ad group contains mobile-optimized text ads only, those ads may appear on desktops and laptop computers and tablets.
One could certainly argue that this should actually be a helpful time saver.  I tend to agree that this is probably the case, but again it's important to recognize that Adwords is saying the exact opposite of what they've been saying for years - they've always insisted that separate campaigns for different device types were ideal but now that's not even an option.  What could be the motivating factor for this transfiguration? Well, let's not lose sight of the reason businesses make big decisions (especially companies that answer to shareholders) - revenue generation. This is about Google's bottom line and we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking this is some sort of altruistic play. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just a fact and an observation. Businesses are in business to make money. Don't expect this change to be necessarily bring your costs down and/or conversions up, at least not until you've had time to optimize your new enhanced campaigns. In the early months we've already heard a lot of (admittedly anecdotal) cases of costs rising. This doesn't mean that everyone will see costs go up, but be prepared that they may. Costs may also go up as Google phases out their old keyword tool and replaces it the "Keyword Planner" tool, which seems limited in its ability to help you discover long-tail keywords. This will force more advertisers to raise bids on higher competition keywords. As I mentioned, the deadline to upgrade was scheduled for July 22, but you may not have seen your campaigns transition immediately. Google's own Sridhar Ramaswamy just posted this on Monday:
And starting today, we will begin upgrading all remaining campaigns automatically, bringing everyone onto the new AdWords platform. As with many product launches, the rollout will be gradually completed over several weeks.
So if it hasn't happened yet, don't get cocky and think you managed to slip through the cracks somehow - enhanced campaigns are coming to your account soon. If this is the first you're hearing about the Adwords transition to Enhanced Campaigns and you need assistance with the upgrade, don't hesitate to contact us. We've already managed the transition of hundreds of campaigns across dozens of accounts, including adjusting bids for mobile, and would be happy to help you as well. In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about enhanced campaigns, I would recommend checking out this Search Engine Land blog post that includes a list of more than 15 links to past posts about new features and tips for optimizing your new campaigns. A lot of great resources there. Additional Resources: About the Enhanced Campaign Upgrade Center