Google Enhances Adwords – for Google

Are Google’s “enhanced campaigns” a benefit for Adwords users, or another way to charge more with less accountability? It was the latter when Product Listing Ads rolled out, a fact driven home to us when it became clear that Google itself didn’t know how PLAs integrated with or otherwise affected existing campaigns. At least, that’s what the Google Adwords rep told us.

So now we have “enhanced campaigns,” which supposedly will make campaign management simpler and campaigns more effective. Here are the three key benefits, per Google:

… Enhanced campaigns help you better manage your campaigns and budgets for (the) multi-device world. With bid adjustments, you can manage bids for your ads across devices, locations, time of day and more – all from a single campaign…

… With enhanced campaigns, you’ll show ads across devices with the right ad text, sitelink, app or extension, without having to edit each campaign for every possible combination of devices, location and time of day…

… To help you measure the full value of your campaigns, enhanced campaigns enables you to easily count calls and app downloads as conversions in your Adwords reports…

I’ve been managing PPC campaigns for a while now, and, aside from being able to count calls and downloads as conversions,  I don’t see a benefit. Especially for retailers, bundling desktops/laptops and mobile devices into the same campaign is not a good idea. The messaging requirements can be different between desktop/laptop and mobile devices. Click throughs and conversions can vary greatly between tablets and smartphones. A/B testing, bidding, ROI tracking and overall budgets are easier to track and manage or each type of device if the campaigns are separate.

It may be easier for people unfamiliar with Adwords, such as new advertisers or small companies without professional PPC managers, but easier isn’t necessarily better. What you’re likely to see is more clicks, higher costs and lower conversion rates, with no way to easily separate out the components of a campaign to diagnose the causes.

Google may claim – or even believe – that they are helping Adwords users, but my experience with them over the years is that Job 1 is increasing revenue, preferably while reducing transparency. And that’s what enhanced campaigns looks like to me.

About Lee Stral

Lee is a marketing consultant who has specialized in Internet marketing and Web site development since the Internet first showed promise as a marketing channel. Prior to founding Essential Presence, he was partner in an integrated marketing communications agency working with technology, professional service and non-profit organizations.