Paid Search

Google Enhanced Campaigns: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Twitter: @kjkotowski

0 Comments 26 February 2013

Google recently launched “Enhanced Campaigns” an overhaul of the Adwords campaign set up. The changes attempt to simplify Adwords and, according to Google, “help [advertisers] more simply and smartly manage [their] ad campaigns in today’s multi-device world.” These changes mark one of the biggest changes to Google Adwords in years. And, as usual, with change comes excitement, controversy and fear.

What exactly are enhanced campaigns?

Google highlighted three major changes rolled into Enhanced Campaigns:

1. Simplified campaign & budget management with the ability to change and manage bids across device, location, time of day and more within a single campaign. Previously, Google had recommended splitting these targets into separate campaigns to allow for more targeted bidding, since bids could not be changed on individual keywords based on targets.

Enhanced Campaigns Targeted Bid Increase Example

2. Smarter and more customized ad delivery, allowing advertisers to show the best ad text and ad extensions based on where, when and how a person is searching, without having to segment campaigns for every possible combination of devices, locations and time of day.

For example, a national retailer with both physical locations and an e-commerce website can show ads with click-to-call (during their office hours only) and location extensions for people searching on their smartphones, while showing an ad for their e-commerce website to people searching on a PC — all within a single campaign.
3. New conversion types and advanced reporting for a more comprehensive view of the success of your ads. These new conversion types include app downloads and calls from smartphones. (A Google representative alluded that offline conversion tracking may also be in progress.) These conversions can be added to or compared to traditional conversions, such as orders.

But these changes weren’t the only additions. Google seemed to skim over the biggest (or at least the most anticipated) change that was rolled into enhanced campaigns – extension updates. With Enhanced Campaigns, extensions will be more flexible and more targeted. And, after years of waiting, advertisers can now report on individual sitelinks and create extensions at the ad group level (as opposed to at the campaign level).

What does that all mean?


  • Generally easier campaign management across devices and locations
  • Deeper and more specific targeting options can be explored due to easier management and optimization
  • Huge improvements to sitelinks and sitelink reporting
  • Mobile traffic is emphasized
  • Ads can be automatically optimized


  • Loss of control and transparency over campaigns and targeting
  • Tablets are removed as a targeted device and lumped in with desktops
  • No more mobile-only campaigns
  • Could have an immediate and sizable negative impact on KPIs for sites that are not mobile-friendly
  • Mobile CPCs will potentially increase significantly due to increased competition
  • Merging campaigns, updating settings and reworking optimizations when campaigns transition to enhanced campaigns could be tedious

Why should I care & what can I expect?

Greater Targeting Options & Account Efficiencies

Smaller businesses and advertising budgets will benefit from the ability to target specifically and incrementally within the same budget. Before, creating hundreds of campaigns to target different DMAs and devices would have split the budget too finely to see results. With Enhanced Campaigns targeting can be achieved using the same budget and campaign, by simply modifying CPCs.

Larger advertisers will see increased efficiencies that allow even further targeting and ad testing that was previously not possible (either due to maxing out on number of allowed campaigns or due to overall manageability and control). However, these advertisers will be forced to give up some of the control that they are used to. In addition, while all advertisers should see efficiencies from a management perspective, this may not translate into being more efficient from an ROAS perspectives due to decreased budget management options and increased CPCs.

Increased Focus on Mobile

Sites that are not mobile optimized will be the most negatively impacted by Enhanced Campaigns, since mobile campaigns will no longer be budgeted separately. Assuming advertisers without mobile-friendly sites are still advertising on mobile, but at a reduced budget, mobile advertisements may use budget that was originally allocated only to desktop campaigns, increasing mobile as a percentage of paid search traffic. If your site does not offer a good experience for your mobile users, these clicks could be wasted.

With the migration to Enhanced Campaigns, it is obvious that Google is forcing advertisers into the “future” – which focuses on mobile. Google has forecasted that they believe mobile searches will surpass desktop this year, so expect them to do even more to push mobile and to be a part of this change. Expect a mobile site to be a necessity in the near future.

More Ad Extensions 

All advertisers will see improvements in ad extension reporting that will allow more granular optimization. Sitelinks will be implemented and optimized at the ad group level, which should improve ad relevance and increased CTR. We expect that in addition to sitelinks, there will be an increased use of extensions in general. With the ability to have ad extensions auto-optimized based on ad, context and search, more advertisers will opt in. We also expect for Google to release more extensions in the coming months.


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