Enhanced Campaigns Update: Early Adopter Results & The Era of Mobile for Retail

June 10, 2013

In February, Google announced a major update to the AdWords campaign structure. In short, Enhanced Campaigns simplify management across multiple devices. The move was made by Google with the intention of catalyzing the adoption rate of mobile advertising. Read more about what’s new in Enhanced Campaigns and the expected impact in our introductory blog post.

Our initial suggestion was that retailers wait to make the transition, but our updated recommendation is that all retailers plan to complete the migration before the end of June.

Read on as we share retail-specific results from early adopters, our thoughts on mobile advertising strategies for retail and why you should make the move well before the July 22 deadline.

Early Adopter Results 

In an update on May 14, Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP, Ads and Commerce at Google and the lead on Enhanced Campaigns reported that close to two million campaigns have been set to enhanced.

Reports on Enhanced Campaigns performance on mobile devices have been positive; advertisers tracking click-to-call conversion rates saw a total conversions increase of 150 percent over past levels of performance, companies are seeing significant percentages to their leads and conversions originate from mobile devices, and cost-per-ad has remained steady, according to Ramaswamy.

Google has published and pointed to case studies to support the story. The most relevant to retailers may be that of American Apparel or the unnamed luxury shopping brand. American Apparel leveraged call extensions across all device types and saw conversion volume from phone calls double. The anonymous luxury brand used location-specific campaigns in primary
markets to help grow sales 20%. You can read the Google full case studies here.

The Era of Mobile & What it Means for Online Retailers

Mobile advertising may seem like a penny in the bucket of total U.S. advertising spend, but it’s riding an intense wave of growth. eMarketer forecasted that mobile advertising will grow to a nearly $16 billion business by 2015.

Google is laying the groundwork to accelerate the boom. But Enhanced Campaigns’ mobile options, with improved click-to-call functionality, and targeting by time of day and location, are highly tailored to brick-and-mortar. The opportunities for
stores are obvious: Sally searches for an “I love NYC” sweatshirt in Central Park, and apparel stores within 10 blocks appear on her phone.

In our conversations with online retailers, we’re finding that most err on the side of skepticism about these “bright and shiny” new mobile options from Google; since the majority of their sales conversions have historically come from desktops or tablets, they’re reluctant to divert spend to mobile.

Nonetheless, online retailers who choose to ignore mobile advertising may do themselves a disservice. Even if mobile seems a not-so-obvious ploy for your online business, we encourage you to think outside the box. These suggestions should get your wheels turning.

Consider the Bigger Picture

While we don’t have insight into cross-device attribution yet (Google has indicated that this is coming), we know that shoppers use multiple devices throughout the shopping journey. In Google’s Multi-Screen World Study, it reported that 67% of people sequentially screen between multiple devices when shopping online and that 65% of shoppers begin searching on a smartphone with 61% of those continuing later on a PC.

For searching shoppers, your mobile-optimized ad could be the first impression of your business. One step further, your mobile-friendly website could allure or deter them from coming back later via another device. As anecdotal evidence, Google’s Mobile Ads blog reported that 67% of shoppers agree that “A mobile-friendly site makes me more likely to buy a product or use a service,” and 61% agree that “If I don’t see what I am looking for right away on a mobile site, I’ll quickly move on to another site.”

Be sure your website is optimized for handheld devices to make your introduction one that lasts – all the way back to the shoppers’ PC.

No Better Time to Start Focusing on Mobile

The expectant forecast for mobile advertising in combination with the watershed of research validating the multi-device shopping experience should place your mobile communications strategy on your business’s radar – at the very least.

Enhanced Campaigns amplifies the call to hone in on your strategy, since the advanced targeting options may create an influx of mobile advertisements from brick-and-mortar shops. E-commerce retailers who completely ignore the game could lose out on immediate business opportunities and fall behind in the long run.

Set Appropriate Expectations & Adjust Goals Accordingly

While this push from Google may well speed the adoption of mobile advertising, that doesn’t necessarily mean that consumers will experience a heightened pressure to purchase on mobile devices. Creating mobile-friendly websites and ads is nice, but you can’t force customers to behave on their phone in the park as they would on their desktop at work.

To that end, adjust your mobile business goals to realistic sets of KPIs that will vary based on investment, whether or not you have brick-and-mortar stores, and your product category, to name a few. Are direct sales the only way to measure the value of online traffic from your mobile phones? We think not. Look deeply into how these clicks add value and consider them more of an “assist” to the final sale. Are mobile ads driving brand awareness and product visibility? Are researching customers using the click-to-call button to find out more about your product? Do they download your mobile phone app through the ad?

For those interested in finding out how mobile is affecting your overall conversion rate, here’s a simple strategy. Test two campaigns with historically similar conversion rates, and opt one into mobile for a period (e.g. 4 weeks). At the end of the period, look to see if the conversion rate on the desktop/tablet traffic increases during that time, which would indicate that shoppers came in through mobile and then back through desktop computers or tablet devices.

Mobile Bid Multiplier

Another common thread among retailers is confusion over mobile bid adjustments. Here is the formula we’re suggesting for
retailers in the migration:

Migrate Now

Our February advice that retailers wait to transition was based around knowledge that tweaks were still being made. Google has since confirmed that there will be no additional major changes. On July 22 Google will take all campaigns on a one-way trip to the Enhanced AdWords World, but we suggest that retailers begin testing Enhanced Campaigns and plan to complete migration in full by the end of June to avoid the last-minute rush and fighting for Google’s time later.

Easier said than done.

But not to worry – we’ve created the Enhanced Campaigns Tip Sheet for Retail to help you transition with poise and decide which opportunities to explore in the brave new world of AdWords.

To receive the FREE Tip Sheet, which includes insight into campaign strategies, mobile targetting and ROI and long-term implications for your paid search strategy, simply register here.

As you start testing, how are your results? What updates are you most excited about and most weary of in Enhanced Campaigns? Share in the comments below.


Blog post by Jackie Jenkins, Product Manager, Paid Search and Frank Andolina, Manager, Search Services at ChannelAdvisor