The Impact of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns on Retailers

February 12, 2013

By now you’ve probably seen Google’s new announcement
that it will be changing the way that AdWords campaigns are structured
to marry searchers’ intent with context, and serve ads accordingly.
This change will affect all AdWords campaigns, including PLAs.  We’ve
put together our initial reactions as to how this will impact retailers,
complete with recommendations as to retailer’s next steps.  We’ll delve
further into details below, but our initial reaction: wait to turn on Enhanced Campaigns until you fully understand the details.  Once you have transitioned a campaign, you cannot revert back.

For Enhanced Campaigns, context will be based on:

  • Location
  • Device
  • Time of day

One
of the big changes with this announcement is that tablet campaigns will
now roll up under desktop campaigns, and mobile campaigns will be
considered a variation of the desktop/tablet campaign.  This decision is
based on Google’s research that suggests that some 82% of tablet owners
use them at home.

This
means that if someone conducts a search for “cell phone chargers” from
their mobile device during normal business hours, they could be served a
location-based ad for nearby brick and mortar stores that sell cell
phone chargers.  Later, if they search on their mobile device outside of
normal business hours, they may be served a different ad, sending them
to a website instead of the now closed brick and mortar store. In
contrast, if that same person searches from their desktop or a tablet,
they may be served an entirely different ad, possibly based upon time of
day.

Google also says Enhanced Campaigns will include the ability to change sitelinks at specific times.

Timing
According
to Google, the transition period will begin in February, with all
campaigns to be transferred over by mid-2013 (likely June).

Primary Impact
The
main changes for retailers will occur in the way AdWords campaigns are
set up and mobile bids are placed.  Whereas before you may have had a
campaign for each different device, now you’ll have one main Enhanced
Campaign for desktop/tablet, with a campaign-level bid “adjustment” for
mobile.  New campaigns will be automatically set up as desktop/tablet,
and then you’ll create a mobile adjustment for the campaign with
different ad copy and a different bid.

Generally,
bidding will stay the same; however, bidding for mobile devices will be
an adjustment of your desktop/tablet bid, meaning you’ll either
increase or decrease it by a certain percentage or leave it the same.
Regardless of the specific bid you have the keyword level, your only
mobile option will be to bid at a multiplier of the campaign level.

For
example, if you bid $1.00 on a keyword, and you determined your mobile
adjustment was a 50% decrease, you would end up with a $0.50 mobile bid
on that keyword.


Recommendations
First and foremost, for ChannelAdvisor customers we advise that you not convert any campaigns yet since they cannot be reverted once transitioned.
In fact, at the moment you have greater control over your campaigns
given that you can still bid on mobile keywords and segment revenue per
device.

Our
primary concern is to empower our customers with the ability to
implement these required changes in June, without sacrificing
transparency into reporting or diminishing Paid Search ROI. There is no
need to change the campaigns in the near term, especially as the details
of Enhanced Campaigns are still being ironed out.

Sign up here to be notified
of all the news on Enhanced Campaigns and ChannelAdvisor updates, and
to be the first to know when we’d recommend that you transition your
campaigns.

What does this mean for retailers?
All
of this “contextual” serving will need to be set up properly in your
AdWords account, which is going to be laborious. There will be a lot of
cleaning up of campaigns necessary since Google is requiring that you
utilise additional facets of your primary campaigns as opposed to the
current practice of replicating campaigns to target specific device
types.  This also means that you’ll be losing control from a granular
perspective, though in the long run you’ll have fewer campaigns to keep
organised.

For
retailers with brick and mortar locations this represents advancement
in Google’s geo-targeting, and the ability to bid up mobile searches
within close proximity of your locations.  However, it’s worth
mentioning that the attribution piece isn’t fully baked. Offers
extensions have been around for a long time and haven’t tracked online
to store attribution very well.

How is ChannelAdvisor addressing this change?
ChannelAdvisor
and Google work closely together on changes like this, and
ChannelAdvisor will guide its retailers through this change to make
transitioning as seamless as possible. Sign up here to be informed of news and updates regarding Google Enhanced Campaigns:

Sign Up Here

Blog post by Jackie Jenkins, Product Manager, Paid Search