Enhanced Campaigns – It Isn’t All Bad, But We Have Some Thoughts

By , Senior Digital Advisor at Hanapin Marketing


There is so much going on in the world of PPC lately that we’re spending an entire week introducing the changes and letting you know how to make the most of them.  It goes beyond Google’s new “Enhanced Campaigns” feature to Facebook and Analytics. Over the next week, PPC Hero is going to take a look at each of these updates in a series of posts designed to get you ready for all of the added functionality, the new best practices and even more.


To wrap up this month’s series on the recent Enhanced Campaign changes made by Google, we thought it might be good to reflect and provide some constructive feedback, because complaining only gets us so far, right?

Given that there are silver linings to some of the enhanced campaign changes and that we can’t exactly tell Google to make it go away, what would make it better? What’s missing and what needs to be different for us as account managers to utilize this feature to its highest benefit?


Bid Segmentations

So while we find it pretty awesome that you can bid by geotarget within enhanced campaigns, there seem to be a few obvious bid segments that aren’t available. For example, why can’t you bid separately for search and search partner networks? And then there’s this tablet bids situation. After months and months of “tablets aren’t like mobile OR desktop devices,” now we’re told not only are tablets lumped with desktops, we have to bid on them the same no matter what. Clearly the segmentation of bids is available in some degree, why wouldn’t it be expanded to allow for one more device segment and by network? Finally, keyword level bid modifiers have been eliminated and without the option to override campaign-level bids with individual keyword bids…we’re certainly at a bit of a disadvantage; “we” being account managers who prefer a very detailed, segmented and down-to-the-line management style.

Obviously this overall loss of control when it comes to bids and budgets is the biggest problem child when it comes to the Enhanced Campaign changes. If there’s one thing a PPC manager doesn’t like, it’s when you take away their control! I’ll be honest and say that I truly believe we’re going to do enough belly aching to get some of these issues righted before the full roll out occurs. I’m guessing the ‘tablets as desktops’ portion will stick because it’s far more lucrative for Google in the long run, but keyword level bid adjustments could very well become a revision of the final product. Don’t make us work around it!


Intended ‘Small Business’ Audience

Many of you out there have expressed some confusion as to why many of the Enhanced Campaign changes were rolled out to the full AdWords interface and not just to Express, which would contain more of it’s “target” SMB clients. I have to agree! Again, of course there are parts that make sense for any account (reporting, etc.), but the force of these changes on all accounts can’t leave the enterprise-level managers feeling a bit disregarded. Obviously Google won’t be reversing the option in all AdWords accounts, but still…so confusing.


Budget Buckets

This is another segmentation-based thought, but the lack of ability to set daily budgets by device is also somewhat alarming. In most testing situations I’ve been in with a client, they allow for X number of budget dollars to be allocated toward a particular test or segment. Considering that now all devices will be siphoning off of one daily budget, monitoring and manipulating by overall budget will be troublesome.

This is another portion of the changes that I could see being altered before we see the final version of Enhanced Campaigns. I’ll give you that I’m not a mastermind by any stretch of the imagination, but it feels like gross negligence to take away the ability to set daily budgets by device.


So what do we do? What we always do…persevere! The truth is, those of us who accept the things Enhanced Campaigns are lacking with what we’re gaining will be the ones ahead of the curve when these features are 100% pushed in our accounts. Truthfully, what gives our jobs their creative flair is stuff just like this and how our community reacts with work around ideas or ways to work with the changes.

What else?! Digging down in to the nitty gritty of the Enhanced Campaign changes and what they’ll mean for our accounts, what other potential alterations to the features would you like to see? If you were in the driver’s seat at Google, how would you change Enhanced Campaigns from their current state to make them better for advertisers across the board? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!

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20 thoughts on “Enhanced Campaigns – It Isn’t All Bad, But We Have Some Thoughts

  1. sandesh

    I would definitely have the separate bidding options for Tablets and also would want to have control over budgets broken out by Device.

  2. Chris Barcroft

    “keyword level bid modifiers have been eliminated and without the option
    to override campaign-level bids with individual keyword bids…we’re
    certainly at a bit of a disadvantage”

    Am I reading this right, it won’t be possible to bid at the keyword level, so all bids will be set at a campaign level?

    The changes as a whole are going to pose more problems than solutions to the majority of large, online-only businesses. Though two major advantages will be that gaps will be filled where opportunities to target certain devices are currently being missed, and poorly structured accounts will be tidied up making management easier.

    Cost will be the biggest disadvantage. Smaller companies which don’t have dedicated PPC staff will instinctively choose the carefully named ‘enhanced’ campaigns, thereby inflating prices.

    1. Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz

      What Melissa said 🙂

      I should have been clearer about adjustments vs. actual keyword-level bids.

      I also appreciate your insights about the issues you see coming from these changes. I think many agree that enhanced campaigns could be more beneficial for brick and mortar, local businesses than enterprise level companies. I will be looking forward to carefully collapsing some geotargeted campaigns in the coming weeks to tidy things up a bit as you mentioned, so I agree that will be a benefit among some of the drawbacks.

      Thanks for reading and the question/comments, Chris!

  3. Ben

    Regarding the inability to set budgets by device – How would we explain to clients how much of the campaign budget would be allocated towards mobile? You could have mobile ad groups setting the ads to mobile preferred, but that doesn’t solve projecting the mobile spend by campaign. Am I missing something?

    1. Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz

      Hi, Ben. I don’t believe you’re missing anything at all. Given that mobile devices are lumped in to one campaign with tablet and laptop/computer traffic, all you can do is modify bids for mobile, but all three device types will be pulling budget from the one campaign’s daily budget.

      My advice would be to come up with a strategic tracking and reporting plan to present to your client on how you’ll monitor the mobile segment’s percentage of campaign spend throughout a given month. In terms of projecting, you’ll again just have to track the spend and apply some accepted average CTRs, CPCs, etc. and explain (carefully) that those numbers are projections and estimates.

      And then also keep your fingers crossed that segmented daily budgets are somehow worked in to the features down the road 😉

      Thanks, Ben!

  4. Paul Jackson

    If you wanted to use the new beneficial features (e.g. regarding sitelinks and geotarget bid adjustments) but still separate out your mobile and desktop/tablet campaigns in order to define budgets by device, could you do the following?…

    – Have 1 campaign that only includes desktop/tablet ads with a 100% decrease bid adjustment for mobile devices, so that ads have essentially no chance of showing on anything other than desktops/tablets.

    – Have a 2nd campaign that only includes mobile ads and with a 100% decrease bid adjustment for desktops/tablets, so ads have essentially no chance of showing on anything other than mobile devices.

    Unless I’m mistaken, with this ‘halfway house’ method you could in theory define your daily budgets by device, e.g. if your client wanted to trial $50 per day on mobile devices for a month.

    I haven’t tried this myself, but would be interested to know your thoughts?

    1. Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz

      Thanks for the feedback, Paul. Unfortunately…this method has one fatal flaw: Google does not allow for bid modifiers to be assigned for desktop/tablet traffic. We were all pretty sure this would be a sufficient work around, as well…but without the ability to apply a modifier to anything more than mobile traffic…we’re stunted. Boo!

      1. Paul Jackson

        Not even if you set the Desktop/Tablet bid very, very low and had a mobile bid adjustment of +800%? So you wouldn’t be modifying the bid for desktops, you’d still just be modifying it for mobile.

        1. Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz

          In order for that method to work you would have to bid a penny for computer/tablet traffic and even an 800% increase would then set your mobile bids at only $.08. Additionally – AdWords won’t allow a percentage increase that high (see screenshot):

          1. Steve CameronSteve Cameron

            Actually this halfway house does work – in a way. you can increase mobile bids – but to a maximum of 300% – same principle you outline – drop your bids down to 25% of the original and then hike mobiles up by 300% to get back to where they were.

            But it only works to a degree. I was looking to do this for a client whose desktop CPC was $1.15 or so… sounded like a simple process – drop to 30 cents and then back up by 300% on mobiles… except, when I segmented by device it turned out the the CPC on desktops was around $1.30 and the CPC on tablets was 5 cents!!

            There is little doubt that tablets deserve their own bucket and bids… Whilst laptops can and are carried around, they are not being used in the same way as tablets are. Just look around… I do believe that this will be rolled out shortly it’s just so obviously klunky.

  5. Raju Paliwal

    Hello Kayla,

    I am using automatic bidding and i want to modify bid location wise.
    It’s possible to set bid adjustments for particular location?

    1. Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz

      It sure is, Raju!

      Just click in the ‘Location’ sub-tab under the Settings section for your particular campaign. From there you should be able to select specific geographic targets/locations and then adjust bids on them individually.

      1. Raju Paliwal

        Thanks for your response kayla,
        I know how to set the bid for location but is it worth decreasing bid if i am using automatic bidding ?

        1. Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz

          What automatic bidding option are you using? I tend to avoid any automated bidding options within the interface itself as those algorithms don’t seem to be as advanced as actual bid management software options.

          So my first notion is to say eliminate the automatic bidding if you’re using AdWords for that and then set the location adjustments based on performance. But that depends what you mean exactly by automatic bidding 🙂

  6. Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz

    Thank you for the clarification!

    A – I would move that focus on clicks strategy over to manual, because again – that’s my preference from an interface-bidding standpoint 🙂

    B – that said, if you do want to keep the automated bidding AND you apply additional bid modifiers by location or device, the two bid rules will layer together. So essentially, the interface will take whatever the max bid is that it determines is necessary to get a click with your bid rule, and then it will apply your location modifier to either raise or lower that maximum allowable CPC accordingly.

    Does that make sense? Great question!


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