Since I made the jump to Enhanced Campaigns, Mobile devices are now my highest-spending, highest-traffic device.  I didn’t do it out of desire, mind you, but because of necessity.  It made sense for several of our accounts to opt in for different reasons.  One account has made great use out of the geographic bid modifiers.  Another one was facing some minor ad approval issues, where any new mobile-specific campaigns would have had some difficulty in going live.

Thus, presented with the unique opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of this new system, I decided to make a little trip report, providing you with some device statistics and a few helpful tips as you make your own transition to a world of Enhanced Campaigns.

My initial experience with this system has been a mixed bag.  I’ve seen some great results in terms of traffic volume and conversions, but CPA and Cost have also been all over the place.  Luckily, this particular account is unlimited in spend so long as the returns are there.  Those of you without that luxury may find your budgets *easily* capped with this new system.

Note:  In this particular account, I’ve been running a CPA Bidding Test for my largest campaigns.  First and foremost tip – if you’re utilizing CPA bidding, you cannot make use of Mobile device bid modifiers.  It’s all or nothing.  This makes some sense, as the CPA bidding algorithm determines your bid at the time of auction.  However, given that I’m seeing a significant difference in CPA for Desktop and Mobile (and Tablet), the ability to modify my CPA targets further based on device type would be appreciated.

With that being said, it’s a nice test bed to see what happens when Google calls the shots on these newly-enhanced campaigns.  For this account, we’ve just concluded a round of ad testing, so that’s not a variable.  In addition, they have a mobile-optimized, but not necessarily mobile-specific site (that’s actually coming soon, and not a minute too late).  For this account, the target CPA is $50, but growing overall sales volume is more important.  We’re looking at a date range of February 21st through March 4th.

Campaign 1:  

Campaign 1This is a textbook case of how mobile can work well for you.  This campaign is primarily composed of product-specific, short-tail and branded terms.  The lower competition in this space allows for cheaper clicks, but with a better average position and CTR.  In addition, the cheaper overall Cost Per Click for Mobile provides us a CPA of nearly half that of the desktop campaign, while making up a third of the campaign’s overall conversion volume over this span.  This is in spite of the lower conversion rate – symptomatic of the lack of a mobile-specific site.  This will be a running theme throughout the post, so take note:  make a mobile site and optimize it to make the most of this transition.  Ideally, you’ll have yours finished prior to your own switch.

Campaign 2:

Campaign 2This campaign is made up of longer-tail “component/ingredient” terms.  I’ve included it mostly just to point out the difference in Desktop and Tablet performance.

Tablet users do not behave the same as desktop users, and Google would be wise to relent on that point.

Campaigns 3 and 4:

Campaign 3

Campaign 6I’ve grouped these two together for the real lesson in this post:  Mobile is not going to be dirt cheap anymore.  In this case, average CPCs were markedly higher for Mobile devices over their Desktop counterparts.  This is partly due to the nature of these two campaigns – they both feature highly competitive terms *and* longer-tail terms.  You’ll note that even with a $4.54 average CPC, average position for the “Review Terms” campaign was still worse than that of the “Computers” category.  Crazy.

The other lesson is to reiterate your need for a true mobile site.  As CPCs continue to get more and more expensive (and the mobile space more competitive), you can’t afford to lose out on conversions.  In this case, we’re also hamstrung by the inability to modify our CPA targets/bids in a CPA campaign.  While we’re still profitable at this CPA, there’s a world of difference in a $30 CPA vs. an $80 one.

Overall Device Statistics:

Device Types

Taken as a whole, Mobile Impressions in this vertical actually outnumbered those on Desktop computers.  While I’ve seen that the Mobile market for Search is expanding, I was very surprised at just how much of an audience there was for this account – more than my initial estimations, to be sure.  However, this is for an Ecommerce client.  Making purchases over a phone is commonplace now.  Other business models may find more difficulty in this segment.

Still, there are plenty of lessons to learn as we continue the migration process.  Keep an eye on your highly competitive terms – there are an awful lot of people about to make the jump to Mobile, and your CPCs will go up.  Be ready with your Bid Modifiers.

In addition, try to avoid using CPA bidding on Enhanced Campaigns.  While it’s a worthy test to see just what kind of conversion volume you can get, the lack of control – especially on your bid modifiers – make it more difficult to keep mobile within the bounds of your CPA tolerance.

Finally, make a mobile site.  Optimize it.  Otherwise, you’ll find your conversion rate roughly halved for that audience – which is very, very bad considering just how large that market is nowadays.

What about you, PPC Heroes and Heroines?  How are you dealing with this brave new world?  Is mobile working for you?  Are tablets and desktops actually the same?

(Hint:  They’re not.)

Any other pioneering tips to share as June approaches?  Let us know in the comments and, as always, thanks for reading!