Google Enhanced Campaigns Brings Welcome Change, Despite The Device Type Conundrum

February 8th, 2013

Yesterday, Google announced one of its largest Adwords system overhauls in company history aimed at addressing the convergence of search users becoming device type agnostic and engaging more readily with mobile devices.  While reaction has been mixed due to unpopular changes with device type targeting that has been integral in improving ROI in the mobile landscape, that disappointment has overshadowed a number of great system improvements that will benefit advertisers.

The following are some interesting functionality improvements that Advertisers should be excited about:

Sitelink Extensions

It has been a long time in the making, but Google has finally addressed the missteps in its Site Link Extensions functionality and delivered what Advertisers have been clamoring for since launch.

First, they will finally be offering the ability to see actual site link level reporting.  Until now, Advertisers could only obtain front end data on the Sitelink block, but could not determine which Sitelinks were improving or impairing your performance.  While you could track visitors to your site, the missing link was click rates associated with those visits.

More importantly, Google announced it will offer Sitelinks at the Ad Group level.  This will lead to increased Sitelinks usage by eliminating the need to split up campaigns to be able to create more relevant communication.  By applying Sitelinks at the Ad Group level, where the relevancy structure is already applied to effectively connect the ad communication to the keyword, it will allow Advertisers to customize their Sitelinks and likely enable more advertisers to utilize a functionality which often positively impacts campaign performance.

Finally, for those that use Call Extensions, help is on the way.  A major deterrence with the current Adwords system is the all-in restrictions that require advertisers to run Call Extensions 24/7 unless you are willing to go through the cumbersome process of manually turning on and off.  Adwords will be now offering scheduling tools that will allow you to turn on not only Call Extensions for different dayparts, but also standard sitelinks that will allow Advertisers to remove expired promotions on an automated timing basis rather than manually.

Location Based Bidding

Another functionality update long overdue is the enhancement to bidding that will afford Advertisers the ability to adjust bids based on the user geography.  Instead of having to duplicate your campaigns with unique geographic targeting options to leverage the findings in your Geography reports, Advertisers will now be able to apply a bid modifier to increase their bid by X% to be more aggressive in markets where consumers are more likely to convert.  Given modifiers will be applicable at the targeting level of the campaign setup; it offers Advertisers the ability to integrate their offline target marketing strategies with the online marketing environment.

Cross Device Attribution

As search users have become more platform agnostic, not to mention their workplace user behavior versus their personal behavior, tracking latent performance has become increasingly challenging.  A user can begin their search at work using their company-issued laptop in the morning, the user then double checks something later in the day using their mobile phone and finally converts that evening at home using their tablet.  Even more challenging for Advertisers is when the individual clicks on the paid search ad on their work computer, but when they come home, directly visit the website or click organically, resulting in the  loss of all conversion attribution to paid search.  While details are light regarding how and when Google will implement this, it is a move in the right direction to assist advertisers with identifying the true return on their investment from their advertising dollars and bring visibility to conversion lost due to search behavior patterns.