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In early 2013 Google overhauled the way PPC worked with the announcement of Enhanced Campaigns.
The new system enabled (or forced) marketers to manage their mobile and desktop PPC bids within the same campaign.
While the stated aim was to simplify how PPC campaigns were run and reflect the way consumers shift between devices, some marketers felt that it was a ploy to drive up Google’s mobile ad revenues.
In May 2013 I asked several PPC experts for their initial opinions, with the consensus being that Enhanced Campaigns had made their jobs easier by streamlining the bid process.
Alistair Dent, head of PPC at Periscopix, said:
In most cases the simplicity of account structure is much easier, making campaigns more straightforward to administrate.
A PPC manager’s time is always more productive when analysing data and optimising campaigns, rather than triplicating work across device-specific campaigns.
The official transition date was July 22 2013, just over a year ago today.
So a year on from the rollout of Enhanced Campaigns, how have marketers adapted to the new system?
The Econsultancy/Latitude Search Engine Benchmark Report published in May 2014 found that, though only 9% felt that Enhanced Campaigns had had a negative impact on their search marketing, sentiment was mixed.
Verbatim responses revealed that marketers enjoyed having more control over their campaigns. Examples included:
[It's given us] more control over campaigns and more targeted mobile campaigns.
[It allows] greater control when you have a small budget.
Though it obviously wasn’t all positive:
It’s impossible now to have a mobile-only campaign which is very annoying.
Customers are currently unable to purchase our products on mobile and tablet, and as such we are wasting 20% of our PPC budget on tablet advertising.
What impact has Google’s introduction of Enhanced Campaigns had on your / your clients’ paid search marketing?
And a new Kenshoo survey of 85 paid search marketers gives a useful snapshot of the industry, with a large majority (83%) of respondents stating that they now bundle their desktop and mobile search budgets together rather than viewing them separately.
It also shows that just over half of respondents (53%) still spend 20% or less of their total paid search budget on mobile. This is likely to be impacted by lower CPCs on mobile, but also due to the fact that marketers still find that desktop delivers a greater ROI.
Almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents stated that mobile paid search campaigns perform worse than desktop.
How would you rate the performance of your mobile paid search efforts when compared to desktop?
Expectations vs. reality
As mentioned, prior to the rollout of Enhanced Campaigns there was some apprehension among marketers about how it would impact their search performance.
Indeed the Kenshoo survey shows that 43% of respondents felt that it would have a negative impact on their paid search campaigns.
As is often the case the reality was far different. Following the switch to Enhanced Campaigns only a quarter (25%) saw a negative impact, while the rest were equally split between seeing a positive impact or no effect at all (29% vs. 29%).
Expected vs. actual effects of Enhanced Campaigns on overall paid search performance
Mobile bid adjustment
Finally, the survey asked marketers how they use mobile bid adjustments within Enhanced Campaigns.
Reflecting the fact that mobile CPCs are typically lower than those on desktop, a majority of respondents (59%) said that when applying a mobile bid adjustment it’s generally to decrease mobile bids.
A further 10% most commonly use the adjustment tool to opt out of mobile search entirely.