• http://twitter.com/andrew_goodman Andrew Goodman

    Hey Matt, despite my head spinning I sense there is one clear takeaway from this article! And that is you disagree with the lack of tablet-specific bidding. What is becoming clearer to more people today is that Google takes a “translucent” approach even to the most seemingly transparent aspects of how the AdWords platform behaves. To people on the outside with an engineering mindset, this must be maddening. After all, if the thing is designed by engineers, can’t we, um, think about it in the same way on the outside? Perhaps… with a decoder ring. For example, Google figured out a long time ago that it needed to manage the wild disparities in publisher quality in the display network, *even though* advertisers could theoretically deal with problems through exclusions, bidding, etc., and *even though* Google hypothetically *should* police participants in its GDN through direct enforcement and *should* be able to filter out fraudulent clicks proactively and reactively. So even with these *five means* of making click pricing fair to the poor advertiser, Google realized themselves it wouldn’t be fair. So they “smart price” the actual prices of clicks. To prevent a backlash, or a loss of confidence in the whole network that would hinder adoption.

    Advertiser confidence in this new architecture of the AdWords platform is paramount, IMO, or Google will lose more new dollars than it gains.

    But there are quite a few improvements that for my money look like they’ll help us more than they hurt. So I am keeping an open mind.

    There are a few thorny parts and a few things I would want them to change, of course. But managing all that complexity is a major issue for advertisers, even sophisticated ones. Squeezing ROI out of very granular campaigns with many moving parts *while spending minimum time and effort managing those parts* (still resulting in a huge commitment of time and expertise, but a manageable one) is the end goal for everyone.

    What’s clear to me is that there have always been serious flaws lurking in here — I mean flaws that *cannot* be worked around, such as the inability to bid differently on search network partners.

    Tablets, for now, looks like an issue for some. We found they performed similarly enough that we collapsed them back in, for several clients. The issue there is how much granularity is really possible? We used to go in and exclude certain mobile OS’s or devices based on anecdotal evidence about spending behavior. Perhaps in future there will be so many device sizes, it’s going to be too cumbersome to handle all the differences with bid management.

  • http://twitter.com/ethanmowery Ethan Mowery

    Enhanced campaigns are just poorly conceived. I want to target mobile devices only. I don’t need to get in to specifics as to why. It’s what I want to do, and was able to do with legacy campaigns. Why take this away from me?

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.vanwagner1 Matt Van Wagner

    Agree strongly, Ethan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.vanwagner1 Matt Van Wagner

    Thanks, Andrew. Yes, in a nutshell, I believe Google handled the tablet thing backwards.
    Tablet usage is increasing, desktops usage declining. However, my assumption is that Tablet growth is at the expense of laptops – at least at the beginning. Laptops are not segregated out in reporting, so there’s no way to know. However, if that is the case, then what is left, once laptops are more or less gone – are desktop computers. For b-2-b, especially industrial, desktops will be around for a long time, and so the ability to target them specifically would be immensely useful.

    I think that keeping tablets segment, allowing desktops to gradually decline would have been the more logical approach. And, less disruptive to the entirety of the advertising community.

  • http://www.facebook.com/barbara.young.524381 Barbara Young

    I really do not like the direction Google is taking with the attitude of “we know what’s best for you, so take it or leave it”. As you point out (thanks for the graph!), their own data doesn’t support their claim that “tablets perform the same as desktops”. NOT IN THE EVENING HOURS THEY DON’T!

    I’m also with you 100% on the time zone bidding. I’m here in Eastern Time Zone setting up ads for my client in London who wants to target people in New York who are searching for things to do in London . Oiy! It certainly makes for interesting ad scheduling, and definitely not something one would want to tackle say on a Monday or a Friday until fully caffeinated…if you know what I mean.

  • Athena Catedral

    This is a rather complicated analogy, but seeing enhanced campaign as Google’s Grand Unification Theory of Devices is quite enlightening. However, practically speaking – some businesses are just not ready to integrate mobile or tablet, let alone both at the same time and forcing them to do so is going against Google credo to do no evil.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.vanwagner1 Matt Van Wagner

    Hi Athena, point taken. It was an elegant analogy in my mind, but committing it to an article was more tortured than I had hoped for. Many conversations about this today at SMX can be distilled to: Why the rush? Why now? Why are tablets more like desktop devices than mobile? I hope Google will delay this requirement for 24-36 months.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.vanwagner1 Matt Van Wagner

    Thank you, Barb. Your points are echoed by many here at SMX West this week.

  • Pat Grady

    Matt, you are both funny and brilliant, I loved this article!

  • Phil Lauriat

    This reminds me of an old story about an expensive movie house with a sign that said, “Popular Prices!” When asked by a customer about it, the owner replies, “Well, we like ‘em.”

    I don’t understand mobile as a blanket percentage of desktop. In some parallel mob/desktop campaigns I’m messing with, the top of page bids in the MOB campaigns vary tremendously up and down from the desktop campaign. MOB device users just don’t want to type long tail queries!
    I guess we’ll have to separate long and short tail queries into different campaigns/adgroups, and adjust accordingly. That’s simplification!

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.vanwagner1 Matt Van Wagner

    Good one, Phil. Yep, sure does feel like that!

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.vanwagner1 Matt Van Wagner

    Very interesting thought, Matthew, and I agree that it is important to make Google aware of your opinions, positive as well as negative. However, I don’t hold out hope here. Google has revved up the public relations campaign to sell this change, and once people start converting, they are less likely to reverse themselves. They believe are doing the right thing for the right reason.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.vanwagner1 Matt Van Wagner

    Aw, shucks Pat. Thanks – glad you enjoyed it.

  • http://houseofsem.pl/ Marcela

    i guess we’ll just wait for big bang ;-)

  • Kristin Brimi

    Excellent article! Thanks!

  • Adrian Huth

    Haha, sounds like the same math and PR scheme Bush and Cheney used to get us to accept their new “enhanced” interrogation methods.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.vanwagner1 Matt Van Wagner

    Yes, Adrian. I cringe anytime I hear someone use the word enhanced anymore…

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.vanwagner1 Matt Van Wagner

    Would be nice, but as I mentioned above, I think we’re going through the wormhole into the EC universe. See you on the other side.

  • http://twitter.com/chrisgoward Chris Goward

    This got me laughing, Matt:
    Law Of Bidding On Mobile & Desktop Devices (BMAD)

    Nice one :-)

  • maikencw

    I’m sorry to say that what google is doing is about as bad as it gets. Why shouldn’t an advertiser be able to set bids at the device level? Let me put it this way – in the past when I have tried to merge a computer campaign with tablets, the tablets convert at 5x the cost of the computers. In order to control this I have seperate campaigns for tablets and computers. I don’t even bother with mobile phones. It’s really bad!

  • maikencw

    Do you think google is doing this because they feel it will be best for the advertiser or for google? I don’t need a “parent” forcing me to do something because they think it’s what’s best for me. There is also one really big problem with tablets – they don’t function as a computer when it comes to personalizing items online. For example, most people on tablets have difficulty uploading photos and art files. 2 of the companies I advertise for sell personalized ware online and will without a doubt be at a financial loss once these campaigns are forcefully enhanced. The only thing that has worked for in the past is that I separate bids for tablets and computers into their own campaigns. Combined these companies have spent over a million on google in just a few years. I know that’s small change to google – but it’s not small change to a small business.This is a very difficult problem as google is pretty much a monopoly and bing is yet to make a dent into the search engine market. I cannot at this time switch all ads to bing and am therefore forced to stay with google and adjust my bids down so the conversion cost doesn’t skyrocket.

  • David Graham

    Yeah, I know. Too bad because for us, it will mean a step back in performance, specifically with one of our bigger clients. Right now we have tablets and PCs separate and tablets have similar CPCs and CTR, and even similar onsite behavior. That is until you get to the conversion. Then, PCs outperform 6.5 to 1.

    Our Adwords reps keep trying to “encourage” us to go ahead and move to enhanced campaigns because they are seeing such fantistic results. Whatever. I told them knowing that tablets don’t perform as well, I can’t justify that change to the client until we have absolutely no choice.

    We know performance is going to take a step back, why in the world would I want to rush it. They are just worried about a logjam on July 22nd.