Optimizing Google Enhanced Campaigns: Success Starts At Migration
In February of this year, Google made headlines with its launch of enhanced campaigns. Since the initial outpouring of both interest and concern, advertisers have been seeking to understand how enhanced campaigns will not only reshape their campaign structures and strategies, but also how this will impact their ability to acquire revenue.
With the July 22, 2013 migration deadline fast approaching, the attention has shifted from “why” to “how.” How do search marketers efficiently migrate to enhanced campaigns and optimize them to ensure post-migration success?
During this critical time period, both Google and Marin Software continue to provide enterprise-class support and best practices for campaign migration and have measured the success of enhanced campaigns based on initial post-migration performance.
1.5 Million Campaigns Migrated
In the four months since its February announcement, Google reported that more than 1.5 million campaigns have already been migrated to enhanced campaigns. In parallel, Marin Software has facilitated the successful migration of over 25% of our campaigns under management, accounting for over $1 billion in annualized paid search spend now managed through enhanced campaigns on Marin’s platform.
Optimizing For Post-Migration Success
As the July migration deadline approaches, a growing number of advertisers will begin initiating their plan to migrate legacy campaigns and merge matching desktop-, mobile-, and tablet-only campaigns.
During this critical time period, advertisers can not only efficiently migrate their campaigns, but also optimize them to capitalize on an untested Google paid search landscape, positioning themselves to maximize their revenue outcomes heading into the holiday season.
Though there are a number of campaign objects that must be considered and optimized during the enhanced campaign migration and merging process, the following five best practices are simple yet highly effective in achieving post-migration success:
- Merging Campaign Budgets: Enhanced campaign daily budgets will likely need to be increased due to the additional click volume from expanded device targeting. For each set of matching campaigns, add the daily budgets of the merged campaigns together. Review the final budget of the enhanced campaign and ensure it meets your business requirements.
- Merging Mobile-Only Creative: If you have creative that specifically targets mobile devices, as is the case in mobile-only campaigns, set the device preference to “Mobile” for these creative when merging. Keep in mind that if you only have mobile-preferred creative, these creative are also eligible to show on desktop and tablet devices.
- Maintaining Historical Quality Score: Since Quality Score takes device into account, migrating to enhanced campaigns does not result in a loss of historical Quality Score information as long as keyword, creative, landing page, and device combinations remain the same.
- Optimizing Location-Targeted Campaigns: At this time, advertisers are not required to merge separate, location-targeted campaigns. For advertisers that have matching campaigns targeting separate locations, continue to segment these campaigns by location target. This will enable optimal bid calculations based on performance by location, rather than relying on campaign-level location bid adjustments.
- Optimizing Display-Targeted Campaigns: At this time, advertisers are not required to merge separate, network-targeted campaigns. For advertisers that separate campaigns by search and display, continue to separate search campaigns from display campaigns. This will enable optimal display mobile bid adjustment calculations based on display performance.
A detailed guide has been crafted to walk you through the best practices for migrating campaigns which includes advance tips for optimizing enhanced campaigns to ensure post-migration success.
Success, Large & Small
Despite the initial skepticism when enhanced campaigns were first announced, many advertisers that have since migrated their legacy campaigns are seeing positive results both from a time-saving and performance perspective. The effectiveness of enhanced campaigns for advertisers large and small has been observed across multiple brands with varying paid search strategies.
Across Marin Software’s customer base, we’ve seen positive results from advertisers that have opted to migrate early. Recently, a large financial services company successfully migrated to enhanced campaigns on Marin’s platform and optimized to increase leads by 64% while lowering their CPL by 37% across a significant portion of their campaigns. Interestingly, and somewhat counter to what many advertisers are anticipating, CPCs dropped by 2% while clicks increased by 6% in the first month post-migration.
Google has reported similar success. In France, Vivastreet migrated 100% of their campaigns within the French market in one week and increased their total conversions by 34% while hitting their CPA targets.
In the US, Woodbridge began utilizing call extensions and advanced reporting features to double their smartphone leads and boost conversion rates by 6%.
More recognizable brands Hotwire and American Apparel now save 5 to 10 hours per week on campaign management and doubled their phone leads with improved ROAS, respectively.
Though the impact of enhanced campaigns on paid search performance will certainly vary across advertisers and industries, these initial findings cast an optimistic light on one of the largest and most controversial changes to Google AdWords within the last decade.
Need Help Migrating?
For sophisticated search marketers, migrating to enhanced campaigns from start to finish is a non-trivial task, requiring a heightened attention to detail and a scaled workflow throughout the migration process.
The ability to efficiently migrate and merge campaigns in bulk, update URLs with Google’s ValueTrack parameters, quickly calculate mobile bid adjustments, and generate relevant mobile preferred ads will be critical to optimizing enhanced campaigns during the migration, and will allow savvy advertisers to capitalize on new revenue opportunities following the migration deadline.
To help even the most complex advertisers successfully migrate, Marin Software has developed and released support enabling advertisers to not only migrate legacy campaigns in bulk, but also calculate optimal mobile bid adjustments based on historical performance by device.
Similarly, Google created the upgrade center where search marketers can quickly and easily migrate multiple campaigns at once as well as merge matching campaigns together. These tools and executing on migration best practices will enable search marketers to experience the level of success that many advertisers have achieved since migrating to enhanced campaigns, carrying that success into the new multi-device world.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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