The enhanced campaigns AdWords rollout has drawn mixed sentiment among advertisers. You need only monitor #enhancedcampaigns on Twitter to see the full spectrum of thoughts from opinionated PPC practitioners.
Some marketers have found the silver lining amid the anguished cries of others, but ultimately all will be forced to accept the good and bad of enhanced campaigns.
For the past few weeks, AdWords has held webinars to shed some light on what the new campaign structure and features will mean for advertisers. They’ve discussed users’ constant connection in varying contexts (time of day, device, and location) through multiple devices as the impetus for enhanced campaigns. Many of the new features are geared toward giving marketers the ability to best match customer context to their performance marketing objectives.
This post will examine the changes and updates specific to call and sitelink ad extensions. We’ll begin with call extension.
Call Extension Updates
There are three extension types available focused on generating calls:
- Call extension
- Call extension with call only
- Location extension (local focused)
Let’s say you have a call center open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can now schedule your call extensions to only show during those times.
Phone Call Conversions
Using Google forwarding numbers, advertisers can track phone conversions simply by specifying the duration of the call in seconds.
Call Only Option (Only for Cell Phones)
For businesses without a mobile ready site or those looking to drive business primarily through phone calls, there is the option to only show the phone number rather than both the site and phone number.
Phone Numbers Varied by Keyword
Call extensions can now be set at the ad group or campaign level. Setting the phone number at the ad group level allows different phone numbers to be shown for different keywords.
Previously, call extension metrics were reserved for desktop and tablet calls. Now, mobile data will be included in these reports as well if the call extensions use a Google forwarding number. Also, since not all clicks-to-calls result in a placed call, reporting will include actual placed mobile calls in addition to mobile click-to-call data.
Phone Numbers Not Allowed in Description Line
Since advertisers can easily use call extensions across all devices, phone numbers will no longer be allowed in the description copy. Why use valuable ad real estate inserting a phone number when call extensions can generate call traffic and track performance as well?
Google Forwarding Numbers are Free!
In the past, desktop and tablet campaigns using Google forwarding numbers were charged a $1 fee per call. Not anymore.
Sitelink Extension Updates
Legacy campaign sitelinks will need to be manually updated once a campaign has been migrated to enhanced campaigns. For the time being, both legacy and enhanced sitelinks can be managed in one place.
Create at the Ad Group Level
The option to create sitelinks at the campaign level is still available, but the update essentially allows multiple sets of varied sitelinks within one campaign. In other words, sitelink organization that once took multiple campaigns can now be handled within one. If you have both campaign and ad group sitelinks live, the ad group level extensions will trump campaign.
Enhanced campaigns can house up to 20 sitelinks per ad group, as opposed to the previous cap of 11 per campaign – this is a dramatic expansion worth taking advantage of.
Sitelink blocks are a thing of the past. Enhanced campaigns allow for sitelink management down to each individual sitelink. This also means that individual sitelinks go through the approval process, as opposed to a whole block.
Individual Sitelink Performance Reporting
The added granularity of individual sitelinks also makes possible performance reporting at the sitelink level.
Schedule & Rotate
Similar to the call extension scheduling feature mentioned above, sitelinks can also be scheduled for certain hours and days of the week.
Character Limit Reduced
The new character limit for sitelinks has been reduced from 35 to 25. Brevity is crucial.
While enhanced campaigns bring several useful updates, there are also some glaring inefficiencies:
- Mobile Keyword Level Bidding: The new structure uses bid multipliers to set mobile bids at the campaign level. The issue is that not all keywords perform the same. To correctly manage performance, bids need to be set at the keyword level. The alternative is to bucket similarly performing keywords into their own campaign in order to set bid multipliers accordingly.
- Desktop ≠ Tablet: AdWords says the desktop and tablet ecosystem is changing. The line between the two devices is blurring. While the data supports the claims regarding the trend between the two devices, AdWords has decided to change its product to answer this trend before the ecosystem has fully evolved. The future is now… according to Google, anyway.
The issue here is many see noticeable differences in CPAs across these devices, myself included. While this margin may close in the future, it is still very much a gap I would like to control. AdWords is more focused on user context than the devices they are using, meaning understanding when and where users are looking for answers is more important than if they are using a tablet or desktop.
By this summer, all advertisers will need to come to terms with the new campaign structure. The best thing we can do is to keep sight of our core marketing objectives and begin to understand how to maintain performance with the coming changes and new campaign architecture.
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