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The Give and Take of Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns | B2B Marketing

Focusing primarily on keyword targeting and performance feedback with a few added extras such as real-time fine-tuning and ad serving, inventory tracking and cost-per-day impression estimates, it was perfectly suited to the limited search opportunity of the time. By 2013 however, millions of accounts can run up to 10,000 campaigns each, either directly on the service or through third party management tools.

Earlier this year, Google announced what is being described as the biggest evolution to AdWords in a decade – the advent of Enhanced Campaigns. While generally welcomed, the update is causing some consternation from the more ‘pro’ AdWords users. As B2B Marketing has already covered (

), the key changes are the simplification of multi-device campaigns, contextual evolution plus a range of new conversion metrics, which could ultimately cost marketers both budget and ROI.

Many of the benefits feel more targeted towards AdWords’ predominant B2C activities, but what of the business to business activity that also flows through the platform? Well, there are certainly gains to be had for the more lightweight user. Tablet and mobile marketing that may previously have felt too difficult or complex to try out will now be a seamless part of a campaign. For bricks-based businesses the proximity targeting feature, while intended for restaurants, coffee shops and the like will be useful for attracting local custom to business services companies. Combine this with context, and bricks and clicks businesses can optimise and drive targets to either ecommerce sites or physical locations depending on the device used and geo-location.

Google has also shown it understands the particular needs of the B2B marketer to a certain degree. The lengthy purchase cycle for B2B products and services is one reason that marketers sometimes shy away from the relative immediacy of search marketing. Yet with the impending improvements to attribution tracking and analysis, marketers will be able to better see and apportion relevance to the impact of search marketing activity within the purchase funnel. Similarly, the day and time bidding updates will help make those all-important ‘business hours’ perform better in B2B campaigns.

Another major improvement, and in my view the biggest gain for B2B marketers, is the way that AdWords is going to start to feel like the content marketer’s best friend. We’re now used to driving interest and engagement via white papers, webinars and the like – but the best we could realistically hope for previously was specific AdWords campaigns to drive targets to registration pages and downloads, generating leads for later conversion through other channels. Once Enhanced Campaigns rolls out, tracking actual online PDF or app downloads will also be provisioned, enabling marketers to properly measure these vital B2B metrics as an integrated element, rather than in separate silos. Click-to-call extensions have also been improved, with Google eliminating the transfer cost, and also enabling calls driven via this route that last over 60 seconds to be included as a conversion metric for reporting and measurement.

It is unfortunately not all rosy though.  If you don’t want mobile, it is possible to switch it off by setting the relevant bid multiplier to zero, but the same cannot be said for tablet devices. Nor can companies run mobile or indeed tablet only campaigns. Carefully apportioning budget to mobile, tablet and desktop will be nigh on impossible to achieve, but the impact of this goes deeper. Costs will increase, especially on tablet clicks as they will now be treated no different to desktop, but mobile CPCs will also rise as the update rolls out and volume and competition increases. Apparently spend may need to increase by around 3% to deliver the same traffic, traction and results. Perhaps if Google can calculate a value for the associated time-savings the industry may accept this back-door price rise, but only if Google can show it has reduced the campaign management time for expert users too.

Content marketing requires good landing page optimisation and while it is possible to tailor ad copy according to device (or rather ‘context’ in current Google speak), enabling device-specific landing pages is not provisioned. This is going to create a reduction in the use of flash and a necessary rise in responsive or adaptive web design (

),  but even this will not be a perfect fix as B2B content consumed on tablets is still a very different experience to desktop content consumption, despite what Google may tell us! The fact that marketers have no control over this is definitely a missing piece of the jigsaw and perhaps one that will prevent B2B marketers from switching over to the new functionality as quickly as they could.

It is however likely that backlash from its considerable professional user base will encourage Google to make some tweaks this year to give back some of the controls lost (there’s a petition running already –

). Any AdWords user that remembers the broad match debacle, where Google tweaked its keyword matching to enable related terms and synonyms to also be used for targeting, will know that the march of progress can cause casualties along the way, but that this is not necessarily the end of the story. In this example, broad match soon started to become irrelevant by being too broad, forcing users to use negative keyword lists as a workaround until Google released its ‘broad match modifier’ to restore ROI and enable users to manage their campaigns more closely.   In the meantime, the industry is already finding ways to force the system to do some of what they want. As I’ve already mentioned, device level optimisation is imperative for B2B campaigns, but essentially lacking in the Enhanced Campaign update. However, take a look at the Acquisio blog (

) to find out how the {ifmobile} ValueTrack parameter can be deployed to retain dual landing pages.

While we wait for the dust to settle and for Google to identify the areas that require further tweaks to satisfy both light and heavy users, please let us know in the comments below of the core issues you’re facing with Enhanced Campaigns, and of course of any other useful workarounds you have found.

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