There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by at the moment without Google announcing another significant change to their operations. First Penguin and Panda turned search engine algorithms on their heads, and then Google Local came under the spotlight to receive a full makeover.
Now pay per click results engine AdWords have revealed significant changes to their processes which could completely alter the way this facility is used.
Known as ‘Enhanced Campaigns’, Google are insisting that this new release will create the opportunity for focussed marketing so that every advertising pound can achieve greater return on investment.
Within the new change, Google have launched a sophisticated bid management process which is aimed at improving overall effectiveness.
The new platform enables much more advanced customer modelling so that it is possible to differentiate an ad and the call to action depending on time of day, location and the device used.
It will no longer be possible to differentiate users depending on device at ad level but the relevant bid booster will enable much more intricate differentiation at the keyword stage.
Once the bid price is set, the bid booster will weight your preferences for each option and therefore adjust the price you pay to illustrate the clicks that you value the greatest.
For device specification, a bid adjustment of -100% will focus on desktop advertising and turn off mobile promotion. Conversely a bid adjustment of +300% will focus your spend on mobile devices but could see you paying up to three times more for the relevant click.
The same type of bid boosters are also available for time of day and location. And by combining all these factors, it is possible to create a highly focussed PPC campaign.
For example: A sandwich delivery company want to reach anyone within a five mile radius who is chained to their desk and feeling a bit peckish. Using the terms ‘sandwich’ and ‘lunch delivery’, the advertiser can use the bid adjustments to aim at his specific target. By bidding 30% higher for people within the specified radius, 50% higher for searches after 11am and 75% higher for people on desktops, he will focus the correct ad and call to action to a very specific target audience.
And bid boosting is not the only change introduced. Reporting tools are also becoming a lot stronger and increasingly precise.
Conversion identification is more specific. It is now possible to identify more intricate actions such as telephone calls generated or apps purchased from the appropriate call to action.
Sitelink performance is also becoming more precise and it will now be possible to report on individual sitelinks as opposed to the previous group report.
The transition to Enhanced Campaigns is already underway and for anyone that has not moved over by June 2013, the process will be carried out automatically. But this only gives a few months to prepare.
For AdWords users who do not have a mobile strategy, serious time is required to develop a plan that will enable them to move forward. For large, multifaceted AdWords accounts, transitioning to the new process will take hours of agreeing and building new campaigns.
And while Google’s own analytics packages are ready and waiting for the new updates, if you are using a more independent assessment product, transition may start to get incredibly complex.
As with all adjustments to Google Operations, the general message of improved customer experience is being spouted again and again, but these developments are anything but altruistic.
Mobile search has never been a strength of Google and Enhanced Campaigns is a strong and clear message that they are ready to change all that. In 2013 it is forecasted that more people will use mobile devices to access the internet than they will desktops and Google want to make sure they are ready.
No doubt introducing boosters and adapting bid prices is going to reflect in increased revenues for the corporation. But for Google, Enhanced Campaigns is yet another move to ensure their customers are tied even deeper into the franchise. And while there is no other stronger force around, this is fine. But with noise throughout the industry about new and up and coming search facilities that could weaken or even topple the Google Empire, is this the time to be sinking further into the Google camp?
As we see more users transition over to Enhanced Campaigns it will be easier to see just how such a change is going to affect the way we use this type of search. But as usual with a Google release, all we can right now is sit back and wait.