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The Countdown to Enhanced Campaigns: Prepare for Enhanced Campaigns by Adjusting your Mobile Bids

Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2013 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, News, SEM


July 22, the day when all Google ad campaigns migrate to Enhanced Campaigns, is four days away. However, it’s not too late for advertisers to evaluate what the change will mean for their campaigns. Because Enhanced Campaigns consolidate mobile, tablet, and desktop campaigns, one primary way to prepare for the transition is to analyze ad spending and performance across devices and to adjust bids in order to maintain stability as the account weathers the storm.

Enhanced Campaigns will introduce a number of significant changes for bid adjustments on mobile devices. While keyword level bids will be retained, mobile bid adjustments will be made at either the campaign or ad group level. Google has specified a range in which this modifier can be placed, from -90% to +300% of your current base bid. There is an option to set a bid modifier of -100%, opting out of mobile targeting all together. However, if an account does target mobile devices, it must also target desktops and tablets.

Enhanced campaigns also allow bid adjustments based on locations, days of the week, and times of the day, ranging from -90% to +900%. However, multiple bid modifiers for a campaign will be multiplied, not added. For instance, if a keyword bid is set at $1 with a bid adjustment of -50% for mobile devices and -50% for weekend searches, the final bid would be 25 cents (-50 x -50), rather than 0 cents.

Even though many advertisers may be diligently preparing for the transition to Enhanced Campaigns, we predict that a great number of advertisers will not prepare, and instead will be forcibly tossed into Enhanced Campaign unawares. This means that the main concern during the transition is how other advertisers will respond, and how that will affect the search marketplace. Unfortunately, this is fairly unpredictable. What advertisers CAN do as the deadline gradually approaches is to minimize the volatility of their ad campaigns in the first few months of the transition. Here’s a five step analysis to run on any account that can help determine how to set mobile bid adjustments before we enter the brave new post-enhanced campaigns world:

Calculate your current spending profile, by device, to determine what percentage of spending goes to each device: desktop, tablet, and mobile.

  • On average, 10%–20% of all searches originate from tablets, and similarly, 10%–20% of all searches originate from smartphones. Ideally, the percent of spending across these devices should match the percentages represented by search. If the tablet and smartphone percentages are underrepresented, your post-migration performance will likely be affected.

Once spending per device is determined, combine desktop and tablet spending to see what will change. In many cases, the cost per click (CPC) will be higher for desktops than for tablets. Once everyone is moved onto Enhanced Campaigns, there will likely be an increase in tablet CPCs due to increased competition.

Now estimate your account’s potential cost per action (CPA) volatility. For this analysis, look at how your desktop CPCs and CPA compare with these same measurements on tablet devices. Understanding how this difference in current performance may be amplified (or diminished) by the current tablet share you calculated in step one will help you anticipate the initial volatility of your desktop/tablet segment. Keep in mind that a number of factors could affect actual performance, including different conversion goals, by device.

Next, combine your mobile spending with the combined spending of desktops and tablets to see the difference in CPAs between mobile and the combined desktop/tablet segment. Let’s say the CPA for mobile devices is $8.51 and the CPA for the combined desktop/tablet segment is $5.09. The difference between these two segments is 67%.  However, this does not mean that the mobile bid modifier should be set to -67% to accommodate this. Instead, apply a more conservative setting of about -20% to -30%. These calculations are only estimates based on predictions of how the market will be affected—your initial bid adjustments should aim to achieve stability for the account during the ultimately unpredictable transition to Enhanced Campaigns.

  • If your account will not be targeting mobile devices at all, set your mobile bid modifiers to -100%.
  • Google may suggest bid adjustments for campaigns, but use these with caution. These suggestions are not specific to your account, but are instead based on industry-specific data.

After the transition, monitor your account’s performance.

  • Keep an eye on CPCs and conversions for one to two months.
  • Ideally, try to run device-level reports daily to see how costs are changing across the different devices.
  • Collect a week’s worth of data before making any drastic changes. This will account for any volatility between days of the week.

For more information about transitioning to Enhanced Campaigns, check out our comprehensive white paper.

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