Live from SMX Advanced Seattle: New PPC Best Practices In An Enhanced Campaign World

By Amanda Sides | Jun 11, 2013
More Articles by Amanda


enhancedFor those of you have already taken the plunge and switched to Enhanced Campaigns, or for those who are holding out until the last minute, this session provided lots of tips and trick for the new world of PPC in an Enhanced Campaign world. Learn how to rework your AdWords accounts to get started, and how to monitor and adjust on an ongoing basis to learn quickly and adapt based on your findings in this new realm.

Ben Vigneron, Director, Analytics & Strategy, eSearchVision (@eSearchVision)

Ben suggests first reorganizing your account, to isolate your top keywords in their own ad groups (yes, he means putting one keyword per ad group for your top performing keywords) for the best editorial and bidding optimization purposes. This will help you more easily test and control settings for those keywords to improve performance.

For those who are sad about having to combine your device targeting methods into one campaign, you can still influence the device impressions by utilizing the device bidding options. If you’d like a campaign targeted mostly to mobile devices, be sure you lower your bid percentages for desktop & tablets, then increase them for mobile. You still will likely never be able to have 100% of traffic within a campaign for mobile devices. Note that mobile bid modifiers are set against desktop/tablet bids; be sure to compare mobile data to combined desktop and tablet data to make your decisions.

Jeff Allen, Director of Paid Search, Hanapin Marketing (@JeffAllenUT)

Macro Level Effects of Enhanced Campaigns

Jeff’s results stem from about 50 accounts and over one million dollars in ad spend over a period of over 30 days, but here’s what they found at a macro level:

  • Mobile impressions up 9% and clicks up 45%
  • Tablet impressions up 48% and clicks up 45%
  • Computer impressions up 5% and clicks down 13%
  • Mobile spend increased from 10.2% to 16.8% after switching to enhanced
  • CPA up across all devices
    • Computer up 12%
    • Mobile up 40%
    • Tablet up 13%

Micro Effects of Enhanced Campaigns

So how about at a micro level? Who is a good fit for Enhanced Campaigns? Advertisers using mobile optimized landing pages, are location specific, and they use specific day-parting settings. You can get really granular with your bid modifiers in this situation. For instance, a college campus can control bidding by the radius around the physical campus. Jeff did some testing on a college campus client, and for searches within 20 miles, they bid up; for searches within 40 miles, they didn’t do anything, and 60 miles out or more, they bid down. The result? CPA is way up and volume of leads didn’t budge. They decided to strip off all of the bid modifiers and overnight it pretty much reduced CPA by 28%, which was actually better than pre-Enhanced Campaigns.

All-in-all, using bid modifiers could be just forcing you to pay more for keywords you were doing well on, and on the lower end could be shutting off keywords that were doing well at lower bids and positions in first place. He suggests figuring out the high end of what you want from bidding up with your bid modifiers, set your main bids there, then bid down with bid modifiers from there to counteract this issue.

Moral of the story: Use bid modifiers sparingly.

Brad Geddes, Founder, Certified Knowledge (@bgtheory)

Brad wanted to fill in the gaps with Enhanced Campaign discussions, and he starts off with a geographic study. Pre-Enhanced Campaigns they had an account set up with campaigns separated based on high-performing locations, mid-performing locations and low-performing location. After combining them because of Enhanced campaigns, the efforts using CPC bidding saw great results: ~8% reduction in CPA and for lead gen and 7% reduction for ecommerce. However, efforts utilizing CPA bidding did not end as well, with a 13% increase in CPA for lead gen and 11.4% increase for ecommerce.

Ad Sitelinks at the ad group level is too new to be really useful. There’s no support in Editor, there’s no searching or sorting available in the AdWords user interface, making it really time-consuming to set up and difficult to manage. Brad suggests starting with some ad group customizations with sitelinks on your ad groups that are in top positions and have high quality scores. This will help you start testing with the areas that will most benefit from custom ad sitelinks.

When imputing bid modifiers for day-parting, be very careful as you might  be looking at impartial data or just not drilling down far enough to make the best decisions. Instead of just setting bid modifiers by day or across the board for certain hours, set bid modifiers at the hourly level per each day of the week. You can really be sure to adjust bids based on each hour of each day rather than accidentally increasing bids on high performing days but also the poor performing hours during that day. This takes care of that.

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