Enhanced Campaigns: What it means for KPIs

Google Enhanced CampaignsWith the July 22nd deadline looming for Google switching their UI over to Enhanced Campaigns, most search marketers are focused on migrating their campaigns over and benchmarking their performance pre and post Enhanced.

From an agency point of view, there are two intense levels of interest.  The search marketers are learning the ins and outs of the UI and doing the physical work necessary to move these campaigns over.  The marketers are watching performance to see how KPIs will be impacted from Enhanced.

From the perspective of the search marketer who has always had to do the heavy lifting managing search campaigns, Google’s new UI will be an incredible time saver once they get past learning the new UI and achieve an operating comfort level.  Campaigns that had to be created in triplicate (smartphone, tablet and desktop) now only have to be done once.  From the perspective of the advertiser themselves, the benefit of this is that the search marketer is going to win back lots of time, freeing them up to focus on strategy, copy and landing page testing, new keyword creation and other forms of testing that they didn’t have time for before.  Marketers/Advertisers should be pushing their agencies for more strategic thinking since the time physically spent managing their campaigns should drop significantly.

Likewise, there are new opportunities to fine tune performance of a campaign with Enhanced (site links at the ad group level, mobile extensions, cross device reporting, and others), which will ratchet up the sophistication of search marketing.  Search marketers are being given a lot of new levers to pull, and they need to understand how to use these opportunistically.  Advertisers need to understand that these levers exist and be open to new forms of testing that was not possible (or took considerable effort) before these UI changes.

There are three phases of migrating to Enhanced, and most search marketers should now be getting close to the last stage:  1) Migrating existing campaigns to Enhanced; 2) Benchmarking Performance; 3) Stabilizing Performance.  The July 22nd date is significant in that it should be ample time to get KPIs under control before the 4th quarter.

The KPIs most susceptible to being affected by Enhanced are cpcs.  Many marketers have seen cpcs rise pre-Enhanced throughout the latter half of 2012 and year-to-date in 2013.  The biggest concern with Enhanced from the start was the fact that tablet campaigns are now rolled together with desktop, and for many advertisers, performance on these devices is quite different.  That is what many are benchmarking for now since we all have to live with this – there is no work around.  Additionally and because of this, there will be an influx of advertisers in the auction encompassing those who had previously opted out of tablet because of either weak performance or because it was too time consuming to clone the campaigns.  More advertisers in the auction typically means higher cpcs for all.  What we don’t know yet is how much impact the new features of Enhanced will have on quality score and if better quality score can lower cpcs enough to offset the effects of increased competition in the auction.  Understanding the going-forward impact on KPIs is what I’d consider Stage 4 of Enhanced.

Lastly, what I believe is the biggest benefit of Enhanced Campaigns is still unknown, and that is how useable and actionable the Cross Device Reporting will be.  It is unknown because it hasn’t been released to any advertisers yet but is due to be in the next few weeks.  With most marketers struggling to hit ROI metrics running search on smartphones, the ability to tie clickstreams together across devices should lift performance for this device.  With some marketers seeing 50% of their traffic but only 10% of their revenue coming from smartphones, visibility to cross device metrics should finally enable this channel to scale, which will be a benefit to all in terms of yielding more revenue from search .

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