Tablets and the Implications of the Enhanced Campaigns
The introduction of Google’s Enhanced campaigns has divided opinions within the pay-per-click crowd, and any attempt at researching the topic will yield mixed attitudes. This update does not benefit everyone equally, so we need to examine it objectively from the perspective that matters to us most – ours.
We all know that Google is a business and that any changes they make will ultimately be self-beneficial. That’s fine; after all, Google’s profits ride on the loyalty of its consumer base and the business has demonstrated nothing but utter commitment to providing the best product experience possible. Rest assured, we at ConversionWorks are not tin foil hat-wearers and we firmly believe that Google has our best interests at heart.
Pros of the Enhanced Campaigns interface include its more granular control system, insight into ad extension metrics, allowance for simpler account structures, precision bid targeting and generally simplified administration which are all fine and good, but when we dig a little deeper we are confronted with some niggling inconveniences.
The biggest elephant in the room is the removal of tablets as being a distinct device targeting group, meaning iPads and tablets are bundled in together with desktops and laptops as a single device group. This may seem a sensible enough move from Google’s standpoint, after all, why shouldn’t tablets receive the same love as desktops and laptops? Well, the problem is that user behaviour on both of these device groups is startlingly different, which makes pleasing everyone with the same content a problematic exercise.
You might have addressed this dilemma already by serving the same site to both device groups, which can be a quick and easy win, but in most cases you’ll be cutting your site short of its true potential. Both device groups are whole different ballgames when it comes to search trends, volumes, CPCs and even seasonal peaks and troughs. Even though much content is rendered similarly on both devices, a fiddly site with lots of small buttons and links will almost certainly be more suited to a desktop user.
Let’s make the bold conjecture that tablet users are primarily researchers who are more likely to convert later on desktop, rather than on their handheld device. If this information is correct, PPC managers will want to target tablet users with a research-focused ad, and desktop users with an ad more geared towards encouraging a purchase, i.e. ‘find out more’ vs. ‘buy now’. This was possible pre-Enhanced Campaigns era, but sadly is no longer, even if you split out your ads into separate campaigns. Likewise, you’d ideally also want your landing pages to be geared towards your device-group’s common intent.
Looking ahead, we’re on the brink of a gaining new insights for the multi-screen world directly within our AdWords accounts (a feature of the Enhanced update which will certainly be welcomed with open arms by PPC managers everywhere).
Estimated Total Conversions, which has been gradually rolling out for advertisers since 1st October, allows us to see an estimate for how many conversions resulted from multiple searches across multiple devices. This information is split out on AdWords reports by device, meaning that we are finally able to understand the true value of tablet in assisting conversions later on across desktop or mobile devices. However, as we are now unable to distinctly target tablet users, the extent to which we will be able to use this information for optimisation purposes is restricted – unlike for mobile. Why then, is Google doing this?
The implications of these changes are simple, yet powerful: in time, with the explosive growth of tablet usage, Google will force every business to produce a tablet-friendly site in order to remain competitive. Previously, tablet users were only served a fraction of the advertising displayed to desktop users, so in time this dramatic shift will be beneficial to everyone.
So, worry not and remember this; everyone’s in the same boat. Better fire up the iPad and give your dev team a call.