Google Enhanced Campaign Transition Tips

For months, Google AdWords advertisers have had the option of migrating their old-style legacy campaigns to AdWords enhanced campaigns. As the automatic rollover date fast approaches, more advertisers will be forced to dive headfirst into the complex pool of new options, settings, and rules. Because Google has treated the enhanced campaigns rollout like a true beta, tweaking and adding features and settings since their introduction, it’s critical to approach the transition with a strategy that will prevent you from unintentionally spending more on your AdWords traffic than it’s worth.

Here are seven things to keep top-of-mind when transitioning legacy campaigns to enhanced campaigns, which could mean the difference between smooth sailing and a rocky road.  Feel free to share them with your marketing team!

1. Your ads will show on mobile devices, unless…

By default, all enhanced campaigns will deliver ads to users on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, visitors could have a bad experience after clicking on your ad and reaching your desktop site, which could be hard to see and difficult to use on a tiny touchscreen.

Luckily, Google has opened the door for advertisers who want to opt out of ad delivery to audiences on smartphones. By reducing your campaign-level bid adjustment for “Mobile devices with full browsers” to -100%, you can stop the delivery of impressions to users on their phones. Your ads will, however, continue to show to people using tablets, as the mobile bid adjustment only affects ad delivery on smartphones.

After switching to enhanced campaigns, your Product Listing Ads will start showing on mobile devices. If your product images, descriptions, and titles (or online store, for that matter) aren’t optimized for a mobile audience, you might want to buy some time to revamp your product feed before showing listings to mobile users.

2. Mobile-only campaigns are a thing of the past, but you can limit desktop and tablet exposure.

Legacy campaigns offered advertisers robust options for choosing which types of devices to show ads on (eg.  iOS devices, the Samsung Galaxy 5, T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide, etc.). In enhanced campaigns, that level of control is gone, and all AdWords advertisers will be forced to show ads to desktop and tablet users whether they want to or not.

Some advertisers attempting to run mobile-only enhanced campaigns have reported a degree of success minimizing ad display on desktop and tablet devices by using a combination of a mobile device bid adjustments and mobile-preferred ads. Nevertheless, enhanced campaigns don’t offer advertisers the opportunity to completely eliminate desktop or tablet traffic. After transitioning a mobile-only legacy campaign, it will be critical to use AdWords reporting to understand the distribution of traffic and cost across device families, especially for advertisers who don’t have the ability to monetize desktop or tablet traffic.

3. Some bid adjustments stack.

AdWords allows enhanced campaigns users to tweak bids via bid adjustment settings at the device, location, and ad schedule level.  If you set a bid adjustment for each, all will affect the price you pay for traffic.

To borrow and build on Google’s example (, if you have a campaign that works well with mobile audiences in Chicago on Wednesdays, you can set bid adjustments for device, location, and schedule to leverage these performance efficiencies without having to create separate campaigns.

Beware of the unintentional consequences of doing so. If you set multiple bid adjustments, the offsets will stack, so your bids may be spiking higher or dipping lower than intended.

Google offers two good examples of how multiple bid adjustments stack:

Example One:

If you know that your campaign performs well on mobile devices in Chicago, you can set bid adjustments to increase your bids for mobile and Chicago to try to capture all available traffic. For example, you could set a +20% adjustment for mobile, and a +10% adjustment for Chicago, resulting in a final bid adjustment of +32% for searches in Chicago on mobile devices.

Example Two:

Say you’ve set a $1 Max CPC ad group bid. You decide to add a +20% adjustment for California, and -50% adjustment for Saturdays. Your resulting bid for a search that occurs in California on a Saturday will be $0.60. Here’s the math:

Starting bid: $1

California adjustment: $1 x (+20%) = $1.20

Saturday adjustment: $1.20 x (-50%) = $0.60

Resulting bid for searches in California on Saturday: $0.60

4. Other bid adjustments don’t.

For campaigns targeting the Google Search Network, AdWords will default to the most specific level where a bid adjustment is set.

If you have a bid adjustment of 100% set for Rhode Island, but a 50% one set for Providence, Google will favor the bid adjustment set at the more specific level. In this scenario, the bid of a keyword triggered by a search from Providence will increase by 50%, but the bid of the same keyword triggered by a search from Newport will increase by 100%.

Campaign and ad group bid adjustments interact in a similar way. If an ad group has a bid adjustment set in a campaign making use of a campaign-level bid adjustment, Google will favor the ad group-level adjustment.

Bid adjustments, though, do not allow you to set budgets for multiple different locations within a single campaign. If you want to do that, you’ll still have to set up multiple campaigns.

5. Ad extensions must be upgraded, too, but there’s no AdWords Editor support (yet!) for enhanced ad extensions.

Advertisers using enhanced campaigns have the ability to create ad extensions for ad groups, customize Ad Sitelinks and app extensions for mobile devices, and schedule the delivery of ad extensions. The new features allow advertisers to be more nimble, making it easier to use ad extensions to promote time-sensitive offers.

One of the most (if not the most) popular and widely-used ad extensions, Sitelinks, is undergoing a major transformation. Enhanced campaign Sitelinks have a 25-character limit, down from 35 characters. Whereas legacy campaign Sitelinks were subject to the dreaded Christmas light effect (when one was disapproved in a campaign, they all went down), each enhanced campaign Sitelink is reviewed individually. Additionally, advanced reporting for ad extensions gives enhanced campaign advertisers the ability to understand which Sitelinks are most effective, a boon for optimization-minded campaign managers.

The latest version of the AdWords desktop editor, AdWords Editor 10.1 doesn’t support upgrading to, adding, editing, or deleting enhanced campaign Sitelinks, though. AdWords Editor 10.2, set for a mid-August release, will, so even though the campaign migration deadline is July 22, the deadline for upgrading to enhanced ad extensions was pushed back to September 23.

If you rely on AdWords Editor to make sweeping changes in large accounts, but need to make multiple changes to take advantage of ad group level Sitelinks or Sitelink scheduling, you’ll have to painstakingly do so through the AdWords Editor interface.

7. Bidding on the Google Display Network has already changed.

In addition to device, location, and schedule-based bid adjustments, recently-updated Display Network bidding options add an additional level of complexity to the management of Display Network campaigns. Custom bidding gives advertisers control over how much to pay for traffic from users generated by different types of Display Network targets when an advertiser is using multiple types of targets in the same ad group.

If default bidding is not chosen, all targeted elements in your ad group will receive the ad group level bid, and users who click on your ad will be directed to the page reflected in the ad destination URL. In order to set element-level (i.e. keyword, placement, or audience-specific) bids, the custom bidding option must be selected for your Display Network ad groups.

While custom bidding isn’t an enhanced campaign-only feature, using default bidding in combination with mobile bid adjustments could cause you to spend far more or less than your Display Network traffic is worth.