Best Practices Guide: Google Enhanced Campaign Migration

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Google’s automatic migration to enhanced campaigns has now happened. The Kenshoo Best Practices Guide: Enhanced Campaigns Migration will help you better understand enhanced campaigns, provide tips for a seamless migration process and outline best practices on how to successfully optimise them once your new campaigns are live.

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There are many components to enhanced campaigns, some are changes to existing AdWords features and some are brand new features.

To get started, we recommend you focus on these key areas:

  • New bidding options
  • Changes to ad extensions
  • Reporting by device

New Bidding Options

The change that is most important to be aware of (and that will be included in the July 22nd automatic upgrade) is the removal of device targeting from campaign settings. All enhanced campaigns automatically target desktop and tablet devices but there is also an option to set a mobile bid adjustment when targeting mobile devices. The mobile bid adjustment is a percentage from -100% to +300% that is applied to a keyword’s desktop/tablet bid and sets mobile bids accordingly.

Initially, the mobile bid adjustment could only be set at the campaign level, but Google has since introduced ad group-level mobile bid adjustments to give advertisers more granular control of their mobile bids. If you wish to have your campaign target mobile devices, you need to set this mobile bid adjustment to greater than -100%. Below is an example of how mobile bid adjustments work:

[Download PDF to see Table]

Kenshoo Editor, the offline management tool that complements the web-based Kenshoo Search™ platform, helps take the guesswork out of calculating mobile bids by showing you what your effective mobile bid would be for each keyword based on the mobile bid adjustment you set at the campaign or ad group level.

In addition to mobile bid adjustments, enhanced campaigns allow you to set bid adjustments for location and time-ofday. These adjustments are also percentages that are applied to the original keyword bid for desktop and tablet devices. Currently it is not mandatory to set location and time-of-day targeting via bid adjustments as this will not be a part of the July 22nd automatic migration.

Changes to Ad Extensions

Enhanced campaigns also offer updates for four types of ad extensions: call extensions, app extensions, sitelink extensions and offer extensions. These extensions need to be upgraded separately from enhancing your campaigns. Updating these extensions will offer additional capabilities such as ad group-level support, ad scheduling, mobile-preferred extensions, and reporting for each individual extension. When considering enhancing these extensions, it is important to assess the need for any additional measures to track enhanced extensions properly.

Reporting by Device

With the changes brought forth by enhanced campaigns, there are new metrics to be considered for tracking and reporting. The most important metric to make note of is device type. Google has introduced the new {device} ValueTrack parameter that can be added to destination URLs to provide information as to which device drove the traffic. This parameter will update automatically to either “c” (computer), “t” (tablet) or “m” (mobile). Performance metrics can then be broken out by device types.

Kenshoo has integrated this new parameter into tracking redirects so that, when elements are created or updated, the parameter is automatically applied. Google has stated that this addition will not affect Quality Score as it is recognized as a variable just used for reporting.

Planning Your Migration

1. Create a Plan and Assemble a Task Force

Creating a migration plan that outlines key milestones with dates will keep your team on track is essential. Planning in advance of the automatic migration will also help you identify any risks and isolate them. If you are beginning your migration early enough, you can use a phased approach over time instead of upgrading everything at once. You might consider migrating small or uncomplicated campaigns first in order to become familiar with the new enhanced features. Another way to build up your comfort level with enhanced campaigns is by migrating campaigns that do not run on mobile devices and setting the mobile bid adjustment to -100%. It is best to start migrating early to allow time to uncover and address any unforeseen issues.

2. Assess Campaign Structure

When creating a migration plan, begin by assessing the structure of your legacy campaigns and their settings. We recommend analyzing a summary of all your campaigns using Kenshoo’s Profile and Campaign Settings report. Taking this step will help identify the device targets your campaigns have today and which campaigns will need to be combined prior to migration.

If your program contains legacy campaigns that were mirrored in order to target different devices, choose one master campaign to enhance and merge all elements from the duplicate campaigns into the master campaign. These elements include keywords, ads (mobile-preferred), and negative keywords. We recommend using a desktop targeted campaign as the master campaign to enhance so that the keyword bids will already be set for desktop bids and then the mobile bid modifiers can be added.

After the master campaign is enhanced, the previous campaign versions should be paused or deleted. Renaming campaigns to denote the new master enhanced campaigns and paused/deleted duplicate legacy campaigns can be helpful. Keep in mind that, once a campaign has been enhanced, it cannot be undone.

[Download PDF to see Table]

There are a few different scenarios for enhancing campaigns. The campaigns that are easiest to enhance first are those that currently target all devices. If you have a lot of mirrored campaigns, there can be more complexities in combining campaigns and you should take campaign settings into consideration prior to enhancing the master campaign.

Below are a few common scenarios with recommendations on how to handle each migration:

Campaigns Targeting All Devices

  • Easiest campaigns to migrate
  • Don’t need to combine similar campaigns targeting different devices
  • Mobile bids were the same already, so mobile bid adjustment can be set to 0%

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Campaigns Not Targeting Mobile

  • If campaign only targeted desktops previously, tablets will now be included
  • May need to combine campaigns if there is a separate tablet campaign
  • Mobile bid adjustments should be set to -100%

Campaigns Mirrored by Device Target

  • Choose one campaign to be the master and merge all elements into that campaign
  • Rename campaigns and pause duplicates after migrating
  • Adjust budget to account for traffic from all devices
  • Set mobile bid adjustment to be as close as possible to bids in old mobile campaign

3. Direct Traffic by Device

Because enhanced campaigns combine mobile, desktop, and tablet device targeting under one campaign’s umbrella, you need to ensure a searcher still has the best interaction with your website. The first step to accomplishing this is to understand what options there are to directing traffic to either your desktop or mobile sites.

Server Side Redirect

This is the easiest method as the server side redirect will automatically detect and send the searcher to the appropriate site (mobile or desktop) based on the type of device they are using. This is ideal because it does not require managing two sets of landing page URLs. 

Mobile Preferred Ads

You can use Google mobile preferred ads if you do not have a server side redirect solution and are not using keyword-level destination URLs. If needed, duplicate your ads as mobile preferred ads and set appropriate landing pages at the ad level.

ValueTrack Parameters

If you require keyword destination URLs and don’t have a server side redirect, use {ifmobile:}{ifnotmobile:} ValueTrack parameters to enter the appropriate landing pages for each mobile and desktop/tablet devices. If you use this method along with additional tracking parameters through an automated URL builder, be sure to confirm all parameters are compatible.

The decision tree below is a helpful tool to find the solution that fits your needs the best.

[Download PDF to see Chart]

4. Set Bids and Budgets Appropriately

After enhancing your campaigns, you will always be targeting desktop and tablet devices. If you were not targeting tablets before, you should adjust your budgets to account for this new traffic. Mirrored campaign budgets should be summed together and the total should be used as the budget for the master campaign that will be enhanced.

If you previously had separate bidding strategies for mobile and desktop campaigns, you should take those into consideration when setting your mobile bid adjustments. Kenshoo has five bid policies that take the guesswork out of setting mobile bid adjustments and ultimately optimize your campaigns. Many of these new bid policies use patent-pending Kenshoo ActiveCluster technology, which allows you to automate advanced algorithm-based bidding on lower volume campaigns by clustering keywords based on similar attributes.

5. Prepare for Device-Level Reporting

Understanding performance by device is imperative in order to optimize enhanced campaigns successfully and provides valuable insights into how to set your mobile bid adjustments. One way to get this information is to use the {device} ValueTrack parameter which records the type of device that drives traffic and conversions. Kenshoo supports this parameter in our tracking and reporting so that you can understand how various keywords and ads perform on each device. This powerful insight can truly make the difference in a post-enhanced campaigns world.

Migration Best Practices

Below is a quick checklist to help ensure your enhanced campaigns migration is smooth and optimal:

  • Start early and create a plan. Begin with campaigns that have the least amount of changes required such as campaigns that are running on all devices or have no mirrored campaigns targeting mobile devices
  • Identify campaigns that are duplicated and will need to have elements (keywords, negative keywords and ads) copied into one master campaign that will be enhanced
  • Adjust campaign budgets to reflect any additional device traffic that will be included once campaign is enhanced
  • Have a plan around directing traffic appropriately for each device
  • Create a strategy for setting mobile bid adjustments or use a bid policy to remove any guesswork
  • Use the {device} ValueTrack parameter to report and optimize by device
  • QA your campaign settings after enhancing and then closely monitor performance

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