It’s been approximately a year since Enhanced Campaigns launched. There are definite long-term implications for the directional changes signified by Enhanced Campaigns (hello, social and contextual and retargeting!), and SEMs are still analyzing mobile/tablet/desktop CPCs with a whole lot of scrutiny…but in all of this noise, there are a few features still underutilized after all these months.
Regardless of your CPCs and the need for bidding workarounds (ugh), let’s go through 5 of the most powerful Enhanced-Campaign-world-tools that you should be using:
Almost every account has an RLSA use case. It could be as simple as excluding clicks from leads that you are already nurturing or boosting bids on “warm” prospects that have recently visited your site. There are also more complex RLSA options for stand-alone campaigns with customized messaging, keywords and landing pages for various funnel stages. Whichever suits your business, some kind of RLSA strategy should be a component of almost all accounts.
If you are running any mobile, you should be using mobile-preferred ads, but the majority of advertisers are not. Don’t complacently accept your mobile strategy as simply a responsive landing page and a bid modifier. Start by pulling an ad report with a device segment. You will likely find pretty different statistics for device + ad performance than the aggregate ad performance might suggest – if you just implement a per-device, per-ad group winner, you should get a little performance gain. From here, you should let your ad and landing page A/B testing efforts diverge into 2 streams by using mobile-preferred ads and always pulling the device segment with ad reporting.
Extensions to the max
We now have real sitelink reporting, which means you should be regularly optimizing your sitelinks. All sitelinks should have expanded descriptions, and you should also stack every possible other extension that is now available and applies to your business, including location extensions and review extensions. A rich extension portfolio means you get everything above the fold on some searches.
If at all applicable, you should pay special attention to your call extension strategy. Aside from pure performance metrics, there are a few other wins on this one. The mobile click-to-call button is a nice real-estate hog on a mobile form factor – especially the way it displays on some search partners. Also, Google is showing increasing desktop searches with the call extension displayed; when somebody picks up their phone and calls, it’s free! Side note: I suspect Google is warehousing these user connections across devices as one of many data sources to enable future cross-device targeting and/or reporting capabilities.
Flexible bid rules
Flexible bid rules can be used in a myriad of ways and include the new ROAS-based bidding (a not-terribly-sophisticated 14-day formula layered with enhanced CPC). My favorite way of using these: There has always been the problem of growing CPA bid campaigns as Google won’t give (many) impressions to the new untested components. Now, instead of having to toggle back to CPC when you launch new groups, you can keep the old ones running on CPA and just run CPC for the new stuff until it gets sufficient conversion data to run on CPA (tip: set yourself an automated alert for when you cross the threshold).
Additionally, in the shared library, you can now adjust CPA targets across huge swathes of your account with a single edit.
Similar Users audiences
I recall years ago when remarketing was launched in Google, and trying to get clients to test it was near impossible. Digital marketers have gotten over their aversion, and it’s just accepted that remarketing is a sound part of most any SEM program. The Similar Users feature is in the same boat as remarketing was 5 years ago. This is Google’s version of lookalike targeting and, like remarketing, for most advertisers, it just works right out of the box to expand your reach and gain incremental conversion volume within your target metrics. If you target your “converters” Similar Users audience, it performs better than regular remarketing to site visitors who have not yet converted. From there, you can create segmented audiences and refine your messaging and offers just like regular remarketing. It’s a powerful targeting type that in time I believe will become a standard part of SEM strategy.
Some of the new enhanced tools are purely social; the way people use search and devices is changing. Some of the changes are fundamental to the change to Enhanced Campaigns. Others are likely influenced by the total Enhanced Campaigns platform redesign that surely facilitated a faster, more nimble feature release schedule. Some would likely have come out in the last year regardless of Enhanced Campaigns. All of them exist in an SEM landscape with increasing layers of complexity and contextual targeting and reporting capabilities. Gaining an edge now means adapting to this more complex landscape and shifting your thinking away from optimizing your keywords as your primary function as an SEM.