Just this week Google has announced what could be a game changer in the world of digital advertising. Their new “Enhanced Campaigns” represents not only some serious headway as it relates to smarter marketing and advanced tracking capabilities, but the fact that going without a mobile optimized website simply is not an option anymore. What was once considered a competitive advantage has now become a simple business requirement for a successful digital strategy.
The purpose of Enhanced Campaigns is to effectively adapt marketing efforts to search behavior as it relates to the device from which the searcher is using. A search for “restaurants in Portland” at 6pm from a mobile device will be more likely seeking a phone number, contact information or reservation information vs. a traditional ad that might be more relevant to a searcher at home browsing to see what the atmosphere is like. In other words, conversion goals should be adjusted depending on the device. It is all about putting the device used in context, whether that is in relation to the amount of time we have at the moment, the goal, or our current location.
Major changes that will come from Enhanced Campaigns:
- Smarter ads: for example, extensions like click to call can be scheduled in advance and set to be displayed only on certain days and times.
- More powerful bidding: for example, increase bids by 30% for a prospective customer searching for a restaurant who is currently located in the neighborhood. Conversely, decrease bids from a mobile device when the restaurant is closed.
- Advanced reporting: track digital downloads (in addition to already being able to track app downloads, you can now add music and book downloads to the list), track in store and cross device conversions (although this will be further down the road).
The central shift with Enhanced Campaigns is that within search campaigns, there will no longer be an option to target devices in separate campaigns. What this means for advertisers is that if you don’t have a mobile optimized site, you could see conversion rates dip and bounce rates spike even though you can bid down on mobile device searches. Surprising move given that advertisers might now have a harder time shielding their website visitors from a poor user experience if a mobile version of the site does not yet exist. It’s possible however, that Google is attempting to “force” companies to adapt to accommodate this new world of cross device search behavior.
So what now? A couple things:
- If you don’t already have a mobile site, get one. Use responsive design for a seamless user experience, improved SEO and to save money in the long run from having to update your site design separately for multiple devices.
- As a short term solution while you wait for your mobile site launch, be sure to build dedicated mobile landing pages to drive your visitors to from paid search.
- Be prepared! The official roll out is happening in early February; however auto-migration is not slated to happen until June. It might be smart to get a leg up on your competition and start testing right away in order to get a handle on the changes and any impact they might have on performance.
In the meantime, I’m excited to see how this all plays out for both advertisers and consumers alike.
Rachel Freeman works for the Portland based digital marketing agency Anvil Media, Inc. She has expertise in all aspects of search engine marketing and specializes in SEO for large sites. Andersen has been responsible for the development and execution of countless search and social marketing campaigns over her time spent with Anvil.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / keerati