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When To Transition To AdWords Enhanced Campaigns

In early February, Google announced a major change to how AdWords works with the the introduction of Enhanced Campaigns. I have gotten many questions about this so I’ll share my take on the change.

If you’re just starting with your own search ads in AdWords, you’ll now create just a single campaign and it will show your ads to users regardless of whether they’re using a tablet, mobile phone, or desktop computer. In Enhanced Campaigns you can make a few simple tweaks to ensure your ads are successful on all these devices:

  • You can specify a bid multiplier so that bids for ads shown on mobile devices can be changed automatically across an entire campaign.
  • You can specify that some of your ads are intended for mobile devices, for example ads that have a mobile landing page URL.

With this new campaign type, Google has made it easier for new advertisers to jump on the mobile bandwagon and to be successful by making mobile ads easier to manage.

For existing advertisers, the introduction of Enhanced Campaigns is a little more complicated. Here’s what you should know:

  • All existing campaigns must be upgraded by mid-2013.
  • If you had separate campaigns for mobile devices and desktop, you will need to consolidate these into a single campaign. You will be able to set a mobile bid multiplier at the campaign level but you will no longer have the ability to set mobile bids at the keyword level.
  • Google considers tablets and desktops as the same thing so the bids and ads will be the same for these types of devices.
  • Losing keyword-level bid management controls for mobile devices is not great news but there are a couple of nice new things in Enhanced Campaigns that will benefit everyone:
  • The ability to create and monitor Sitelinks individually rather than as groupings of multiple Sitelinks.
  • The ability to set bid multipliers at the regional level so that you don’t need to create separate campaigns for different regions when all you want to do is manage bids differently. For example if you advertise the same product in NY and CA, now you can set separate bids for the two states without having to create a duplicate campaign.

So what’s the bottom line? If you have never run separate campaigns for mobile devices only, Enhanced Campaigns are a great change and the new bid controls and enhanced Sitelinks make it worthwhile to upgrade as soon as you can.

On the other hand, if you have separate campaigns for mobile devices, I would wait at least 2-3 months before doing the transition so that you can learn from others who’ve gone through it and so that you can take some time to rethink your bid strategy.


Frederick (“Fred”) Vallaeys joined Google in 2002 to help AdWords grow into a leading online marketing platform and he served as the AdWords Evangelist until 2012. Now he runs his own marketing business, Top Tier, to make online marketing more accessible to small businesses through education, tools and services. He speaks at numerous events, including the annual ASBDC conference, helping companies get their business online and grow through online marketing and technology. Follow Frederick on Twitter or Facebook.

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