Tara West

Are You Ready For AdWords Enhanced Campaigns? A Free Step By Step Guide

23rd May 2013 PPC Blog, Google AdWords, PPC Blog 17 minutes to read

AdWords Enhanced CampaignsToday I’m speaking at On the Edge in Manchester about AdWords Enhanced Campaigns. This post contains my slides and a summary of the talk.

On the 22nd of July, AdWords are changing all campaigns to Enhanced Campaigns. It’s important that you don’t wait until the 22nd of July and let Google upgrade your campaigns for you, because if you do, the settings and changes Google make will mean that your advertising may become less affective.

This presentation will explain what Enhanced Campaigns are, and the new features that come with them. It will also talk you through upgrading to enhanced campaigns and extra tips for optimising them.

By the end of the presentation you will have the knowledge to not only upgrade your AdWords campaigns to Enhanced Campaigns, but also to be confident that you are using them to their full potential and getting the most of all the benefits they bring.

What are Enhanced Campaigns, and why have Google created them?

Google believe that it is not enough to be simply targeting searchers when they are actively engaged and searching for your product or service, and that the context of the user when they conduct the search is now just as important as the search itself.

The specific contexts Google are channelling with Enhanced Campaigns are the time of day the user is searching, the geographical location of the user, and the device from which they are searching.

We’ll now look at some of the new features of Enhanced Campaigns which allow you to tailor your advertising to these three contexts.


Prior to Enhanced Campaigns, Google advised everyone that it was best practice to have separate campaigns for targeting mobile and tablet devices.

With Enhanced Campaigns, they have decided to make all campaigns target all devices, so any campaigns which previously targeted just tablet or just mobile will become irrelevant.

Tablets are now included within desktop devices, and there is no way to target them separately. This means that everyone will be targeting tablets, so it is likely that the Cost per Click on tablets may rise slightly but unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to combat this.

One advantage is you can set a bid adjustment for targeting mobile devices. A bid adjustment is a percentage adjustment on your standard desktop bid. For example you could set your mobile bid at 25% less than your standard desktop bid. We will look at how to decide your mobile bid adjustment later in the presentation.

All bid adjustments are made at campaign level at the moment, although in mid June Google have said they will also be rolled out at ad group level which will give advertisers more granular control.


The location of a user is another aspect of context which Google have put the spotlight on with Enhanced Campaigns. AdWords has always had great geographical targeting functionality, but it’s been improved further with Enhanced Campaigns so you can now set bid adjustments for different locations in you are targeting.

For example, if you are an Estate Agents with three different offices in Hampshire (Winchester, Southampton and Basingstoke), you could target the whole of Hampshire with your AdWords campaign, but increase your bids within a two mile radius of your offices in Winchester, Southampton and Basingstoke, because users in these areas are more likely to actually visit your offices or give you a call than those who are further away.

Increasing your bids will allow you to have a higher position on the page so your visibility will be better for customers who are most likely to convert.

In the same way, you can make your ad spend more effective by reducing your bids in areas which don’t convert as well for you, but where you still want some visibility. For example if a competitor services one particular area in Hampshire which you don’t want to compete with, you could set a bid adjustment of -30% for that area, or even bid -100% for it so your ads don’t show there at all.

This feature is still relevant if you’re a pure-play retailer (only online) or if you only want to promote your services online. If you look at your campaign performance segmented by location (dimensions tab), you’ll probably see a trend where certain locations convert better for you than others. You can then increase your bids for these locations and decrease them in locations which tend not to convert as well.

Locations extensions are now also available at ad group level, so if you have multiple business locations you no longer need to have separate campaigns for them, you could simply have separate ad groups.

Time of Day

You have always been able to set bid adjustments for different time periods in the day on AdWords, but Enhanced Campaigns have made this feature much more prominent and easier to use.

For example, if you were advertising a restaurant, you could increase your bids around lunch time to gain more visibility at a time period when people are most likely to be looking for somewhere to stop for lunch.

If you were a recruitment agency which is always busy on a Monday, but quiet on a Friday, you could decrease your bids on a Monday because you know you’ll be busy regardless of your AdWords advertising presence. You could then increase your bids on a Friday when it tends to be quieter.

This feature is still applicable if you’re a pure-play retailer because if you examine your account performance by time of day (dimensions tab, or segment function), you’ll probably notice there is a trend where certain times of the day convert better than others. For example an online beauty product retailer may get lots of clicks at around 7am, but find most of their conversions happen at 11am, 1pm and between 5 and 8pm. They could then increase their bids when most conversions tend to happen, and decrease them at 7am when you still want to have visibility but the clicks are worth less to you because they don’t convert as well.

All of these examples show you ways of making your ad spend more efficient and achieving a better ROI.

All bid adjustments stack on top of each other

Most advertisers are not aware that all bid adjustments stack on top of each other.

This means that if your original desktop standard bid is £1 and you bid 10% more for people in Winchester, your bid would go up to £1.10. If you also have a time based bid adjustment where you increase your bids by 10% between 1 and 2pm, this bid adjustment will be calculated based on your already increased bid of £1.10. So your total end bid between 1 and 2 pm would be £1.21.

It’s important to remember this when you set your bids, because you may end up with excessively high bids when a click isn’t actually worth that much to you.

I’d recommend sticking with bid increases of below 5% if you are using both time and location bid adjustments.

You should prioritise your bid adjustments too, so if you’re a local business then you might give a higher bid adjustment increase to locations than you would for the time of day.

Enhanced Call Extensions

Call extensions are a fantastic AdWords feature, and Enhanced Campaigns make them even more useful.

You can now schedule your call extensions, so that they only run at certain times of the day. For example if your office hours are 9-5 Monday to Thursday and 9-4pm on a Friday, you can set your call extensions to only show during these times. This means you’re not paying for click-to-calls when you aren’t there to answer the phone.

Calls are a really valuable interaction for your business, that you’ll want to count as a conversion, and you can now specify how long a call lasts before it is counted as a conversion. Using the estate agents example, if a searcher phones up to ask whether a property is still available and they are told it’s not and then the call ends, the call probably lasted less than 30 seconds and isn’t really valuable to you as a lead. If the person stays on the phone to hear about other properties you have available or gives you their details to call them when other properties become available, the call would likely last more than 30 seconds. When you set up your call extensions you would simply set the conversion to only be counted if the call lasts more than 30 seconds. You can then see exactly how valuable calls via AdWords are to your business.

I would recommend always using a Google forwarding number instead of your own phone number, because it appears that Google are favouring ads using their forwarding numbers over ads with standard call extensions, and ads with standard call extensions aren’t having their extensions shown very often.

A Google forwarding number works by putting your standard phone number in when setting up the extension, and then Google will dynamically generate a number to be shown on your ads which will forward to your own phone number.

Google forwarding numbers are eligible to show on all devices, but you’ll only be charged for a click when it’s dialled from a mobile device, so it’s a really cost effective addition to your advertising because for the same price as a click, you are getting a call with a much higher level of engagement.

Call extensions are now also available at ad group level, so if you have specific numbers for specific departments within your business you can allocate them to their own ad groups. For example an estate agent might have a number for lettings and a number for sales and have an ad group for each within one campaign, which you can now allocate call extensions to at ad group level.


Sitelinks are now available at ad group level, as well as campaign level. This means that you can make them more specific to your ad groups which will help increase your CTR.

For example if you’re a fashion ecommerce website, you might have an ad group for a particular product which comes in a few different colour variations and you could have the colour as different sitelinks.

You can also select specific mobile preferred sitelinks. If a user is searching on a mobile device, they are more likely to want to see sitelinks such as ‘directions’ or ‘contact us’ than sitelinks of specific products so you can chose your sitelinks for mobiles with that in mind.

Offer Extensions

Offer Extensions are a brand new feature with Enhanced Campaigns.

You can set up an extension for any kind of promotion you’re running, but it’s not just about discounting your products or services. You can set up an offer extension for things you might not have even considered to be an offer.

For example a plumbing client offers a first free call out to anyone who contacts them. I set up an offer extension which promotes this initial free call out. The call-out would have been free anyway because they always need to attend the premises and assess the issue before giving a quote, but creating it as an offer extension adds value to the user and increases Click through Rate massively.

Other examples could be an SEO company offering a free starter Site Audit, or a tailoring company offering a free suit consultation, or an IT company offering a free whitepaper download.

App Extensions

App extensions are now available at ad group level, as well as campaign level with Enhanced Campaigns. So if an estate agent had an app for lettings and an app for sales, they can simply designate each to their own ad group rather than having to have separate campaigns.

You can also schedule your app extensions and see lots more data about their performance.

Should you target mobile devices using Enhanced Campaigns?

One of the most common questions I get asked about Enhanced Campaigns is whether or not people should be targeting mobiles, or whether they even have the choice now.

The first thing to note is that you do not have to target mobile devices. If you chose not to, you would simply set your mobile bid adjustment at -100%.

Other issues to consider when deciding whether to target mobile are:

  • Can the user complete a conversion easily on your website using a mobile phone (that might be purchasing a product or signing up to a newsletter)
  • How do users on mobiles behave on your website (go to the Devices tab in Google Analytics and look at how long people on mobiles usually spend on your site, whether they complete conversions, how many pages per visit they view on average)
  • If you already bid on mobile devices within your PPC account, look at how they currently perform (do they convert?). You can either look at these stats in your separate tablet or mobile campaign or segment by device to see the stats broken down by device type
  • Remember that you can’t separate your total ad spend by mobile and tablet anymore, you can only adjust your bids, so if you don’t want to share your desktop ad spend with your mobile spend you might not want to target mobile at all
  • If you have an older-style mobile website where it’s within a folder on your own site, for example www.yourwebsitehere.com/mobile, you’ll need to use Value Track Parameters to tell Google to send that traffic to your mobile site if the user is on a mobile device

Overall you should just experiment with mobile, because now it’s all within one campaign it’s simple to tweak your mobile bid adjustments and you can easily turn mobile off again if you decide it’s not working for you.

What should your mobile bid adjustment be?

If you are targeting mobile, the next step is to decide what your mobile bid adjustment will be. I recommend considering the following:

  • They are set at campaign level, so it needs to be an adjustment you are comfortable with across the entire campaign
  • Look at what your current actual cost per click’s are for mobile (what you are actually paying per click, not just your bids) – see your mobile campaign or segment by device
  • Google will make a recommended mobile bid adjustment for you, but you don’t need to go with their recommendation so use your own intuition and the data you have already
  • Remember that once everyone moves to Enhanced Campaigns automatically on the 22nd of July, their bids will be set at Google’s recommendation automatically so you may find you need to start bidding around the same level to keep up with competitors and achieve a good average position

Use mobile specific ads

If you have decided to target mobiles, you should create some mobile specific ads.

You create these as normal text ads, then simply click the ‘mobile preferred’ button next to them either in AdWords editor or in the AdWords interface.

Have a mobile call-to-action in your mobile text ads, such as ‘view our mobile site now’ as these get much better CTRs.

If you are using display advertising creating mobile ads will simply mean creating your ads in a different size / format.

Always have at least one mobile and one normal ad in every ad group, as if there are no desktop ads in an ad group Google will simply show your mobile ads on desktop too.

If you’re going to be split testing your ads set them to rotate indefinitely within your campaign settings (this is not the default setting).

Switching to Enhanced Campaigns if you don’t already have separate mobile or tablet campaigns

Before you do anything, back up your AdWords account using AdWords Editor. You can export a backup in a CSV format (my preferred format as it’s most reliable), or in an AdWords Editor specific file but in my experience these often become corrupt, so I’d say use CSV.

You should also download a keyword report, a performance by time-of-day report, and an export of any extensions data as sometimes when you upgrade extensions their existing data is lost.

You can click the ‘get started’ button to begin the upgrade process. You’ll then be asked to enter your mobile bid adjustment. You can then upgrade your ad extensions to get all the new features I spoke about earlier, and you can create your mobile specific ads if you’re targeting mobile.

Switching to Enhanced Campaigns if you do have separate mobile and / or tablet campaigns

This slide looks more complicated than it is – but it includes a lot of detail so you can refer to it as a checklist:

adwords enhnaced campaigns merge process

Essentially you will need to choose a base campaign, which is usually your desktop campaign, and then you’ll need to make sure your desktop campaign has all the same ad groups, keywords and ads, that your mobile / tablet campaign has. Generally, in the past when mobile or tablet specific campaigns have been created, they are simply copies of the desktop campaign so you should find that generally your desktop base campaign contains everything your mobile / tablet campaigns have – this process is just about double checking it.

You then need to pause the tablet and mobile campaigns and move their budgets over to the main desktop campaign.  Once you’ve done this, you’ll click the ‘upgrade now’ button on the main desktop campaign as you did in the previous process and you’ll follow the same steps as outlined previously and in the diagram above.

If you have any questions about this please put them in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to get back to you.

Display Advertising, PLAs & Conversion optimiser with  & Enhanced Campaigns

Display advertising will be affected in the same way by Enhanced campaigns, so if you have separate display tablet and mobile campaigns (although this is rare unless you had an agency set them up for you) then you’ll need to go through the same process as above but remember to merge things like managed placements and exclusions too.

Product Listing Ads will also follow the same process but will be merging product targets.  They will work as normal with Enhanced Campaigns.

AdWords Conversion optimiser isn’t currently compatible with Enhanced Campaigns, so if you are using it you’ll need to set your mobile bid adjustment at -100%. This is because it already takes into account your campaign performance at certain times of day, on different devices and locations. There is however a new BETA called Enhanced Campaigns Bidding Strategies which includes a strategy called Target CPA where you can specify your maximum CPA and Google will create a bidding strategy for you based around it – which does essentially the same as conversion optimiser but also works on mobile devices.

Quality Score

According to Google your Quality Score on different devices won’t be affected by Enhanced Campaigns. For example if you currently bid on a keywords in a mobile specific campaign, but are now pausing that campaign and the keyword in the original desktop campaign is now running on mobiles instead, your original Quality Score from the mobile campaign will be carried over to that keyword’s performance in the now Enhanced Campaign.

Optimisation with Enhanced Campaigns

In addition to all the normal optimisation techniques you’d apply to your campaigns, here are some extra things you should be doing once you move to Enhanced Campaigns:

  • Use the dimensions tab to segment your campaign performance by location, and increase / decrease your bids for certain locations depending on its performance
  • Segment your campaign performance by device, and increase your mobile bids if it isn’t performing well on mobile, as well as increasing the relevancy of your ads, keywords, and landing page
  • Try to always keep your average position above 2, as on many mobile / tablet devices there is only room for two ads at the top of the page, rather than three like on desktop, so you need to be higher up to be seen and keep a strong CTR
  • Use all the new features which come with Enhanced Campaigns as they are there to compliment your advertising and make sure you’re getting the most out of it – don’t just upgrade and then leave it

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below. You can also find me on Twitter @Koozai_Tara.

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