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Why Enhanced Campaigns Might Have Actually Improved Mobile Advertising

Published: May 7, 2014

Author: Molly Shotwell

When Google launched Enhanced Campaigns last year, advertisers whose campaigns weren’t mobile-ready were dragged into the world of mobile advertising kicking and screaming. While there were hacks to prevent impressions from going to mobile devices, we were all suddenly in mobile auctions whether we wanted to be or not.
As a result, advertisers feared a couple of things: losing control of their mobile bids at the keyword level (ah, but not to worry); and an increase in mobile CPCs from advertisers who had been entered into mobile auctions without realizing it in time to adjust bids.
But here’s something that’s gone under the radar: you can optimize mobile campaigns responsibly, and thanks to Enhanced Campaigns segments, it’s actually far easier and more efficient to manage mobile campaigns within your existing desktop campaigns than it was to split them out separately.
How, you ask? Let me break it down.

Collect Some Data

To effectively continue segmenting by device, many advertisers immediately implemented some hacks.
In one, they kept their mobile campaigns, reduced keyword-level max. CPCs to near-minimum levels, and bid up on mobile devices by 300% at the campaign level. This kept average CPCs low (well below desktop) and prevented cannibalization of mobile impressions.
In another, to keep computer-only campaigns, they set mobile bids to decrease by 100% and let the more expensive computer bids take over.
Let’s say you’re one of the advertisers who wants to keep (or increase) your mobile traffic. Assuming your site is HTML 5 and mobile-optimized, you should set bids high enough to collect some data and compare performance across devices. I initially adjusted mobile bids at -50% at the campaign level. As the data comes in, you can…

Become More Aggressive

When I noticed that my mobile CPAs were significantly better than I had anticipated (and even better than I had seen with mobile-specific campaigns), I decided to start walking down the bid percentage. Assuming mobile conversion rate was within 20% of desktop and/or tablet conversion rate, I began starting campaigns off with a -35% bid multiplier.
more agressive
More data came in and indicated good mobile performance, so I began walking bids down even further. In some cases, I was bidding almost exactly the same as my desktop-level bids – if not surpassing those bids!
It was quickly clear that mobile wasn’t just a forced throw-in; it was something to take very seriously. This led me to…

Incorporate Methodology

I decided to develop some best practices for the following:

-Setting initial mobile bid multipliers

-Setting up routine production calendar tasks to check on performance
-Optimizing mobile devices as granularly as possible using all available segments
Let’s break these down, one by one.

Set Initial Mobile Bid Multipliers

First, decipher a target CPA and look at current conversion rate for mobile devices for each campaign you plan to opt in to mobile bid adjustments above -100%.
Here’s your formula:  (Target Mobile CPA x Mobile Conversion Rate) x 1.05 = Target Mobile CPC
(Note that the 1.05 is added to the formula to adjust for the fact that Google will likely give you an Avg. CPC that is at least 5% lower than the Max CPC you set.)
Next, take Mobile CPC and look at the % difference from Target CPC for Desktop bids.Perform the same formula for your desktop bids to determine a Target CPA for your desktop bids.
Finally, take your Mobile Bid Adjustment down by the % difference in Mobile CPC vs. Desktop CPC
–        Target Mobile CPC of $0.35 vs. Target Desktop CPC of $0.50
–        % difference between these two = -30%
–        Bid initial Mobile Bid Multiplier by -30% of desktop bids
Once you’ve got this established, move to step 2.

Set up a Routine Task to Check Performance

Once a week, I recommend that you segment all campaigns with mobile bid multipliers by device to see how mobile is performing compared to desktop.
If the mobile CPA is lower than your target CPA, feel free to bid up the mobile bid multiplier by the % difference between your actual CPA and your target CPA.This means you have head room to increase volume within your Target CPA!
Next, you’ll want to…

Optimize Mobile Devices as granularly as possible

This breaks down into two sections: ad group mobile bid multipliers and mobile-preferred ads.
For ad group mobile bid multipliers, the 80/20 rule applies: bid individually for the ad groups with 80% of the campaign’s mobile conversions, and bid them up or down based on their % difference from the campaign’s target mobile CPA.
In each ad group that contains mobile bid multipliers, create at least two mobile-preferred ads. Creating mobile-preferred ads lets you create mobile-specific calls to action in your ad copy (e.g. “Download this eBook on your phone now!”). Running two ads means that you can A/B test ad copy for mobile devices, which will improve your CVR.
The best part of all of these practices is that you don’t have to split out mobile campaigns to do them. Following these techniques can help you expand traffic at a profitable CPA in a fraction of the time that segmenting campaigns by device would. So maybe Google’s onto something after all…

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