Google Enhanced Search for the connected world…will affect what you do or don’t on mobile.

On February 6th, Google announced one of their biggest ever changes to AdWords which will impact all advertisers over the coming months.

Reflecting changes in how, where and when we search all AdWords campaigns will automatically target searches conducted on desktop, mobile and tablet devices.

This change moves search on to where the focus is on context, location and time of search.

The official announcement from Google can be found here: http://adwords.blogspot.co.uk/

What are the key changes?

1. Simplicity

At present your account will have the same keywords in three separate campaigns: one targeting desktop searches, one targeting mobile and the other targeting tablet searches. This results in hugely complex accounts which require a lot of time to set up and administrate. The change eliminates that as you have just one campaign targeting all devices

2. Bid prices between platforms

You will set one bid price for desktop which will be the same for tablet devices, but you are able to adjust the level for mobile. In practice we might set a bid price of £1 for desktop and tablet but decide we want to be less visible for that same search conducted on a mobile device and therefore that bid price will be set as a lower proportion of the desktop and tablet price. Conversely we might want to be more visible on mobile searches and decide to bid up.

3. Targeting location and time of day has never been so easy

Targeting specific locations and day parts is even more complex than targeting different platforms – not any more. The change will allow you apply multiple layers to a single keyword campaign. This will allow us to help you target multiple locations with different messages at different times much more effectively than you can now.

4. You will need to have a tablet friendly site

There’s no way around this, if you are an advertiser on AdWords your adverts will appear on tablet searches. If you do not have a tablet friendly site you will pay more per click and see an increase in wastage.

5. One keyword will need desktop, mobile and tablet specific landing pages and copy

This will be the key to success in this new world.

When is this happening?

Nothing will happen immediately. At MEC we have already begun discussions to set up test accounts over the next few weeks with the main migrations happening in March once Google launches tools to help with the migration. We anticipate all AdWords accounts will be fully migrated by June 2013.

What does this means for you?

1. The cost per click of searches conducted on mobile and tablet devices will increase

For how long we don’t know. But given changes in the past, such as the Bing and Yahoo merger, when there are more advertisers and especially when some of the advertisers are inexperienced – bid prices will inflate. This will settle as advertisers optimise their sites, copy, day parts, bid levels etc. against what works for them. Even after this we would expect the days of CPC’s being as low as they are now to be over!

2. The way to win is to focus on copy and user experience

Quality score will always be king therefore being able to show the most relevant copy to users based on where and when they are searching will keep your CPC’s low. By the providing the best user experience for that platform will ensure you keep your cost per sale/engagement as low as it can be.

3. You are already at an advantage if you have mobile and tablet campaigns

What we will have learnt from running existing campaigns will be applied to the new campaigns. It allows you to be ahead of any competitors who do not have device specific campaigns as they will need to go through the process of learning to find the right bid levels, day parts, creative and landing pages.

4. Migration will be relatively simple

We have been working very closely with Google on this change and over the coming months we will agree a migration plan with you.

5. You will be able to close the loop

Google have plans to introduce incredibly powerful reporting capabilities, allowing not only more granular level reporting on elements such as site links but, crucially, cross platform tracking. This will mean we will be able to develop cross platform attribution models and strategies which reflect the user intent between devices.

6. We will give you the best advice and strategies to ensure you’re ready

We have an enormous amount of experience of mobile and tablet user behaviour. We will work with you to ensure your PPC campaigns are set up to deliver the most effective visits and beyond the click we can help advise on responsive design through to providing mobile / tablet audits of your competitors’ websites.

Thanks to our MEC UK for the above POV.

Greg Shickle and Jide Sobo.

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