5 Tips for Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns

There is no question: Enhanced campaigns are the biggest chance to Google’s advertising platform since the launch of self-managed campaigns on October 23, 2000.  My feelings about enhanced campaigns are similar to that of a zombie invasion: they are coming and we can’t stop them, so we should learn how to survive best in our new environment.

For some campaign types enhanced may not provide much benefit, and may even detract from your overall performance.  For others, you’ll find enhanced offers many features to take advantage of, including some cost-savings for phone tracking users.  Read on to find out which of these tips can boost your campaign specifically!

1.  Determine whether to convert now or wait

Like I mentioned above, the transition is going to benefit some campaign types more than others.  Keep in mind that once you move to enhanced you will lose the ability to segment out tablet traffic (it will be rolled into desktop) and you will also lose device and OS targeting for any search campaigns.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few common business types:

Brick and Mortar

 Enhanced campaigns were made for you!  A savvy restaurant or shop owner can advertise daily specials on sitelinks, or raise bids for people within walking distance.  My guess is that Google’s next big step is going to be a push to engage local small businesses through some sort of program, again.  (Hopefully better than AdWords express).

Lead Generation

If you’re doing call-based lead gen and want to track everything inside of AdWords, enhanced is going to provide lots of benefits.  If you’re capturing other types of form data, your experience with enhanced will be based on how you use historical data (more on this below).  An example of a client I would not move to enhanced would be one tracking, for example, the download of a (.exe) application that cannot run on most tablet devices.


Right now, e-commerce sites are the “worst” in terms of benefiting from enhanced.  I say this because historically I’ve seen tablet traffic perform at an unacceptable rate, and now I have to take that traffic whether I like it or not.  If your site is tablet-optimized you may fare better.

2.  Use your own data

Most people aren’t going to use the new bid multipliers for device or location right off the bat, but you should take advantage of them if you have data to back it up.  How you actually use the data will vary based on your business type, but here is some framework to get you started:

Device Multiplier

If you like things granular, you probably already have your legacy campaigns split up by device type.  If not simply use the segmentation report to get a breakdown.  Mobile bids should be adjusted appropriately based on performance.  If you haven’t been bidding on mobile, I recommend testing for at least 30 days before completely ruling the traffic out.


Run a user location report and see if you can discern any significant data in terms of conversion by location.  I find that California and New York, for example, tend to convert the highest in e-commerce campaigns.  Does your client have more physical locations in one state, or more conventional advertising there?  Think about force multiplying factors for your campaign and bid appropriately.

3.  Use click to call right now

If your business can take phone calls, you should really be using click to call for mobile.  Let me explain how great this is and why I think it won’t be around forever: Mobile click to call ads can be set to click to call only mode.  When you do this, the mobile ad has phone icon and the headline turns into “Call: XXX-XXX-XXXX.”  This means that a user can either view the ad (impression) or call (conversion).  After running these for 45 days, I found these ads to be a fantastic driver of qualified leads.  Keep in mind that you will be charged for mis-clicks, including ads that get clicked on but the user cancels the dial.  In practice I’ve found that about 20% of the calls are dropped or not qualified.  Here’s how to set it up properly:

  • Create Two call extensions per campaign, one set to mobile preferred.
  • Set the mobile preferred extension to “Just the phone number”
  • Set your desired “count as conversion” length (usually 20-30 secs)

Boom, now you’ve got it good to go.  My personal feeling is that Google is going to somehow restrict this feature, since I would think they will lose revenue if this is widely adopted.

4.  Use your extensions!

Everyone should be using sitelinks, and if you can, you should be taking advantage of the new enhanced features.  Here are some fun/interesting ways you can make your campaign stick out:

  • Set your sitelinks to change with store hours/days: “We’re Open Now!” from 9-5, or a “Closed on Sundays.” link that only shows that day of the week.  Sweet.
  • If you have daily, lunch or delivery specials use sitelinks to advertise them.  You can run them the day they are offered, during the hours they are available.  This might even save you a click if you run them in conjunction with call extensions.
  • Customize your sitelinks based on device, for example: desktop/tablet users see delivery specials, while mobile users see lunch or dinner combos.

Use your imagination by thinking about how time of day/week influences your business, and how you can use your links to advertise a message based on that variable.

5.  Don’t forget these things

Use these mini-tips to make your transition go smooth.  After converting over 100 campaigns to enhanced, I’ve learned how to make the switch efficient.

  • If you are merging campaigns, pick the one with the most historical data.  The others will be wiped.
  • The only thing not merged is budgets – don’t forget to change them.
  • Call and sitelink extensions must be upgraded manually after the transition.
  • If you’re going to be working with a good amount of sitelinks, delete all your old ones in editor first.  It saves a lot of clicking time.
  • Pay attention to the “increase by” and “decrease by” boxes when you are setting bid multipliers after the initial conversion.
  • If you’re testing mobile, stick to position 1 or 2.  There are only two ad spots, and bidding below them isn’t going to be a true indicator of performance

The major benefit of enhanced campaigns can be summed up in two words: user context.  It gives you the ability to present your ad to the user differently based on the three dimensions we discussed: time, location and device.  When you start designing your campaign there are two facets you need to keep in mind


All of your decisions in terms of enhanced bidding strategy should be based on historical data, if it’s available.  Those who have 4+ years of data available should be mining it for nuggets of information that can be used to set the location-based bidding to their advantage

Common Sense

A good business owner knows what month, day and hour things get busy or slow.  If I know Mondays are big for pizza delivery, I’m going to make sure I’m in position one all day.  If my drivers get bigger orders and tips from a wealthy town to my east, I’m going to make sure I’m number one in that town too.

Use these simple examples to think about your own business, and how you can use what you know to boost your campaigns.

Will Goldfarb About the author
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