Two months on from the roll-out of Google’s “Enhanced” Campaigns we can look back and reflect of how the changes have affected campaign performances. Google has been pushing the benefits of these campaigns, encouraging AdWords users to switch to the new format before they make the switch compulsory for all users later in the year.

What exactly are these benefits, you ask?

Well the whole premise behind the upgrade is to help advertisers better target their audiences, in the right context, regardless of which device they might be using. Still confused? This video from Google might make things a bit clearer.

Google lists the features of their new format:

  • Powerful bidding improvements which allow advertisers the ability to manage bids across different devices, from varying locations and at different times. For example, bids can be made higher for customers who are in close proximity to a store, or can be lowered during the hours when a business is closed.
  • Smarter ads which can be optimized depending on the user, their device, and their location. Different ads can be shown depending on the user context and device capabilities. This also applies to site links, apps and extensions. For example, a store locator can be shown alongside ads during business hours, and ad text and site links can be switched at different times.
  • New, advanced reporting metrics with new conversion types. Advertisers will now be able to access call reporting with free Google forwarding numbers and conversion metrics for particular campaigns.

While this all sounds good in theory, there have a been numerous complains from irate advertisers who are not happy and some of the limitation brought in by the Enhanced Campaigns. Some of these include:

  • The option to have a mobile-only campaign is gone. Any keyword you might use to target mobile users must now also be run on desktops.
  • Tablet bidding is gone. This is a grievance for retail/e-commerce advertisers as tablet conversion rates in these industries are regularly higher than on other devices.
  • No device level control. Presently you can set a campaign to target a specific device or operating system on mobiles. This feature is being removed and replaced with Google’s “contextual” ads. This means that particular advertisers, who can’t monetize traffic from iOS, say for example and Android app developer, will still have to pay for ads to those devices.

Regardless of how you feel about Enhanced Campaigns, everyone will be forced to make the switch mid-way through 2013. Additional updates will likely be forthcoming even later in the year, as Google continually push to increase profitability and improve user experience. Whether we like the changes brought about by the new campaign stye or not, they’re here to stay; so we may as well get used to them.