Are ‘enhanced’ AdWords campaigns genuinely enhanced?

As of July 2013, all Google AdWords campaigns have been switched to something called ‘enhanced’ mode. If you have an AdWords account, you will have received messages about it from Google. You may even have received a phone call from a friendly Google rep, offering to ‘upgrade’ your campaigns.

The biggest change in enhanced is it is no longer possible to target desktops, mobiles and tablets in separate campaigns.

If you were running a campaign targeting Texas for example, best practice would have been to create three copies of the campaign; one for desktops, one for mobiles and one for tablets. While this was more work to manage, it allowed you to optimise your ads, keywords and bids for each device with granular control.

In enhanced campaigns, desktops and tablets have been lumped together. It is no longer possible to specifically target tablets. Google say this is because tablet traffic performs similarly to desktop. My data suggests this simply isn’t the case.


Tablet performance (click to enlarge)

As you can see in my stats, tablet traffic is my most effective traffic, with a whopping conversion rate of 35%. Sadly I can no longer set separate bids for these clicks.

You can still see how tablet traffic is performing by segmenting your stats by device.

How does enhanced work?

Enhanced campaigns work by a series of bid multipliers. You can adjust the bid for a particular keyword by time of day, geographic location, and device.

Let’s say you bid $1.50 for the term ‘hair salon’. You then set a bid adjustment of:

+40% for 9AM — 3PM on Mondays
-50% for mobile devices
+25% for searches done in Chicago

Then if all these criteria are met, you actually bid $1.50 * 1.4 * 0.5 * 1.25 = $1.31.

Simple in theory, but more complex if you want to see what you are actually bidding.

Why has this happened?

Google make ALL their money — billions of dollars a year — from Google Advertising. The pressure is on to increase earnings.

Turning all devices ON by default is going to penalise uninformed or lazy advertisers. When you create a campaign, Google suggests a mobile bid adjustment for you, based on what other advertisers are doing.

Do not trust this. Get your own data instead.

For starters, think about how mobile friendly your offer is. If you require visitors to fill in a complex form, consider limiting traffic to desktops and tablets. You do this by setting a mobile bid adjustment of -100%.

If your primary conversion is a phone call, you may want to raise your mobile bids. Google will let you replace your ad title with a track-able click to call number. You can choose this on the phone call ad extension settings — choose to show ‘just the phone number’.

phone only

Click to call mobile ads (click to enlarge)

If you are sending mobile traffic to your website, please check first how mobile friendly your site is. Your mobile visitors lack patience, and won’t put up with zooming, scrolling, or large forms. Check how mobile friendly your site is at

I sometimes create a separate mobile landing page. I like to use Unbounce ( to do this. I also hear good things about Optimizepress 2. These services allow you to create fast, inexpensive mobile friendly pages.

All rejoice.

If you want granular control, it is sort of possible to create a mobile only campaign. Clone your desktop campaign in AdWords Editor, and rename the copy ‘mobile only’. In this campaign, lower all keyword bids by 66%, and set a mobile bid adjustment of +300%.

Not ideal, but as long as the keywords are the same across both campaigns it works.

What is genuinely better about enhanced

Ad extensions in enhanced campaigns have been improved significantly. Ad extensions are extra bits of information Google will sometimes show with your ad, for example a map, phone number, social information or sitelinks.

You can now set a schedule for your call extension, so your phone number only appears with your ad when your phones are manned.

You can also test individual sitelink extensions, and schedule certain sitelinks to run only at certain times. For a restaurant this could be a breakfast or lunchtime special.

For advertisers in the top positions these changes are good.

In summary

My only real problem with enhanced campaigns is that I can no longer specifically target tablet devices. In general everything else is an improvement, if you understand how it all works.

If you would like to contact me regarding further AdWords support, please look at I offer a free report on my website called ‘How to waste £1000 on AdWords in no time flat’, which is the best place to start.

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