Last minute tips for a smooth upgrade to Enhanced campaigns

As all search marketers are aware on July 22nd, 2013, all Google AdWords accounts will be auto upgraded to the new Enhanced campaigns format.

Given the adverse coverage on Enhanced campaigns, there has understandably been some nervousness about the impact that the switch over will have on the performance of existing campaigns.


We have been upgrading campaigns across client accounts gradually over the past months, and have created an approach that works well for us. With time fast running out, we thought we would share our tried and tested process for any advertisers that are yet to make the move over. We hope this is useful!


5 key steps for a smooth campaign upgrade

1. Categorise your campaigns for upgrade

Campaigns that are device specific need to be categorised and then potentially merged so that they can be upgraded. Firstly, identify your primary campaigns, which are typically the campaigns targeting desktop devices that should be upgraded. Then identify your secondary campaigns, which for most advertisers will be the campaigns targeting tablet and mobile devices. Adgroups, keywords, creative, and other elements will be merged from these campaigns into the primary campaign during the upgrade.


2. Use historic performance data to manage campaign settings

Utilise the mass of historic performance data you have available to understand any keyword disparity across devices, and resolve any discrepancies. If your account is managed, Google is able to provide a keyword disparity report to support this process.

Once you have a better understanding of the historic performance of each keyword by device, you can then review the average CPCs and traffic volumes across desktops, tablets and mobiles. It is crucial to learn the differences in device CPCs and traffic volumes as this will help you to analyse performance post-upgrade.


3. Put together a new, effective bidding strategy

Bidding works differently with Enhanced campaigns, so a new bidding strategy should be developed based on recent performance data of keyword bids and daily budgets. This will enable you to easily create and apply mobile bid multipliers to ensure that keyword bids stay exactly the same as they were. We would recommend that at this stage, you review actual spend vs daily budgets and amalgamate daily budgets across all devices.


4. Upgrade the campaigns

This stage represents the actual upgrade of a Legacy campaign to an Enhanced campaign. Keep in mind that once a primary campaign is upgraded it cannot be undone! Adgroups, keywords, creative, and other secondary campaign elements will be merged into the primary campaign during this stage. Once you have started a merge, we recommend that you complete it, as partially merged campaigns will still be eligible to serve ads. Secondary campaigns will be paused or deleted once they are merged with their matching primary campaign.


5. Review and make the most of new features

We would recommend reviewing newly upgraded Enhanced campaigns to ensure quality and post-upgrade success. The next step is to optimise each campaign with the new features available in Enhanced campaigns. These include tailoring Adgroup level sitelinks for top performing ad groups and scheduling extensions in order to change which sitelinks show at which times. We would also recommend setting up location bid multipliers to maximise performance in areas where the conversion rate is high.


Achieving a smooth transition

We really believe that the key to a smooth upgrade is preparation! However it is important too, to remain agile and efficient in the on-going management and optimisation of your Enhanced campaigns. As more and more advertisers commence and complete their upgrade, anticipate shifts in competition and the bidding environment.


Our useful checklist to support your upgrade:

Preparing your campaigns for the upgrade

  • Ensure all keywords in device specific campaigns are included in the primary campaign
  • Identify current budget allocation across devices and incorporate into the primary campaign
  • Review all existing landing pages, particularly any that are device specific, and update them


During the upgrade

  • Review your budget and incorporate anticipated additional spend
  • Enable all of your devices
  • Set your mobile bids
  • Review your ad group default bid
  • Set up your geo-targeting bids
  • Add the new call extensions
  • Create or optimise your sitelinks with the new Enhanced sitelinks


After the upgrade

  • Monitor traffic across devices and adjust bids accordingly
  • Optimise the geo-targeting features by adjusting bids in high and low performing regions
  • Review the effectiveness of the new optimisation features to ensure that they are performing well
  • Review spend across all devices to better understand how your money is being spent, and if this is effective spend