PPC Best Practices in an Enhanced Campaign World #12B

For the paid search crowd!


Ben Vigneron @eSearchVision

Prerequisites of Enhanced Campaigns: Mobile modifiers, location and time of day were only available at the campaign level upon first release. They are now also available at the ad group level. They are not available at the keyword level.

Isolate your top keywords in specific ad groups for editorial and bidding optimization purposes. Do this for the tier 1 and tier 2 campaigns at least since it’s a tedious process. You want one keyword per ad group. You can then test different ad copies.

Mobile Bid Modifiers

What about mobile-only campaigns?

No, campaigns with just mobile-preferred ads don’t do the trick.
Yes, campaigns with low desktop/tablet bids, aggressive mobile modifiers kind of do the trick, however:

  • You can’t get 100% of mobile impressions — more like 50+%
  • The base bids and modifiers together need to be close to the first page bid estimates
  • Not a scalable solution

Because mobile bid modifiers are set against desktop/tablet bids:

  • Aggregate desktop and tablet performance together
  • Compare mobile performance against desktop/tablet performance

A. Mobile bid adjustment
= 100 x (Mobile CPA target / Actual mobile CPA) -1

B. Mobile bid adjustment
= 100 x (Value per mobile click / Value per desktop and tablet click) -1

Low mobile bid modifiers could get you out of the auction completely

Monitor your mobile rank and bid down gradually to remain in rank 1-3.

Location Bid Modifiers

Not all locations drive statistically significant amount of data. First analyze your geo data by:

1. Country/territory – segment your campaigns by country/language
2. (Missed this!)
3. (… Oops)

A/B Testing

Now that ad groups are a combo of mobile preferred ads and non-mobile preferred ad, first analyze your ad metrics by device.

Either use mobile landing pages for mobile-referred ads or use the {imobile} and {ifnotmobile} parameters within the URLs and you’ll improve your Quality Score.

Testing procedure is the same except for factoring in the device dimensions.

Cross-Device Tracking

AdWords’ upcoming feature based on users logged in to their Google account across devices – Google said it would be coming in June. Third-party solutions based on unique user identifiers such as the email address or customer ID.

Jeff Allen @JeffAllenUT

He’s going to share the results of a 2 week test on $1 million in ad spend.

Tablet impressions up 48%, clicks up 45%
Computer impressions up 5% and clicks down 13% > one of their biggest fears — they weren’t able to control how their budget was spent.

Budget allocation post-enhanced campaigns:
Computer spend went from 79% before to 71% after

CPA up across all devices:
Computer: +12%
Mobile: +40%
Tablet: +13%

But there wasn’t a single instance where they had put the bids up on mobile. And computer ads always perform better, and that’s where they wanted their budget to go. Bid multiplier is the only control you have in EC and it’s not an adequate way to control budget.

There is an ideal situation for EC:

  • Location specific
  • Mobile optimized
  • Day parting

Mobile bid multiplier -30%, based on average mobile to desktop CPA variance.

CPA on mobile went up 25%, better than the 40% seen in their other accounts. But the worst part was there were no extra leads in the target radius. Overall, they saw a 9% increase in CPA and no change in leads.

Next test, delete all bid modifiers. CPA dropped 28% overnight — even better than before EC — when they just let the accounts run.


  • Budget allocation
  • Garbage traffic
  • Harder to see issues

Use bid modifiers sparingly. CPA will spike if you use on high position keywords.

Brad Geddes @bgtheory

Bid modifiers are great with CPC bidding: they can get more granular with bid modifiers. The problem is you can’t combine with CPA bidding. With CPA bidding leave campaign segmenting by performance by region.

Mobile case study:

  • Accounts were only on mobile devices
  • 13 accounts
  • Companies who only care about phone calls
  • Spending roughly $4 million combined

Bid modifier for mobile = 300%
Keyword level bid is as low as possible

Still, they went from 100% clicks on mobile in the legacy version to 19% clicks from desktop in EC.

Ad Group Sitelinks case study:

  • Is it worth it to take your data and create Sitelinks at the ad group level for products?
  • For low value product sale items, the Sitelinks were focused on cross sales (increase average order value)
  • High value items, the Sitelinks were focused on upsells — slight CTR bump, slight conversion rate bump, average order dropped = overall profitability was a net increase
  • Ambiguous searches, the Sitelinks focused on specific items to narrow down user interest (user not specific enough to pick a good landing page) — CTR went up, conversion rate went up = this is where to start with Ad Group Sitelinks.

The problem is that it’s not a well-supported feature. Not supported in editor, no search in UI, no sorting in UI. Not in the API yet. Too much effort for the return in a lot of the ad groups until Google supports this better.

Brad says that all the gripes marketers have with EC would be solved if Google allowed for bid modifiers for tablets and desktop at the ad group level.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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