Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns: the most important changes

Google has just released a major change to the way AdWords will work: Enhanced Campaigns. Yesterday I attended a seminar in Melbourne held by Google to explain these changes to agencies managing AdWords campaigns for their clients.

Enhanced Campaigns is already available if you do a manual upgrade, and within the next 4-6 months all campaigns will be forced to upgrade.

Here is a quick summary of the main changes you will see and how they will impact on your campaigns:

Desktop, tablet and mobile ads are now combined

That’s right, there are no more separate mobile campaigns. All campaigns will automatically include mobile ads. This is a strategic decision by Google whose mobile advertising revenues have been falling behind expectations.

To show a different ad to mobile users, you can define a “mobile preference ad”, e.g. with a simpler or more immediate call to action.

Automate bid adjustments for location, time and device

While you will still have one “base” bid amount for each keyword, you can now automatically adjust this bid depending on the location, time and device your ad is shown on. The adjustments are done in percentages, e.g. you can define a 30% increase for ads shown within your city, or a 50% decrease for times when your shop is closed.

The bid adjustments are cumulative so that multiple adjustments may be applied for the same bid (e.g. a 30% increase for a location and then a 50% decrease for the time of day).

More control over ad extensions

If you use AdWords extensions such as sitelinks for your campaigns, you will now have more control over these. You can define specific sitelinks for mobile devices, and schedule sitelinks depending on the time of day. E.g. a pizza shop might show a different offer at lunchtime vs dinnertime, and depending on users being on their mobile phone.

Display only campaigns will continue to have device targeting

While display campaigns showing banner ads across Google’s network will also be upgraded to Enhanced Campaigns, they will continue to have separate device targeting. This is because ad formats can be significantly different for desktops, tablets and mobiles (e.g. ad sizes and features such as swipe).

Enhanced Campaigns makes bid adjustments available for display ads. For example, you can increase or decrease your bid automatically by gender, age or interest.


From a first look at Enhanced Campaigns, it does seem to save time by combining campaigns that we have had to run separately until now (e.g. combining desktop and mobile campaigns). It also makes complex segmentation easier to manage as bid adjustments are calculated automatically depending on location, time and device.

However, there is less control over some elements of the campaigns now, e.g. it is harder to see how much exactly you are bidding on specific keywords, as the bid can change depending on the location, time or device. It also allows less control over the mobile experience as we cannot run mobile-only campaigns anymore.

Unfortunately the bidding adjustments can currently only be done on a campaign level, not on an Ad Group level, which means less control over specific bids for different products or brands that sit within the same campaign.