Enhanced campaigns in many respects was a fiasco. Initially billed as a feature that would help simplify management of accounts while making them perform better, the evidence didn’t mount and the advertisers world were over up in arms. The general consensus was that enhanced campaigns had their uses but it went totally against the best practices at the time. It was an emphatic “thanks Google, but no thanks”.
Then came the deadline – 22nd July, 2013 – the Millennium Bug all over again. Mandatory migration to Enhanced Campaigns. With nowhere to hide, advertisers started to panic with the uncertainty of what lay ahead. It was messy and so when Google said a couple of weeks ago that they’d be announcing the “next generation of advertising innovations”, there was understandable concern once again. “10+ new AdWords products [and] features” – here we go again…
While mobile ads are growing in relevance and the announcement that mobile app ad targeting is being improved is fantastic. The most important and beneficial features to come from this announcement are those that will allow for advanced data modelling and visualisation from within the AdWords interface as well as “Draft mode”, which will give us the ability to test new ideas on a portion of the traffic.
On reporting and visualisation, we’ll soon be able to pivot data points on the fly, which will eliminate the need for generating raw reports, pulling them into Excel, filtering out what we don’t want and manipulating the data before finally graphing it in a useful way. When this feature is rolled out, we’ll be able to compare metrics and dimensions, using live data as well as plotting it in a variety of visualisations. I expect this to result in the majority of advertisers no longer relying on Excel for basic reporting, which is a heavy blow for Microsoft. Less time in Excel means more time (and dependence) on AdWords.
Bulk editing is an obvious feature to added to the online interface. For now it means we will be able to change location targeting and ad rotation settings across campaigns. Nothing spectacular, but it may be significant in what it signals for the future. Could it mean we won’t be relying on AdWords editor to the same extent in future? Could it preclude a decline of emphasis on the desktop tool? With browser sophistication continuing to advance, it may not be so far-fetched to expect a shift from the dual approach of the heavy-duty desktop tool along with the online, “lite” version for the more basic operations over to a more hefty SaaS solution with all features readily available within one interface. Larry Kim of Wordstream, who’s been all over these latest announcements, seems to think so.
In summary, you could say that Google are going on the offensive at the expense of Microsoft, third-party enterprise tools like Marin or Kenshoo and even their very own desktop editor tool. How long these announcements will take to see the light of day is anyone’s guess but whenever they come, they’re sure to have a big impact on the habits of practically every search marketer out there. I for one am anxious to get going with them sooner rather than later and look forward to pushing them to their limits and beyond.
In case that wasn’t enough, Google also made some major updates to their keyword planner tool while everyone was still catching their breath from last week’s announcement. Find out the latest on that from Twitter at #keywordplanner.