Keeping calm and enhancing on

Google has coined the phrase for all of us paid search people working on Enhanced Campaign: “Keep Calm and Enhance On.” While they’ve sent us t-shirts with this slogan to pep us up after numerous technical issues, Enhanced Campaigns continues to be a struggle for digital marketers.

Tracking – ValueTrack

For most of us in the industry, our biggest hurdle into the new Enhanced world is tracking. Google has offered the ValueTrack parameters; this solution allows advertisers to add in a “d”, “t”, or “m” that will pass back through the search campaign to identify which device (desktop, tablet, mobile) the query originated Our partners, Kenshoo and Marin, are both working to automate this into their build URL, which is the ideal solution to help with tracking. Another approach is to add a mobile-preferred URL and desktop/tablet preferred URL, as well as device-preferred clicktracker. Using DoubleClick, you could track which conversions are coming from a specific device type.


New Enhanced Campaign extensions are very exciting, however once getting into the details, it is apparent that they are not all fully programmed and have several caveats. Bulk sitelink optimizations will not be made available until June or July; in the interim, all teams have to send their updates to the Google team, or execute each one manually in the UI. As several advertisers need to swap sitelinks weekly, this once quick process is now a pain point for digital marketers.

App extensions are a new Enhanced Campaign feature that allows marketers to promote their mobile app in search results. We discovered first hand when launching this for a client that these are unable to run in addition to sitelinks being active in the account. We tried to work around this new issue with dayparting or just making the extension “mobile preferred,” but discovered that we had to reluctantly delete all sitelinks to trigger an app extension.

By adding new ValueTrack parameters and  more tracking, Enhanced Campaigns has led to longer URLs. Google has attempted to accommodate these longer URLs by updating the keyword destination URLs to 2,048 characters, however kept sitelinks to 1,024 characters. While this might have made sense to Google, it’s frustrating to those in the industry who use dummy keywords to append the same layers of tracking to both keyword destination and sitelink URLs. We’ve been talking to Google about updating this limitation to prevent having two separate URL creation processes.

Compatibility with Bing

With Enhanced Campaigns, Google has drawn the first battle ground line in separating efficiencies the industry has found with launching items between Google and Bing. Several updates from Microsoft in the last two years have focused on making their search engine optimization process the same as Google’s, even to the point where you can sync your Google and Bing accounts so all optimizations can be reflected across both engines. While the industry will not pull away from using Bing, advertisers are now having to spend more of their time on Google and its Enhanced Campaigns. Unfortunately, teams will lose some of the efficiencies they have created in cross engine optimization.

Change is hard, and we expect it in the SEM industry where technology is constantly evolving. As digital marketers, we can complain about the changes or embrace them and move forward. Enhanced Campaigns are here to stay; we just ask that Google improve it so we can regain some of those  lost efficiencies.

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