Five things to do before Enhanced Campaigns launch July 22

It’s finally here—the mandatory date of Enhanced Campaigns migration is less than a week away!  Starting on July 22nd, Google will begin migrating all AdWords campaigns not already upgraded into the Enhanced Campaigns format.

Once you’ve finished upgrading your campaigns (or even if you made the switch months ago), take a few minutes before July 22nd and check these five things to make sure you’re set up to get the most out of Enhanced Campaigns.

1. Are all your live campaigns upgraded?  Are your legacy campaigns paused and labeled?

This one is easy to check in both the Google AdWords website and AdWords Editor.  Simply navigate to the “Campaigns” tab and sort by “Enhanced Campaign.”  If you don’t see that column, you may have to unhide it.  All live campaigns should say “Enhanced” or “Enabled”—if any live campaigns still say “Legacy” or “Disabled,” those still need to be upgraded.

If you have old cloned campaigns targeting specific devices that will not be used going forward, it’s a good idea to adjust the campaign name to note the date they were merged or paused and the date you executed this.  If you pull historic data in your account sometime in the coming years, you’ll be glad you did this!  AdWords Editor has an “Append Text” function that is very handy for adding this annotation to the campaign names.

2. Do all of your Enhanced Campaigns have a mobile bid adjustment?

While you can wait to experiment with the other bid adjustment options, every advertiser should review their mobile strategy and set a mobile bid adjustment for each campaign.  While you can set this adjustment at the AdGroup level, it’s a good idea to also set a campaign-level adjustment as a safety net just in case sometime in the future you add new AdGroups and neglect to set their mobile bid strategy.  Again, this is very easy to review in AdWords Editor—simply sort by the “Mobile bid adjustment” column, and make sure all live campaigns have a bid modifier of either -100% (to opt out of smart phone traffic) or between -90% and 300%.

3. Have you created mobile-specific ad copy?

This is an easy step to overlook, and while some might argue that it’s optional, it’s my opinion that every account can benefit from smart phone-specific ad copy.  Consider how the actions of a smart phone user will differ from a desktop user, and then write copy with a call to action that speaks to the mobile searcher.  If nothing else, pick at least one campaign and do a test to prove the value.  To check for mobile ads in AdWords Editor, navigate to the “Ads” tab and sort by “Device Preference.”

4. Have you upgraded your extensions—and if not, do you have a plan to?

Enhanced Extensions (Sitelinks, Call Extensions, App Extensions, and Offer Extensions) aren’t automatically upgraded when you migrate to Enhanced Campaigns.  You have to go in and upgrade these extensions in a separate process.  These Enhanced Extensions have fantastic new features, but they have a major drawback—management of these new Extensions isn’t currently supported anywhere except the Google AdWords website.  Google is working on adding management features to AdWords Editor and the AdWords API (so third parties tools can access them), but dates for this functionality are vague (and have already been pushed back a few times).  It’s worth noting that Enhanced Extensions have a separate migration deadline of mid-September. It’s up to you to decide whether the new features are worth the tradeoff of only being able to adjust these extensions in the AdWords Editor UI

5. Do you have a plan for testing the other bid modifiers?

In addition to mobile bid modifiers, Google has added additional modifiers for other secondary signals such as geographic location, time of day, and audience (RLSA).  While these modifiers can be viewed as optional, smart advertisers won’t wait to begin testing them.  Review the options offered by each modifier, pull reports segmenting your audience to identify opportunities, and get busy testing!  These modifiers are a fantastic new resource that advertisers can leverage to more effectively target their audiences.  Just be careful to note how these modifiers stack!

The next few weeks will be tumultuous, exciting times for search marketers.  Google has changed the rules—now it’s up to us to create testing plans and define best practices for these features in the new world of Enhanced Campaigns.