Bing Ads vs. Google AdWords’ Enhanced Campaigns

David Pann, general manager of Microsoft’s Search Network, has recently re-iterated his beliefs in giving advertisers ultimate control over their online PPC campaigns.

Pann’s stance is in direct comparison and response to Google’s Enhanced Campaigns update to Google AdWordsGoogle announced in February plans to upgrade all AdWords accounts to Enhanced Campaigns – removing the ability to target and differentiate between tablet devices. That is to say, it will no longer be possible for you to target iPad users specifically over desktop users.

Google AdWords' Enhanced Campaigns - friend or foe?

At the time, Google said that the difference between conversions on tablets and desktops was marginal and would now be consolidated. However, as has been noted by several people previously, the behaviour of people on different devices is not the same.

Bing Ads (which includes the Yahoo! search engine as part of the Yahoo! Bing Network) will continue to provide advertisers the ability to segment users by their device:

“At Bing Ads, we believe very strongly in giving advertisers the tools and flexibility to control their spending, target the most relevant audiences, and ensure they can get the best return on investment. We do not believe bundling mobile, desktop and tablet advertising together in an opaque manner is in the best interests of our customers.”

Whilst in the UK, Google undoubtedly dominates the search market, in many regions Google is seeing its position shrink ever so slightly as it faces competition from Bing and Yahoo!

Bing Ads - the saviour for online advertisers?

Do I need to prepare for Enhanced Campaigns?

If you are an AdWords user and you have not yet planned for Enhanced Campaigns, now is a fantastic time to start planning for their arrival. Google has given an expected due-date of mid-2013 so the changes are imminent but you can already start to use them if you wish.

Below are five points that you should start working towards to ensure the arrival of Enhanced Campaigns doesn’t leave you with any nasty surprises.

1. Make the mental switch

As mentioned previously, Google now groups tablets with desktops. If you currently have campaigns set up to target tablet devices, you will no longer be able to manage these separately. Whilst you might lament this – you will probably see a conversion rate difference – there isn’t anything you can do to alter this now.

If you are reporting your AdWords campaign to your team or manager, warning them that this change is coming will help mitigate against any nasty shocks. It might also mean you have a couple less campaigns to manage saving you valuable time for tea and biscuits.

2. Target mobile, local search

This is easier said than done for different industries but all advertisers could benefit from this change. Enhanced Campaigns will now make it easy to make different bids based on how local a searcher is to your and even provide offers to them.

Any advertiser with a strong local presence will gain the most benefit but you could offer a special discount to someone just dropping by or hopefully, although this isn’t guaranteed, even target them with different ad copy. You can see how selling the locality – especially for service based businesses – should have a positive impact on your campaign.

3. Sitelinks for ad groups

You can now assign websitelinks to specific ad groups within campaigns! Advertisers rejoice! Previously, websitelinks were only assigned on a campaign level which could mean your websitelinks weren’t 100% optimised for each ad group within a campaign depending how you set up your account.

This change will now make it easier to provide the most relevant links to searchers. Sitelinks are powerful conversion tools – if you aren’t using them already, then I’d definitely recommend adding them.

4. Save time

Whilst there has been a lot made around Google’s amalgamation of data from tablet devices and desktops, this should save you time and allow you to be more efficient in your management of the AdWords campaign.

5. Keep calm and carry on

I said it – don’t hate me! Unfortunately, Google’s Enhanced Campaigns aren’t going anywhere just yet and I’d be highly sceptical that they’d make any significant retrospectives to their changes. So it makes more sense to jump in bed with them and get to know the changes well before their implemented. Besides, many companies have reportedly seen improvements in their AdWords campaigns thanks to Enhanced Campaigns so there’s no reason to inherently fear them.

Alternatively, you could forsake AdWords completely for Bing Ads. However, recent research shows that Google owns 65.2% of the world’s searches and Yahoo! and Bing combined only 10.7% – any hasty decisions may be regretted… Nonetheless, it might be worth considering a measured approach and targeting both for a greater level of analysis.

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