A Guide to Migrating to Enhanced Campaigns: Slightly More Difficult Than Flying South


Before we dig into Enhanced Campaign migration, check out The New Google AdWords: Enhanced Campaigns, which explains what Enhanced Campaigns are and how they will affect your paid search campaigns. Viktor Frankl said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation — we are challenged to change ourselves.” In many ways, AdWords advertisers are being forced to make the change to Enhanced Campaigns, which will require new thinking. Keeping this in mind, this post discusses the two types of Enhanced Campaign migrations: simple and complex.

  • Simple migration process: Campaigns not currently targeting multiple devices, or are targeting all devices, can use a simple, straightforward migration process.
  • Complex migration process: Campaigns that target specific devices will have to use the merged flow migration process.

Simple Migration Process
1. Open the campaign you would like to upgrade.
2. You will see the Enhanced Campaign upgrade “Get Started” button, as shown below.

Enhanced Campaigns

3. The next screen after clicking “Get Started” will take you to the option “Adjust your bids for mobile.” There are a lot of options, but with the simple migration you will likely fall into one of these two scenarios:

  • If you are not currently bidding on mobile devices and do not want to, then select the “Use a custom bid adjustment” radio button and change your bid to -100 percent. This enables you to opt out of bidding on mobile devices.
  • If you are currently bidding on all devices in one campaign, then I recommend decreasing your mobile bids by at least 25 percent, as mobile cost-per-clicks are typically lower. If you are unsure how much to reduce your mobile bid adjustment, I recommend using the “Segment by device” report in AdWords to quickly analyze your specific account to determine the best percentage decrease or increase to apply in this step.

4. The next screen in the process is an information screen that provides detailed information on two areas. I recommend reading these instead of just clicking “Close.” Those topics are:

  • Creating better mobile ads
  • Mobilize your site

5. Congratulations, you are finished.

Complex Migration Process (Merged Flow)
First, you must identify which campaigns need to be merged together. For example, if you have a desktop campaign targeting women’s shoes and a mobile campaign targeting women’s shoes, then in the new paradigm of Enhanced Campaigns these campaigns will be merged. Here is a visual example:

enhanced campaign structure

After identifying matching desktop and mobile campaigns, it is important to select the primary campaign. You’ll likely choose your desktop campaign since the primary campaign will have the following features:

  • The most current ad groups
  • The largest keyword list
  • The highest investment
  • The longest history
  • The most statistics (conversions primary, traffic secondary)

After selecting your primary campaign, make sure your settings do not need to be changed or items added. Here are some things to consider:

  • Location options (including exclusions)
  • Scheduling
  • Delivery methods
  • Ad extensions

Important Note: Since bidding up or down on mobile devices is done at the campaign level, you will need to consider if you should break out ad groups into separate campaigns. For example, if you know that bidding on certain keywords for mobile does not produce a cost per action or return on investment you can live with, but the keywords still perform well on desktop, you will need to create a new campaign for these ad groups so you can bid down on mobile by -100 percent.

Merging the Structures Ad Groups: Identify which ad groups need to be transferred from your secondary account (mobile most likely) to your primary account. There are several ways to do this via pay-per-click (PPC) platform tools, Excel bulk sheets, AdWords editor or AdWords interface.

Keywords: Make sure all keywords that were in your secondary account are being migrated over to your primary account. Be extra careful not to lose a keyword because you are rushing through the process. I’m using Excel to identify the gaps in keyword lists between our primary campaigns and secondary campaigns. Then I’m adding any keywords identified as not being in the primary campaign to either new ad groups or to the most logical ad group. This process can be painful but ensures important keywords won’t be lost or improperly placed.

Ads: I have found that different calls to action work on different devices, so for many of my accounts I will have to merge mobile ads into my primary account. If you have different destination URLs for your mobile website or are going to have different ads by device, then merge your ads like you did with ad groups and keywords. Then go into each of the ads written for/with mobile site destination URLs and click the check box for mobile as a “Device preference.”

Bids: The last step is deciding what percentage to increase or decrease your time-of-day, location and device bid adjustments. It is important to analyze your current account performance and to test different bid adjustments to find the best recipe for your account. My last tip: Migrate one small campaign first and manage and optimize the performance of that campaign before migrating others. You will quickly learn there are some watch outs and pitfalls of Enhanced Campaigns, which we will be covering in later blogs in our Enhanced Campaigns series. While many of us are not happy with this change, I don’t see us being able to stop it. Thus, we must change ourselves.

Stay tuned for future perspective on Google Enhanced Campaigns in the coming weeks.

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David Germano
David Germano

David is the VP of Content Marketing for Empower Media Marketing, and runs Empower's Content Marketing division, Magnetic Content Studios. For more than 14 years, David has been helping brands develop sustained content marketing strategies and operate like media to build their own audiences. David is often speaking on the topic, and is a guest contributor to Content Marketing Institute.