Car rental group Enterprise Holdings has seen mobile cost-per-clicks (CPCs) double since the rollout of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns.
The launch of Enhanced Campaigns this February, marks Google’s biggest ever overhaul of AdWords aimed at simplifying the running of multi-device campaigns for marketers, while letting them adjust bids for ads according to device type, location and time of day.
Enterprise Holdings, parent company to car hire brands including Alamo, tackled its migration early to ensure it had transitioned its 22 sites in time for the peak summer season.
It saw mobile CPCs on exact-match brand term for Alamo double as a direct result, according to online marketing director for EMEA Stefano Biondi.
“That happened because we were forced to target all operating systems on mobile devices. In the past we didn’t have a responsive-design site we had a mobile-specific one so we didn’t target Blackberry devices for example because of the screen size, but we did target Apple devices, so we bid different amounts for different operating systems and devices.
“But with EC we are forced to bid the same across everything, and that caused our brand CPCs to rise and conversions drop as we were suddenly appearing on Blackberry devices and ones that, in an ideal world, we wouldn’t want to be appearing on,” he said.
The group launched its first responsive-design site a fortnight ago, which means it now has a consistently good user experience across all operating systems on all mobile handsets, although it is still expecting the majority of its traffic and conversions to come through iOS devices.
If the responsive design site helps improve conversion rates in time, that could help counteract the inflated CPCs, according to Biondi.
“One of our main variables has changed and that is the responsive design site so if that starts helping drive more traffic and conversions then maybe we won’t mind so much about the rise in CPCs. So if Google doing this makes people think they must create responsive design or mobile sites I guess ultimately it’s a good thing, but it will be a challenge to get there in the meantime,” he said.
Biondi expects mobile CPCs to continue to rise as more campaigns migrate over to the new format in the next month, particularly for more competitive key terms.
“As more advertisers flip over to EC they will be forced to enter auctions for mobile, which they may not have been in before. They can set up modifiers and adjust accordingly but we are going to see more competition in mobile now and that will push up CPCs. Ma be we were having a good time of it before and this will be the new norm,” he said.
Google has set 22 July as the cut-off for campaign migration, after which any remaining campaigns that have not yet moved to Enhanced Campaigns will be switched over automatically.
For more on the effects of Google's Enhanced Campaigns rollout see the Drum's forthcoming print search supplement, released 21 June.