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June 21, 2013

Upgrading AdWords Legacy Campaigns to Enhanced Campaigns

If you do any search engine marketing using Google AdWords, you may be aware of the fact that you can currently create two types of campaigns: Legacy Campaigns, the original AdWords Campaigns, and Enhanced Campaigns, which improve your ability to control who sees your ads. With the new Enhanced Campaigns, it is easier to select situations in which you would like to bid higher, as well as decide whether your ad should target mobile or desktop searchers.

Google originally released the Enhanced Campaigns option in February 2013 in an effort to handle the rise of various devices that can now access the Web (such as touchscreen-friendly laptops, tablets, mobile phones etc.). This allows advertisers to easily target multiple devices in a single marketing campaign. Not only does multi-device marketing give your brand more solid coverage but it is easier to measure as well. In addition, Enhanced Campaigns are more context-centered. Google AdWords makes sure your message reaches your target audience at the most relevant times and places.

Cons of Enhanced Campaigns

Google AdWords Legacy Campaigns offered more flexibility in the budget, which is one of the biggest complaints about upgrading to Enhanced Campaigns. The original Legacy option also allowed advertisers to compartmentalize their campaigns by device. While this option will no longer be available in Enhanced, you can still eliminate mobile ads from your campaign if you choose. You can also separate traffic and spend by device in your reports. Of course, the hardest part of upgrading to Enhanced is taking the time to make sure all your settings are adjusted for merging campaigns.

Pros of Enhanced Campaigns

On the other hand, once you take the plunge, and merge all your campaigns to the enhanced format, it will save you time in the long haul. Combining your campaigns in the enhanced mode cuts down on the time spent optimizing separate device campaigns and evaluating the successes or pitfalls of each. You can also create multiple bid options depending on time of day and location of the target audience. Bid multipliers can be managed at the campaign level. This is great news for local companies who want their online ads to translate to in-store purchases. Sitelinks and other ad extensions in Enhanced can be viewed on an individual level.


Ready or not, here it comes! On July 22, Google AdWords will upgrade your campaigns to Enhanced, merging your secondary campaigns with primary (or desktop) campaigns, whether you like it or not. To prevent the hassle of redoing what Google intuitively believed should be merged or changed, it’s best to take the time to upgrade your campaigns before July 22.

How to Upgrade to Enhance

The Upgrade Center can be found through the shared library on the lower left-hand side. View your pending upgrades and then click the status of the particular campaign you wish to upgrade. While you can just let Google upgrade you through what they would recommend in their defaults, for more control it’s best to adjust the options yourself. Keep in mind while adjusting your settings that you can view the change before completely upgrading or save the draft to upgrade later. Just be sure to do it before July 22 or Google Adwords will automatically upgrade for you regardless of what you had saved as drafts.

To upgrade you will have to merge campaigns that are separated for Web and mobile. The majority of the time in Legacy Campaigns, your mobile campaign is a secondary campaign. When you are ready to upgrade, click the secondary campaign you wish to merge into a larger primary campaign, which is usually your Web ads. Whatever preferences you have set in your primary campaign will then be applied to your secondary campaign unless otherwise specified. Once again, you can view and edit the changes before accepting the upgrade.

If you do wish to tweak your primary settings, click the merge settings tab when upgrading. Google calculates the default bid according to similar advertisers in your industry category but you can change it in your merge settings.

In the merge settings, you will have an option to keep the original secondary campaign on pause even after you have merged. Google recommends deleting the campaign because on July 22 it will merge into the primary anyway, unpausing itself.

For matching ad groups, when merged, Google will automatically remove text ads that were already in your primary campaign. The non-matching ad groups will be copied over completely. Google experts suggest upgrading each ad extension separately.

Once you have completed your settings, Google AdWords offers a visual to verify what has been merged from each campaign and what it will look like in Enhanced. This includes showing a combined budget. The upgrade center also shows search plus display or search-only campaigns that have similarities in keywords and location. It will offer a preview of possible ways you can merge the campaigns into one. On top of what Google suggests, you can adjust ad groups, settings and ad extensions for that final merged campaign.

Strictly display campaigns should not be merged using the upgrade center. Instead, use the AdWords Editor to more efficiently merge various display campaigns.

Take time this month to use the advanced mode in the Upgrade Center to upgrade and merge your campaigns before Google AdWords wreaks havoc on them July 22. You’ll thank yourself later.

Adrienne Erin is an Internet marketing and social media marketing writer. She just used Upgrade Center to enhance the campaigns of a Chester County contractor, Haller Enterprises.