How to Stay on Top of 6 New Google AdWords Updates

Google recently announced a series of significant changes at its annual Google Performance Summit in San Francisco. These six changes aim to allow advertisers to bridge the gap between the digital and physical world.

Mobile was the key theme of these announcements, given over half of the trillion Google searches happen on a mobile device. As per Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior vice president, ads and commerce at Google, ‘Mobile First World’ is the focus of Google going forward.

This is evident by the launches made earlier in 2016, which include Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), removal of right-hand-side ads on desktop SERP results, testing text ads with expanded characters, and Google Maps ad tests.

With the new announcements, AdWords will now have the following features:

1. Expanded search text ads

Earlier this year, Google tested this feature with some advertisers and noticed that there was a 20% increase in click-through rates when this feature was applied. The new ad units are optimised for screen sizes of the most popular smartphones, and provide more ad space so brands can showcase detailed product information to users. This feature will launch worldwide by the end of the year.

Google AdWords upgraded ad components table

Image source: Google Inside AdWords blog

2. Mobile responsive ads for Google Display Network (GDN)

AdWords will now offer native ad units that can adapt to the diverse content across the two million-plus publisher sites and apps. PPC marketers need to only provide headlines, ad description, image, and URL. Google will then automatically optimise these ads to be served as native ad units. This benefits advertisers with better consumer product engagement and increased accessibility on the internet to explore further new markets for their product.

Responsive ads for Google Display Network example

Responsive ads for Google Display Network (image source: Google Inside AdWords blog)

3. Remarketing campaigns are getting modified

AdWords will now allow you to extend the reach of GDN remarketing campaigns by giving advertisers access to cross exchange inventory. The ads 'unlock new native inventory' in apps and mobile websites in the content network. This would help sites that may have been relying on another network for native ad serving, Google is saying it can now fill that inventory demand.

For remarketing list for search ads (RLSA), similar audiences will soon be rolled out this year for your audience list. Previously this option was only available for the Google Display Network. So, now you will be able reach out to users who are similar to your audience list imported from Google Analytics. Likewise, demographic segmentation of audiences based on age and gender will also roll out in the coming months for search remarketing campaigns. As you can see, remarketing through AdWords is getting more direct and intent focussed to convert your website visitors into loyal customers.

4. Location Search ads are rolling out on and Google Maps

Although still in the experimentation phase, these ads will help retailers increase their in-store visits. Nearly one third of all mobile searches are related to locations. This ad format includes promoted pins for nearby businesses, a new look for local business pages, plus new features like special offers and the ability to browse through product inventory.

Promoted Pins ad on Google Maps

Promoted Pins ad on Google Maps (image source: Google Inside AdWords blog)

5. AdWords bid adjustments for each device type

The next few months will see Google offer the ability to set individual bid adjustments for each device type (i.e. mobile, desktop and tablet, etc.). This allows the advertisers to set their base keyword bids to the device deemed most valuable to their business or campaign KPIs, and then set bid adjustments for each of the other devices. This feature will give advertisers more control on their cross device ads promotion strategy.

6. AdWords interface redesign

The final takeaway is that a redesigned AdWords interface will be coming by the end of 2017. The new interface is clean for a user-friendly experience. Read more about how the existing interface has evolved during the past year.

Google AdWords interface changes

AdWords redesign preview (image source: Google Inside AdWords blog)

In the new redesign, an overview screen will be available at the campaign, ad group and ad levels. This would show a graphical snapshot of account performance which is similar to the account level home screen in AdWords now. Then, a top ad groups snapshot, as well as an overview of performance split across devices, will be available soon.

How can I use these updates for my PPC strategy?

It’s an exciting time for PPC marketers, with Google focusing heavily on paid search platform optimisations.

  • Experiment: Once the expanded text ads are rolled over to all advertisers, you can test this format and see if any changes occur in your ad conversions and CTR
  • Focus on mobile: With digital space expanding, we recommend revising your mobile strategy. Mobile is no longer an extension of the desktop experience; mobile behaviour has its own patterns and requirements
  • Experiment with native ad formats: The largest social platforms in the world monetise with native, in-feed ads, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. Google is further expanding into this area with the new display ads format. We recommend testing this feature further to see how this impacts your clients’ performance
  • Work on your remarketing strategy: With Google’s new announcement for GDN remarketing and RLSA format ads, it’s imperative for search marketers to make remarketing an important segment of their overall PPC strategy

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