- Bigger text ads that get clicked more often
- Ability to fine-tune your bidding by device type
- Map ads that draw in mobile searchers near your store
- New technology that better ties ad clicks to in-store visits
- Ability to create similar audiences for search ad targeting
That and more is what’s coming to Google AdWords advertisers following announcements this past Tuesday. For our PPC SEM services clients and others, we’ll walk through the exciting opportunities coming out of Google Performance Summit.
We followed up this article with an on-air discussion of AdWords’ new game-changers:
“Mobile-First” Means Greater Reach
This week at the Google Performance Summit keynote we were introduced to a “completely re-imagined and rebuilt” AdWords system for a “mobile-first world.”
Both the AdWords advertising platform and Google Analytics are getting major redesigns to help search advertisers better meet mobile consumers’ needs. Advertisers are getting some new opportunities to interact with people specifically in those “micromoments” when a person wants to know something, do something, or buy something.
The bottom line is this: Marketers will have new ways to be present at critical points when an ad can perfectly answer a searcher’s intent and context.
Bigger Text Ads to Get More Clicks
Text ads longer: Recent formatting changes in the Google search engine results page (SERP) paved the way for what Google announced as “the biggest update to the ad creative” in many years.
(Quick review: Ads stopped appearing in the right-hand column, and the main search results column increased from 512 pixels to around 600 pixels wide.)
Now AdWords text ads can have much longer headlines — up to two lines of 30 characters each — and de scriptions can hold up to 80 characters with the new formatting on both desktop and mobile SERPs.
Here’s a comparison of existing text ads and the new expanded text ads:
—> Dramatic change here. With 50 percent more room for ad text overall, text ads can do a better job of delivering compelling messages highlighting features and benefits. PPC managers should take a look at expanding their current ad copy. Use additional words to give more info and more specifically engage target personas, which will increase CTRs (click-through rates). Google claims that testing has shown a 20 percent increase in CTR — that’s huuuuge!
Fine-Tuned Device-Type Bidding for Optimized CPA
Bid modifiers for ALL devices: Our prayers have been answered! Advertisers will be able to set individual bid adjustments for each device type. For instance, if your tablet ads are exhibiting poor performance, you can adjust the bid downward while leaving your other device bids the same, all within a single AdWords campaign.
—> This new bidding flexibility deserves the big applause it got at the AdWords Summit. Fine-tuning for optimal CPA can finally be accomplished via bid adjustments on every device. Better ROI!
New Ads in Google Maps to Drive Foot Traffic
Google Maps receives 1.5 billion destination searches per month. Using location extensions, advertisers can be found by nearby searchers by including a new promotional message within a local map result. For example, when someone searches in Google Maps for electronics stores, Best Buy could feature “10% off phone accessories” in local map results.
Promoted pins can show a logo and a special promotion or other ad message to a nearby person who’s looking at a map. For example, someone walking while searching might see a Starbucks offer pinned along the route. The opportunity here is huge for driving foot traffic to brick-and-mortar establishments. Google says that 30 percent of mobile searches are related to location, and location-related mobile searches are growing 50 percent faster than other types of mobile searches.
—> The ability to highlight a physical location on Google Maps is a game-changer. As an advertising platform, Maps can help local businesses get noticed by people who are nearby and drive in-store visits.
Mobile Responsive Display Ads Will Always Look Good and Require Less Work by Advertisers
Google-designed display ads: The new AdWords will do the work for you of building display ads. As the advertiser, you’ll need to provide only a headline, de scription, image and link; the system will then automatically design a responsive ad that appears differently for each platform throughout the Google Display Network (GDN). Google promises that such ads will be “beautiful and easy to click/swipe.”
—> Responsive mobile ads are the future. Letting Google auto-design ads may not suit every advertiser, especially if branding is a priority. The layout modification to fit each different platform will be convenient. The wording and image creation, where the real skill comes in, remain the advertiser’s job. But the production values of Google’s auto-generated ads are surprisingly high, and perfectly well-suited to constructing similar ads while testing ad messaging.
Reaching more GDN customers: Google shared a rather astonishing statistic: Advertisers on the GDN, which now numbers two million publisher sites, can reach a whopping 90 percent of all internet users.
Not to sit on their laurels, Google announced that the GDN reach will exceed that 90 percent by allowing advertisers to spread ads to “cross-exchange inventory.”
—> They weren’t specific about which ad exchanges or sites would start displaying GDN ads, but more sites = more conversions per GDN campaign — great for remarketing efforts!
New Tech to Tie Online Ads to In-store Activity
Google studies found that three-fourths of local mobile searchers who clicked an ad visited a store within a day, and 28 percent of those visits resulted in a purchase. It’s clear that AdWords is accountable for an increasing amount of in-store activity.
Beacon signals: Beacon signals will improve existing location data and track store visits better, letting advertisers measure the impact of online ads on in-store activity to build a local strategy. According to Larry Kim, Google will simply look at phone location history to tell whether the person who searched and clicked on your ad ended up walking into the store.
—> Tying online ad clicks to purchases in a physical store has so far been difficult, but increasingly this is how people shop. Beacons will help track a local advertising strategy.
Similar Audiences and Remarketing to Extend Your Targeted Ad Audience
Savvy advertisers know that GDN remarketing campaigns, whereby ads are shown to previous site visitors, are essential to maximizing traffic and conversion volume. An under-utilized variant that’s been around for a while, Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs), helps boost the performance of search campaigns. And Google has announced a new feature that will make RLSAs even more powerful …
Similar Audiences for Search: Reaching searchers who have similar interests as those who’ve already visited your site allows you to expand into bigger “similar audiences.” Google said this new feature will automatically create a similar audience for each remarketing and Customer Match list. These additional lists can be used to target RLSAs.
Demographics for Search Ads: Another format that’s currently in beta is DFSAs, which allow advertisers to target search ads using Google-inferred demographics data like age and gender.
—> Applying similar lists and demographic targeting to search campaigns will certainly boost traffic and conversion volume. Keep an eye on CPAs, though — these new audiences might convert at a lower rate than “non-RLSA” campaigns.
While We Wait …
Google is filling advertiser arsenals with some powerful new tools to be rolled out in coming months. At BCI we’ll be using them to boost our clients’ conversion volumes and profitability.
Why these changes now? We’re in the AI age of course! Google’s artificial intelligence-based technology, which uses machine learning, is making sense of the search giant’s vast amount of user data. From this, we advertisers are getting ground-breaking opportunities.
These changes will be rolling out through the year. Talk to us today to get your Google AdWords account in shape for when these hyper-targeted, mobile-first opportunities unfold for your business.
About the Author
Paula Allen has worked as senior technical writer at Bruce Clay, Inc. since 2008.
An English teacher at heart, Paula enjoys working in a room where grammar is frequently discussed and in an industry where there’s always more to learn. See her author page for links to connect with Paula on social media.
BCI’s VP, Search Marketing Operations, David Szetela is one of the world’s best-known experts in online advertising. A serial entrepreneur and former Apple Computer executive, David’s career has been dedicated to helping companies of all sizes maximize revenue and profit.
His two books on PPC advertising (“Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing: An Hour a Day” and “Customers Now: Profiting From the New Frontier of Content-Based Internet Advertising” have helped train a generation of marketers. His articles on PPC advertising have been published in The SEM Post, MediaPost, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land.