New AdWords Innovations Announced


Since last year’s big Enhanced Campaigns announcement it’s been relatively quiet on the AdWords Front. There has been the steady trickle of updates and enhancements that we expect from Google, but nothing that could be described as game-changing.

However, yesterday Jerry Dischler, Vice President of Product Management, AdWords, shared a number of new product developments that may go some to addressing the situation. His announcement about the latest AdWords innovations certainly made me sit up.

It’s no longer about mobile!

For perhaps the first time in recent memory, someone (Jerry) at Google actually said it’s not about mobile! Anyone working with AdWords for the last three years or more will tell you that 99% of conversations with people at Google during that time have included the question, “Have you considered mobile?” or variations on that theme. Mobile has been the big push for some time now.

But before I lead you down the wrong path, Jerry wasn’t going so far as to say mobile is dead, quite the opposite in fact. Google and AdWords  are simply saying that rather than the focus of advertising being on the device a person has in their hands, the focus should be on the needs of the consumer whenever and wherever they are…as well as the device they are using. So it’s no longer about mobile it’s about content.

To illustrate this ‘whenever and wherever’ approach, Jerry used the analogy of the early days of radio advertising. The first radios were big and heavy and sat in the living room (desktop PCs?), so early radio advertising was aimed at people in their home and not very sophisticated. As radios became portable, like car radios, so the advertising became more varied and more focused. A similar thing is happening today with online marketing.

People are now constantly connected to digital, literally, with many people living their entire lives online through blogs, social media sites, working from home and access to on-demand entertainment. Some of the statistics are astonishing.

  • 1Billion km per day are mapped by users on Google Maps
  • 6 Billion hours of YouTube video is now watched each month
  • 40% of YouTube content is watched on mobile devices
  • There were 100 Billion searches on last month

The latest AdWords innovations fall into one of three categories.

Innovative Ad Formats

Apps are becoming more prevalent and they are a larger part of the digital landscape than ever before. Building on the success that has been seen in AdMob, Google is now introducing features that will push App installations and engagement.

Key to these features is the information that Google Play has generated over recent years. For instance, search data from Play will now be used to suggest keywords for search. The in-app purchase data will also be used to reach the best possible audience through display. The True View video format will also be updated to include the option of encouraging App downloads alongside video content.

Perhaps the biggest change with the ads themselves though, is what Google are describing as App Deep Linking. This involves being able to link search ads to specific pages within Apps. Very clever when you consider that 80% of downloaded Apps are only used once; all that data just doing nothing!

Insightful Reporting

Building on the success of the Estimated Total Conversions feature in AdWords, Google is making sure that the impact of paid activity is measured and recognised wherever it occurs, pushing forward with the ability to measure conversions over multiple devices as well as offline conversions, in the form of in-store transactions.

The results from a pilot scheme carried out with Shutterfly were compelling; a 15% increase in cross device conversions and a 60% increase in mobile-initiated conversions. With the outcome being that Shutterfly opted 100% of their keywords into mobile search…what was that about mobile again?

Intelligent tools

If, like me, you come out in a rash at the mere mention of formatting spreadsheets then the next set of announcements may be the most welcome. First, a feature called Bulk Editing promises to bring some of the best offline aspects of AdWords Editor, online.  In future bulk editing of extensions and campaign settings will be far easier within the AdWords interface, and uploading multiple campaigns or updating location targeting and ad rotation will also be far quicker than it currently is.

Next, two new additions to the AdWords Automated Bidding Tools that aim to move closer to providing an enterprise class solution to bidding that has, until now, only been available via separate software. Currently the bidding tools offer automation towards Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), Cost per Acquisition (CPA) or clicks. Very soon the ability to automate bids around maximising conversions or revenue will also be available.

Two Additional AdWords Power Tools

The next announcement, the part that interested me the most, was Enhanced Reporting. Trawling through spreadsheet to get data formatted to your liking is something that any AdWords account manager has had to do for a long time now with pretty much nothing changing during that time, but that could all be about to change.

Using a simple drag and drop interface within AdWords it will be possible to choose specific data and visualise it in the form of bar charts and line graphs. The data is live and up to date as well, so you can always be sure of getting the latest information. This means more time exploring and interpreting data and less time processing and formatting. Who doesn’t want that?

Finally, Google unveiled Drafts and Experiments. It’s basically an improvement on the Experiments feature that people have been using more and more to test the effectiveness of campaign changes on a small scale, before rolling them out in their entirety.

In draft mode you can make lots of changes to a campaign, and when you are happy with what you’ve done you can do one of two things. Firstly you can simply upload the changes wholesale and let them run; again the similarities between features previously only available offline via AdWords Editor will not go unnoticed by account managers. However the second option is to put the changes live as an experiment and run it with a percentage of your traffic. Once the experiment has enough data you’ll be able to compare the two sets of data alongside each other and make a more informed decision about how you want to proceed.

Time will tell as to the real value of these new features but initial reaction has been positive, especially to the bidding and reporting features. And remember it’s not about mobile; it’s about people…and their mobile devices.


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