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AdWords Re-imagined for the Mobile-First World

Hot on the heels of the most significant change to Google AdWords since its launch in 2000 and the announcement of the new Google AdWords interface scheduled for 2017, Google this week announced arguably the biggest change to AdWords with a move to bigger, expanded text ads that are likely to get clicked more often, New Ad formats in Google Maps and Promoted Pins for local searches, differentiated bidding between tablets and desktops, new technology that ties in store visits to clicks and the opportunity to create similar audiences for search Ad targeting.

Google Reacts to the New World

Google has acknowledged that the online world has totally changed over the last 3 years and that the new ‘default’ for viewing the search pages and ads is now a smartphone, with mobile now accounting for more than half the daily searches on Google. Google has identified smartphones as everyone’s ‘always on’ companion, that they “turn to in I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do and I want-to-buy moments throughout the day.”

New Google AdWords Ad Layout

Google has now created Ads that are optimised for the the most popular smartphones. These new expanded text ads provide more ad space so that advertisers can display more information about their products and services before the click or tap, as the case may be. The key changes are that the headline has changed from one 25 character headline, to two 30 character headlines and the description lines have changed from two 35 character lines to one single 80 character consolidated line – strangely similar to Bing Ads 71 character description line.

New Google AdWords Ad Layout

New Google AdWords Ad Layout

The changes are summarised here:-

Summary of New Google AdWords Changes

Summary of New Google AdWords Changes

According to Google, in early tests, some advertisers reported increases in click through rates (CTR) of up to 20% compared to current text ads, which would make sense given the big increase in CTR seen by having a bigger Ad footprint when using ad extensions.

The idea is that these new ads will work harder across screens, especially for the on-the-go mobile consumer, who wants to know more about what is being offered before tapping through to the website.

New Responsive Ads for Display

Google has also announced Responsive ads for display which adapt to the diverse content across the more than two million publisher sites and apps on the Google Display Network (GDN). Apparently they can “also unlock new native inventory so you can engage consumers with ads that match the look and feel of the content they’re browsing“. Advertisers need only provide headlines, a description, an image, and a URL and Google will then automatically design attractive responsive ads, which are sympathetic to the design of the sites they are being displayed on.

New Responsive ads for display adapt to fit any app or site on the Google Display Network

New Responsive ads for display adapt to fit any app or site on the Google Display Network

Google are also extending the reach of Google Display Network (GDN) remarketing campaigns by giving advertisers access to cross-exchange inventory, which includes more websites and apps around the world.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Google have also announced that advertisers will be able to bid differently for mobiles, desktops and tablets. Once upon a time, in early smartphone times, different bids could be made for desktop and mobile/tablet, then Google decided that tablets and desktops offered the same user experience, so split bids between mobile and desktop/tablet. Now, possibly bowing to advertiser pressure and admitting that people do behave differently on a tablet to a desktop, they are allowing bids for each platform.

New Location Based Ads

Recognising that nearly one third of all mobile searches are related to location, Google are introducing new local search ads across Google Search and Google Maps. Advertisers using location extensions will be able to prominently display their business locations when consumers are searching for things like “shoe shop” or “car servicing near me“.

New Ad Formats to Encourage Store Visits

Google are also investing in more branded, customized experiences for businesses on Google Maps,  geared towards increasing store visits. They are experimenting with a variety of ad formats on Maps that make it easier for users to find businesses as they navigate the world around them. Google Maps users may start to see promoted pins for nearby coffee shops, petrol stations or restaurants along their route. Local business pages are also getting a new look and, to encourage consumers to explore shops before they even arrive, they’re adding new features like special offers and the ability to browse product stock.

New Google Location Based Ads in Maps - the promoted pin and new business page

New Google Location Based Ads in Maps – the promoted pin and new business page

New Technology to Tie Online Ads to In-store Activity

Google research found that 75% of local mobile searchers who clicked an ad visited a store within a day and 28 percent of those visits resulted in a purchase. Now Google wants to demonstrate that AdWords is responsible for an increasing amount of in-store activity.

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. Apparently, Google will simply look at phone location history to tell whether the person who searched and clicked on an ad ended up walking into the store.

Attributing physical sales to online clicks has always been very difficult but this is becoming more and more the way people shop. The new Beacons will now make it much easier to track local advertising and justify the investment to retailers.

Similar Audiences for Search Ad Targeting

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs), which have been around for some time, help boost the performance of search campaigns by allowing you to segment advertising between new audiences and people who have already been to your website or bought from you. Google has now announced a new, and long awaited, feature that will make RLSAs even more powerful, namely Similar Audiences for Search.

Through remarketing, advertisers could previously remarket to people who had visited their site or bought from them. Advertisers could also target “similar audiences”, i.e., people who were of a similar demographic to their existing users. Now advertisers can target similar audiences for their RLSA campaigns. Google has said this new feature will automatically create a similar audience for each remarketing and Customer Match list.

Ch, ch, ch, ch, Changes…..

So, a lot of changes and some big moves, most of which will make the AdWords experience better, both for the advertiser and user. If you want to explore the changes in greater detail or would like to discuss them further we’d love to help.

Whilst we nerds watched the live stream avidly on Tuesday evening, if you’d like to skip through to the relevant bits here’s the full recording on YouTube, enjoy!