CH-CH-CH-CH-CHANGES! Google announced a variety of updates to its AdWords and Analytics platforms at the Google Performance Summit, Tuesday May 24th. Google introduced new upgrades, features, designs, and product types that many advertisers have been dreaming about for some time and that will further help consumers find the information they need.
These changes, while illuminating, border on information overload ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Lucky for you, Anvil is here to outline the top changes introduced and what they mean for your campaigns. Turn and face the strange!
(Intimidated by the wall of text below? Skip to the TL;DR at the end.
- Accounting for Mobile versus Designing Mobile-First
“This is the year of mobile” was stated by at least one major publication since 2013. They weren’t wrong then, but they undoubtedly have the consumer behavior and now the ad capabilities from the world’s largest tech company to back up that claim.
“Our phones are the first thing we pick up in the morning and the last thing we put down at night,” said SVP of Advertising & Commerce Sridhar Ramaswamy, identifying Google’s reasoning behind their slew of platform changes. The shift to mobile has already happened, and advertisers need to take that into consideration for their campaigns.
What this means for you: Rather than incorporate mobile to augment current desktop-heavy campaigns, integrate mobile as part of your campaign’s foundation. Adjust funnel strategy to capture users in those I-Want-To-X moments, and reassess attribution to see the true value in investing in mobile beyond last-click contributions.
- New Search Ad Feature: Expanded Text Ads
With mobile screen real estate disrupting Google’s traditional search inventory, the company adapted by introducing one of the biggest changes to their text ads since AdWords launched 15 years ago: expanded text ads:
What this means for you: More real estate on text ads = more room to communicate exactly what the consumer is looking for in that micro-moment. Compelling ad copy in the mobile-first world takes higher priority versus desktop usage where immediacy is less a factor. Advertisers will need to better systematize their copy testing and competitive analysis to drive increased performance.
- New Ad Product: Local Search Ads for Google and Google Maps
Google Maps ad inventory has been around since 2013 (and included in local map results since April), but this latest release introduces more ad formats designed to make the user experience seamless. Advertisers using local extensions will be able to show their listing at the top of maps results in local searches and on Google Maps and include unique promotions.
Additionally, Google is updating their Local Business Pages that expand on click and are searchable for local inventory.
Google also announced the release of Promoted Pins, which makes it easy for users to find local offers in a non-disruptive way as they are navigating their day.
What this means for you: Local searches contribute to 1.5B website visits every month according to Google. Google’s new ad formats give advertisers another avenue to capture these local searches, which tend to prioritize convenience and immediacy. To meet the demand of local search, advertisers can customize offers to drive foot traffic and optimize their ads and business pages to make it as easy as possible for users to find what they’re looking for on the go.
- New Ad Feature: Responsive Display Ads
With Google’s latest release, you may not have to answer the question “what are the creative specs requirements we need to create?” ever again. To adapt to a mobile-first world, Google will be streamlining the requirements to create and place ads on its display network of over 2 million publisher sites and apps.
To reduce the workload of having to create multiple creative sizes, Google introduced Responsive Display Ads. Advertisers now will only have to provide a few key elements (image, URL, headline, logo), and Google will configure the elements in the optimal way for available placements. These ads will better integrate with the associated placement and not disrupt user consumption.
What this means for you: Google is moving in the direction of Facebook and Twitter in terms of creating card-like ad formats that fit across multiple devices, browsers, and platforms. This places more emphasis on dialing in creative concepts that are versatile enough to appeal to users if certain elements are switched out modularly. With a simpler creation process, this also allows advertisers to iterate more variations to test against, rather than spending time fitting to certain size requirements.
- New Targeting Capabilities: Similar Audiences for Search, Demographic Audiences for Search, Tablet Bid Modifiers
Advertisers have long been able to apply remarketing audiences to search campaigns (RLSAs) to target a very specific set of website visitors on the search channel. However, when those audience pools are low-volume, campaigns do not see enough traction and sometimes do not deliver ads altogether.
Similar audiences for Search allows brands to expand their high-engaging (but possibly low volume) remarketing audiences using lookalike modeling. This helps prospect new customers based on high-potential, high-converting audience behavior.
Along the same lines, Google is now allowing brands to apply demographic parameters to search targeting. Advertisers will have the option to narrow in searches based on age, gender, and parenthood.
Last, Google has finally introduced the ability to modify bids on tablet devices. Google historically had lumped tablet devices in with desktop computers, contrary to actual user behavior. Now advertisers can adjust media spend and delivery based on desktop, mobile, and tablet.
What this means for you: Your campaigns now have even more ability to hone in on specific audiences. While the search channel provides strong intent signals based on search queries, the main disadvantage it has versus social media is the lack of data layers to target against. By including the three updates above, advertisers should apply as many data points as possible to narrow in targeting and make search work harder.
- New Design: AdWords Redesign
If you aren’t in the UI on a daily basis, the AdWords dashboard can be a question mark when it comes to finding the data and insights you need (even we specialists have to look things up!). Planned for 2017, Google’s product team will be testing and launching a brand new user interface for the AdWords platform.
This UI is designed to bring the most important features together in a simplified view so that whoever is managing or accessing the account can see campaign health on quick view.
What this means for you: Spend less time customizing columns and cycling through tabs to get the data and insights you need. The streamlined interface will allow all parties to better communicate account insights and health and allow advertisers to focus on the optimizations that have most impact.
Google is committed to serving advertisers and consumers in the mobile-first world, and the changes slated to launch for AdWords make it better for both parties to deliver and receive the value they want. Anvil is diving headfirst into these changes, applying new products as they become available, and invite you all to come along for the ride!
TL;DR (Too long; didn’t read)
- Google is designing for a Mobile-First world, prioritizing new product features on the mobile consumer. Advertisers need to integrate mobile as a part of their strategy’s foundation, not just an afterthought.
- Expanded text ads: two 30-character headlines, one 80-character description line. More real estate on search = more importance on creative testing and competitive benchmarking.
- Local search ads: Brands can include unique offers and expandable, customizable local business pages for ads that appear on Google Maps and local search results. Brands can also create Promoted Pins to show offers on Google Maps. Advertisers need to cater messaging and offers to the mobile user looking for immediate relief and convenience on-the-go.
- Responsive display ads: Display ad creation will be simplified to 4 main elements: headline, description, image, URL. These will then be optimally placed on GDN inventory based on placement requirements. Advertisers can focus on creative testing over variation generation. Advertisers will need to zero in on top elements to drive click-throughs.
- Similar audiences for search, demographic audiences for search, tablet bid modifiers: Google is adding more data layers to search targeting, allowing advertisers to create lookalike audiences, apply demographic parameters (age, gender, parenthood), and adjust bids based on more devices (tablet). Advertisers need to integrate as many applicable parameters to make sure campaigns remain efficient and performing well.
- AdWords UI Redesign: To reduce information overload and highlight actionable insights, Google will be revamping the AdWords UI this and next year. Advertisers will be able to use the new interface to better communicate account health and opportunity and reduce the time taken digging for data.