Google recently announced a handful of exciting changes to AdWords at their recent Performance Summit that will continue to refine the search experience with an even greater focus on mobile browsing. Search engine management is a key tactic for customer and lead acquisition that we offer to our clients, and we've outlined the major changes below.
Tracking In-Store Visits and Conversions Gets Wide-Release
This feature was once reserved specifically for large advertisers with more than 30 brick-and-mortar store locations. In-store visits can now be used as a conversion goal in AdWords for a wider variety of business with lower physical location minimums.
How did we manage this previously? For our clients we have had to use 3rd party data providers to estimate the in-store traffic driven by ads. This led to some great visibility for our clients in the past when we could reach statistical significance, but this tech release from Google will turn those statistical assumptions into actuals. Ad clicks and phone location history are combined to determine when an ad led to an in-store visit.
Once this feature is fully rolled out, these numbers will appear immediately in AdWords reports and allow us to optimize even more directly and efficiently down to the keyword level in our campaigns.
The Device Bidding Update We’ve All Been Waiting For
Desktop, mobile and tablet bids are finally independent! Instead of working off of bid multipliers and other tricky calculations, each base bid will now be set independently.
Technically mobile and desktop bids have already been separated in a way with the mobile-bid-modifier feature, but the big news is that tablet bids are no longer tied to desktop bids. Far too often we have seen tablet performance drive up the cost per acquisition in desktop campaigns without the ability to bid accordingly.
Google is Expanding Text Ad Copy Maximums
By the end of 2016, Google will be giving text ads a bit more real estate in the search results pages. In order to better qualify customers, advertisers will now be able to write two 30-character headlines and a single 80-character description line.
Each headline character limit is increasing by 20% and the unified description line character limit is increasing by 14%. Previously, all ad copy had to fit within 95-characters. Overall text ad space available in the new format will be 140-characters, an increase of 47% from the old format!
Previous text ad character limits:
- Headline: 25 characters
- Description Line 1: 35 characters
- Description Line 2: 35 characters
- Total: 95 characters
Expanded text ad character limits:
- Headline 1: 30 characters - Headline 2: 30 characters
- Unified Description Line: 80 characters
- Total: 140 characters
Google has said that their test results of the new format indicate improvements of ad click-through-rate up to 25%. In the past we were able to accomplish similar results by including punctuation at the end of the first description line. This effectively doubled the size of the headline when our ads appear in the top positions. Click through rates often improved by 10% to 15% with this strategy.
As this feature rolls out to our clients, we are developing strategies to fully capitalize on this newly available ad real estate. These bigger and better lead to higher click through rates, more click and more sales for the advertisers that take advantage of them.
Google Maps To Incorporate Local Search Ads Directly Into The Map
Google Maps desktop version has long had ads along the side of the map. Now Google Maps will have local ads directly in the map graphic. On mobile Maps searches, local ads were clearly missing. In keeping with Google’s mobile-first thinking, this feature will unify the mobile and desktop experiences (much like the removal of the right hand side ads).
Advertisers’ logos and location pins will appear among organic pins and listings. Organic Local SEO will still be an important factor in any strategy, but this is important for our clients because it will allow them stay top-of-mind on specific searches and to directly control the message to local mobile users.
Previously, businesses had to rely on a generic listing and their name alone to get users in the door from Google Maps. Now they can have a logo, provide in-store coupons, and list other immediate specific benefits that a user might be worried about, tailored to each search query.
Save Time And Money With Responsive Display Ads
We are excited that Responsive Display Ads are now public! As a Google Partner Agency, Prove clients have had this feature in Beta for a few months now. Just provide some ad copy, an image and the URL for your ad, and Google will make a display ad for you that dynamically fits into all GDN’s available inventory.
While there are many benefits to using a graphic designer to create beautiful, effective banners for your Display campaigns, you can’t beat the cost (free) of implementing these ads. Responsive Display Ads are perfect for advertisers on a smaller budget, advertisers that have a large number of SKUs, and advertisers that want to dip their toes into the Display network before committing to the cost and design of custom banners.