In typical Google fashion, they’re shaking up the world again in big ways!  For once though, the changes they’re making to Google AdWords over the coming months are exciting, will make Google AdWords Managers’ lives easier, and present great new opportunities for advertisers.

Device Bidding Changes

In 2013, Google released Enhanced Campaigns which forced all advertisers to switch to the new campaign structure. The switch forced a lot of changes on the way AdWords campaigns were setup and managed and presented some new opportunities for ad extensions and bidding tools. However, it also got rid of one key feature – the ability to bid separately on tablet devices.

By pairing together desktop and tablet bids, AdWords managers were no longer able to adjust their bids specifically for users using tablets, which caused a lot of pain for people.

Luckily, Google has seen the error of their ways, and in their push to make the web a mobile-first world, reversed that decision. We are now able to adjust bids on desktop, mobile, and tablets separately.

Local Search Ads will Show on Google Maps

Google Maps has historically been a separate “thing” that Google owned. A big product, but never brought into the fold of their network – until last month.

In May, Google announced they’d be making Google Maps a part of the Google Search Network, which coincidently allows for ads to now be displayed in Google Maps for local businesses.

These new ads will show on Google Maps, both on the web version and app version and allow for most brick-and-mortar locations to better highlight their ads, logos, and more – right on the Google map.

Again, in their recognition and switch to the importance of the mobile world, Google has found another way to make money; noting that Google Maps has more than a billion users and 1.5 billion different business listings on the service.

You can expect these changes to come with new ad formats and new things to learn. Google is also revamping Local Business pages to include in-store promotions and their in-stock inventory of products. This indicates that they’ll be making a big push towards shopping campaigns (PLAs) for local businesses too. Big things!

New Ad Formats & The Death of the Sidebar

As you may have noticed since February, when you search for something on Google, they are no longer showing PPC ads in the right sidebar of the screen. Again, in a push for the mobile-first world, Google has rearranged the ads and ad placement on the SERP; instead placing ads at the top and the bottom of the screen which makes them easier to stack and scroll on a smaller screen.

Because of this change, Google is offering expanded text ads, which increases the width of the ads and makes the headlines much bigger. Now, instead of having a single 25 character headline, you’re able to have up to two 30-character headlines. Google is reporting that these new headlines are helping increase the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) of ads by as much as 25%, as well as helping advertisers better qualify potential visitors before they click.

Google has also changed the length of the description for AdWords ads, from two 35-character lines to a single 80-character line for a net increase of 10 characters. If you’ve ever tried to fit your message into those 70 characters, you’ll be excited to have ten more to play with!

In the first few days of roll out, it was apparent some changes would need to be made to punctuation and the flow of the headlines in order for this new format to work. But, the changes were easy enough to make and is proving to be another great change for Google.

New Interface and UI

While I haven’t seen these changes in-person yet, I have seen some initial screenshots of an upcoming design change to the Google AdWords interface. It looks great!

If you’ve ever used Google AdWords, you know that the interface is a bit antiquated and hasn’t been changed much over the years. Having a cleaner user-experience, and more easily finding some of those “hidden” buttons and reports will make managing AdWords campaigns a bit easier.

Unfortunately, these changes won’t be rolling out until 2017. My hope is that they’re doing more than a redesign of the interface and will be focusing some time and effort on making it much easier to use and find our tools too.

New Mobile-Repsonsive Display Ads

For those of you unfamiliar with the term “responsive”, this essentially means that the content or imagery of a page adapts in layout and size to the size of the viewing screen.

Coming soon, Google will allow us to provide an image, URL, headline, and description for display ads (image ads), and then auto-magically generate the image ads needed to display on different devices, apps, and platforms.

Having ads dynamically generated to fit into their surrounding content, will almost eliminate the step of needing to create ads in different formats – square, rectangle, leaderboard, skyscraper, etc.

The display ad builder (design gallery) has always been a little bit funky, so hopefully this system will work a lot better for us and have a few less bugs/requirements. Unfortunately, these changes aren’t being rolled out until later this year.

Tracking In-Store Visits and Conversions

Remember the whole mobile-first thing that we discussed above? Wouldn’t it be great if you could determine if people were searching for you on their mobile device, and then visiting your store to make a purchase?

In something straight out of 1984, Google is using the location history of your mobile-device to determine if someone clicked on your ad, and then visited one of your stores.

A little bit creepy to me, but on the advertiser side of things, I can see a lot of opportunity for businesses with physical locations.

We’re really looking forward to all of the changes coming to Google Adwords this year! Of course, if we can ever be of assistance in managing your AdWords campaigns or helping to navigate the ever-changing AdWords world, please don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more about what we can do!

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