Google AdWords: Recent Changes and Best Practices

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What’s new with Google AdWords lately? They’ve gone mobile.

As mentioned in Google’s Performance Summit earlier this year, marketers are no longer asking if they should invest in mobile, rather, they are asking how they should invest in mobile. More than half of all web traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. In response to the consumer shift toward mobile, Google has been busy launching new tools and features to its AdWords platform.

Let’s take a look at what Google AdWords changes have occurred in 2016 so far:

Responsive Ads

In the past, marketers have experienced difficulty when creating ads with proper formatting across different channels (mobile sites, apps, video, etc.). Google AdWords’ new feature, responsive ads, automatically adjusts its size, appearance, and format for any ad space. The best part? Google does all of the work for you. You simply enter basic features regarding your ad such as headlines, images, a landing page, and once approved, Google will automatically generate the ads people see. This new feature will likely increase engagement rates by presenting ads that match the look and feel of content that consumers are browsing.

Google AdWords: Recent Changes and Best Practices

One of AdWords’ new features: responsive ads

Universal App Campaigns

Universal app campaigns promote your app across Google’s top properties including Search, Play, YouTube, and the Google Display Network. Depending on your customer objective, the ads are optimized for either installs or in-app conversions. Similar to responsive ads, you don’t need to design individual ads. You only need to provide some text, a starting bid and budget, languages and locations for your ads. Google also saves you some work by testing different combinations and will show ads that are performing the best more often.

Google AdWords: Recent Changes and Best Practices

Another new feature: universal app campaigns

 

Expanded Text Ads in AdWords

Expanded text ads give advertisers more space to explain their products and/or services before the consumer clicks on the ad. The expanded ads have almost 50% more ad text available as well as an additional headline. Additionally, you no longer need to enter a display URL that matches your final URL domain. For example, if your final URL is example.com/dog/leashes, your ad’s display URL will be example.com. Google’s early testing of the expanded text ads feature indicated increases in click-through rates of up to 20% compared to standard text ads. Not only does this feature communicate more of what you are offering, it also drives more qualified clicks.

Note: Beginning January 31, 2017, AdWords users will no longer be able to create or edit standard text ads, only expanded ones.

Google AdWords: Recent Changes and Best Practices

Standard text ad vs. expanded text ad

Google AdWords Bid Adjustments for Device Types

Adjusted bids are another new feature AdWords introduced in response to the shift to mobile. These individual bid adjustments give advertisers more flexibility with how they bid on various devices – mobile, desktop, and tablet. You can now anchor your base keyword bid to the device most valuable to your business and then set bid adjustments for the other devices. These adjustments will show your ad more or less frequently in searches depending on what device is most effective in reaching your business’ goals.

Note that in order to achieve optimal ad performance, you’ll need to factor in other data in addition to using device bid management. It’s important to pay attention to other metrics and signals such as how your ads perform by location, time of day, and audience.

The Number of Location-Related Searches is Exploding

With all of this being said, you may be wondering if online, mobile ads will physically bring people into your store. In fact, location-related mobile searches are growing 50% quicker than other mobile searches. Nissan UK discovered that 6% of mobile ad clicks result in a trip to a dealership, an estimated 25x return on investment. This is especially relevant for marketers who have a brick-and-mortar business and want to increase foot traffic.

It’s more important than ever to optimize your Google AdWords strategy for mobile. And with these new features in place, you’ll have everything you need to get started!

2016 Search Engine Marketing Trends

Search engine marketing (SEM) dominates today’s marketing landscape, and with good reason. According to Search Engine Land, Google alone processes at least 2 trillion searches per year, a massive increase from the roughly 365 billion searches Google processed in 2009. As more people are relying on the internet for more and more answers, marketers have a greater incentive to improve their search engine marketing tactics in order to improve their brand’s visibility.

As opposed to search engine optimization (SEO), which relies on increasing your site’s organic search rankings over time by publishing and sharing content, search engine marketing allows you to pay to cut straight to the first search result page. But while the tactic is simple in concept, marketers have a number of ways in which they can execute a search engine marketing campaign.

Let’s take a look at the latest search engine marketing trends of 2016: 

1. Search Engine Marketing Goes Mobile

Based on 2015 data from Global Web Index, smartphones are the second most popular device used to search the internet, just after PCs and laptops. It’s also important to note that other devices such as smart TVs and smart watches are emerging as a popular search method as well. With this in mind, marketers should make sure their search engine marketing campaigns shift toward mobile users, by using a service such as mobile AdWords campaigns.

2016 search engine marketing trends

2. Use of Video Ads in Search Engine Marketing Grows

According to a 2015 study from Searchmetrics, videos appear in 14% of universal searches, with 82% of those results being YouTube videos. Bing and Yahoo were the first search engines to test promoted video ads in their search results pages. More recently, Google has been experimenting with video advertising in search results through AdWords. The campaign, called TrueView, engages your audience on YouTube and across the web. As a marketer, you may want to consider taking advantage of video-based search engine marketing campaigns, and a good place to start is with Google’s tips for creating effective video ads using TrueView.

3. Optimizing Search Engine Marketing for “Digital Assistants”

Digital assistants like Siri, Google Now, and Cortana may soon replace typed searches altogether. As consumers move toward more mobile search, more people are using their digital assistants for answers. In May of this year, Google announced that 20 percent of mobile queries were voice searches. Digital assistants provide information quickly by browsing the web for the most relevant and simple answer, and they usually find these answers from Google’s Knowledge Panels. Knowledge Panels are the boxes that appear when a user searches for a particular business. In order for your business to appear in the Knowledge Panel, and thus, have better luck when people use voice search, take steps to improve your local search rankings. This includes entering complete data with your Google account, verifying your location, managing reviews, and adding photos.

2016 Search Engine Marketing Trends

Google’s Knowledge Panel for a Chocolatier

Does your business need help with their SEM or SEO strategy? Feel free to contact Young Marketing Consulting for assistance on all of your marketing needs.