Google Announced Major Updates at Google Performance Summit

Posted June 29, 2016 by   in Digital Marketing, Google


As many of you already know, Google announced major updates for their advertising partners who use Google AdWords at their Google Performance Summit last month. There were a few hopes and dreams from this marketer in particular and Google most certainly DID NOT disappoint. It is important to note that Google is a data driven company. Everything that they roll out comes from weeks and months and years of testing and acquiring results of those tests and that data around them.

Amazing Google Stats

  • Over a trillion searches are performed on Google every year with half of these searches being performed on mobile devices and tablets
  • Nearly 1/3 of mobile searches that are performed are related to the searchers location. To go into even greater detail, location-related searches are growing at a 50% greater rate than other mobile queries.
  • AdWords started 15 years ago

We are living in a mobile first world. It is no longer a thought of maybe we are. We certainly. For many of us, as noted by Google, our mobile phones are the last thing we put down at night and the first thing we pick up in the morning. During the keynote, Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President of Ads & Commerce, made a point to note that mobile changes everything. He informed the audience and online viewers that Google has used data from the past several years to make changes to AdWords & Analytics, with mobile being top of mind. The goal has been to help advertisers relate to searchers by bridging intent and context. Let’s now get into some changes that advertisers are going to see this year:

Expanded Text Ads in AdWords
Coming later this year, hopefully sooner rather than later, Google is giving its advertisers two 30-character limit headlines and one consolidated 80-character description line. They are giving their advertisers 50% more characters to reach potential customers.

If you are an AdWords advertiser or have ever dabbled in writing ads in AdWords, how many times have you ever been one or two characters short in the headline or one of the two description lines? Besides my wife making us late and Taco Bell discontinuing my favorite item, I can think of very few things that drive me more nuts than this. There have been many times where I have sat back in my chair and wracked my brain trying to figure out how I would change my ad to fit inside of these ridiculous character limits.

Google revealed this was a major reason why they removed right hand text ads from search results. Besides trying to create the same search experience that a searcher would see on mobile and tablet as they would on desktop, they wanted to make room for the expanded headline and descriptions. The possibilities with this new feature for advertisers is endless

Responsive Ads for Display
AdWords is also rolling out new responsive ads for the Google Display Network (GDN) to adapt to the many different ad sizes across sites participating in the GDN. All advertisers will need to do is provide Google a headline, description, an image and the URL and Google will create beautiful responsive ads for their advertisers.

It will be interesting to test this feature. Currently Google automatically creates decent ads, but nothing that’ll make you jump up and down. I imagine many advertisers will continue to create their own ads for the GDN.

Individual Bid Adjustments for each Device Type
As previously mentioned, all of the updates Google announced were to help their advertisers perform in a mobile-first world. Mobile searches are growing year after year. Three years ago, Google gave its advertisers the ability to make mobile bid adjustments, but not for desktop or tablet. There are some work-arounds to try and focus on mobile, but they are just that, work-arounds, not sure fire ways of being just on mobile.

Advertisers have begged and begged and pleaded for Google to allow bid adjustments for desktop, mobile and tablet. Finally, they are providing this feature. In the coming months (I pray next month), Google will allow advertisers to bid up or down for all three device type. Advertisers can bid up as high as 900% for each device type. Google is offering more control to their advertisers in this mobile-first world. I would say this announcement was the most anticipated and was met with a loud applause, whoops and hollers and a Michael Jordan fist pump by this particular digital marketer. I may have also shed a few tears at this announcement.

Local Search Ads in Google Maps
Using Google maps, the Google Map App and in Google.com, advertisers can now take advantage of promoted locations or pins. Google advertisers can add brand logos and offers that will appear directly on the map rather than the side of the map. The goal is to help businesses stand out in the map and help drive searchers to the particular store.

Google understands that mobile is crucial to the success of many businesses. If you’re away on business and need cold medicine, wouldn’t it be nice to know where the closest Walgreens or CVS is and if they are running a promotion on DayQuil and NightQuil? Using promoted pins, these pharmacies can now make themselves stand out and help searchers at the moment they intend to buy.

New Demographics for the Search Network
This announcement really got lost in all the excitement expanded text ads and individual bid adjustments for each device type, but could be very crucial to the success of many advertisers. Google is rolling out a new feature called Similar Audiences for Search. This will give advertisers the ability to target customers who have searched for products that they also offer, but searchers haven’t visited their site. It takes remarketing to a whole other level. Advertisers are always wondering what are their competitors doing and what keywords are they targeting. This will allow advertisers to target customers who may have visited their competitors site.

The second part of this announcement is that advertisers will now be able to target both age and gender with their ads. This feature is currently in beta and like everything else, will be available later this year. There are capabilities currently in demographic targeting, but being able to target by gender and age is a thing of beauty.

Wrap Up
As previously mentioned, Google DID NOT disappoint with the announcements that are coming down the line. We all know how important mobile is to the success of our campaigns, but it felt like at times, Google didn’t know. With these announcements, they assured us all that they do. The number of times that they mentioned living and advertising in a mobile-first world, as well as bridging intent and context was almost annoying, but they wanted to make sure everyone knew that was their sole focus over the past few years and they are moving in that direction. My only hope is that these roll outs happen soon and work as well as we all hope. There will definitely be some testing and trial and error, but at the end of the day, we’re all better off and we can better serve our clients and help the end user receive the best results possible.