When Larry Kim, founder of WordStream and a well-established search engine marketing expert, visits Google, you know he'll be coming back with great intel.
His takeaways from the 2016 Google Performance Summit are worthy of note, particularly as they relate to AdWords search ads, in-store conversions and the continued mobile-first focus.
Search ads, of course, are perhaps the most popular digital marketing method available. Last year, Google alone accounted for 30% of all net digital advertising revenue, far ahead of second-place Facebook at 9%.
Whether you’re already engaging in this type of advertising or you’re thinking about doing so in the near future, here are 5 new AdWord changes that you need to know to optimize your pay-per-click (PPC) management and lead generation strategy.
Google Maps Gets Ads
If your store has a physical location, chances are your customers use a tool like Google maps to find it. As of right now, though, there is little opportunity for you to stand out from competitors in the area, particularly if your store is part of a bigger complex with multiple tenants.
Think about it from your customer’s point of view. They Google a generic term, such as 'shoe store.' Your location may pop up—but alongside five other options in the immediate area. The good news is that's all about to change.
Now, you pay an ad fee, and your brand logo will appear right on Google Maps. Similar to search ads, you can even bid on more generic keywords related to your industry for your logo to appear. In Google's example, a search for 'Electronics store' led to both an appearance of Best Buy's brand logo and a mobile offer page.
Considering that Google Maps now boasts more than 1 billion users, this new type of ad has the potential to be hugely beneficial for any type of business with a physical location.
Expanded Text Ads
One of the greatest limitations, and biggest complaints, that we hear about Google AdWords is the limitation of its text-based search ads. And we have to admit: a 25-character headline, along with two 35-character lines of descriptive text, are just not enough for a compelling, differentiating value proposition.
As it turns out, Google agrees. In its AdWords update, marketers will be able to add two separate, 35-character headlines, which, depending on the screen size, will appear in either one or two columns.
As a result of the change, you will be able to add both a 'main' headline and a subheader, allowing you to promote your business and its key value proposition. At the same time, the two 35-character description lines will be replaced with one 80-character line.
This change gives marketers even more opportunity to get their message across, along with a greater chance their audience will see it due to the additional space it takes up.
In-Store Conversion Measurements
E-commerce conversions have long been a staple of data-driven marketing. If you place an ad, knowing whether it led to an online sale plays a big part in helping you determine its success. Thanks to conversion pixels, Google has made this type of tracking pleasingly simple.
However, for local businesses with physical locations, that same type of success metric has been more difficult to implement. Understandably, making the connection between digital ads and physical conversions is much more difficult to measure.
Until now, that is.
Google is introducing an integration with location services enabled within your audience's smartphones, dynamically determining whether a customer walked in your store after they saw one of your ads. If someone sees your ad on their search engine results, and visits your store shortly thereafter, you'll know about it, increasing your ability to track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Responsive Display Ads
On Google's Ad Network, display ads have long come with their own challenges. To account for the 2 million websites on which your ads could appear, marketers have had to come up with and design for a wide variety of formats—from banner to skyscraper, and anything in between. Even focusing on only the most popular sizes on the network required 10 individually designed sizes for every single bid.
Soon, that complication will be a thing of the past. Google's new display ads will look much more like their equivalent on Facebook: provide an image, headline, description, and URL, and AdWords will adjust the individual display for you depending on both the site it's placed on and the devices on which your audience is browsing.
The required efforts will decrease, while the effectiveness of the ad will increase at the same time.
Segmented Bidding by Device
While all of the above changes are focused on Google's continued emphasis on mobile-first, the most obvious (and much needed) change is that marketers will soon be able to say goodbye to the relatively restrictive bidding model in which your mobile bid had to be directly related to your desktop bid. In the past, placing a single bid restricted marketers from optimizing their ad for the ever-increasing mobile market.
Thanks to the upcoming change, however, you will have the opportunity to bid independently for desktop, tablets, or mobile devices.
As a result, you can more easily optimize the pricing of your ads, ensuring flexibility and maximum visibility across all devices.
The above five changes have the potential to make a major impact, not only for local businesses but for any marketer who currently uses Google AdWords.
Of course, some of them may require expertise for implementation, but once implemented, they can make a significant difference in your marketing efforts.