In May 2016, Google hosted their Google Performance Summit, an event where they launch the latest news about their Google Analytics and Adwords platforms. With the removal of right rail ads in search results earlier this year, and the announcement of the Google 360 platform and new Adwords interface design, the event was set up to reveal some exciting new features. This blog covers the top 10 announcements and new features you can expect in the near future along with ideas as to how your company or agency can prepare for the changes.
- Bid Adjustments by Device Type
Main Takeaway: You can now adjust your bid modifiers based on all device types.
- We already know that user behaviour differs depending on device type and a major part of understanding your ad performance is to analyze how your ads perform across each device. Google announced at The Summit that tablet bid modifiers will be available, meaning marketers can now apply bid modifiers to all three device types: desktop, mobile and tablet.
- Action: First calculate your bid adjustments for each device. Bid adjustments are a percentage change to a bid that allow for an increase or decrease in bid based on several variables such as time of day and device type. You can analyse this data in the dimensions tab in your Adwords campaigns.
When this bid modifier feature launches you will be ready to adjust your bids in each campaign according to the data you have researched on each device type. You might notice that consumers interacting with your ads do so heavily on mobile during the evening but more so on desktop during the day. You will percentage increase your mobile bids in the evening and percentage increase your bids on desktop during the day.
- You can already do this for mobile and desktop, so if you haven't already played with this feature, now is the time to get experimenting.
- Expanded Text Ads
Main Takeaway: Advertisers will have 50% more characters in text ads and a 20% boost in engagement
- One of the big hits at The Summit was the introduction of more character allowance for Google text ads. Google suggested at the event that advertisers should see a 20% lift in CTR due to the additional 50% of ad space. The headline will jump from 25 characters to 30 and the description will jump from 35 characters to 80 characters.
- Action: A change like this will require quite a lot of effort from advertisers who will need to update all of their ads. This change hasn't rolled out yet, so in preparation for the change you can begin creating your new ads, especially as the larger character allowance calls for more thought behind your ads. This is an opportunity to brush up on your creative messaging and devise compelling messages that drive engagement.
- Dynamic Display Ad Formats
Main Takeaway: Google will choose the correct ad format on behalf of the advertiser, removing the concern that advertisers don't have adequate ads for every website, platform and device.
- Knowing what sizes to create for your ads can be tricky and in most circumstances advertisers want to create multiple sizes to make sure they have an ad to show on all channels and device types. Google announced that they will be introducing dynamic display ad formats where advertisers only need to provide a headline, description, image and URL and Google will choose the best fit for every placement.
- We will let that sink in for a second. All you will have to provide is a headline, description, image and URL and Google will choose the right ad format for the website, platform and device your audience is browsing on. This eliminates the chance of your audience seeing a broken ad format and in addition, optimizes the experience for the consumer.
- The only downside is that this will require brands to let go of control slightly and trust Google to make the right choice on their behalf.
- Demographic Targeting & Similar Audiences For Search
Main Takeaway: Advertisers can now target and adjust bids for both campaigns and ad groups based on audience demographic data such as age, gender and race. Advertisers can also use remarketing for search ads and re-engage a qualified audience in search.
- One of the most integral features of Adwords is being able to segment your ads based on audience demographics such as age, gender and so on, however, advertisers haven't been able to report or adjust bids based on these metrics. Google announced that they are introducing demographic data for search ads meaning advertisers can now target and adjust their bids based on age, gender and race.
- In addition to demographic targeting, Google announced they will roll out Similar Audiences for search. Similar Audiences allow advertisers to select more qualified leads that have intent to purchase their product. By using remarketing for search, advertisers can re-engage potential leads and reach a more highly qualified audience.
- Action: One place to start with demographic targeting is to get data from other channels, such as Google Analytics or SEMRush, to help inform your strategy in Adwords. You can also add all your audiences to all ad groups and then analyze the data three weeks to a month afterwards. We recommend this time frame because it allows the campaign to collect sufficient data to analyse so you can feel that you are making an educated decision that is supported with fact.
- Once you have defined your audiences, follow similar steps outlined in number one above, and adjust your bids according to your data, either adding a percentage increase or decrease to certain demographics.
- Growth of the Display Network
Google announced that they are expanding the Display Network to include more certified apps, websites and publishers with an emphasis on native advertising. Native advertising is a type of ad that looks natural on the website or app that the ad is displayed on - aka, it is designed not to look like an ad. The hope with this initiative is to offer advertisers a more diverse reach as well as lower costs.
- Promoted Pins in Google Maps
Main Takeaway: Advertisers can now use promoted pins to show up first in maps results for certain keywords.
- Google focused on connecting the gaps between online and offline behaviour first with promoted pins in Google Maps and second with in-store visits (see number 7). Promoted pins inside Google Maps will allow advertisers to show up as the first pin on the map for specific keywords. This gives advertisers a powerful location-based marketing tool that has the ability to drive online behaviour offline too.
- It's important to note that advertisers will have some control but not the full control over the search results similar to what they get with keyword targeting. Google will still be able to select ads with a higher quality score and relevance over other advertisers.
- Action: To prepare for this update, you need to ensure your Google My Business is up to date and contains the correct location data. If you are a retail company with brick and mortar business, you can set up a feed that shows what products you have in stock that will appear as local inventory ads.
- In-Store Visits
Main Takeaway: Google has measured over one billion in-store visits in the last two years and in-store visits is getting closer to becoming available to all businesses.
- Another initiative that aims to connect online behaviour to offline behaviour is in-store visits and Google reported on the progress of this product at The Summit. Since the launch of in-store visits, Google has measured over one billion store visits. Activating in-store visits is really important for companies with walk-in shops because it helps advertisers to understand their return on ad spend much more succinctly. In-store visits are still in beta and you need to work directly with a Google strategist to activate this tool. Google strategists are assigned to agencies included in the Premier Google Partner list.
- Action: You need to activate your location extensions before you can apply to turn on in-store visits. You connect your Google My Business account to your Adwords to activate location extensions. They need to be running for a month before you can pursue the beta program for in-store visits.
- The Newly Designed Google Adwords
Google showcased the proposed Adwords interface at the Summit and its three core principles:
- Identify Opportunities
- Focus on Your Business
- Accomplish More
- Samantha Lemonnier, Google's Director of Engineering for Adwords, demonstrated the dashboard that will be going live soon, but not just yet.
- Google Analytics' New Data Assistant
We have focused mainly on Adwords so far, however there were a couple of Google Analytics announcements that are exciting, one being the new data assistant. Google's data assistant allows analysts to ask a question in the search field and it surfaces the relevant data in the Google Analytics account. Babak Pahlavan, Google's Senior Director of Measurement & Analytics, asked the data assistant 'What were my best selling products for April?' and the assistant pulled up the most relevant data for that question.
- Real-time Reports from the Data Studio 360
Lastly, the Google Summit 2016 ended with a demonstration of the new Analytics 360 toolbox, a marketing analytics and data toolbox that consists of six separate engines, four of which are brand new. This presentation focused on Optimize 360 (a tool that allows you to test different variations of your site with the goal to personalise it for each customer) and Data Studio 360 (an engine that turns your data into beautiful reports that are easy to read, share and customize).. Babak built a custom report in the platform from scratch in under 3 minutes. The report was well presented and produced in no time at all.
So there we have it, the top 10 things every marketer needs to know about the new updates. Got questions or want to start a conversation about the above points? Join us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.