Google Announces Major AdWords Changes at Performance Summit 2016

Table of Contents

Google-AdWords-updateMobile Now Centerpiece for AdWords Campaigns with Responsive Display Ads

On May 24, Google announced significant changes to AdWords device bidding and responsive display ads as the search giant continues its push towards a mobile first world. Over half of all Google searches happen on mobile, reports Google. The company is continuing to push its mobile-first search vision with changes that empower advertisers to make mobile the centerpiece of their ad campaigns.

Google announced that it is rolling out Expanded Text Ads for all devices, decoupling tablet and desktop bidding, enabling mobile based bids, and expanding its “Store Visits” metric to better track online-to-offline conversions. Earlier, Google announced it was bringing its data-driven attribution model out from beta and into all AdWords accounts, a change that will help advertisers better track campaign performance across all devices.

It’s a mobile world– and Google is leading the way. Is your business ready? Read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions in response to these major AdWords changes.


What are the new expanded text ads?

Earlier this year, Google eliminated its right sidebar ads from desktop search, giving search the same look and feel across desktop, mobile and tablet. Now, Google is taking these changes a step further by bringing expanded text ads to all devices. Changes include more prominent headlines, a longer description line, and a more relevant URL.

Visually, the most noticeable difference for consumers will be the two, 30-character headlines. Now, advertisers can test the call to action as part of the headline or bump up more relevant sales messaging. The new 80-character description line will act like an organic meta description, delivering genuinely beneficial content rather than just heavily targeted keywords and value ads.

Expanded text ad

The final change, the display URL, is also important. Currently, advertisers must manually enter a display URL. Any mismatch between this display and the final landing page URL may cause the ad to not be approved. With the new expanded text ads, the domain is automatically extracted form the final URL to ensure accuracy. Advertisers can still customize the URL path.


What do the AdWords changes mean for enhanced campaigns?

expanded text - adwords

Google first introduced Enhanced Campaigns in 2013 that allowed advertisers to set bids for ad targeting devices. Google’s main goal: push advertisers to get serious about mobile. Three years later, advertisers don’t need any convincing. Marketing Land calls Google’s announcement a “natural evolution” for Enhanced Campaigns, and rightly so.

With Enhanced Campaigns, the default campaign bid is for desktop/tablet devices. Users can then set a mobile bid adjustment (+300 or -100 percent). Google’s announcement is a game changer. First, it decouples desktop and tablet bidding. This move is especially valuable for advertisers, who have long been frustrated with declining tablet performance. Secondly, Google is allowing advertisers to measure beyond last-click attribution, which typically performs poorly on mobile. Now, advertisers will be able to assign any attribution model for each conversion type.


What are the benefits of using the data-driven attribution model?

Google recently announced that it is also bringing its data-driven attribution model out from beta and into AdWords. The new drop-down attribution menu will offer data-driven, last click, first click, linear, time decay and position based conversion models.


According to Marketing Land, the data-driven model “uses machine learning to assign credit for each interaction along the conversion path”. This approach reflects decision making in the real world: we gather data from lots of different sources, including sources that might even push us away from a decision rather than towards a decision. We don’t give all sources equal weight in the decision making process, either. Planning a trip to New York City? You’re more likely to listen to your friend Sarah who shares your taste in bagels and pizza than your Uncle Joe who would be happy eating at IHOP for the rest of his life.

Google’s data-driven attribution approach is similar, reports Luna Metrics. It helps advertisers better understand all the different influencers that impact your final decision, giving you a more customized understanding of your customers’ conversion journey.


What are the new audience formats?

Google already offers some pretty powerful remarketing and demographic targeting capabilities via the Display Network and, most recently, the Search Network. As PPC Hero points out, remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs) have been around for several years, so they’re hardly news. So why all the commotion? Google is introducing a new feature called “Similar Audiences for Search” that give advertisers the ability to create new audiences off existing ones. Google also introduced a second format called Demographics for Search Ads (DFSAs) that lets advertisers set bid adjustment modifiers on the search network for age and gender. This serves more personalized ads and reflects Google’s continued valuation of search intent.

Responsive Display Ads


How does Google’s expanded “Store Visits” metric work?

More than 90 percent of commerce happens offline. For advertisers, this has long created a tracking conundrum: how to prove that consumers who see an ad online are more likely to shop in stores and make a purchase. Since December 2014, Google has been working to solve the problem with “Store Visits”, which tacks on location tracking and search history to connect online interest with offline action.

expanded text ads

Source: YouTube

At Performance Summit 2016, Google announced it had measured more than one billion store visits from AdWords ads globally using its “Store Visits” metric in AdWords. The current methodology has been plagued by accuracy issues, however; it can’t track smaller business visits and faces scale/location challenges. Currently, Store Visits is only available to 1,000 large advertisers. Google says it is working on an improved version to help advertisers better understanding the impact of their campaign spending. During the keynote presentation, for example, Google showcased Target as an example. According to Google, the company found that one out of every three mobile search clicks led to an in-store visit. It remains to be seen, however, when Google will introduce the Store Visits metric for smaller businesses.


Author Bio

Andy Beohar

Andy Beohar

Andy Beohar is VP of SevenAtoms, a Google and HubSpot certified agency in San Francisco. Andy develops and manages ROI-positive inbound and paid marketing campaigns for B2B & Tech companies. Connect with Andy on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Harness The Full Power Of Digital Marketing

Scroll to Top