This week Google made sweeping announcements of new AdWords features that will roll out over the next few months. The changes are gradual and optional, i.e. they don’t force anyone to change what they are doing, unlike the forced upgrade to Enhanced Campaigns in 2013. Nevertheless the impact of these new features cannot be underestimated and will be far reaching for the Paid Search advertising industry. Theses changes reflect the reality that more and more of our life happens online which then influences our physical life offline.
Jerry Dischler, VP, Product Management of AdWords, summarized the changes in his blog at http://adwords.blogspot.com/2014/04/sharing-latest-adwords-innovations.html
The announcements were grouped in three areas:
1. Mobile Apps targeting for Everyone
New features targeting easier mobile app installs and consumer retention on already installed apps expand the reach of PPC advertising into the ever growing audience of apps. This reflects the trend of mobile apps becoming more prevalent in every day live and Google wants to be center stage. Android is the most popular mobile OS, but it is far behind Apple’s iOS in generating revenue. AdWords will support ‘deep linking’ into mobile app pages as a new type of landing page.
2. Estimated Total Conversion for Everyone
This is a huge deal. Google is committed to estimate online as well as offline conversion of ad AdWords dollars. Offline conversion specifically means in-store purchases. Businesses with a storefront location will have actionable information on how well their AdWords campaigns convert from online and mobile to in-store purchases. To make this work, the retailer has to exchange customer data on purchases with Google. Not sure if the burden is on the retailer or on a third-party data processing agency that reads credit card transactions behind the scenes and anonymizes them. The feature being an ‘estimate’ means the data cannot be complete.
3. Enterprise Class Tools for Everyone
Google AdWords is complicated to operate. Management of large accounts need extra tools, software and services to handle the workload. Up until now, only “enterprise” customers, meaning those with a large spend, could afford the extra cost. The following high-end features will be added to AdWords and made available to any size account: (i) bulk editing campaign, (ii) advanced reporting (multi-dimensional analysis, think pivoting in Excel) without export/import of account data, (iii) continuous bid optimization for maximum conversion (just like in Marin Software or Kenshoo, both high-end products), and (iv) live experiments of new campaigns, i.e. run a fraction of a campaign with test settings and see what happens, just like in A/B testing.
To summarize, mobile apps are given more attention in AdWords [Google has to find ways to make more money than it did from Google Play alone]. For advertisers this opens up new opportunities, cheap lead generation with little competition while the race to mobile app ads is heating up. Total conversion tracking means online marketing will become more predictable and accountable, thanks to consumer tracking online and offline [somewhat a privacy concern for consumers]. Thirdly, a host of new ‘enterprise class’ features will make the Google AdWords platform more competitive and attractive to anyone who wants to advertise online, regardless of budget.
I am personally thrilled that Google leveled the playing field once again. Online advertising on AdWords is becoming more effective in every relevant way.
These announcements of April 22, 2014, can also be seen here.