Paid Search

Google's #StepInsideAdwords Announcement Releases New Developments 

By Christina Malcolm and Lisa Finneral, PPC Account Managers at iProspect

Google’s annual Adwords event and livestream took place this week, announcing several new ad formats, tools and features for PPC marketers.

Overall, the key focus was mobile. Google stated that mobile searches are now exceeding desktop searches in ten countries, including the US. This change has prompted a shift to so called  ‘micro-moments’ approach, which form a new way of looking at the user journey across devices. These ‘micro moments’ include:

  1. I want to know
  2. I want to go
  3. I want to buy

This shift has been a long time coming. Google has been consistently urging advertisers for the last few years to keep the rise of mobile in mind.

This landmark shift in consumer behaviour forces brands to look further than a last click attribution model and to give more credit to the various different smaller bursts of consumer searches across multiple devices, which ultimately end in that crucial, final conversion.

To help better optimise these ‘micro moments’, Google has innovated in three key areas. Firstly, the ad experience. Secondly, with regard to scale and automation, and finally, with regard to measurement.

Initially they are focussing on improving the mobile search experience for three main verticals – the automotive industry, the travel industry and the financial services industry.

Creating New Ad Experiences

Google hopes these new ad experiences will enrich and streamline the search experience.

Automotive: For automotive ads, the new carousel format displays a rolling selection of images of car interiors and exteriors. This will then enlarge to a detailed page if an image is clicked giving more information.

Clicking on the dealer selection either from this expanded page or original ad will show selection of three  local dealer listings. 

Initially this will be available on mobile, with Chrysler leading the way currently, but will eventually be available for other car brands across multiple screens in the future.

Hotel: The revamped hotel formats released previously for both desktop and mobile are now being made available globally. They show current prices from a wide selection of sources. Users can simply click through and book on the partner’s site directly from the results page. This key change allows users to interact and even convert without leaving their mobile-optimised search results page.

Finance: Google announced a 48% year-on-year increase in finance related searches on mobile. This uptick is the reason for the newest addition to the Google Compare family, available in the US. This change will allow searchers to see the latest mortgage rates from multiple mortgage providers within a customised criteria set, such as loan size or fees. 

As yet, we do not know the layout of these ads nor who will be first to launch but this is all in a bid to improve the mortgage experience on mobile which hasn’t been strong to date.

Overall, these ad experiences create a rich experience for consumers enabling users to interact and explore in the search results listing, with new content which is much more engaging, visual and simple.

The Next Move in Scale & Automation

Alongside these new ad formats Google also referenced  developments in scaling and automation for PPC campaigns. As 15% of daily searches are unique it has therefore become increasingly important to expand campaigns to maximise on these. Two further announcements for 2015 were released:

  • Automated Bidding Dashboard: this was created to provide increased control and transparency as you review the performance over time. Furthermore, the introduction of simulation tools enriches the ability to show the potential when looking at volumes and costs at varying CPA goals/targets.

  • Dynamic Search Ads: the revamp to the DSAs has resulted in an overhaul of the interface to make it more user-friendly and robust. The interface will now give guidelines of categories and recommended CPCs, as well as increasing transparency of the automated landing pages.

Advancements in Measurement

The ability to measure within PPC is key so any advancements or additional insights are well received.  Google’s key insight was that 90% of smartphone users start on one device and finish on another. Being aware of multiple devices is essential to the attribution model.  Even if conversions do not come directly from a mobile device, mobile remains a valuable channel for consumers conducting research and becoming aware of brand messaging.

A new, more versatile, attribution strategy setting within AdWords will allow for a specific attribution model to be allocated to each conversion type. This will be reflected in both the reporting and the automated bidding within the account. The introduction of data driven attribution will be a step in the right direction for showing the weight each term has in the path to conversion, and testing different models.

Furthermore, when taking into consideration the complexity of cross device attribution the ‘holy grail’ would be the ability to determine values within conversion paths started on one device and ended on another. Later in 2015 when cross-device conversions will be integrated with automated bidding further action can be taken.

Overall, Google is another year wiser. And their data has translated into new mobile based ad formats, enhanced features to help PPC marketers scale up, and a point towards attribution improvements. This is a clear nod from Google into where future opportunities lie: it’s now up to brands and marketers to act on this wisdom.

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