A phone showing the Google homescreen.

Google Ads 2020 Product & Feature Announcements: Mobile Web & App

As you saw from our post last weekGoogle plans to make a series of product announcements, interviews and virtual roundtables over the coming weeks, as a replacement for their usual Google Marketing Live summit. 

This week’s updates focused on everything mobile, specifically developments to their mobile & app products. We were able to work closely with Google on these updates to better understand what this means for the product and for our clients.

First, Google announced the relaunch of Test My Site. This tool’s primary function is to allow brands and their stakeholders - technical and non-technical - to diagnose their site speed and get custom tips on how to speed it up. The tool also provides competitive benchmarking while allowing users to input their own data, such as Average Monthly Visitors, Conversion Rate % and Average Order Volume to assess the impact of improving found issues.


However, consumer expectations are rising. They want brands to be there for them with experiences that are not only fast, but seamless and personalized.


The new changes to the TestMySite feature now go beyond site speed for mobile and allow for integration with Web Vitals which provides brands with unified guidance on improving additional signals related to search performance and quality user experience delivery.


With the changes, Google is able to provide better direction of the quantifiable value of making improvements to site experience elements: One example of added value comes in the form of tips such as how to make the check-out experience smoother with one-step checkout processes, as well as how to utilize push notifications to encourage return visits.


When combined with other industry tools and consultancy support, these insights enable improved prioritization of technical fixes to support search and business performance. Brands using this feature are also able to create and download free customized reports to manage and track resolved items and their impact.


The second update came to some of Google’s App campaigns beta features: specifically, App Campaigns Feeds and Deferred Deep Linking. Both products have been in beta since late last year and Google is expanding the pool of advertisers who can be whitelisted to beta test these products.


  • Feeds in App campaigns allow Google’s ad algorithms to capture more information about the content inside of an app (e.g. products, titles of shows, hotel names, etc.) and use a client's feed to do so. This additional information is used to match clients’ app offerings with user queries and interests, helping clients expand ad reach and engage customers more visually with image ads.
  • The Deferred Deep Linking feature will allow App campaigns to deep link and direct a user into the related product page on the first open, post app install. This is based entirely on utilization of the feeds beta functionality mentioned above. For example, if a user who has not installed a travel listing app taps on an ad featuring a specific hotel, when they download and open the app, they will be delivered to the relevant hotel listing page. This frictionless user journey will drive a better onboarding experience and potentially increase the likelihood to convert. 

Deferred Deep Linking relies on Google’s Firebase SDK - which has increasingly become a requirement to utilize the newer Google app product features - but can also be implemented with select third-party solutions as Google works on a gradual rollout plan. More App Attribution Program partners, such as AppsFlyer, will support deferred deep linking in the future, as Google’s Firebase SDK is used as a complementary feature to traditional mobile measurement. 

Similar to Google’s Responsive Search Ads feature in traditional text ads, utilizing the feeds product in App campaigns will unlock additional inventory, increasing the ability to drive incremental growth. However, due to the lack of reporting functionality directly in the UI for this product, our recommendation is to roll this out in conjunction with current app efforts, utilizing budget & bids to ensure sufficient volumes are delivered to feed inventory to test out this new product. Long term, we expect to see feeds as a complementary, catch-all type approach for applicable app campaigns, opted into at the ad group level and used to drive incremental traffic through to the app. Google has some internal reporting functionality on this beta, and plans to roll out an external reporting tool in the future.  

The last and final update from Google relates to their app deep linking expansion. Currently, advertisers with Android App Links and iOS Universal Links enabled can direct users who have the app installed to continue their experience on a brand’s app instead of mweb to complete their desired action. Last year at Google Marketing Live, Google announced app deep linkingfrom Search, Display and Shopping adsIn the coming months, Google will expand deep linking to YouTube, Hotel, Gmail & Discovery ads. This announcement includes specific Ad Destination reporting in Google Ads, allowing advertisers to better understand where their customers are landing and converting after clicking an ad. This inventory should not overlap with existing Google App Campaigns inventory. 

These updates highlight how much Google values the role mobile and apps play in the consumer journey, and we at iProspect continue to work with our clients on helping them understand the true life-time value of their users across channels and devices.