Recent Changes to Google AdWords

By Site Strategics
July 15, 2016

At the end of last month, Google announced major changes inside of AdWords at the Google Performance Summit (GPS) 2016 in San Francisco. The Google Performance Summit is Google’s annual event for select AdWords and Google Analytics customers. The Google team shows off new products, tests, and reveals other news that can greatly impact the Google community.

Bidding and Text Ads

One of the announcements was a change in the way way advertisers set bids for targeting ads by device type in AdWords. According to Ginny Marvin in a Marketing Land article, the change in bidding is significant for two reasons:

  1. Untethers desktop and tablet bids; and
  2. Allows advertisers to make mobile the focal point of their campaigns.

Furthermore, “Advertisers will be able to set separate bid adjustments for mobile, desktop and tablet,” said Marvin.

This an extremely impactful change as the market continues to trend in the direction of mobile search. Mobile search has overtaken desktop and is now reaching nearly a 70% market share. This change should be music to the ears of every Google advertiser out there.

Individual Device Bid Adjustments

It was also announced that Google is going to break up tablet and desktop to enable a mobile-based bid adjustment by device. This change gives advertisers more control inside of AdWords specifically when it comes to device per device bidding.

“Over the past year or two, it has felt increasingly awkward to have bids tied to desktop when mobile usage has been ascending so rapidly,” said Marvin in a Search Engine Land article.

This will also take advantage of the device section of Analytics even more. Analytics users could find the devices that their consumer base is using. If the majority of a business’ clients are younger and have iPhones, then that should clearly be the target. However, another industry might have more Android device users, or Nexus tablet users. It really opens up a whole new space.

“To clarify, device bidding will apply to all campaign types, even when keyword targeting isn’t used, such as in Shopping campaigns,” said Marvin.

Expanded Text Ads for All Devices

Since the beginning of May, reports have surfaced that Google has been testing longer text ads in search results for all types of devices.

“With the removal of right-side ads, Google now has the flexibility to give text ads more characters in a way that will look uniform across devices,” said Marvin in a Search Engine Land article. “Expanded text ads will be eligible to run across all devices and will be optimized for smartphones.”

Creating longer text ads will remove some of the finer nuances of being an Adwords marketer away. Where it has been the task of a creative marketer to sell their product with the current character limit, Google is removing that small competitive advantage from the equation with this change. It is unclear whether this will benefit those smaller players in the market who have worked hard to outperform their competitors in the text space.

Per Marvin, “The new ad format will have two longer headlines of up to 30 characters each and a longer description line of up to 80 characters.”

Major Redesign Process

2008 was the last time Google took a look at the design of AdWords and many have acknowledged its old and aging design and functionality.

AdWords Product Management Director Paul Feng even explained:

“The reason we’re rebuilding AdWords is because the world has changed so much in the past two years. AdWords is now over 15 years old and launched when Google was just figuring out what search advertising was. We rebuilt it several years ago from a desktop world – smartphones were only [a] year old. Now we are in probably the biggest shift since AdWords was introduced (and I’d argue perhaps ever) with mobile.”

Feng is right, and the reality of it is that perhaps the Adwords platform is actually a little behind the large shift to mobile search. However, they’re still leading the way, far ahead of the Bing and Yahoo platforms. These changes will be a large step in a positive direction for search advertisers, and we are excited to get started on these new ways of building client success.

If you’d like to learn more about the major changes inside of Google AdWords, take a moment to listen to this recent episode of Edge of the Web Radio.