Google started their Adwords keynote by announcing massive redesigns to focus on a “mobile-first world.”
“The shift to mobile is no longer something that will happen or is happening,” announced Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President of Ads & Commerce, “The shift has happened.”
On May 24, at the Google Performance Summit, Google announced major updates slated for their Adwords platform this year, including Local Search Ads, a platform redesign, expanded ad text, and other changes to benefit mobile users.
To back this up, Ramaswamy began the hour-long presentation with some impressive Adwords and mobile statistics:
- Location-based mobile searches are growing 50% faster than general mobile searches.
- Over 50% of the trillion searches conducted on Google each year are through connected mobile devices.
- For the millions of websites on Google’s Analytics platform, more than 50% of all web traffic comes from smart devices.
It’s no secret that mobile phones don’t just make our lives easier, they’ve become a way of life. Now, Google wants to bridge the gap between our online lives, and our offline ones. But how?
Local Search Ads
Almost one third of all mobile searches are location based. The modern smartphone has become our map, compass and GPS all in one, serving up nearby locations from just a few taps. To make it easier for businesses and customers to find each other, Google has implemented local search ads for Google Maps and Google.com.
What does this mean? For one, promoted pins will bring more prominence to certain businesses advertising in your area. Sponsored businesses will show up as a purple pin. As an added incentive, some business pages will now feature special offers and in-store promotions. When a Walgreens business page was shown in the demo, there was a section labelled “In-Store Promotion” with a $3 Coupon for contact lens solutions.
Underneath the promotions section, there’s now a search bar that lets you look for items in that store’s inventory. Instead of walking in store only to find out that the product you’re looking for is gone, Google lets you check to make sure it’s in stock.
In a similar vein, business owners want to know how many visitors who see an ad end up coming in the store. With the new adwords platform, Google has the ability to check whether a user clicked on an ad, look at their phone’s location history, and determine if the customer walked into the store.
Over the past two years, Google has already measured 1 billion store visits, and will soon offer this functionality to the public. During the demonstration, Google used Nissan UK as an example. They found that 6% of customers who clicked on the ad went to the store, equating to a 25x ROI.
Responsive Display Ads
Gone are the days of stressing over different formats and missing elements in your ads. With responsive display ads, Google does all the heavy lifting. All you need to do is provide a URL, image, headline, and description, and Google will create an ad that will scale and adapt depending on the app or website it’s on.
Of course, Google hasn’t abandoned their original text ads. This year, ad headlines will be upgraded from the single, 25-character headline to two, 30-character headlines. Description lines are also getting an expansion to one, 80-character description line, up from the previous two, 35-character descriptions. Finally, display URLs are gone, and Adwords will auto-extract the domain from the page URL.
Expanded text ads have been tested for a while, and Google found that this change in ad text length lead to a 25% increase in clickthrough rates. These changes will apply to both desktop and mobile ads.
Individual Bid Adjustments
Bid adjustments allow you to set how much you are willing to pay for certain ads on certain platforms. Currently, the only way to adjust for mobile is to set a desktop bid and then set a multiplier for the mobile bid. Tablets didn’t even have their own category- they were merely included in the desktop bid.
Now, Google is allowing you to set a bid for desktop, mobile, and tablets independently. The adjustment range has been widened to allow for a 900% variation, meaning that you can choose to spend more or less on a particular device depending on your strategy. This is perfect for companies who want to focus on mobile users over desktop users.
As users discover a balance between their online and offline world, Google wants to create a more seamless transition between the two. We’ll have to wait to see how these changes might affect businesses and user interactions. In the meantime, you can watch the rest of Google’s announcement here. You can also read Google’s official post on the announcements here.