9 Powerful Changes & New Features Coming to AdWords: What You Need to Know

Drew ClaytonAdWord Updates

new adwords interface features

Are You Ready For Google's Latest


If there’s one common theme to take away from Google’s changes in recent months, it’s this: context is king.

Spend your days dealing with Google AdWords and it becomes all too easy to see the next round of updates as a personal attack on your wellbeing. ‘I’ve literally just got my head round the last batch of changes and you’ve changed things again? How dare you do that to me!’

It’s certainly true that working with PPC keeps you on your toes, and occasionally you can find yourself wading through mountains of update info only to ask yourself whether the effort was really worth it. But not this time.

We’re going to cover a lot of ground in the list of new features below, but if you were to collect them all together and give them a collective heading it would be this: context – and that’s a good thing for customers.

You see, to date, Google ads have been driven by the keywords you used. If you think of that in the bricks and mortar sense, that’s a bit like only serving customers in your shop when they ask you specifically for a product. They may show you they’re clearly interested in it by picking the product up, giving it a detailed inspection, taking a photo or two and calling a friend about whether they should buy it or not, but if they don’t use the right keyphrase you won’t be selling it to them.

Which is, of course, nuts.
Often, a customer’s actions can tell you all you need to know – and the fact they don’t use the specific word or phrase you gave it doesn’t matter a jot. Now, Google’s catching up. So if you’re in the market for a similar product. If you want to target based on life’s major events. If you even want to use an ad to direct them to your physical store, it’s all about context – and there’s an AdWords campaign for that…

1. Targeting by life event

This is far cooler and less creepy than it sounds. Think of it like this. When you’re about to get married you spend an enormous amount of time researching photographers, wedding venues and honeymoon destinations. When you move home your search habits are more likely to involve the less exhilarating prospect of removal firms, mortgages and the locksmith you inevitably need to call when you lock yourself out.

Events in our lives tend to coincide with certain buying choices, and now you can use some of those events to target your YouTube and Gmail ads. Yes, it’s a niche choice likely to reach a smaller audience, but brands are already seeing how effective it can be.

2. Reach the in-market audience

And just what, you might ask, is an in-market audience? It’s the very best audience of all – the audience that’s searching your product or service right at the moment your ad appears. Chances are you’ll already have clicked an in-market ad, because no ad is more likely to be clicked on than the one that arrives precisely when you’re in the market for what it’s offering.

How does it know? The short answer is machine learning. The slightly longer answer, as Google says, is looking at “clicks on related ads and subsequent conversions, along with the content of the sites and pages they visit and the recency and frequency of the visits.”

3. YouTube ad location extensions

YouTube views are all fine and dandy but they really need to result in something to be worth doing. Online, that something is a viewer becoming a customer. But what if you don’t sell anything online? What if the only way your YouTube video can pay its way is by acting like a big arrow that points you in the direction of the nearest stores selling your stuff?

Step forward, then, ad location extensions – because that’s exactly what they do.

4. Google Surveys 360

You know A/B testing. One pool of customers receives one ad, a second pool receives a different ad and you compare the results of each. It’s a simple concept but actually doing it has always been a bit of a faff.

Google Surveys made that easier and has been a handy help for mid-size companies doing ad-hoc surveys since 2012. But now Google Surveys 360 takes the capability to enterprise level, letting you create surveys and target them at specific audiences easily. So if you need a simple way to take the guesswork out of retargeting and ad copy testing, this is it.

5. Attribution made easier

If you want to make any marketer break out in a cold sweat, just say the word ‘attribution’ to them. Attribution is the clincher. It’s how you prove your marketing made a difference. But with so many marketing channels across multiple devices, attributing the right campaigns to the right degree has been a bit like bottling unicorn tears.

Fortunately, Google has come to the rescue with an attribution tool that uses machine learning to attribute and weight each interaction from initial browsing to final click. It’ll also compare your attribution paths with those of customers who convert, helping you optimise.

6. Use Google Assistant to buy

The phrase ‘click to buy’ just took another step towards redundancy – or at least, it will as Google Assistant integration becomes more commonplace in online stores.

You order by telling Google what you want. Google Assistant has a chat with you, confirming your order and offering the upsells and add-ons, before taking you to the checkout where it’ll use stored payment details to process the order.

Upload your inventory and it will even add a little urgency to encourage the purchase, by telling the viewer there are only X left.

7. The new user interface

Now, you might dismiss this as a bit of window dressing, but if you’ve ever found yourself lost amidst the old AdWords menus and sub-menus you’ll welcome the new sleek, sexy and altogether more accessible AdWords experience.

You may already have been invited to try it. if not, you’ll have to put up with the clunky old AdWords until December.

8. New landing page speed testing and optimisation

It doesn’t matter what campaigns you’re running or how carefully targeted and optimised they are if, when the customer eventually reaches your site, it moves like custard flowing uphill.

Of course, the same is also true in reverse. A landing page that loads with the speed of a greased otter can still lose visitors for a host of other reasons.

So to combat both problems, Google now enables you to test a range of landing pages for their effectiveness and optimise them before you link them to your ads. It’s brilliantly simple and there’s no coding required.

Then, real time page speed analysis makes it really easy to check the speed of mobile landing pages, so that when you win a visitor, you stand more chance of keeping them.

And talking about load speeds…

9. Ads for AMP

As the name suggests, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) improve the load speed of pages on mobile so you retain more visitors and boost your conversion potential.

Now, that same AMP technology is available for display ads too, enabling them to load up to five seconds faster. If you’re frustrated that your mobile ads take a relative age to load (by which time the visitor has been and gone), this is how you fix it.

Want help implementing anything you’ve read above? Not sure how this could benefit you? If you would like a free AdWord Audit worth £650.00 claim one here.

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