5 Major Updates Coming To Google AdWords

May 26th 2016

5 Major Updates Coming To Google AdWords


Google loves announcing big changes to AdWords in the spring, and the trend of the past few years has been to change enhanced campaigns, mobile (because every year is the year of mobile) and display.

First we got multiple iterations of enhanced campaigns, but then they took away the ability to bid on tablet and desktop, leaving advertisers only able control their mobile bid adjustments, but not able to do the same for desktop and tablet. This led to some hacked-together mobile-only campaigns, where you could set your bids extremely low and set high mobile bid modifiers, sacrificing all of your desktop impression share for the sake of focusing your campaigns solely on mobile. But after the announcement at yesterday’s Google Ads & Analytics Innovations keynote, tablet and mobile are back in a big way.


Here are the five biggest announcements from the Summit, and what to expect from each action item.


1) Extended Text Ads – Double the Headline, More Description Line, New Display URLs

After Google killed right side ads, the use of description line 1 and 2 became something of a non-factor. It used to be that if your ad was eligible to appear on the right side, your description line 1 and 2 would appear stacked on top of each other. Now, though, all ads are only appearing in positions 1 through 4, so one long description line will be the norm.

The bump from 70 total characters to 80 total characters for the description line gives us an additional space for those final call-to-actions (CTAs) or unique selling propositions (USPs)


Expanded text ads - before and after


You’ll also notice that headlines have more than doubled in length – rather than just being one 25 character headline, we’re now able to have two 30 character headlines. I would say this is most similar to adding a third description line of 30 characters, except it’ll appear next to your primary headline. Again, this creates another piece of real estate to add call-to-actions, unique selling propositions or thematically-similar offers based on campaign or ad group.

Lastly, display URLs are being enhanced: Google will automatically pull your domain name from your final URL, which makes a ton of sense. You’ll have two “paths” that you can customize. In the screenshot above you’ll see that before we could only add /NewYork or /NewYorkCity after our display URLs. Now we have two paths, where we can add /NewYork or /NewYork/Discounts to our ads. Again, this will enhance the user’s experience in that we have a more specific path set at the ad level, which is contingent on our keyword targeting.

Overall, based on the Google’s initial data of a 25% lift in CTR, we expect to see a big bump in CTR and, more than likely, some lifts in quality score as well.


2) Enhanced Campaigns are back, again, in a big way

Enhanced campaigns were rolled out as a way to simplify campaign structure for advertisers, but also give them control over their desktop, mobile and tablet presence. Features such as call extensions, location extensions, ad scheduling and geographic targeting have all moved optimization efforts forward, enabling advertisers to have even more control over how they want to engage customers at different stages of the buying process.

Almost all of those changes in 2013 have stuck, except the reversal of the ability to bid separately on tablets and desktops. That one went away, and advertisers were only left with mobile bid modifiers. Now, Google has re-reversed that decision, and advertisers can bid at the desktop, mobile and tablet level.

This is huge news for companies that were looking to have a true mobile-only campaign type, with unique extensions, ad copy, keyword bids, etc. while not running the risk of cannibalizing their desktop traffic. Although tablet hasn’t grown significantly year-over-year, anyone in the eCommerce spaces knows that tablets are the perfect consumption and shopping device.


3) Measurement of in-store conversions

It’s always been extremely difficult to track paid campaigns to foot traffic, but in-store conversions are now going to be a lot more trackable with Google’s mobile “beacon.” Supposedly Google has been tracking these conversion types for some time now, but they are just now starting to roll the feature out to advertisers.

The basic takeaway is that Google will have a “beacon” attached to a user based on a cookie and time period. For example, if you searched for “New York City Ice Cream,” clicked an ad for a local ice cream parlor, and then later visited that store, Google would consider this a conversion. They track the “visit” by simply putting that cookie/beacon on your device, stored in your browser, and waiting to see if you actually walk into the store based on your phone’s GPS. You can read more on the official Google Support page.


4) Local search ads integrated with Google Maps

Google’s been pushing local search for some time now, especially with the push for queries containing “near me” showing up at an elevated rate in the past year or two, coinciding with the rise of mobile searches in the past few years. Now, local search ads are being fully integrated with maps, pushing general queries (“smog check”) and pairing them with a smaller text ad, identical in look and feel to the organic maps results.


Smog Check Mobile

As far as eligibility is concerned, Google specified the following requirements:

  • Enable location extensions
  • Make sure that your Google My Business listing is “updated and accurate”
  • Target specific locations and increase bids based on proximity to your business
  • Use keywords in your campaigns that also include the location


You’ll also be charged cost-per-click (CPC) for the following actions:

  • “Get location detail clicks”
  • “Get direction clicks”
  • “Mobile click-to-call clicks”


5)  Similar Audiences for Search Remarketing

This is a small one for some, but a huge push forward for many SMB accounts where their remarketing lists weren’t able to eclipse 1,000 users over a given period of time. For those that could, though, the potential for this is also out there: you can build similar audiences based on attributes such as past buyers, specific purchasing behaviors (large orders, many orders frequently) and other audience types, very similar to Facebook’s Similar Audiences inventory.


Some other things mentioned, courtesy of Search Engine Land:


  • “Google has measured 1 billion+ store visits from AdWords ads globally”
  • “Google lets you speak in natural language & get analytics reports”
  • “Google is completely redesigning AdWords: offers first peek”
  • “Google now handles at least 2 trillion searches per year”

What do you think of some of the announcements Google made at their summit yesterday? Leave a comment below!

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