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3 Hot Online Marketing Trends and Google AdWords

  |  October 21, 2011   |  Comments

How three key online marketing trends, mobile, +1, and offers can benefit AdWords PPC programs.

There is no denying that Google AdWords is a critical part of the online marketing mix and has been a long-time leader. Does AdWords support and integrate with the most current trends? Or does it fall short? Three key online marketing trends, mobile, +1, and offers are explored and how they can benefit AdWords PPC programs.

Mobile and Tablet Reach

Growing faster than any other technology, mobile is a hot topic. According to Google, U.S. mobile queries have experienced four times growth in just the past year, making it a prime opportunity to leverage for AdWords advertising.

Currently in AdWords, advertisers can target mobile devices with full browsers and tablets with full browsers, including a few advanced settings for operating systems and mobile carriers. This targeting provides a base and points advertisers in the right direction to create mobile-only campaigns.

Click-to-call ads, launched last year, are available only for mobile as either a location extension or call extension. This feature allows searchers to conveniently call directly from ads that are displayed on mobile devices.

Going beyond click-to-call, this month Google introduced a new conversion tracking metric to help advertisers track calls placed from mobile landing pages through their AdWords accounts. By installing a snippet of code on the landing pages, advertisers can see which campaigns, ad groups, and keywords attributed to the call. This new metric enables advertisers to see more comprehensive call data (both from search results + landing page) as well as leverage existing AdWords tools to optimize for calls.

Even with the tremendous growth and potential for mobile, current volume for most advertisers is rather low. By reviewing existing performance data and creating several mobile-only campaigns (separate mobile devices and tablets), advertisers can begin to collect intelligence on how their audiences interact with ads in mobile. With AdWords' current mobile advertising options, advertisers can participate and find success in this top trend.

+1 Ad Endorsement

Google's +1 allows people to share link recommendations with friends on the search results pages with the press of a button. In addition to the ability to recommend entries in the organic results, searchers can also recommend AdWords ads.


This month Google released the +1 capability for Display Network ads. Google believes "incorporating personal recommendations into display ads has the potential to change the way people view advertising."

Of course, this is similar to PPC social ads in Facebook that can accumulate "likes." A display ad on the Google Display Network has the potential to link social connections and increase ad visibility to those who can see that a friend or contact has chosen to endorse it.

One of the big downfalls of this capability is the current lack of reporting or feedback loop to the advertiser on +1 responses. Advertisers have no idea if or how many times an AdWords ad may be +1'd, clearly leaving them unable to optimize for social connections and feeling a bit anti-social.

Offers and Big Deals

Even Google couldn't avoid the coupon fever of the last few years. Its coupon program, Google Offers, delivers deals daily via email for those who sign up. For advertisers that link their Offers to AdWords, wide-eyed "Offer Ads" are born. While "Offer Ads" are currently in Beta and Google Offers is available in limited cities, expansion is planned in the future. I discovered the example below in a market not on the current list.


In a new segmentation feature released for testing a few weeks ago, Google began to collect information to help deliver more personalized deals. People signing up for Offers can choose from several main categories and subcategories to define their preferences for the type of deals they want to receive. The ability to integrate this data with AdWords would potentially be a great opportunity for AdWords advertisers to leverage the extreme coupon trend. Until these products and AdWords features are fully released, advertisers will have to stick to promoting offers the old-fashioned way, in the copy of their ads.

Within each hot trend, we see that features and testing are actively being released - several this month. This should give AdWords advertisers a clearer vision for future PPC account expansion and their upcoming 2012 strategic plans.


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Lisa Raehsler

Lisa Raehsler is the founder and principal strategist at Big Click Co., an online advertising company and Google AdWords Certified Partner, specializing in strategy and management of SEM and PPC for search engines, display, retargeting, and social media ad campaigns. Lisa has led strategy on dozens of PPC accounts and puts her experience into practice every day as a thought leader in integrating clients' search campaigns with ecommerce websites, behavioral targeting strategies, and web analytics. She has participated extensively in the local interactive community, as well as at national search engine marketing conferences. Lisa's recent speaking engagements include SES, OMS, MIMA, HeroConf, and SMX conferences, as well as numerous private and public training engagements. As a columnist for ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, she writes on the topic of paid search. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRocksSEM.

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