Google has released new AdWords features this year with the goal of helping improve performance, making management easier, or showing additional data. Will these new features help or hinder your campaigns? Explore the details and decide how the changes may impact your individual advertising goals.
1. Ad Rotation Changes
Ad rotation settings in AdWords offers three options: optimize for clicks, optimize for conversions, and rotate evenly. The rotate evenly setting is commonly used for testing ad creative, and when it is used, it can negatively impact performance, especially when one of the ad versions is poor.
Rolled out in early May, the "rotate evenly" ad rotation setting will function differently than in the past. Google will now only rotate ads evenly for a period of 30 days instead of rotating ads indefinitely. After 30 days it will default to the "optimize for clicks" setting. Each new ad will begin a 30-day period.
There is no way to opt out, so it's important to know that this setting will change automatically whether advertisers want it or not. After 30 days, if you are not done testing your ads, you will need to edit the ad to trigger a new 30-day period.
2. Match Type Changes
Starting in mid-May, phrase and exact match keywords will be triggered by close variants, including misspellings, plural forms, singular forms, different stemmings, accents, and abbreviations. According to Google, "At least 7% of search queries contain a misspelling, and the longer the query, the higher the rate."
An example of how this would be applied is a keyword "carpet cleaning" including "carpet clean." Advertisers should check their accounts for any keywords for which this new setting may be a problem. This would include keywords where an exact match is critical to the bottom line. Advertisers can opt out of this in AdWords under the campaign settings tab, in advanced settings under keyword matching options. For many advertisers, reaching additional searches will be a big benefit.
3. Location Targeting Enhancements
Many advertisers know one of the powerful benefits to PPC is reaching local searches. In April, Google introduced three new features to improve local targeting.
4. Auction Insights Report
Google last week said it's launching a reporting feature, Auction Insights, that shows advertisers who competes with them in keyword auctions. The competitive URL is shown along with five different statistics: impression share, average position of advertiser and competitor, overlap rate of when both ads are show, position above rate, and top of page percent.
Initial launch of this report is for single keywords only, and data is provided only to May 1, 2012.
5. Account Labels
A seemingly small enhancement, Account Labels, is actually an exciting new feature that can help to organize AdWords accounts. Announced in late April, labels enable advertisers to organize accounts' keywords, ads, ad groups, and campaigns into custom groupings for easier filtering and reporting.
This feature complements a smart account structure. Examples of how to use the labels:
Once labels are in place, you can filter by this label and run reports to aggregate performance by label.
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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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