Google AdWords launches new features for a mobile-first world

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Google has introduced new tools and features to AdWords to specifically address the consumer shift towards mobile.

The changes and additions have been announced at today’s Google Performance Summit, and include expanded description lines, responsive display ads to fit different devices and formats, more customized bidding options, and pilot features for Google Maps which allow advertisers to introduce more information about their businesses.

Of the trillions of searches made on Google every year, more than half now happen on a mobile phone. Google has also found that more than half of all web traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.

What has been announced? Here’s a glimpse of some of the announcements made at today’s Google Performance Summit.

1. Expanded text ads

In February, Google removed right-hand side ads on desktop to improve consistency across devices. In line with that move, Google has optimized its offerings around the screen sizes of the most popular smartphones.

Later this year, prominent headlines in AdWords will increase from one 25-character header, to two 30-character headers, giving advertisers more room to explain their products and services before the consumer clicks on the link.

The description line will also increase from two 35-character description lines to one consolidated 80-character description line.

Currently, if a manually entered display URL does not match final and landing page URLs, they are disapproved. Under the change, domains will automatically be extracted from the final URL to ensure accuracy and the URL path can be customized.

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Google says these upgrades will be especially relevant for advertisers wanting to reach the “on-the-go mobile consumer” who wants to know exactly what products and services are available before tapping into a website.

Based on early testing, some advertisers have reported increases in click-through rates of up to 20% compared to current text ads, says Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior vice president, ads and commerce, Google.

2. Responsive display ads

Consumers on mobile are now engaging with content from mobile sites, from apps and from video. But for marketers, there is an ongoing challenge to create ads to fit across all these device sizes and formats.

Google’s new tool – responsive ads for display – are designed to help advertisers develop ads to counter the diverse content, shapes, and sizes across the more than two million publisher sites and apps on the Google Display Network (GDN).

It’s an important move because advertisers no longer have to resize display ads depending on the site or device they showed up on. Headlines, a description, an image, and a URL will be enough for Google to now automatically design the responsive ads.

Google_Display ads for a mobile-first world_600Google says the new tool allows advertisers to access new native inventory to engage consumers with ads that match the look and feel of the content they are already browsing.

It is also extending the reach of GDN remarketing campaigns by giving marketers access to cross-exchange inventory to reach more websites and apps around the world.

3. Bidding for a mobile-first world

AdWords will soon allow advertisers to set individual bid adjustments for each device type (mobile, desktop and tablet). Previously, the process was more manual with each device embedded into ad campaigns through Google’s Enhanced Campaigns tool.

Now, advertisers will be able to “anchor” a base keyword bid to the device most valuable to a business and then set bid adjustments for each of the other devices. Bids can be adjusted up to +900%.

4. Connecting online and offline with mobile

Particularly relevant for marketers is Google’s findings that location-related mobile searches are growing 50% faster than all other mobile searches. The platform says nearly one third of all mobile searches made on Google are today related to location.

“It’s clear that consumers are moving seamlessly between online and offline experiences. So it’s important to help marketers think this way too,” says Ramaswamy.

The search platform is introducing new local search ads across Google.com and Google Maps to reach consumers as they search for physical business locations.

For example, when using location extensions, advertisers will be able to prominently showcase their business locations when consumers search for things like “shoe store” or “car repair near me.” In this example, “Smog Check.”

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This is in a testing phase, and currently not a permanent change.

Google Maps

New features on Google Maps will also allow businesses to develop more branded, customized experiences in two ways.

1. Google is experimenting with a variety of ad formats on Maps to make it easier for users to find businesses around them. For example, a Map user could see promoted pins for nearby coffee shops or gas stations along their driving route. Here’s an example of the new promoted pins:

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2. Local businesses can now include more detail about their businesses such as special offers or product offerings. Here is what the new business page will look like:

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These latest offerings from Google AdWords reinforce the need for all businesses to understand the importance of mobile. Consumers have already made this shift, and businesses are now playing catch up.

“As consumers live their lives online and blur the lines between online and offline, it’s more important than ever to build business for mobile,” says Ramaswamy.

*Featured image courtesy of Google AdWords

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