Phoning It In – Google’s New AdWords Update Means Much More on Mobile

Jun 22 2016
Co-authored by Wendy Hwang


Did you have a chance to watch Google’s Performance Summit in late May? Because we did, and we are buzzing with excitement at the groundbreaking new changes Google is about to implement to AdWords. Let’s discuss!


Make it mobile, like yesterday


Google announced that its search traffic is now in the trillions, and mobile searches occupy half of that space. This is huge, and it means that “mobile-first” will become its very own entity within AdWords.


Bidding may now be adjusted individually based on device type: desktop, tablet, or mobile. This means that you may “anchor your base keyword bid to the device most valuable to your business and then set bid adjustments for each of the other devices” allowing you to “optimize with greater precision while keeping things simple with a single campaign” wrote Sridhar Ramaswamy in Google’s blog.


This ungrouping is great news, because the previous lack of flexibility in bidding has been a pain point for advertisers. As an advertiser, you may now determine which platform is most effective for targeting your audience, and create campaigns specifically for that device.


Longer text ads give you greater context and fewer irrelevant clicks


We already talked to you about the implications of Google removing right sidebar ads back in February. Well, text ads are being shaken up again.


Finally, you can add more space and more context to your messaging within text ads. Character limits, both in headlines and in descriptions, have been expanded significantly. Take a look:



Character counts have more than doubled. What exactly does this mean? Well, Google, for a long time, has been pushing for more context – long tail keywords, more prominent headlines, and longer descriptions. This expansion is a direct part of that. This will give users more information, and more information means clicking through (and we love a high CTR!) instead of clicking and bouncing.


Expanding characters allows users more opportunity to understand what they’re clicking on. For advertisers, this addresses a major pain point: fewer irrelevant clicks!


Creating a clean and responsive Display Ad has never been so easy


The asset creation process is now simplified. All you need is the copy, the image, and the URL – Google will design and optimize the rest. In the past, having to create a display ad was a barrier to entry for many small businesses which didn’t have the resources or the graphic design skills necessary for proper implementation (just think of all the different formats an ad has to be in in order to display properly on all platforms and pages).


On top of that, the web changes a lot. So even if you did have the resources for design and implementation, your ad wouldn’t fit correctly, or it would be clunky, or even incredibly intrusive.


Thanks to this update, Google will now do the heavy lifting for you.


Local Ads are integrated across and – wait for it – Google Maps!


For a long time, we were concerned that digital was taking away from the physical – retailers, especially, were worried that people were only coming into their stores to get a physical preview of a product that they were actually going to purchase online. But now, it’s becoming clear that this gap is closing, and that the digital and physical space are intertwined.


Google refers to this experience as micro-moments, and they determine intent: you want to know, want to go, want to do, want to buy. Mobile is an essential part of these micro-moments, especially when it comes to local search. A lot of this intent translates into looking for a restaurant, checking the weather, finding a store. Because of this, ads will now be integrated across and, for the first time, Google Maps.


What does this mean for you, as a user? Say you’re looking for an electronics store close by. You search on Google Maps and are provided a list of options. With this new update, advertisers like Best Buy will be featured prominently (logo and all) as a pin within your Google Maps results.


What does this mean for you, as an advertiser? Not only can you place your business as a pin within Google Maps, but you can also offer in-app promotions (like a soon-to-expire 10% discount). This is another great way to capture intent! In-app promotions like these will incentivize your customers to visit your retail location immediately and fill their need to buy.


Here are some of our favorite quotes from the keynote:


  • “Mobile changes everything. It isn’t an evolutionary change. It’s a revolutionary change.”
  • “The shift to mobile is not something that will happen, or is happening. It has already happened.”
  • “There is no longer a dividing line between the digital world and physical world. Smartphones bridge the digital and physical worlds.”
  • “Digital marketers are now more accountable for in-store activity than ever before. Three- fourths of people who search end up in the store within 24 hours. 28% of them make the purchase in store.”
  • “One third of people who click on a search ad will visit the store.”



Not sure what to do with all that extra room in your Text Ads? We’re experts at SEM. Let’s talk.

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