AdWords Innovations and Extensions

Just a few hours ago, Google made its long-awaited announcement about some major extensions to the AdWords platform. While there are many features that we will cover below, the main takeaway is the need for anyone using AdWords to ensure they are investing effort into a strategic approach that integrates AdWords smoothly into their business model. If you can create a feedback loop where your AdWords management is informed by your business strategy -- and vice versa -- the changes will drive not only more conversions but a stronger overall business with more committed customers. On the other hand, for websites running AdWords as a silo, it will become more difficult to compete.

Here's a rundown of the changes:

More opportunities to promote your mobile apps

A mobile app strategy can be an essential part of your business depending on which vertical you're in. Up to this point, you could use AdWords to drive app installs through the Search and/or Display networks. These options are now being extended to cover more of the life cycle of a mobile app, including:

  • Getting your app installed: Google will now make search keyword suggestions based on content on Google Play and provide Display targeting based on a user's engagement with other apps.
  • Getting your app used: You will be able to show ads to people who have already installed your app to remind them of the app's functionality at a relevant time (eg. when they perform a keyword search).
  • Increasing app relevance: You will be able to link to a specific page in your app, further increasing user engagement with your brand.

More reporting to estimate ROI across devices

With the recent release of Universal Analytics out of beta, the entire online space should be thinking more and more about multiscreen. How do users use multiple devices in your particular vertical and how can you harness this to improve the performance of your campaigns? The recent AdWords metrics of estimated total conversions can help in measuring the real ROI on your campaigns, letting you spend your budget more effectively. They can also help reduce the curse of online campaigns getting credit only when they were used towards the end of the buying cycle -- a bias that has been around since the start of advertising.

Google currently estimates additional conversions by sampling anonymous usage data from people who use multiple devices or browsers while signed into Google, or people who make a call on a mobile device after seeing an ad (for more information, see see this AdWords page). This will now be extended, as Google will offer more measurements to help you track the full ROI of your AdWords campaigns.

Since Google cannot measure what isn't there, it is particularly important for everyone to audit their conversions and make sure they are tracking as many user actions they deem valuable as possible. Some strategic thinking around Universal Analytics and how to make your business model friendly to multiple devices is also highly recommended.

More tools for managing large-scale accounts

If your account is larger than a few dozen adgroups, chances are that you'll already be using some of the more advanced features to maintain efficiency and sieze opportunities. Google will be increasing the scope of their bulk operations and automatic bidding options, which is useful for large number of campaigns. We're also particularly excited about the opportunities provided by the new advanced reporting and labs tools. Even for medium-sized AdWords accounts, the problem is often too much data and as the industry matures, it's a great idea for us all to start focusing on visualisations and reports that go beyond the table and the sparkline to drive more sophisticated account decisions. And true to our name, we love data-driven decisions, which usually require some kind of split-test or experimentation, which is provided by the extension of the AdWords Experiments options in the new lab.

To learn more about any of these features, see Google's announcement and stay tuned for further updates from the Loves Data blog!