Nothing creates anticipation in the online marketing world quite like a Google announcement. This week (April 22nd), Jerry Dischler, product manager at Google took to the stage to announce new AdWords products and unlike last year’s Enhanced Campaigns announcements, these new products have been met with genuine excitement. Here, our head of PPC, John Cave, gives his expert analysis on the likely impact of the changes.
From my point of view, you can almost put the announcement into four distinct sections:
1 – Apps
2 – Estimated Total Conversions
3 – Bulk Actions & Automated Bidding
4 – Amazing New Tools
Google was very keen to push one message in particular during their announcement: “It’s not about the devices, it’s about the people”. It is, they said, about how people are constantly connected and how we as advertisers tell a story across all platforms to not only achieve our goals but to give these people what they want and critically, when they want it.
The importance of apps kicked off proceedings. Google has created some very interesting tools to not just encourage the download of apps but also their continued use.
App Keyword Suggestions
AdWords will now suggest keywords that result in a higher rate of app downloads based on data from Google Play to target through Google search. The ads shown will drive downloads rather than clicks to mobile versions of websites.
In-app install ads
Advertising apps on other relevant apps will most likely work in a very similar way to the ‘topics’ feature on the Display Network, you select the most relevant topic for your app. You could find and target someone on a health kick targeting a user who has downloaded apps about exercise and calories, for example.
The TrueView companion for apps will allow marketers to advertise their apps along with their TrueView ads on YouTube.
According to Mr Dischler, 80 per cent of downloaded apps are only used once, which seems like a shocking statistic, until you count up the number of inactive apps on your smartphone.
Google seems very keen for us to use apps more, I could be very critical of their motives, but given they control the biggest app market I am going to assume that this is purely in line with a growing demand for Apps from consumers. There are of course those who might consider their enthusiasm to be part of a wider campaign to further stimulate the growth of apps in order to increase advertising reach.
App Deep Linking
Google has been indexing mobile apps for a while now and as expected, the benefit of this can now be leveraged through AdWords. Rather than pointing traffic at your website, whether that be a mobile version or responsive, you will be able to send it back to your app and more importantly, to the right page within your app. We don’t know yet whether we’ll be able to specify the page for each ad, I personally suspect this will work similar to dynamic search ads and that AdWords will decide on the most relevant page.
Image source: Google, Inside AdWords
The last piece of the app puzzle is measurement. The three key metrics the folks at AdWords outlined for us to track are; installation, usage and In-app purchases. Of course we want to know what our installation conversion rate or CPA will be and fundamentally, knowing what ROI is from an app is key.
What will be very interesting to see is how Google use this information in the future – perhaps to decide how Apps are ranked and how pages within apps are ranked in mobile SERPs.
Estimated Total Conversions
This part of the announcement was more of a sales pitch than an enhancement of the current feature. The problem with Estimated Total Conversions is always going to be that it is ‘estimated’. You never want to be in the position of having to tell a client that their AdWords campaign generated X but actually we estimated Y, so we would like to invest more into Z. The beauty of AdWords has always been the certainty of the results and this is where Estimated Total Conversions and to some, extent view through conversions, becomes intangible.
The theory behind Estimated Total Conversions is very attractive and it might be tempting to put your blind trust in it, but the reality is in PPC, we need definite, not maybe.
I took this section to be a sign of intent that AdWords seem prepared to take on some third party bid management tools that promise a lot and deliver very little. For instance, there are always going to be big players like Wordstream, Marin & DC Storm who offer powerful solutions that work with Google, but there are so many that do not.
Google seems intent on stepping into the market to some degree and this development swiftly follows the news that they are encrypting paid keywords within Analytics (Larry Kim sums that up pretty nicely here). I believe that most users will be more than happy with the bid management tools AdWords offers, unless they require an enterprise-level solution (third party tools used by large business to manage complex accounts).
Amazing New Tools
This time Google definitely saved the best ‘til last. The Mediaworks PPC team is genuinely excited to start using the two new tools announced by Product Management Director Paul Feng, though we’re quite divided over which we think is the better advancement.
In order for you to understand the power of this feature we suggest you watch the announcement (below) for yourself. But this, in my opinion is one of the best features AdWords may ever have created. Google describes it as a ‘multi-dimensional analysis tool’ and I can’t think of a better name for it. It won’t be too long before we start throwing phrases around like “M-Dat that data”.
The demonstration shows how the reports can massively reduce time spent mining data, but the true value seems to be in the ease and speed of pulling these reports together. I would have like to have seen an export function for charts like Google Docs has or maybe even the option to have reports replace the homepage to give clients an overview of performance. If, and when, they add this extra functionality, I may be willing to say this THE best AdWords feature, ever.
Drafts and Experiments
This feature is going to a huge impact upon how we manage campaigns going forward. We have been able to run experiments for some time but not with this level of control. Rather than make sweeping changes and optimisations or using the AdWords Bid Automation tools, we can now test effectiveness using a controlled amount of traffic before we make the decision to roll out to an entire campaign. This will ensure every decision is based purely on testing and results. For those familiar with CRO, it follows the same concept; testing best-practice methods, measuring efficiencies and bettering performance. After in-depth testing, the aim is to implement the the best-performing amendments.
There was one piece of information AdWords shared that they didn’t quite go on to discuss in much detail in my opinion.
It should come as no shock that unless you choose to opt out, Google tracks your every move. We anticipate that at some point this data is going to be married up with a new product within AdWords. I found it curious that this information was shared in the announcement without any real purpose. I imagine Google are still building up the data, but when the time comes for local audience lists based on this data, then the outlook for local search will change dramatically.
In summary, we are extremely excited by the new products announced and we cannot wait to start putting them to use for client benefit. We would also love to get your feedback on what you think of them, so please take half an hour to watch the announcement below and let us know.