Important updates to Google AdWords features

In the world of online marketing- particularly, search engine marketing- can anybody afford to stay oblivious to Google AdWords? A number of modifications have been made to AdWords in recent times. These new AdWords features (announced from time-to-time) are primarily designed to help search engine marketers create successful advertising campaigns. The focus of the feature enhancements are generally on improving ease of campaign management, better ad targeting, creating more advertising options and improving trackability and measurement of SEM campaigns.

For search marketers, the biggest challenge is to stay abreast of the new amendments to leverage the new tools and optimize their campaign. If you stay updated on the Google AdWords change wave front, you will get an upper hand in your search marketing.

This piece is a compilation of the recent changes introduced by Google AdWords and the probable impact of these changes on advertisers or marketers.

Changes to Google AdWords

1. Introduction of Flexible Targeting Tab

When: June 29, 2012

Change: A new interface has been added in AdWords to facilitate display buying. The Display Network latest feature makes display buying easier and efficient by combining marketers’ targeting, bidding, and optimizing at one place. In short, a campaign manager gets greater control over the display ads with this feature.

Impact: Earlier PPC campaign handlers were able to make ad changes at the campaign level. With this new addition, a campaign manager can choose where his ads would display at the ‘adgroup’ level. In short, the manager gets greater control to decide where to display the ads and choose the audience. As of now, the flexible reach tab is an optional setting but it will soon replace the Broad and Specific reach options by the end of 2012. If a marketer decides to select this option, it will become a default setting and the ad manager cannot go back to Broad or Specific reach. This could hamper the flexibility for the manager per se as he cannot switch back.

For detailed info, click here.

2. Introduction of AdWords Editor 9.8.1

When: June 28, 2012

Change: Google launched the AdWords Editor version 9.8.1. It lets marketers manage local targeting more conveniently.

Two new ad tabs have been added; dynamic search ads and product listing ads. It lets marketers view their ads and make alterations or additions easily. These two new targeting tabs also lets you manage product targets and dynamic ad targets.

Impact: The new location targeting setting lets marketers easily add locations in bulk. Besides, there is also a ‘Location Exclusions’ option that lets online marketers narrow their target more efficiently. The upgrade to the offline editor will certainly benefit those who run large campaigns and are used to the Adwords Editor.

For detailed info, click here.

3. Ad rotation changes

When: April 30, 2012

Change: Earlier ads could be rotated for an indefinite period of time. The default settings were “Optimize for Clicks” with another option being ‘rotate evenly’ and ‘optimize for conversions’. These three options let  PPC account managers experiment with the best click-through rate (CTR) and conversions. With the change in Ad rotation, the PPC managers have a time limit of just 30 days to run the tests w.r.t which ad runs vs those that does not. In short, after 30 days of even rotation, the ad that got the most clicks will automatically start displaying.

However, a month after this change was introduced, Google has made further amendments to the ad rotation policy giving back some control to marketers.

Marketers are given the freedom to completely opt out of the ad rotation change and Google would not stop the ad rotation unless the marketer intimates the search engine giant to do so. For opt out form, click here:

The time frame for default ad rotation has also been extended from 30 days to 90 days. Therefore if somebody wishes not to opt out then the ads would rotate for 90days facilitating more time for marketers to gauge the impact of a particular ad and determining the one to use for the long term.

This quick update to the ad rotation has been welcomed by search marketers as a change in the right direction.

Impact: For PPC marketers, this is deemed as a welcome change as better performing ads would be displayed (bingo!). But the negative point was the 30-day restriction. The time-frame to test the effectiveness of an ad was small and therefore drawing any specific conclusion on what runs best in terms of CTR and conversion was difficult.

More importantly, the decision power was in the hands of Google on what ads to display. Online marketers were losing their control . However, the subsequent update is certain to have reduced marketers’ angst.

4. Improved Keyword Tool & Traffic Estimator

When: April 25, 2012

Change: To make campaign building process easier, Google announced improvements to the Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator.

Changes in Keyword Tool: Now, marketers can get keyword ideas grouped on the basis of themes. The updated keyword tool lets you quickly view the suggested new ad group themes and add those to your account directly. In addition, the traffic estimator integration facilitates easy view of the data for your keywords and equips you to take campaign strategy decisions faster.

Changes in Traffic Estimator: The new additions let marketers graph performance estimates, draft ad groups and add them to AdWords account.

Impact: The changes are very positive light for online marketers as they allow effective bidding and budgeting of the campaign and provide a good view of potential traffic

For detailed info, click here:

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This article was originally published on the Online Marketing Thoughts blog.