Every year Google AdWords rolls out new features and functionality in an effort to make online advertising easier and more effective. Unfortunately that means businesses must vigilantly stay up to date with the latest AdWords features or they risk losing sales to more sophisticated competitors.
That’s why in this article I’m going to highlight some of the recent Google AdWords updates every business needs to know about. This is no way an exhaustive list of changes. Instead, I’m only going to focus on the big updates that can’t be ignored.
Expanded Text Ads
If you haven’t heard about Expanded Text Ads by now then unfortunately you’re very late to the party. Google announced this change in 2016 and finally made the switch in January 2017 so advertisers can no longer create ads using the old format.
Essentially, advertisers can now use more characters in text ads. In the old format, we had one headline that could be 25 characters long, plus two description lines that could each be 35 characters long.
In the new Expanded Text Ads format, we now have not one, but two headlines. Both headlines can be 30 characters long. Plus, we have one description that can be up to 80 characters long.
When you add it up, we now have 140 characters versus only 95 in the old format.
But more characters doesn’t necessarily mean better results. That’s why it took so long for Google to fully roll out this change. Smart advertisers quickly started to test their best ads in the old format versus ads in the new format and in our experience it took a while to craft better performing ads in the new format.
Keep this in mind when you’re testing ads in your own campaigns. The ad copy that worked well in the old format may not perform in the new format! There’s no one-size-fits all solution here. You just have to keep split testing your ads to find what works best for your campaigns.
Segmentation By All Devices
Of all the updates, this is my favorite. :)
For some reason AdWords used to force advertisers to target Desktop and Tablets and Mobile devices in one campaign. There was a way to turn off Mobile ad targeting, but there wasn’t a way to target only Mobile or only Desktop or only Tablets.
The problem is that people behave much differently when they are clicking on ads on a Desktop or Tablet or Mobile device. And if you take a look at your conversions by device, I’m sure you’ll see a drastic difference in the conversion rates and cost per conversion per device. You may even see zero conversions for Mobile if your website is not mobile responsive!
I’m not sure why this took so long, but AdWords finally gives us the option to create campaigns that target one specific device. This can drastically improve your ROI if one or more devices is not performing well. Plus, it gives you the ability to create ads and landing pages that are in line with how your prospects behave on the device you’re targeting.
Please do not ignore this update. It could be a game-changer for your ad campaigns.
Tracking Offline Sales
If the sales in your business occur off of the Internet (for example, over the phone or in person), then this update is for you.
Google AdWords has given advertisers the ability to track online conversions for a long time. An online conversion is typically when a prospect completes a form. That’s important to track, but it obviously doesn’t tell the full picture about whether or not those leads converted into sales.
That’s where Offline Sales conversion tracking comes into play…
With Offline conversion tracking, you’ll need to edit the forms on your website so they submit a unique ID that AdWords provides. When a prospect clicks on one of your ads, then AdWords attaches a unique ID called the GCLID (Google Click ID). For example, if I advertised to mainstreetroi.com/landingpage, then AdWords would automatically attach an ID to the end of that URL so that it looked something like this: mainstreetroi.com/landingpage?gclid=123abc456def789ghi
Again, your forms need to send this GCLID to your CRM — or if you’re not using a CRM, then you can track this in a spreadsheet. Your sales team will then follow up and document which of the leads turn into sales.
Next, you simply compile the GCLIDs that converted into sales and import those back into AdWords. Since every click on your ads has a unique GCLID, AdWords can match those IDs to the keyword and ad that was clicked on in your account.
The result is that you’ll be able to see which keywords and ads are not only driving leads, but which are driving offline sales! As you can imagine, this can be invaluable information for optimizing your campaigns to drive more ROI.
New AdWords Experience
Last, but not least is the new AdWords Experience, which is a complete redesign of the AdWords interface. If you haven’t seen this yet, don’t worry, this update has not fully rolled out yet.
When it does, then you will unfortunately have to relearn how to use AdWords because all the buttons and tabs will have moved.
This update reminds me of when MS Office changed the design of Word and Excel to use the new “ribbon” format. The functionality was basically the same, but even expert users had to fumble around like newbies for a while until they were comfortable with the design.
Keep this in mind when this finally rolls out. Simple tasks will inevitably take a little longer until you and your team are up-to-speed with the new AdWords layout.
Now, in addition to staying up-to-date with all the AdWords updates, you must also follow AdWords advertising best practices. That’s why we put together the following free report…
Free Report: 10 Steps to Profit with Google AdWords
When you read this report, you’ll learn expert tips and advice based on our experience creating and managing profitable Google Adwords campaigns.
Main Street ROI is a digital marketing agency based in New York City.
Our mission is to help small businesses thrive. With our services and training, we help small businesses succeed with marketing regardless of their budgets.
Since 2010, we’ve helped thousands of small businesses create profitable digital marketing campaigns.
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