Best Features Announced at Google Performance Summit 2016

May 24th was what we at Granular called, “The Oscars for our industry.” It’s the Google event we never want to miss as we get to hear about all the new features that are planned to roll out for AdWords. This year did not disappoint. While we won’t get to everything they covered, here are the few features we are excited about the most.

Responsive Display Ads for Mobile

Google announced that with this new display ad format, advertisers only need to provide a headline, description, image and a URL. Google will then automatically design a responsive ad that matches the look and feel of the site or app the target user is visiting.

responsive mobile display ads

Image courtesy of adwords.blogspot.com

Based on early testing, Google has reported CTR increases of up to 20%. It’s not surprising that CTRs can increase dramatically when an ad looks like it’s part of the site instead of an obvious sales pitch.

Expanded Reach and Targeting

For the Display Network, Google announced Cross Exchange Inventory. Think of this feature as “search partners for display.” In the Search Network, Google has partner sites that offer search functionality and are also powered by Google. Ask.com is an easy example. Just take that thinking and transfer it to the Display Network as AdWords will now let us expand our reach to a larger audience across the world.

As for expanded reach on the Search Network, AdWords will copy the “similar audiences” feature from Display and allow us to use it for our RLSA campaigns. Similar audiences are a collection of users who closely match an audience you are already targeting on AdWords. Advertisers will now be able to target specifically to a highly relevant group of new users with ease. Not only are similar audiences coming to search from display, but demographics are getting added as well. Search campaigns will soon be able to add age and gender targeting to campaigns to better focus ad message on the user and their intent.

Promoted Pins on Google Maps

While the name is the same, this new feature has nothing to do with Pinterest (their PPC platform is also called promoted pins). As “near me” search queries continue to increase, this feature is designed to help users find business locations around them. Google is still testing various ad formats for this release, but their goal is to help businesses have an increase in store visits with this new campaign format.

google maps promoted pins

Image courtesy of adwords.blogspot.com

On April 20, 2016, Google Maps was announced as a core AdWords product.  This means that ads could now show up on Google Maps automatically by just having a proper location extension. Promoted pins are just more fuel to the fire that Google is making sure ads are always visible on Google Maps as local searches keep increasing.

Tablet Bidding

Arguably the best feature announced at the Google Performance Summit. As of the publish of this post, advertisers cannot add bid modifiers for tablet devices. Why? Because Google considered this the same experience as a desktop computer.

mobile bid modifier

All of that will soon change. We will now be able to control how we bid on tablets just as we can currently do with mobile phones. Why is this great news? I consistently see poor conversion rates coming from tablets. Now I’ll be able to lower my bid amounts severely on tablet devices to better help save my clients from wasting their ad spend.

Expanded Text Ads for All Devices

While Granular was aware of this beta for awhile now, we couldn’t say anything until after the keynote. Soon every PPC advertiser on AdWords will have expanded text ads to provide more ad space to give users more details about your product and business.

adwords expanded text ads

Here is exactly what’s changing.

  • Headlines – Ads will go from one, 25-character headline to two, 30 character headlines
  • Descriptions – Ads will go from two, 35-character description lines to one, 80-character description line.
  • Display URL – Advertisers currently manually enter a display URL. Soon the display URL domain will be automatically extracted to ensure ads are never disapproved from a domain mismatch. The URL path of the display URL can still be customized.

Final Point

Everyone here at Granular is excited for all the new changes Google will be implementing slowly through 2017. Many people in the industry across the country agreed that this keynote was one of the best Google has had in the past couple of years. All of these changes will allow us to either expand upon current success or be one step ahead of the competition. If  you want to learn more about the features we talked about as well as the ones we didn’t get to, here’s the entire keynote presentation.

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About the Author

Joe Martinez

Joe Martinez is the Director of Paid Media and Community for Granular in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is also the current and founding President of MKEsearch. His focus on marketing psychology and user experience helps his clients achieve record growths and lifetime customers. While he is hands-on in all aspects of PPC, his true passions lie in Display, Remarketing, and YouTube. In addition to being the main blogger for Granular, he is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land and has also written for PPC Hero, SEMrush, Leadpages, Optmyzr, Unbounce, WordStream and AdStage. He has hosted webinars for SEMrush, Unbounce, and Bing Ads. He regularly speaks at conferences such as SMX Advanced, SMX West, SMX East, HeroConf, Confluence Conference, Digital Olympus and more. He was named a Top 25 Influential PPC Expert by PPC Hero in 2017 and 2018.