Major Google AdWords Changes Announced

Written by: Jason Bayless | October 12, 2016
Change is in the air at Google again. This time it has to do with the company’s popular AdWords platform. The Big G recently announced plans for major updates and new AdWords products for advertisers. As with all Google changes, the adjustments are meant to streamline things and provide a more cohesive experience for browsers and advertisers. Although it helps to have a better understanding of what’s coming and what these changes really mean to fully see the potential.

Expanded Text Ads

Say goodbye right sidebar ads. Removing this location restriction will allow for expanded text ads. The change means more space to make your pitch to the mobile masses. Early internal tests showed a 20 percent boost in click-through rates with ads optimized for the most common smartphone screen sizes. With approximately 70 percent of mobile searchers regularly calling a business as a result of a Google search, it’s no wonder AdWords is making it easier to place text ads. Text ads on Google will now include:

• A pair of 30-character headlines
• Descriptions that can be up to 80 characters
• Automatically extracted URLs with customizable domain path options

Responsive Ads for Display

The purpose of responsive ads is to present ads that reflect the content on the sites where they are displayed. This matters because, believe or not, most people don’t actually visit websites to get bombarded with ads, which is why Google is trying to make presented ads more relevant to the content. As a result, ads will now mirror the tone and look of surrounding content on a particular page to reduce the intrusive nature of online advertising as much as possible. Advertisers will need to provide:

• Headlines for each ad
• Ad descriptions
• Any related ad images
• The associated URL

Individual Bid Adjustments per Device Type

Bidding is the centerpiece of any AdWords campaign. Bid adjustments determine how much you’ll pay for per ad and, more importantly, where each ad will appear. Google already allows adjustments to be made for mobile bids. What’s new is the ability to set bid adjustments for each ad according to device type. In other words, you’ll be able to:

• Better allocate ad budgets based on your primary source of mobile traffic
• Increase or decrease bids for desktop, tablets and mobile
• Enjoy a greater adjustment range — up to a 900 percent variation

Local Search Ads for and Google Maps

Whether it’s looking for a service within a specific area or checking to see which restaurant has the best family meal deals, the majority of Google searches are for something local in nature. In order to meet this local demand, Google is rolling out more location extensions so advertisers can better target browsers in search for very specific services and products within certain geographic areas. For advertisers, this means:

• More special offers can be presented to searchers
• Available inventories can be accessed via a Google Maps ad
• Ads can become even more localized for browsers on the go

‘Null’ Quality Scores

One of the more subtle Google AdWords changes has to do with quality scores. As of September, 2016, the default value of six will be replaced with “null” for new keywords or keywords without enough impression data for an accurate score to be assigned. While this may seem like a small adjustment, the absence of an arbitrary value until valid data can be collected will present a clearer score.

AdWords is a powerful force in the online marketing world. Roughly 95 percent of Google’s total revenue comes from AdWords. In 2015 alone, the company’s search and advertising tools spurred nearly $200 billion in economic activity in the United States alone for more than a million businesses, organizations and website publishers. As Google continues to make adjustments to the ways advertisers connect with their desired audience online and how results of those efforts are measured, it’s clear AdWords will remain an invaluable part of that process.