Last Tuesday (April 22, 2014), Google’s #StepInsideAdWords was introduced to a modest live crowd and sweeping array of anxious Hang Out participants, all eager to learn the next big thing. What we got was somewhat of a surprise, in a good way.
Jerry Dischler, VP of Product Management for Adwords, took the stage to showcase the following:
- Innovative Ad Formats (App Integration)
- Insightful Reporting (Attribution Enhancement)
- Intelligent Tools (The Good Stuff)
I’m sure I wasn’t alone when I let out a quiet “Ooooh” when new power tools were hinted at early on. Now that the dust has settled and we’ve all had time to digest, let’s walk through each section and find out what it means for both advertisers and consumers.
Innovative Ad Formats – Application Advertising
When Google announced that certain app content would be accessible through natural search, it was only a matter of time before this algorithm took hold in their paid marketplace. In a nutshell, Google wants to improve app discovery, re-engagement, and ultimately deliver value through measuring in-app conversions.
The mobile app marketplace is a difficult nut to crack for most companies (unless you’re King.com selling extra lives in Candy Crush). Knowing the reach and scope of the app marketplace, 50M+ downloaded on Play alone, this confirms Google’s position on the future of this channel.
App discovery is the first piece of the puzzle. We’ll have more platforms to give consumers the opportunity to download a mobile app, all managed and controlled within the Adwords ecosystem. Leveraging the ample array of data the Play Store accumulates, Google aims to connect the dots and focus on relevancy and user experience through search, display, and even YouTube.
The second and most intriguing piece is re-engagement. According to Dischler, over 80% of apps are trashed or forgotten after their first use. Google is aiming to curb this detachment by introducing a new campaign sub-type for both display and search that allows deep linking directly into the app itself. Not only will the advertisement open the app upon engagement, it will also take the user to the most relevant page for their query, providing an excellent user experience. Best of all, you’ll have more conversions to celebrate, which can now be tracked from the moment of installation, to re-engagement, and ultimately in-app purchases.
Insightful Reporting – Conversion Data Gets a Boost
Next up, performance measurement! While interesting at first, the meat and bones of this section were more Oliver Twist than Jay Gatsby. Estimated Total Conversion is getting a revamp, a metric that links a conversion that takes place over multiple devices and helps to gauge overall campaign value. This is useful, as attribution is very tricky in search; however without more detail it’s difficult to ascertain how they are looking to improve this further. Hopefully in the coming weeks we’ll gain more insight into what this means for our campaign measurement.
If an effective and non-intrusive way of tracking a consumer from online ads to in-store purchase is found, you can liken it to the Great White Buffalo… A rare and desired value-add that will most certainly be a game changer.
Intelligent Tools – Service Empowerment
Paul Feng deserved a standing ovation last week. When he took the stage I wasn’t quite sure what to expect… in fact I assumed the tools that would debut would only provide nominal value.
Quite the opposite.
Taking a play out of the Amazon.com handbook, Google has had its ear to the ground listening to the feedback that digital marketers have been providing. Finally, we’ll have a native toolset that looks, on face value, to rival enterprise class solutions that currently exist.
To start, we’ll have expanded bulk edit capabilities within the Adwords dashboard. Coupled with this comes a wider arrangement of automated bidding strategies, expanding the meager system in place now. When you’re dealing with thousands of ad groups across hundreds of campaigns, you can appreciate how important these features are. Let’s hope other third party software providers take the hint and keep pace.
Feng next took us through live examples of their upgraded reporting dashboards. This seemed intuitive and fluid, as well as extremely useful due to its ability to provide live data. What this essentially creates is a multi-dimensional tool native to the Adwords system, allowing for quick implementation of live pivot data and seamless visual integration. I think speed may be an issue for bigger accounts, but if the renders are kept crisp and the process simple, this could be another place advertisers gain a few extra minutes throughout the day.
Finally, in the most exciting feature release of the day, we got drafts and experiments. Today’s Campaign Experiments feature is accessible, but a far cry from user friendly, and the results are rarely worth the effort. The newly proposed draft system allows you to save a campaign state as a draft, make desired changes to it, and then test it against your live model. Traffic can be split in meaningful ways, across multiple drafts, testing any number of variables:
- Ad Copy
- Match Types
- Extension Settings
This system puts a whole new spin on multivariate testing and analysis, and takes a lot of the current guess-work out the optimization equation. I’m most excited about the draft system; there isn’t a single account we work on that won’t benefit from this feature.
Overall, there were some engaging announcements that add value to us, the people in the platform day in and day out… which is a welcome change of pace. As with all things Google, we’ll have to wait until we can get our hands on the shiny new toys. In the meantime, we can begin planning how best to adapt these new services in the months to come.
What are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments!