There have been some major updates in the paid search realm these past few weeks.
On 5/5, Google's annual Adwords livestream occurred. This annual session allows the paid search arm of Google to unveil new advancements the product development team has been working on. As advertiser Andy Merkle points out, the 2015 session didn't unveil anything "earth shattering." All of the products announced are natural extensions of Google's commitment to mobile-friendly services and improved user experience.
Nothing was unveiled that will change the face of paid search immediately, or cause sweeping updates to the field of SEM (search engine maximization). However, the incremental changes will certainly have some impact, and it's going to be fascinating to watch it unfold.
The entire product announcement video can be viewed and streamed in it's entirety on the Google Adwords website by clicking here.
If you haven't fully unpacked the announcements or the impact they could have on paid search professionals and marketers, we've compiled some of the biggest surprises from the Livestream event, and the impacts they could have on your marketing program.
1. On-Demand Mobile Advertising
Google Adwords Product VP Jerry Dischler stated that the customer journey is made up of a series of moments. In fact, he argued that it's become fractured. Today's consumers turn to their phone (and Google search) in what Dischler referred to as "micro-moments" of needing to know locations, pricing, or vendors.
Essentially, today's consumers are used to on-demand answers, and Google is actively investigating Adwords products that will meet this need. While there are not going to be any immediate changes for most SEM marketers, the automotive industry is gaining Beta access to two, all-new ad formats:
50% of automotive searches today are occurring on a mobile device, which is why Google is introducing two new mobile automotive ad formats including:
Automotive carousel ads: Users gain access to a scrolling image gallery on the search engines results pages. Images in the gallery can be clicked, providing access to additional info.
Find a dealer ads: Search users seeking a dealership are able to sort through paid ads that include must-know information, such as location, price and reviews.
As Dischler points out, brands that are able to provide the right information to consumers in moments of need will ultimately win. While it remains to be seen whether the new automotive ad formats will be offered up to all industries, these new ad formats are a fascinating exercise in search engines as providers of consolidated content.
2. Improved Automation and Recommendation
It doesn't take an experienced search marketer to tell you that search advertising can be pretty complex. Google took some of their buyers' pain points head on, and announced a few new features that will allow greater automation for their customers.
These new features essentially amount to "free optimization," and marketers taking advantage of these features won't have to commit to nearly as much research or set-up time. Automated features now include:
Category recommendations based on your website's content
Suggested max bids for each recommended category
Bid recommendations based on your marketing goals
Keyword recommendations based on launched targets
Are these methods likely to be as effective as a campaign managed by a true expert who really understands your brand and your sales priorities? Almost certainly not. However, these features are something of a gift to marketers who lack the time to manage Adword's more advanced features.
Additionally, this product announcement yields some interesting insight into the future. The concept of metrics-driven, customized recommendations for marketers is likely a preview into the future. Some day, we'll live in a world where management can leverage big data tools for decision making.
3. Measuring for Cross-Device Conversion and In-Store Visits
Are you truly considering all of your channels when calculating the ROI of your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising? Dischler issued something of a cautionary warning against SEM experts who may regularly devalue the results of their campaigns.
With the help of HubSpot, Google analytics and other programs, it's relatively easy to track a prospect's engagement of your brand. However, brick-and-mortar businesses aren't necessarily accelerated by web conversions. Dischler recommends moving beyond conversion data collected within a single device, and starting to consider the impact of Adwords advertising on your overall brand ROI.
4. New Transparency in the Financial Industry
Each year, mobile consumers search for financial products and advice at a 48% higher rate than the year prior. Google believes their customers are seeking access to "easy to understand, truly unbiased information." The brand's new financial products have already passed testing in California, and are currently being rolled out:
Insurer ratings: Google Compare, a new feature based exclusively on consumer ratings, is set to be rolled out over the next several weeks.
Call a local agent: If you've found what you need, you can call an agent directly from the search results.
Find the right credit card has been an existing Google product, but will not be expanded to other organizations.
Mortgage ads for Google Compare: Users can compare rates and understand the quality of a lender via Google compare. Think of this as a mini search engine for mortgage shoppers, due to the educational aspects that are central to this product.
Were any of these announcements earth shattering? Not quite, especially for marketers who don't work in the financial services or automotive industries. However, many of these features are downright fascinating, and could be taken as a sign of improved personaliation and automation in the years to come.
header image credit: search engine people via flickr cc