Google revamps AdWords- targets by situation, not device

07/02/2013

Google has revamped its hugely popular search advertising system AdWords with ‘Enhanced Campaigns’, letting advertisers target people by ‘situation’ rather than device. The changes will let advertisers manage bids for ads across a variety of device platforms as consumers increasingly turn to tablets and smartphones to access the Web. Google is hoping the changes will boost its mobile revenue, following a year-long decline in revenues for its cost-per-click payment model on AdWords.

Watch a demonstration of how the service works below:

"This is a first step to help you more simply and smartly manage your ad campaigns in today's multi-device world," Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior vice president of engineering, wrote in the blog post.

Google gave the following example of how it envisions the new campaigns working:


A breakfast cafe wants to reach people nearby searching for "coffee" or "breakfast" on a smartphone. Using bid adjustments, with three simple entries, they can bid 25% higher for people searching a half-mile away, 20% lower for searches after 11am, and 50% higher for searches on smartphones. These bid adjustments can apply to all ads and all keywords in one single campaign.

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The enhanced campaigns will also feature ads that are optimised for devices, complete with appropriate ad copy, links, and app or extension, Google said. They will also allow companies to analyse the performance of their campaigns.

Another change is the ability to turn off or change certain contact details – such as business phone numbers – depending on the time of day. An after-hours number or website address could automatically be substituted.

They are designed to make it easier for advertisers to modify advertisements that may have been destined originally for desktops or laptops to run on devices such as smartphones and tablets without creating a separate campaign.

The new tools are expected to roll out to advertisers during the next few weeks.

Industry analysis

In a blog post Adobe’s Bill Mungoven pointed out that that advertisers can no longer target their campaigns at tablets specifically. To a certain extent, that makes sense, he said, because “tablets really are used more like laptops or desktops than smartphones.” But he argued that it also benefits Google because Google makes more money when tablet ads are lumped in with desktops.

Alistair Dent, head of PPC at PPC-specialist agency, Periscopix, commented on what the changes mean to people searching and to advertisers.

What the changes mean to people searching

"The most significant thing to come out of the announcement is a change in approach to how we use different devices. No longer will you see search ads that are targeting you by what device you’re using – mobile, tablet, desktop etc – but by your situation. In other words, what is the most relevant result based on what you’re doing and where you are, rather than on what device you happen to be using.

The reason Google’s taking this approach is that the different between devices is coming less clear. The screen resolution and size difference between a Galaxy Note and an iPad Mini is negligible. Which is a mobile, and which a tablet? What do you call a laptop that you can use as a tablet? The lines are blurring.

"Google knows, pretty much, whether you’re at work or at home. If you login regularly from two places each day, and you spend an average of eight hours at one and 10 hours at another, Google can assume that those two places are work and home. If you’re anywhere else, you’re ‘mobile’ – and you’ll want different results.

"For example, if you search for ‘TopShop’ when you’re at home, you probably want to browse the site, or buy something to wear. But if you search for ‘TopShop’ when you’re out and about, you probably want to know where the nearest store is.

What this means for advertisers – some of the big changes

"Mobile preferred: Advertisers can mark search ads as ‘mobile preferred’, which lets Google judge which ads are the most appropriate to show you, depending on your situation. If you’re out and about, you’ll see a mobile ad.

"This means advertisers have to think more about the intent of the person searching – whether they’re looking for a local store, or whether intending to browse an online site, for example.
Location based bidding: Advertisers can also bid to show their search results based on where someone is searching from. But now you can differentiate between someone who’s on the move, and someone whose office is next door to your store.

"No more tablet-only campaigns: Nearly 20 per cent of traffic comes from tablets now, and Google has decided that you can’t count the traffic as separate any more. So this is the end for tablet-only campaigns, which isn’t great news for retailers, where conversion from tablets was nearly 20 per cent better than from desktops.

"No more mobile-only campaigns. The lines between what’s a mobile device and what’s a tablet or laptop are blurring. As a result, Google has decided that any keyword you want to run on a mobile must also run on other devices. This is likely to push up mobile cost-per-clicks, which is good news for Google’s revenues.," Dent concluded.

The changes can all be found here: http://adwords.blogspot.co.uk/.

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