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Ch-Ch-Changes In Adwords

Ch-Ch-Changes In Adwords

2012 has been the year of changes for Google. From algorithm updates like Panda and Penguin that changed the way SEO’ers strategize, to privacy policy updates and a brand new analytics interface (I’m still adjusting to it!). With all of these updates, I was sure there would be a host of changes coming to paid search and a host of changes we got! Some of these changes have been out for a few months, but for the sake of the blog post, I’ll discuss them anyways.

 Ad Rotation

The first change Adwords has made is the ad rotation settings. Originally, there were three options to choose from: optimize for clicks, optimize for conversions and rotate evenly. Most PPC managers chose the rotate evenly option so they could run tests. These three options are still available, however, the run ads evenly option is now “run evenly for 30 days then optimize for clicks“. This change has caused a huge backlash in the PPC community because a solid, data-filled ad test cannot be made in just 30 days. Google has listened to the thousands of PPC’ers and will think about switching it from 30 days to 90 days – power to the people!

 Match Types

Another change within Google Adwords was geared towards match types, specifically phrase and exact match. Phrase and exact match keywords will be triggered by close variants, including misspellings, plural forms, singular forms, different stemmings, accents, and abbreviations. For example, “car dealer” will include the search query “car dealerships”. Though this change will benefit most people, you can opt out of this in the campaign settings tab. The third recent update is three local targeting enhancements. PPC advertisers now have the ability to target specific zip codes, up to 1,000 per campaign. Reporting by zip code is also now available which can provide very granular insignts into campaign performance.

Account Labels

One of the latest features Adwords has pushed out is the ability put labels on accounts. This doesn’t directly affect the performance of your campaigns, but it helps out the structuring and organizing of your campaigns tremendously. Advertisers can now organize account’s keywords, ads, ad groups and campaigns into custom groupings for easy filtering and reporting.

Auction Insights

The Auction Insights is another new feature which just launched a couple of weeks ago. This new feature allows advertisers to see who is competing with them in keyword auctions. The competitor’s URL is shown along with five columns of stats: impression share, average position of you and your competitor, overlap rate of when both ads are shown, position above rate and top of page percent.

 Location Targeting Enhancements

Another change within the location targeting enhancements is location insertion. This new feature, under the location extension, allows ppc advertisers to dynamically update your headline, description lines, display and destination URLs with city, phone number or zip code of the local business into ad copy without creating these components for geo-targeting ads. The third location targeting enhancement update is advanced location targeting. This allows exclusion or targeting locations using either their physical location or location of interest. A good example would be in searches with a geo-modifier such as “Chicago catering services”.

 Interface Changes

The latest change Google Adwords is rolling out is a complete overhaul to the interface. The new look isn’t live yet, but Google is claiming it is “simpler and more beautiful”. The biggest change I’ve read is the ability to change the way the interface looks according to how big and in depth your campaigns are.

The first half of 2012 brought these significant changes to its PPC products. Google is always pushing the envelope by making changes, updates and/or enhancements to Adwords. At times the changes can be bad, but for the most part they are for the better. I’m excited to see how these new features and updates will pan out and what else will be introduced in the second half of 2012. What are some things you think are coming down the pipeline or would like to see? Let me know in the comment box below!


Davis Baker
Davis is the PPC Team Lead at Forthea and a digital advertising veteran of six years. Outside of the office, you can find Davis running, riding his dirt bike, or searching for the perfect cup of coffee (freshly ground and brewed with a French press. Anything less just won't cut it).

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