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Google Performance Summit 2016 – What You Need to Know

Google Performance Summit 2016 – What You Need to Know

Google Performance 2016 - Houston SEO PPC Agency

Last week, Google held its annual Performance Summit to announce new features and share updates to its existing products. This year’s summit held promising updates for  the people who actually use the AdWords product.

Google recently removed ads from the right rail on desktop searches to mirror mobile experiences. This move presaged Google’s focus on unifying the mobile and desktop experience during the Performance Summit. The most prominent updates to AdWords and Google Analytics were a result of micro-moments and our growing reliance on mobile devices.

While many changes were announced to both AdWords and Google Analytics, I felt there were 5 which really stood out and will have the biggest impact on us. Below are overviews of each one:

1. Bid Adjustments by Device Type – Even Tablets!

Not all devices are equal. People have different uses for each device type and performance varies by device type. Previously, desktop was the default device for ads and advertisers could not opt out displaying ads on desktop.

Advertisers can now set bids with mobile as the default device and set modifiers for desktop and tablet. I’m not going to lie, there was some hooting and hollering in the Forthea office (the good kind) once this announcement was made.

2. Expanded Text Ads – Give Me All the Real Estate!

Sorry SEOs, but this is a great update for those of us working in paid advertising. The change will give us more room to flex our creative muscles and promote the best message in ad copy.

Ad Updates

Clearly, the biggest change will be the two, 30-character headlines. I am definitely excited about testing each one of the new text ad elements.

3. Local Search Ads

We all know Google Maps is extremely helpful when we’re on the go and looking for local businesses. In fact, according to Google, almost one-third of all mobile searches are location-related. If advertisers are using location extensions in AdWords, text ads can now be more prominent in Google Maps. In addition to this, promoted pins are a new Google ad format that can help a business stand out even more.

4. New Audience Formats for the Search Network

I’m sure the majority of seasoned PPC professionals have seen the “Similar To” audiences for remarketing campaigns and thought “Dang, this would be great for an RLSA campaign.” Good thing Google’s newest tool has the ability to read minds (joking, mostly), because this functionality is now a reality. The new “Similar To” audiences for search will give advertisers the capability to make new audiences based off existing ones.

An additional audience format, which happens to still be in beta, referred to as Demographics for Search Ads (DFSAs), enables you to set bid modifiers on search campaigns for age and gender demographics.

5. A Redesigned AdWords Interface

The final announcement has been a long time coming. Google will finally roll out a redesigned AdWords interface by the end of 2017. The end of 2017 sure is far away, but screenshots of the sleeker, more user-friendly interface should be worth the wait!

With the mobile experience being the key driver behind Google’s latest announcements, it seems like changes in user behavior and industry feedback have been taken to heart. The coming evolution of AdWords can and should be exciting for PPC advertisers.


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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