Google is continuously changing, and the most important search engine has made five changes recently that every search marketer should know about.
A perfect example is Google’s smart display campaigns announcement. Those campaigns rely on machine learning to automate just about every facet of the campaign.
An update began rolling out in May to account for the contextual meaning of queries such as whether a query is related to recent news versus a consumer product.
2. Conversion tracking & attribution
There was big news in online-to-offline conversion tracking with Google’s in-store sales measurement programs. Google can also now track and report on store visits from YouTube campaigns.
In March, Dynamic Search Adsgot page feeds and also now support expanded text ads. Both headlines are dynamically generated, and advertisers get the extra characters in the description.
And Google made several announcements for call ads. Headlines in call-only ads became the default, and call extensions can now be set at the account level. New reporting columns for phone impressions and calls became available at the keyword and ad levels.
AMP for Ads is ramping up. Google launched a beta that enables advertisers to point their mobile search ads to AMP-enabled landing pages. I profiled why the early findings from testing AMP mobile landing pages by one e-commerce company have led them to develop a full AMP experience for mobile search audiences. While we’re on the subject of mobile speed for e-commerce, Google also moved to open the Purchases on Google beta in mid-May to make buying from PLAs faster.
And, back on the automation theme, the automated call extensions program continued to roll out to more advertisers. Google automatically pulls phone numbers into ads from advertisers’ websites if they don’t have call extensions set up. That news followed a January announcement that Google would display local phone numbers automatically with location extensions instead of a central number.
Shopping ads are starting to show on the Display Network. Google started the pilot called Retail Shopping on Display on fashion and home design retail sites. FYI, Google automatically opted all advertisers into this pilot as of May 29. Advertisers can opt out, but at this point it’s not possible to set up a separate display Shopping campaign.
At long last, Google gave advertisers the ability to see historical Quality Score data in AdWords.
Bing Ads rolled out expanded device targeting, which gives advertisers the ability to set up mobile-only campaigns
One of the most significant Google AdWords updates of 2017 is the introduction of ‘Visual Sitelinks’. It is an AdWords feature where images are displayed in sitelink extensions of Google Search Ads.