5…, 4…, 3…, 2…, 1…, starting soon! The extended countdown to Google’s latest announcement kept my colleagues and I waiting apprehensively on the edge of our seats as the much anticipated (and feared) briefing came in. Much like a doomsday theorist, I found myself a bit let down at the boring realization that life as normal would go on. Google’s announcements on April 22, 2014 were in no way detrimental to online marketers, and certainly didn’t spell the end of marketing as we know it as some in the industry had prematurely forecasted. Instead, Google announced a series of new innovations which could make life a bit easier for marketers, but can’t really be called revolutionary.
Marketing Mojo’s Sarah Bonner wrote an excellent summary of the announcements, and if you have time and want to watch the entire video it can be found here. While there were many significant announcements, in my opinion Google saved the best for last with the announcement of two new “power tools.” While Sarah discusses them in her article, I wanted to take a deeper look at what these tools do and how they can change the way we advertise.
The reason I was most excited about the power tools was because, unlike some of their other announced innovations, I can see myself using them on a daily basis. The power tools are called “Enhanced Reporting” and “Drafts and Experiments,” and help advertisers in unique ways.
The Enhance Reporting tool (pictured below) will allow you to make custom tables within the AdWords interface by simply dragging and dropping the attributes and metrics you want (Campaign, Ad Group, Clicks, CTR, etc.) in the table. While this is a fairly simple innovation, it will save marketers time they may have had to spend custom-formatting data in Excel. It also “makes exploration much easier,” because you can quickly see a multi-dimensional view of live Google AdWords data without having to upload and download anything. This allows users to view a multitude of different attributes and metrics at once, providing deeper insights into your data. The tool also provides a variety of “visualization and graphic capabilities,” allowing you to display your data in different colorful charts and graphs.
The Drafts and Experiments tool is a bit more complex, but its possibilities are very exciting. It can really be broken down into two aspects: a draft aspect and an experiment aspect. The draft aspect gives users the ability to test changes in a “draft mode” where no changes made are reflected in the live account. All your changes in draft mode are saved, but not implemented unless you choose to do so when finished. This is a unique way to allow users to see how changes would look in their account without committing to them immediately. In addition, it is an excellent way to preview proposed changes or even new campaigns and ad groups to clients or bosses. As someone with both, the ability to make changes directly in the interface that can then be submitted for approval is far more convenient then making a spreadsheet with the same data that would then have to be uploaded.
The experiments aspect is a way to test your draft against the current setup. It allows you to dedicate a user-set percentage of your budget to your draft. In this way, you can directly test the performance of different campaigns or campaign settings against the status quo to better understand what changes (or lack thereof) would best improve your account’s performance. If you like the changes you’ve made, you can choose to accept them at any time. This is a great way to test what works for your campaigns, and then adjust quickly once you have made a determination.
In addition, Sarah’s summary mentions two new automated bidding capabilities: bidding to maximize conversions and bidding to maximize revenue. As a marketer I am skeptical that these automated bidding options will outperform my current optimized bid and budget distributions. However, with experiments I can test the effectiveness of these settings vs my own optimization bids and budgets by running a low risk test with a small percentage of my budget. This would allow me to see how the automated bids perform vs my own bids. At the end of the experiment, users will get a unique set of data to help them compare the success of the draft compared to the original campaign.
Both power tools will help make marketers’ lives easier, and I expect to use them regularly once they are available. The tools should help marketers acquire and analyze more data in a more convenient way. Google has also promised to provide more updates via their AdWords blog. It may not be the keyword data apocalypse, but changes are definitely coming.