3 Google AdWords Announcements You May Have Missed in November

By Scott Garrett | Dec 5, 2013
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Wait, is it December already? It just seemed like enhanced campaigns came out yesterday. In fact this whole year has been a blur of new and interesting updates and features from Google AdWords. This past month was especially busy here at Search Mojo with us gearing up clients for the holiday rush. I must admit that I found it quite hard myself to keep up with industry news in November while at the same time ensuring my clients are ready for the end of the year and prepped for early next year.

If you’re like me, you may have missed some of the big announcements from AdWords last month. Therefore, I have decided to dedicate this blog post to some of those announcements that may have fallen on deaf ears during the busy month of November.


Phone Call Conversions

First off, in early November calls in AdWords were added to the conversion column. This means phone call conversions can now use the same features that regular conversions currently enjoy.

Let me back up: Phone numbers in AdWords can be utilized by creating and enabling phone call extensions (also known as Click to Call for mobile devices). Adding call extensions to your ads allows you to add a phone number that searchers can call from your ad. AdWords gives you the option to use a Google forwarding number that will be displayed for your ad and will connect searchers to your actual phone number. Using the Google forwarding number allows AdWords to capture and share with you key call statistics, such as area code and duration of call. A phone call conversion occurs when a user stays on the phone long enough to meet or exceed a duration that you specify as a conversion. For example, you might count a call that lasts at least one minute as a conversion, or maybe you want to count five or ten minutes as a conversion, as you believe your sales people need more time to collect the proper information that would suffice as a conversion or lead. Either way, call extensions are a great way to reach more people and increase your overall conversions and leads coming into your company.

By adding phone call conversions directly to the conversion column, AdWords has opened the opportunity for advertisers to use bid automation tools like target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC). In addition, call conversions will now be counted towards your Estimated Total Conversions, which is Google’s attempt to attribute how your ads influence buyers across devices, conversion types (now including phone calls) and in the future store visits.

Updated Opportunities

Next, an updated opportunities tab was launched on AdWords. New features were added and a general overhaul of the layout was applied to the opportunities tab. The opportunities tab gives advertisers greater insight into recommendations that AdWords believes will improve the overall performance of campaigns. While in the past the opportunities tab, or the areas for improvement pointed out by AdWords, should have been taken with a grain of salt, the new updated tab seems to be more interesting and thought-provoking in its suggestions. Below from the AdWords Blog are the new types of opportunities that were added to the tab:

  • Convert more customers in your best locations: If your conversion rate differs across locations, you might see opportunities to increase your location bid adjustment where your conversion rate is high, or decrease your location bid adjustments where your conversion rate is low. 

  • Get more out of your existing budget: If you’re maxing out your budget, you might see opportunities to lower your bids to capture more clicks.

  • Be there more often than competitors: If your ads are being seen less frequently than other advertisers competing for the same traffic, you might see opportunities to be seen more frequently with bids to show more often than advertisers like you.

  • Show ads that are more relevant: If we spot an ad group with keywords related to lots of different themes, it’s harder for you to show a highly relevant ad, so you might see opportunities to create new ad groups from existing keywords.

  • Reach more customers on closely related searches: If you’re missing clicks on searches that are very similar to your existing keywords, you might see opportunities to broaden your keyword match types.

  • Be seen on the first page: If your ads are showing below the first page when users search on high-quality keywords, you might see opportunities to raise your bids to show ads on the first page. 

I would recommend looking at the opportunities tab to at least see what AdWords suggests, but often AdWords of course does not know the strategic goals of your campaigns, so choose which opportunities to implement wisely.

Combining Text Ads and PLAs = Win

This last announcement is not an update or a new feature. It is instead a reassurance that what we have been doing at Search Mojo for the past several months is in fact a best practice recommended by Google. In mid-November Google released a study that stated combining text ads and product listing ads (PLAs) is a winning combination. This is great news as we have been using PLAs for our ecommerce clients and combining them with standard text ads to much success. Here are some key stats from the study from the AdWords blog:

  • Increase brand recognition: People who see a brand’s PLAs and text ads are 75% more likely to search for that brand within 30 days than those who only saw text ads.

  • Drive more engagement with your store: People who see both text ads and PLAs are 90% more likely to visit the retailer’s website. They are also more likely to visit product pages, add items to their cart, and click on store locator buttons.

  • Drive more conversions: People who see both text ads and PLAs are 83% more likely to make a purchase than those who only saw text ads.

And below is an infographic from Google that goes into more detail:

Text ads and PLAs combined

As you can see, November was quite an interesting month for announcements coming from Google AdWords. In the months to follow even more interesting updates, features, and studies will come from Google AdWords, as the only thing that is constant for AdWords is change.

What recent update from AdWords have you most interested or even concerned? Comment below and or even follow me on Twitter @scottgarrett89

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