Three Takeaways from the Google AdWords Performance Summit

By — 05.21.15

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At the recent AdWords Performance Summit, Google shared a wealth of information about their plans for the upcoming months and quarters. The content centered on ad experiences, ad automation, and better measurement.

Google has many new updates planned for 2015, and here are three main takeaways that advertisers should implement and test now to start planning.

1. Mobile

Mobile Investment

Mobile was once again a big topic this year and it continues to be an area where Google puts a lot of time and investment. As mobile becomes a larger part of the digital space, it is increasingly important to find ways to make more money from mobile.

A topic of much conversation among clients, and across the industry, has been centered on the surge in mobile searches and the expectation that mobile will eventually overtake desktop in search volume. Google recently confirmed that mobile has a greater search volume than desktop in 10 countries including the US and Japan. This likely depends on the term, time of day and day of week, but we only expect this to grow.

Cross Device Conversions

Make sure you’re testing mobile traffic. It is no secret that the direct conversion rates are lower on mobile devices, but mobile does have a major indirect impact on the conversion process. One way to help prove this case is to use Google’s Cross Device Conversion Report. According to Google, mobile actually drove 16 percent more conversions when looking at the cross device impact.

Adlucent’s results were even higher. After analyzing cross-device data for 16 retailers, we found that, on average, 30 percent more conversions could be attributed to smartphones. The full results of our analysis and recommendations can be found in our most recent whitepaper, “3 Ways to Make More Money on Mobile.”

Store Visits

Another way to measure the impact of mobile in the conversion process (for those retailers with a physical location*) is to test the store visits measurement reporting. According to Google “In the US, retailers are measuring, on average, 4x more conversions overall and 10x more conversions on mobile when including store visits data as part of their search ads performance.”

* The measurement is currently limited in that you cannot use the measurement for mall stores due to the proximity of other retailers.

2. Advertisers Should Test Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) & Ad Customizers

Google has built more automation into the way we manage our search campaigns and made it easier to implement those automations every year—and there is a lot more to come. Two things that you should be testing now are DSA’s and Ad Customizers. DSAs allow you to capture traffic you may not have been able to build out via keywords, and are a great source for query mining. As long as you set controls in place for your DSA campaigns, they can add a lot of value to your overall approach.

Ad Customizers are also another great option for adding automation into the way that you manage your campaigns. One way our team has found a lot of value is with the countdown application. This allows our ads to dynamically change based on the end date of a promotion or event.

3. Connect your Google Analytics (GA) Accounts to your AdWords Accounts

AdWords and Analytics have great insights individually, but can provide even more robust information when you link them together. Google gives you the option to sync this data, so if you use Google Analytics you should link the two and take advantage of all the additional ways you can look at performance. Google put together a better guide, which breaks down some of the available analysis options, and why they are important.

Secondary Dimensions

You can use secondary dimensions to segment your data and get better search insights. This allows you to add additional views to your data via different segments that GA captures (Note: there are more options than in AdWords). For example, you can segment by ad position and match type. This allows you to look at a cross section (rolled up) of how exact match versus broad match terms perform in top position.

Enable Demographics and Interests Reports

Another very interesting tip Google shared is that you can opt in (via changing a setting) to view demographic data within GA. This can help you segment your data in many more ways. You can use the demographic data as a secondary dimension and, for example, look at device performance by gender or age. This is a bonus report Google gave us at the summit to help you better analyze your AdWords performance in GA.

Enable Demographics and Interests Reports: Instrtuctions

Create and Manage Remarketing Audiences

Google has also given advertisers the ability to create remarketing lists in GA, which you can import into your AdWords accounts. This allows advertisers to get even more specific and targeted with their advertising.

Google will continue to innovate and we’ll cover all the newest changes—and how they’ll impact your account—right here. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on what Google should include as a part of their roadmap.


One Response

  1. I’ve seen SO many client Adwords accounts that didn’t have even the most basic settings configured… I’m talking about:
    – not using scheduling to turn off ads when no one’s in the office to answer the phone
    – mobile bid adjustments
    – running multiple ads for A/B testing
    – no conversion tracking. NO CONVERSION TRACKING!!!

    Adwords isn’t Facebook. You can’t just create an account and walk away from it for weeks at a time and hope for the best.

    All this is another way of saying, if you at a minimum have conversion tracking and Google Analytics set up, you’re ahead of 2/3s of the Adwords accounts I’ve seen. Split testing ads? You’re in the top 10%. Employing remarketing? Top 5%.

    Some very basic optimization steps can have a dramatic impact on performance — but most Adwords advertisers, alas, ignore them completely.

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