Adwords Updates You Might Have Missed: The State of PPC, Part 1

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Like much else in the field of technology and digital marketing, paid search advertising is an ever-changing landscape.

While Google is an amazing source for training and information on their Adwords product, it can be a challenge just to catch up on what’s new, let alone to integrate the changes into your existing campaigns. That’s why we’ve put together a quick and dirty list of some of the most important changes to Google Adwords, what they mean for you, and how you can put them to use right away.

Callout Extensions

Callout extensions, not to be confused with sitelink extensions, are a feature that allows you to add additional text to your ads separate from your actual ad copy. Unlike sitelink extensions which are clickable links to areas of your site, callouts are text only.

Example of call out extension

Usable in tandem with sitelink extensions, these extra snippets of copy allow you to display additional context, information, and offerings, such as “free shipping” that don’t really require or benefit from a link to anywhere on your site.

Use sitelink extensions to:

  • Send customers to a specific page
  • Give people a preview of other pages on your site
  • Create a CTA

Use callout extensions to:

  • Highlight certain features of your product or service
  • Enhance or add to your main ad copy
  • Provide more context or information

Ad Customizers

Ad Customizers are a relatively new feature that let you adapt the text in your ads based on what was searched. Put simply, certain parts of your ads can now be replaced with dynamic text.

The implications of this are massive, and you can do all kinds of things with them, but the most obvious example of Ad Customizers in action is a limited time offer such as a sale or a special deal.

By setting up a countdown, you can make it so that someone who searches for an item that you have on sale will be served an ad that displays the exact amount of time left for them to purchase the item at the sale price.

Example of countdown

By adding a countdown to your ad, you can create a sense of urgency, and even trigger a release of dopamine for the people viewing your ad, creating the potential for some pretty notable increases in CTR.

App Promo Ads

With big increases in mobile search traffic in recent years, Google has stepped up with some new tools with which advertisers can promote their mobile apps. One of these tools is the app promotional ad, which is an ad that allows the user to download an app directly from the ad, as opposed to forcing them through numerous pages and redirects until they are finally allowed to view and download it.

 

Example of plants vs zombies promo ad

 

Google Adwords Editor 11

At the end of last year, Google rolled out a massive update for their Adwords Editor. Usually, this wouldn’t be such a big deal, except for the fact that Google has barely updated their desktop Adwords editor since 2006. If you already use the Editor, chances are that you’ve already updated to the latest and greatest version.

If you don’t however, you should strongly consider it, especially with the new features available in this updated editor. If you’re managing campaigns and adjusting keywords lists that are of any notable size, the Editor will help significantly cut down on the headaches from the sluggishness of the browser-based interface.

Example of updated editor

 

Quality Score Changes

If you’re even a remotely experienced PPC advertiser, you know how important it is to have a good Quality Score to ensure the cost-effectiveness of your campaigns. This July, however, Google very quietly announced via Google Plus that they would be changing the way that Quality Score is calculated for new keywords.

The most notable part of this change is that all new keywords would have a default QS of 6, as opposed to Google predicting the score based on your previous keywords. While at first this doesn’t appear to make much of a difference, it’s actually caused a notable change in cost for advertisers. Since new keywords always start at 6, the average Quality Score for all keywords is beginning to approach 6, causing those who previously benefitted from CPC discounts due to a good historical QS are forced to pay more.

So there you have it: a breakdown of some features that you can start to use right away to increase your productivity and results in Adwords. Next time, we'll be taking a look at the future of paid search with The Future of Digital Ads: The State of PPC Part 2.