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Google Performance Summit 2016: Device. Location. Audience. Google steps up with a truckload of new tools and features

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Google / June 07, 2016

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On May 24 Google announced the next iteration of its advertising platforms — a suite of pretty remarkable features and tools, many of which were developed in response to user feedback.

Seen together, these innovations are going to change the way you create, manage, optimize and report on your campaigns. Yes. They will change the way you do everything (for the better).

Google’s product team presented the details of what is to come at its Google Performance Summit keynote. In a follow-up blog post, Sridhar Ramaswamy, the company’s Senior Vice President, Ads and Commerce, referred to these upgrades as a “whole new vision for Adwords and Analytics, completely redesigned and rebuilt for a mobile-first world.”

That’s a pretty big deal for those of us who work with these tools every day.

Here’s a summary of what we can expect in the coming months:

Reimagining Adwords with mobile and local in mind

Increased character limits

Research showed Google that longer headlines drive higher clickthrough rates for mobile users. In response, the folks at Adwords are increasing character limits for AdWords — to two 30 character headlines per ad, and one consolidated 80-character text for ad descriptions.

Better integration for local search

The team at Google saw a 50% increase in location-based searches last year. They’re leveraging this to increase local exposure for advertisers who enable location extensions, giving them better exposure on the search engine and new ad formats in Google Maps.

Adjust your bids by device

Google is implementing more granular bid adjustments, enabling advertisers to set individual bid adjustments for each type of device — mobile, desktop… and yes, tablet. Soon you will be able to anchor your bid to a device type, then adjust that bid up or down to increase it as much as 900% for each of the other devices.

A fresh Adwords platform, with new targeting capabilities

Google is literally rebuilding the Adwords platform from the ground up, developing a new, more integrated management and reporting interface with some pretty wicked reporting tools. While we impatiently wait for this to crop, you’ll soon be able to start tinkering with some new campaign targeting tools.

Similar Audiences for Search

Get ready to extend your Adwords remarketing lists to prospective customers who have not visited your site. With similar audiences, your ads will appear to people who have not visited your site, but who have searched for the same terms as visitors who are on your remarketing list.

Demographics for search ads

Adwords will enable you to target search ads based on gender and age… a feature they found to be extremely successful in beta testing for advertisers with unique market segments.

Google Display Network: new formats & more inventory

Responsive ads for display

With dozens of new content formats appearing on multiple devices, creating new display ads has become ridiculously complex. Apparently Google has been paying attention, and is about to roll out low maintenance responsive ad units that reformat themselves for publisher content. Submit your headline, description, image and URL and Google will design compelling responsive ads that will adapt to different formats and devices.

Cross-exchange inventory

Every Google Display Network remarketing campaign will have access to cross-exchange inventory, which is expected to yield more reach on websites and apps, with the same precision.

Easier, more integrated reporting & management

The new Adwords interface is going to make it easy for advertisers to track and visualize deep and complex campaign metrics. Additionally, advertisers will be able to configure new campaigns based on their (or a client’s) business objectives… in other words, choosing campaign settings according to the business goals you want to drive. That’s pretty awesome.

In response to user feedback, Google is also promising better integration of advertising tools and platforms in their Analytics 360 Suite. And users will be able to use a WYSIWYG custom reports interface called Data Studio, which incidentally relies on the same collaborative features we love in Google Docs.

So get ready

Advertisers who are paying attention as each of these innovations drop will definitely have an edge over those who are asleep at the wheel. Start thinking now about how you will adapt your accounts and campaigns to make the most of features such as longer ad copy, more AdWords targeting capabilities, and new remarketing inventory.

Veterans may balk or even struggle at first with a new management and reporting interface, but take into consideration it is probably built to make complex tasks easier for novices. By shortening the optimization learning curve, the new interface may well result in less sophisticated competitors making a leap in their ability to improve campaigns.

All we’re saying is: be prepared for things to shift. Read up. Start thinking now about how you can implement these new features to your advantage. And set aside time to rebuild your campaigns in response when each new feature hits the streets.

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