Blog Post

Google revamps AdWords in nod to mobile device explosion

With more people jumping from laptop to tablet to smartphone, Google(s goog) has decided it’s time to tweak Adwords to make it easier to manage advertising campaigns targeting each of those platforms.

Nexus 7, tabletsThat’s the idea behind its new Adwords Enhanced Campaigns, according to a Google blog post. The unstated rationale is that click rates for mobile ads aren’t exactly setting the world on fire. Google, like Facebook(s fb), has a mobile problem. It needs people to click on the ads on their phones and tablets and it needs to find a way to wring more dough out of each click.

Here’s the example Google uses:

“A breakfast cafe wants to reach people nearby searching for “coffee” or “breakfast” on a smartphone. Using bid adjustments, with three simple entries, they can bid 25% higher for people searching a half-mile away, 20% lower for searches after 11am, and 50% higher for searches on smartphones. These bid adjustments can apply to all ads and all keywords in one single campaign.”

According to the Google blog:

“With enhanced campaigns, instead of having to cobble together and compare several separate campaigns, reports and ad extensions to do this, the pizza restaurant can easily manage all of this in one single place. Enhanced campaigns help you reach people with the right ads, based on their context like location, time of day and device type, across all devices without having to set up and manage several separate campaigns.”

Folks had been expecting Google to change its Adwords strategy. Richard Zwicky, CEO of Blueglass, a digital marketing agency and software provider predicted the change and is not a fan.

In his blog, Zwicky wrote that “less complicated campaign management means less campaigns to manage, which is simpler, but also will likely result in lower ROI for advertisers whose campaign managers now need to restructure every campaign they run to adjust for the new reality.”

In his view these changes don’t make things less complicated, just different and “less transparent.” Bottom line, this isn’t good for anyone but Google, according to ZDNet’s Larry Dignam. More on the news from SearchEngineLand.

In other news, Yahoo said it signed a deal with Google to display ads on Yahoo properties using Google’s AdSense for Content and Google’s AdMob services. “By adding Google to our list of world-class contextual ads partners, we’ll be able to expand our network, which means we can serve users with ads that are even more meaningful,” according to a Yahoo statement.

While this is a nonexclusive agreement, Yahoo watchers expect there could be more collaboration with Google since former Google exec Marissa Mayer took the reins as Yahoo CEO. Yahoo is reportedly not happy with the results of its partnership with Microsoft  which made Bing the search engine for Gee, I wonder what other search engine they could use?

4 Responses to “Google revamps AdWords in nod to mobile device explosion”

  1. Karen Snow Dando

    The other thing Google has done that nobody seems to be talking about is the reduction of ads they show on mobile devices. The first page still has the same 2 at the top, and 3 at the bottom. But once you get past the first page, then the number of ads per page drops. There’s still 2 at the top but there may or may not be any at all at the bottom. And if there are any at the bottom it’s most likely to only be 1. That means, the lower your bid, the further back you are page wise.

    And if your bid is lower than what Google wants, then the ads just won’t be shown on any pages. Its obvious this is a ploy to get advertisers to up their bids, but it didn’t sit well with me at all. Luckily, our advertising is completely local (Set Em Free Bail Bonds in Dallas) so we have other options. We’re finding that good old fashioned print media, boots on the streets and just getting out, meeting people and shaking hands has been more beneficial to us than the Google PPC campaigns.

  2. Barb, thanks for the informative post. In my view, some of these new AdWords changes like bid-boosting and the new conversion reporting tools are helpful. But they’re offset by Google’s removal of the ability of advertisers to target specific devices – tablets, smartphones and other devices – with their campaigns. I wrote about which advertisers this helps – and which it hurts – here: