What’s New & Cool with Google AdWords & Analytics: Keynote by Jerry Dischler & Babak Pahlavan

This is a report from SMX East 2016. Search Marketing Expo (SMX) features speakers from industry-leading digital marketers and search engine representatives. Subscribe to the BCI Blog to get coverage of key sessions sent to your inbox.

With a keynote delivered by Googlers (complete with product announcements!), it’s a full house at SMX East 2016.

Jerry Dischler, Vice President of Product Management for AdWords, and Babak Pahlavan, Senior Director of Measurement & Analytics, field questions from Search Engine Land editors Ginny Marvin, Greg Sterling and the SMX audience.

Read on to learn about:

  • Expanded text ads
  • Device bidding
  • Store visits
  • Audience Suite
  • Data Studio
  • Analytics Insights Cards
  • And announcements of new tools and features!
Ginny Marvin acts as a moderator for the SMX East keynote with Googlers Babak Pahlavan and Jerry Dischler.

Expanded Text Ads

Who’s succeeding with expanded text ads?

Editor’s note: Expanded text ads are the next generation of standard text ads on the Google Search Network and Google Display Network optimized for the mobile user experience. The format was rolled out to advertisers this past July.

Dischler: Advertisers who are using a dynamic, creative elements. Those who aren’t getting good results are only dipping their toe in the water. They’re only using one creative element, not going dynamic, aren’t optimizing as strongly.

What we’re hoping is that folks will jump in with both feet and start devoting the effort they devoted to standard text ads to expanded text ads.

Another observation: with branded terms, we’re seeing shorter headlines perform better.

Device Bidding for Ads

Earlier this year, device-level bidding was reintroduced. Talk a little bit about that decision to bring back separate device bidding and you expect to see advertisers take advantage of that?

Editor’s note: Here’s the quick and dirty background on device bidding. In 2013, Google took away its advertisers ability to bid differently based on the consumer’s device (mobile, tablet, desktop) in an initiative called Enhanced Campaigns. This year, device-level bidding was reintroduced to the Google advertising networks. Read Marvin’s write up on Search Engine Land for more on how advertisers are organizing campaigns by device.

Dischler: What we were seeing was a number of advertisers come to us with use cases for tablets that were really different. Let’s say you’re looking for NY hotels on your mobile phone vs. looking for NY hotels on your tablet. On the mobile phone, you’re going to have much higher conversion rate and would want to bid aggressively accordingly. Folks are thinking in a very mobile-first way, and this was happening more and more.

In the time before Enhanced Campaigns, we were seeing mobile avoidance. But here is the opposite. Advertisers have fully embraced mobile but the controls we had weren’t robust enough.

Take a look at your current bids – they represent a blended ROI. If you are able to get better performance on desktop and worse performance on tablet, adjust them in a way that is symmetric. In general what you should be doing is looking at your blended target across platforms in order to set your bid. This will achieve the right ROI mix. You have to figure out what’s right for you.

Store Visits Metric in AdWords

Google announced that they were expanding the store visits metric and that more than one billion store visits have been measured. Where is this going? What are the metrics today? Why is this important?

Dischler: In this multi-device, mobile-focused world, you should be measuring entire ROI whether they’re online or offline or calls, etc.

We want to help you work in an omni-channel way and measure the total value of your ad spend.

In retail, where 90+ percent of sales are offline, or in auto where 99.9% of sales are offline, it’s very important that you be able to measure online ROI.

For many advertisers, we’re seeing that the offline benefit is greater than the online benefit and we want advertisers to be able to measure that as easily as possible.

Earlier this week, Brad Bender announced that we’re adding the store visits metric to display, as well.

We have hundreds of millions of people who’ve opted into location history. We take that anonymized data and aggregate it, combine it with tradition signals including Google Maps and 3D modeling of building, Wi-Fi data and more to increase precision. We also have more than 5 million human reviewers working with us. Google has more than 99% accuracy with its store visits.

Google Analytics 360 Suite

Regarding the enterprise Audience Suite, how does audience targeting work and what does it mean for marketers?

Dischler: Advertisers who are using our RLSA (remarketing lists for search ads) say that this is the biggest change we’ve made that allows them to target their customers. Some largely sophisticated advertisers are still hesitant to experiment with RLSA, and I’d really encourage them to try it out.


What’s going with Google Analytics Data Studio?

Pahlavan: Data Studio is our dashboard and reporting tool. There are two fundamental things about it that people love.

First, you can be up and running to do reporting by just connecting to the data sources.

And there’s collaborative sharing. The notion of collaboration is something we really focused on – you can very easily share a report across organizations and make the data available to everyone. The free version and enterprise version are available in 21 countries as of today; it was only available to U.S. advertisers before.

What new tools are coming?

Pahlavan: Our objective is to enable measurement for all businesses, no matter the size. Today we are announcing the free version of Optimize; sign up here: g.co/optimize.

Smart Goals were created for AdWords advertisers to be able to take advantage of crowd-sourced machine learning analytics that will help inform marketers of sessions that likely would have converted. How does this work? 

Pahlavan: We have a set of investments around how to leverage Google machine learning capabilities to make business a lot more efficient when leveraging the data they have. It’s being used by tens of thousands of advertisers. You can get a preview of what the performance could look like even if you’re not yet using it.

Recently, the Google Analytics mobile app launched with Insights cards. Can you talk about what’s going on with that? 

Pahlavan: Insights cards is in the bucket of our efforts around leveraging Google’s machine learn capability. Inside our Google Analytics app, it looks at a series of signals and tells you things like products that are performing much better. It looks at all permutations automatically. What channels are under or over performing? What are the areas you should pay attention to more? These are the kind of things it looks at. Insights cards will also be available on desktop in the future.

Will expanded texts ads be available for call-only ads?

Dischler: We’re in the process of testing out some things.

Do you want to talk about the thoughts behind the changes to Keyword Planner as far as data available to non-paying customers?

Dischler: We had this situation where what we wanted to do is have good actors be able to use our Keyword Planner and keep some bad actors out.

Our limits are really low so the vast majority of advertisers who have any spend should be able to use our tool. We can now accommodate most use cases while keeping the bad actors out.

Does Google Analytics have a plan to better address referrer spam?

Pahlavan: We have an active project internally. It’s been going on for sometimes to combat spam traffic. I can’t share the stats externally but this is something we take very seriously. We are constantly monitoring.

Some people just rely on Google Analytics for tracking and goals rather than implementing the AdWords pixel. What do you recommend?

Dischler: We recommend implementation for both.

Pahlavan: The have complementary use cases.

Are you going to add more and more ads to the search results page? Will organic disappear?

Bruce Clay, Inc. is a global digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, SEM PPC services, content development and social media marketing. Looking for a partner to grow your online business presence? Let’s talk.

Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Currently, she is a senior SEO content writer for Conde Nast. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Kristi's author page for links to connect on social media.

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