Preparing Your Holiday PPC Campaigns ━ AdWords Changes Since Holidays 2013

Ho ho ho! ‘Tis the season to be campaigning. It’s that joyous time of year again to start planning and preparing for Cyber Monday, Black Friday and other holiday campaigns. For marketers and retailers across the globe, the holiday shopping season is upon us. And your holiday PPC campaigns need to be ready long before your customers start to get their shopping and bargain hunting on. In case you’ve been hibernating in a bat cave since Valentine’s Day, here’s a rundown on everything that’s changed in PPC since last Christmas when you gave your ad dollars away.

Goodbye PLAs, Hello Shopping Campaigns

holiday shopping at the mall
Photo by Sharon Hahn Darlin (CC BY 2.0)

Advertisers loved Shopping Campaigns so much, Google decided to do away with regular product listing ad (PLA) campaigns altogether and will be transitioning all PLA campaigns to Shopping Campaigns by the end of August. There’s even a new upgrade tool that makes it easy to convert regular PLA campaigns to Shopping Campaigns for those who want a head start. BCI SEM Manager Michael Shore explains that Shopping Campaignsgive advertisers more granular reporting capabilities all in the AdWords UI. It also allows for more granular targeting and more control over the products in your feed. All-in-all easier to manage.”

Two New Tools Make Campaign Management Easier

Shopping campaigns streamline how you organize, bid and report on your ads with the addition of two new tools that make managing your campaigns a whole lot easier. With bulk uploads, you can download editable reports, edit your bids within the report, and upload it right back to your account where all your changes will apply automatically. The AdWords editor helps you efficiently manage multiple campaigns and long lists of keywords so you can make changes online or offline.

Get Better ROI With Upgraded Search and Display Campaign Type

Starting September 16, Search and Display Network campaigns are getting automatically upgraded to the Select campaign type. This has been in the works since last November when Google announced it would be phasing out the old campaign type in favor of the new one, reporting higher click-through rates and a better return on investment. This new and improved campaign type makes it easier to manage campaigns and lets you customize based on desired campaign performance. (Update 8/28: Thanks to Matt Van Wagner’s comment, we’ve corrected erroneous wording in this paragraph.)

New and Improved Ad Extensions

When Google first introduced enhanced campaigns a year ago, the goal was to connect more businesses with the right people using the right ads based on user context such as location, device and time of day without having to set up and manage separate campaigns for each case scenario. Ad extensions add more value to enhanced campaigns with additional pieces of information that drive conversions. With new and improved ad extensions, advertisers now have more options for influencing their ad position, improving ad visibility, and increasing click-through rates.

Consumer Rating Annotations Boost Click-Through Rates

In the age of social media, opinions have never mattered more than they do today. With so many choices at the click of a button, people are relying more heavily on the opinions and experiences of others before investing in a brand, product or service. In consideration of this evolving consumer marketplace, Google launched Consumer Rating Annotations, a new ad format that highlights your best ratings based on data from Google Consumer Surveys. This new ad extension has been known to boost click-through rates by an average of 10 percent and complements previously-released extensions, including seller ratings and review extensions, designed to create more trust and transparency in search ads.

Google My Business Helps Your Business Stand Out

Google has replaced Google Places for Business with Google My Business and has already upgraded everyone previously using Google Places for Business and the Google+ Dashboard to manage their business information. This full-utility dashboard makes it easy for you to manage your business information across all Google products from one centralized location. Got multiple business locations? No problem. You can upload them all at once using the bulk upload tool. It’s free to use and makes managing your brand’s Google presence a whole lot easier.

Upgraded Location Extensions Deliver More Value When It Matters Most

Location extensions allow businesses to include local business information in search ads at the campaign level. The new upgrade to location extensions offers a simpler way to manage your business locations in AdWords by linking Google My Business to your AdWords campaigns. “In the past, we’d have to link individual campaigns to Google My Business accounts in order to display local store information under our PPC ads. With account-level location extensions, we can link an entire account (and all campaigns) to a client’s Google My Businesses account which eliminates the manual work of having to maintain our location extensions on a per-campaign basis,” says Shore.

Dynamic Sitelinks Increase the Relevancy of Your Ads

Sitelinks have been around for a while as a way to help users find exactly what they are looking for by linking them to specific pages on your website straight from your ad. This year, after a series of evolutions, Google rolled out with dynamic sitelinks to help optimize ad performance. These auto-generated sitelinks guide users to your most relevant pages based on their their most recent search activities. This makes it easier for users to find exactly what they are looking for. The ad extension can be disabled, but before you do so just know that the sitelinks you set up will always show up first unless Google thinks dynamic sitelinks will perform better for a given query.

New Conversion Reporting Features

You holiday PPC campaigns are useless without conversion tracking to help you make the most of your online ads. In an effort to give advertisers and marketers more insight on which campaigns drive conversions, Google has introduced a variety of conversion reporting features, including estimated total conversions across multiple devices. Earlier this year, Google introduced a new way to count AdWords conversions and, most recently, a way to identify clicks on your website that lead to calls.

Flexible Conversion Counting

Flexible conversions makes it easier to count conversions based on your specifications. After all, not all conversions are created equal. Some conversions lead to sales while others just lead to the next stage in the buying cycle. With flexible conversions, you have the option to track all conversions or unique conversions according to your business needs. This new reporting feature replaces the original one-per-click and many-per-click conversion columns with converted clicks and conversion columns instead helping you really understand the value of every click that leads to a specific type of conversion.

Website Call Conversions

Considering how many mobile users have called a business after viewing an ad, it was only a matter of time before Google introduced a way to track website call conversions too. By placing a snippet of code on your website, Google creates a dynamic forwarding number that works in conjunction with call extensions and allows you to view details of a call and count them as conversions. This helps advertisers and marketers determine the value of a call and figure out which keywords generate the most valuable calls.

A lot has changed since the last time you worked on your holiday PPC campaigns — all for the better. New shopping campaigns make campaign management easier. New and improved ad extensions help your business stand out in search more than ever before. And new conversion reporting features help you track ads that are working or not working. Are your ready for the holidays? It’ll be here before you know it.

Niki Payne is a writer specializing in lifestyle, op-ed, local community, dating and entertainment content. She likes singing karaoke, playing softball, and learning about online marketing and business development.

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

Comments (3)
Filed under: PPC/Pay-Per-Click — Tags: ,
Still on the hunt for actionable tips and insights? Each of these recent PPC/Pay-Per-Click posts is better than the last!

3 Replies to “Preparing Your Holiday PPC Campaigns ━ AdWords Changes Since Holidays 2013”

Hi Niki

Great summary of the important changes that we all need to be paying attention to for the fall. One quick clarification re: Search with Display Select.

Google is automatically upgrading all Search and Display Network campaigns to Select, not all campaigns. It is still a best practice to manage search and display campaigns separately and you can still do that.

Matt VW

Oo, thanks for explaining. I’ll update the article. Appreciate your comment, Matt. :) Virginia

I was not aware about Consumer Rating Annotations. That’s new to me. Thanks for the information.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Serving North America based in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
Bruce Clay, Inc. | PO Box 1338 | Moorpark CA, 93020
Voice: 1-805-517-1900 | Toll Free: 1-866-517-1900 | Fax: 1-805-517-1919