Mobile Takes Centre Stage at the Google Performance Summit

For as long as I can remember, any new announcement from Google has included a liberal serving of ‘mobile’ spin, so much so that it’s become a bit of a running joke around the office…this is the year mobile takes over…but the thing is, they are right, they have always been right, and at the Google Performance Summit last week they drove home the point by unveiling some pretty impressive new AdWords and Analytics products and features.

google ads and anlytics innovations keynote

The Mobile First World is Here

The message from Google is no longer that a Mobile-First World is on the horizon, the message now is that it’s here. Mobile activity now dominates much of search and web based activity, from booking a table in a restaurant to watching TV on one of the many Catch-up services, our mobile devices are now very much an extension of our physical bodies.

So it makes sense that Google would eventually have to adapt and update its products to meet the challenges that a Mobile-First World throws up. And it was at last week’s Google Performance Summit that they unveiled the big changes. They’ve started by redesigning AdWords from the ground up with changes to bidding, creatives, workflow and measurement. Some of the most interesting updates include:

Google Performance Summit – The AdWords Highlights

Expanded Text Ads – When Google got rid of ads down the right hand side of its search pages it raised a few questions but it’s now clear that this was part of the plan to pave the way for Expanded Text Ads. These new ads, optimized for screen size on the most popular smartphones, enable advertisers to showcase more information about products and services. Later in the year we’ll all start see ad titles that are 30 characters long, rather than 25 characters, and descriptions that are 80 characters long, over twice the size of the previous 35 character limit.

Responsive Ads for Display – For some time now, marketers have been frustrated at the way some display ads look on mobile devices, whether it’s design issues or placement, they just don’t fit. Well it looks like Google has been listening and they’ve come up with this new ad format for use on the Google Display Network (aps and sites). The new ads will match the look and feel of the content that people are browsing on the GDN.

responsive ads

Bidding on Tablets? It’ll Never Happen

Bid Adjustments for Device Types – It might sound like we’ve been here before, with the Enhanced Campaigns update of 2013, but unlike back then, this update finally acknowledges that tablet devices are not the same as desktop computers…it’s only taken 3 years for Google to realize this but they have, we should be happy! They’ve also increased the bid adjustment threshold to +900%, AdWords turned up to 11 perhaps? Time will tell.

Local Search Ads in Google Maps – In its ongoing quest to bridge the gap between offline and online, Google is introducing a variety of ad formats linked to Google Maps that make it easier for people to find businesses around them and also enable businesses to showcase their locations for generic (no location reference in the keyword) search terms. Expect to see promoted pins on your route to the office each morning very soon.

google performance summit - google maps ads

As with any announcement of this size from Google we won’t see all of these changes immediately. They are going to be rolled out over the remainder of 2016 and into 2017, along with some major updates to Google Analytics and its family of products. So today, in the office, we’re no longer joking about the future being mobile, we’re on the phone to the guys at Google asking when we can visit this Brave New Mobile First World!

You can watch a recording of the Google Performance Summit Keynote here.

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Mick Scanlon

Director at Sky Blue Toffee
As George Bernard Shaw put it, 'The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.' There's the challenge! 10 years marketing experience and looking forward to the next 10...
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