Google said Monday it will redesign the user interface for AdWords so it can better serve marketers who are trying to deliver ads in a multiscreen world.
While AdWords has seen a handful of minor updates previously, the redesign will be the first major overhaul of AdWords’ interface since it was created more than 15 years ago, the company said.
Certain advertisers will receive invites to test out the revisions and provide feedback. Google expects the overall effort to take more than a year to complete.
“This is for a multiscreen world and that means a lot of advertisers will be able to reach their users whether they are on YouTube, browsing on a tablet or if they’re using Google Maps,” said Paul Feng, AdWords product management director. “The goal is for advertisers to reach their consumer with a message, not because they understand the intricacies of search.”
More than a million advertisers currently use AdWords to buy ads pegged to Google’s search results. But it was built in 2000, when Google was first figuring out search advertising and consumers accessed the internet through desktop computers. Today more people around the world search Google from their smartphones than their computers.
“The shift to the mobile consumer behavior is fundamentally different,” Mr. Feng said. “Display, mobile, video, shopping and search — if you think about all these new things and consumer behavior, it has really increased its demands on marketers. That is really the driver for this.”
Mr. Feng said the new AdWords will have a big focus on campaign types and ask marketers upfront what their goals and objectives are, whether that’s driving business to a physical store or increasing app installs. “We want to streamline that process,” Mr. Feng said.
One of the planned new features is a top-level view that will digest a variety of data points to represent important elements of a campaign with dynamic visuals. Data shown will include the percentage of traffic coming from mobile and which ads are driving the most profit.
“The old UI is it had just grown complex over the years as new channels emerged,” Mr. Feng said. “The product felt really dated and we needed to change the look and feel.”
The new AdWords UI will feature Google’s Material Design, which is the same design element found in apps like Maps, Search and Gmail. There will be no extra costs for using the new UI and current campaigns will not require upgrades or migration, Google said.
Google confirmed Saturday that it will stop serving paid-search advertisements on the right side of search engine query page results, with some exceptions. The change sparked concern among search marketers supporting paid-search advertisements and search engine optimization.
“We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries,” per a Google spokesperson. “We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.”
The layout adds a fourth paid-search advertisement above the organic search results, and up to three beneath the organic search results. In some cases, product listing ads will serve-up in the right-hand column, as well as the knowledge graph, information about the brand or retailer, which includes Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and other social media links.
For brands it could mean rising cost per clicks for paid-search advertisements. One agency suggests that if organic content is unable to change as quickly as demand, there becomes a stronger need for paid-search ads to accompany the content.
“Ads at the top always perform better and have fetched a higher CPC, so I get it,” says Rob Griffin, chief innovation officer at ad agency Almighty.
Griffin says this will impact advertisers with a lower-priced bid strategy, trying to gain more visibility.
DigitasLBI VP and group director Brian Valentini plans to monitor the change for possible reduction in traffic, decrease in conversions, and rise in CPCs. He says it’s possible for more clicks to go to the first advertiser and/or first organic search listing on the page, and with fewer listing above the fold and the chance of decreased traffic interactions with brands and conversions could fall. The change also will drive-up competitiveness with fewer ads at the top.
“The big question becomes — will the increase in CPCs make up for the decrease in revenue from having fewer ads for searchers to click on above the fold?” Valentini says. “I think this is a big gamble on Google’s part, but it does provide a seamless ad and search experience across mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.”
While Google says the new layout reduces the total number of ads that serve up with desktop search results, the change aims to drive better return on investment for advertisers.
Google says these ads are labeled “highly” relevant, which are often more up to date than organic results. Generally, this layout results in fewer ads on desktop for each query, and aligns more with what searchers would see in Google’s mobile experience.
“Brands should closely monitor results and track performance fluctuations. While we may not have an option to influence Google’s decision, we can be vigilant to control our search marketing presence to ensure success,” Valentini says.
If you’re a website owner, one of your primary goals will be to optimize your site to ensure it ranks high on Google in order to increase organic traffic.
When it comes to optimizing your website content and other on page factors, it’s important to not only understand what can positively affect your rankings, but also what can harm them.
On one hand, not optimizing your site enough will mean Google won’t see you as relevant, whereas over optimization will more than likely lead to Google marking your site down. For real search engine success, a delicate balance is required.
This isn’t easy when you consider there are reportedly over 200 ranking factors built into Google’s ranking algorithm. The big question is which of those do we have cast iron evidence to support, and which are outright myths?
Northcutt recently published some detailed findings which argue the case for each. They’ve labelled them on a sliding scale, with those that have been confirmed by Google as having an effect ranked as “Concrete” and those with no evidence at all ranked as “Myth”.
Kenshoo’s new infographic highlights mobile as a key driver for paid social and search advertising. “Mobile year-over-year spending increased 159% for paid social ads and 66% for paid search; mobile accounted for 68% of paid social ad clicks and 50% of paid search ad clicks,” according to Kenshoo’s press release.
Increased mobile traffic drove overall cost per click up for social ads as clicks became more important to optimization. For search, the opposite was true, as lower smartphone cost per click drove overall cost per click down slightly.
“The third quarter continued the mobile growth trend from the first half of 2015,” said Chris Costello, director of marketing research for Kenshoo. “Consumers rely on mobile devices more than ever, and advanced marketers are following suit with increasingly optimized campaigns which delivered positive results in both paid social and search. As publishers expand and refine their mobile offerings, marketers should expect to continue improving performance heading into the holiday season.”
The below infographic shows the influence of mobile in the Americas, where search clicks on mobile devices (51%) make up the majority of total clicks for the first time this last quarter.
“Digital spend used to be predominantly paid search ads on desktop computers, but today our budgets cross multiple devices and ad formats across a variety of publishers and platforms,” said Chris Humber, head of practice, search at GroupM.
Where did the data come from? “Search and social results are based on five quarters of performance data from over 3,000 Kenshoo advertiser and agency accounts across 20 vertical industries and over 70 countries, spanning the Google, Bing, Baidu, Yahoo!, Yahoo! Japan and Facebook ad networks,” according to a Kenshoo press release. “The resulting sample includes more than 550 billion impressions, 11 billion clicks and $6 billion USD in advertiser spend.”