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Top 5 innovations in paid search during 2014

December 1st, 2014 by

Lots of changes have gone down this year in the paid search realm (keeping us all on our toes!) so we thought we’d do a quick round-up of the top 5 paid search innovations that happened this year and that (if you aren’t already) you really should embrace – adapt or die people!

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First on the list…

1/ Shopping Campaigns took over from PLA’s

One of the biggest changes took place in August when our old fave Product Listing Ads (PLA’s) suddenly became Google Shopping campaigns. This new set up is really beneficial when it comes to management and control over a wide number products and promotions. Advertisers can browse inventory far more efficiently, create, bid on and exclude more targeted product groups with greater access to product level insight.

Advanced reporting also gives advertisers the ability to filter and segment data on performance by attributes or for individual products. The planning aspect of shopping campaigns are also much improved as they now allow better initial campaign estimation, insights into competitive landscape including benchmark data, impression share and bid simulation help you to create a truly useful and relevant campaign..

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2/ Removal of close variant exclusion

The removal of the option to “opt out” of receiving impressions for close variants by Google has been widely criticised for reducing the control available to adwords professionals.

Close variants are basically plurals, misspells or other close iterations of your exact match terms. It can be a useful tool for keyword mining and gathers a slightly more loosely targeted term, giving the ad group more reach and coverage.

So it’s not bad after all?

Well, it’s swings and roundabouts…. if you have a very tight budget, or if you have term with close variants that you know are not of value, or if you simply like having the traditional set up using exact match keywords then you will still probably be peeved about this change.

The main issue is that you can no longer control which plural/variant term your ad will show for which leads to less control, which in turn can result in less efficient keyword spend.

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3/ Google App promotion Ads

Another big and exciting new campaign type went live at the end of August which provided the functionality to promote app downloads on search and display networks – we welcomed this change with open arms!

Ads linking directly to the download page of your app (either on Google Play or iTunes) make it much easier for your targeted users to download and interact with your app. The ads are automatically targeted to mobile devices to ensure ease of download for the user.

The App extension feature also allows crossover on traditional search ads on mobile devices where the site owner not only wants to promote their website but also wants to give the user the option to download the app.

We have seen some excellent results from targeted app promotion with our clients which makes us very ‘appy! geddit?

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4/ Callout extensions

One of my favourite developments of 2014 (geeky I know!) was the introduction of the callout extension. The thinking behind them is brilliant! (especially after Google changed sitelink guidelines to allow only one link per targeted URL).

The addition of callouts to promote benefits such as ‘free shipping’, ‘customer service info’ and ‘price matching’ means ads can now brag about even more reasons to click them. Previously including these additional benefits in a standard ad would have diluted the targeting of sitelinks, and caused a serious landing page headache.

These new callout extensions effectively double the ad copy footprint (callouts run plus other extensions, not instead of) giving you an even BIGGER character limit.

We’ve noticed tangible uplifts in clickthrough rate from ads with callouts and the additional text space allows our clients to stand out from the competition.

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5/ Ad customisers for dynamic insertion

A new development which will have serious time saving benefits is the new template based ad customiser. This gives advertisers who have a huge inventory, frequent offers and time sensitive promotions far greater flexibility to bulk edit ads.

Using variables the advertiser can change copy based on a whole heap of attributes including device, timing (for all of those hour specific countdown promos), scheduling, product prices and much more.

All you have to do is set up your template and away you go. Launched by Google in time for this year’s Black Friday this will be seriously useful for large campaigns, with short term promos.

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