2015 has seen some incredibly useful advancements to paid search, and as we approach the end of the year we are going to countdown our top six developments in PPC advertising over the past eleven months.
6.) Cross-Device Measurement
While Google’s Estimated Cross Device Conversions have been available for some time in the Adwords interface, cross-device measurement as a topic in itself has become more and more prominent in the past few months because mobile’s increased share of traffic is rapidly closing in on desktop. We’ve seen more third party bid management platforms rolling this out to encourage advertisers to closely monitor the impact that their mobile activity is having in the lead up to Christmas and to ensure that are taking into account the uplift from users who are purely researching on their mobiles, but completing purchases on their desktop. The latter has not been sufficiently taken into account by advertisers who are still viewing conversion in silos, and on a last-click basis by device.
5.) Yahoo Gemini
Yahoo Gemini have released their latest display proposition, native advertising. It runs across Yahoo’s news and home page. This covert advertising format allows advertisers to embed their marketing message within surrounding content.
This move has altered advertiser perceptions around Yahoo as Google has not yet capitalised on native advertising. In fact, Google hasn’t demonstrated an interest in native advertising making Yahoo ahead of the game. Unfortunately, the targeting capabilities currently aren’t very strong for this format of advertising, so direct response results are not expected to work well. However, it is a great way to expand reach and drive brand awareness. Keep an eye out for this format in 2016 as we expect it to grow in popularity and effectiveness as Yahoo increases its targeting capabilities and reach.
4.) BING Shopping
Google competitor, Bing, has introduced Bing Shopping Campaigns. It’s nearly identical to Google Shopping and works in much the same way, making it easy for advertisers to copy over Google campaigns to Bing.
This move could affect the number of people advertising using Bing, and it is likely to increase competition on the platform, if we see more advertisers rolling this out based on the strong performance currently on Google Shopping.
3.) Upgraded URLs
In July, Google rolled out Upgraded URLs, in order to create better usability of URL management. Previously, an advertiser’s destination URL would be made up of the landing page and the tracking appended to this. Therefore, any changes that needed to be made to tracking affected the whole URL. Post upgraded URLs, tracking information is now entered separately within Adwords and the landing page is now referred to as the final URL (the actual URL where your click traffic is taken to).
After the announcement of Google Upgraded URLs, Bing came out with their own solution announcing import updates to support Google. The new updates were an attempt to create a more “seamless and efficient” user experience for advertisers who import their campaigns from Google AdWords.
Upgraded URLs don’t have much of an impact on agencies using third party tracking/bid management platforms that automatically append tracking parameters, but can be extremely useful for those who don’t.
2.) Remarketing Lists for Paid Search
Continuing on the subject of audiences, Google also introduced Google Analytics Remarketing Lists for paid search. The lists can be used to determine user purchase behaviour, as well as previous browsing behaviour on site. Prior to this, remarketing lists were only available for display advertising on the Google Display Network. This advancement adds more depth to paid search remarketing initiatives by not limiting audience lists based purely on pages visited on a website. It enables audience building based on actions such as browsing behaviour, i.e., a customer who visited more than “X” number of pages on a site. We are now able to target these visitors with customised language relevant to their previous activity and position along the path to purchase.
1.) Customer Match
Adwords launched Customer Match this year, Google’s answer to custom audiences based on email targeting. Customer Match enables brands to layer email address targeting onto their campaigns. Agencies can now use client CRM databases (of more than 1,000 emails) to build bespoke lists, with information previously unavailable from standard remarketing lists, such as, what the customer bought, if they are a repeat customer, or if they are more likely to purchase during sale periods.
In addition, Customer Match has a ‘similar audience’ functionality, which allows advertisers to reach potential prospects with similar profiles to their existing customer base in order to expand reach. Customer Match represents a fundamental change in the way Adwords allows us to reach the right audience.
These advancements in paid search are nothing to what we can expect to see in the upcoming year as the industry continues to pursue solutions to advertising and consumer challenges.