2013 has been an extremely busy year for the Adwords team, over 1,000 change have been undertaken and featured created! Combine the amount with the fact some of these features weren't even announced by the Google team it makes it very difficult for businesses to keep track of the changes so we decided to help out and give you an overview of some of the biggest changes to Adwords in 2013:
Change in Ad Rank
Possibly the biggest change of this year was kept until last month when Google announced a change to how Ad Rank is calculated. Ad Rank is the process Google Adwords goes through each time a query is made to decide which adverts are shown and in which order, as well as the price you pay per click.
Ad Rank was always a pretty simple calculation, they would take the maximum cost per click and times it by your quality score. This calculation would give you your Ad Rank and adverts would be shown in order of highest Ad Rank.
So how has this changed? Well there is now a new component to be inserted into the calculation - your ad format and extensions associated with it. It's a bit of a tricky concept but in a nutshell if Google anticipates that your ad extensions will have a positive impact on your ad your Ad Rank will improve therefore you position will be higher and cost per click lower.
If you are not already using ad extensions and your competitors are using them you will now essentially be getting penalised for not doing so! (Make a note to do an audit of your PPC account and ensure you are using ad extensions to maximum effect).
There have been some great improvements to the way sitelinks themselves work too. Not only can you now report on each individual sitelink for performance but you can also be very creative with the sitelinks you show. Now options to display sitelinks via time of day (great for restaurants for example that have different menu's) or via their device and location (if a user searches by mobile and is close by you can offer them a directions sitelink). This gives you a lot of scope to think about what users want from your sitelinks and customise them to their needs.
New Bid Strategies
Hidden away inside the Shared Libraries tab is a featured called Bid Strategies. Using this you can setup strategies based on your goals such as position, clicks or conversions and apply it to any Ad Groups or Campaigns. This gives greater flexibility to account managers who, if they wanted to used big strategies previously, had to apply it to a campaign as a whole.
Remarketing, but for search ads
Via the Audience tab you can now combine classic remarketing with search ads, i.e. show people who have visited your site before an advert when searching in Google. This is an extremely accurate targeting strategy and as users will have visited your site before you can be a little more generic in the keywords you are bidding on.
Paid and Organic
Under the Dimensions tab there is now a report called Paid & Organic. This is an amazing new feature which shows how you perform for keywords both in Adwords but also organically. Uses for this include checking for traffic cannibalisation (does bidding on a keyword reduce your organic performance) and also finding new opportunities which you are doing well on organically but not yet bidding on it Adwords.
Those were our top changes to Adwords in 2013 but other changes also include:
- Create image Ads without a graphic designer via the new Image Ads Desinger
- Dynamic remarketing which makes it possible to use your Merchant Center account to show more relevant ads
- Create higher or lower bids for specific geographic locations
- Create higher or lower bids for specific times of the day