It was another big year for Google AdWords! The Online Advertising platform continued to roll out major changes and upgrades that had significant impacts on Search and Display Advertising. With the New Year just around the corner, we're looking back at some of the biggest changes of 2014.
- Website Call Conversions - In August, Google rolled out Website Call Conversions, which allow you to track phone calls that occur on your website after an ad click. With a simple code addition, a Google forwarding number will be dynamically inserted onto your website when a visitor arrives via a text or banner advertisement. You'll then be able to track the keywords and ads that are generating the most calls from your website, along with additional details like caller area code and phone call duration.
This was a long awaited tracking capability for Google AdWords account managers. Many websites drive a high number of phone calls that we previously weren't able to track without 3rd party tools in place. AdWords now makes it simple and easy to track phone calls and optimize your program for phone call leads.
- Increased Focus on Ad Extensions - Last year Google AdWords announced that Ad Extensions would play a key role in determining Quality Score. Since that announcement, Google has continued to put an increased emphasis on including ad extensions with text ads. A couple of new formats were rolled out this year, including Callout Extensions and Dynamic Sitelinks.
Dynamic Sitelinks, announced in July, are similar to traditional Sitelink Extensions except that they're automatically generated and displayed beneath your text ads. Dynamic Sitelinks are displayed based on an individual's recent search trends. As of now, these Sitelinks are free, so advertisers won't be charged for link clicks.
Callout Extensions were introduced in September and give advertisers the opportunity to showcase unique selling propositions and special offers with their text ads. Callouts are similar to Sitelink Extensions, but without links; therefore, unique Landing Pages aren't required.
- Flexible Conversion Counting - Early in 2014, Google launched an improved way to count conversions. The change is primarily beneficial to advertisers who track both online sales and lead generation, allowing them to assign different conversion settings and values for each. Advertisers are now able to count all sales and unique leads, which provides a more accurate conversion number.
"Conversions One-per-Click" and "Conversions Many-per-Click" were replaced with "Converted Clicks" and "Conversions" with this rollout.
The visual below, released by Google AdWords, provides a great explanation of the capabilities this rollout offers.
- Heavy Google Shopping Push - Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and Google Shopping campaigns have seen some significant changes over the past several years, and 2014 proved to be no different. Since announcing the removal of free PLAs in 2012 and transitioning to Google Shopping, Google has continued to make regular updates to improve the platform for both advertisers and shoppers.
Early this year, Google rolled out Shopping campaigns for all advertisers and released AdWords API support to manage Shopping campaigns at scale. In August, Google completely retired the Product Listing Ad campaign type and required all advertisers to upgrade to Shopping campaigns. The upgraded Shopping campaigns allow for more flexibility in organizing products as well as bulk upload options and AdWords Editor support.
What are your 2015 Online Advertising goals? Whether you're looking to improve and build upon your current efforts or get a new program in place, we've got the experts to help! Contact us to discuss your 2015 plans and learn how we can work with your team to take your Online Marketing program to the next level!