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The Ever Evolving Google Ecosystem

Michael Rolfe

by Michael Rolfe on 30th November 2011

Do you think you know AdWords?  Many people know a bit but it has been said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I’m AdWords Qualified and take those exams every year but with all the updates and constant change to AdWords and tyhe Google ecosystem, how is the layman supposed to maintain a profitable search marketing account and not fall foul of evolving terms and conditions, updating interfaces and changing competitive landscapes?Every day I spend time keeping up with the latest happenings in the wonderful world of online marketing.    A lot happens each week, and just the recent changes in AdWords alone makes me feel for all the full time business people who don’t have time to learn all of these changes, let alone do anything about them!  In no particular order of importance, here are some recent changes in AdWords which you should probably be aware of:

Bid per call
Google AdWords now allows you to set a separate bid-per-call amount.  A phone number extension is displayed alongside your advert and gives users another way to reach you.  It’s great for mobile users.

Google+ Pages extension in AdWords
They love ad extensions don’t they!  They keep on coming, and this one makes sense, adding you Google+ page as a link underneath your ad text, generally increasing CTR.

Updated Product Ads
Show shoppers the pictures of the products they are searching for – inside the ad.  Google says users are twice as likely to click on these ads compared to text ads.

AdWords Editor
Editor 9.7.1 is now available for PC and Mac.  With all the new features being added to AdWords recently, this offline interface needed to be updated to reflect that.  I had problems installing the new version but the remedy for me was just to delete the original AdWords Editor and then install this latest version fresh.  Post any changes you have made to accounts offline first just to be safe.

Google Wallet
Google Checkout is merging in to Google Wallet.  Now when you visit a retailer that accepts Google Checkout, you can just log in with your Google Wallet credentials.  This should simplify things for customers, merchants don’t need to make any changes and businesses who don’t currently accept Google Wallet may wish to look reconsider – Google Checkout logos on AdWords ads historically increase CTR.

Google hiding search referral data
OK, so the initial news of this is not brand new, but what is new is my understanding of how much data is being obfuscated, with leading bloggers and SEO’s losing 25%+ of their search referral data.  This could well be a trend and seems counter to Google’s hitherto advice to get to know and serve their users better with a more thorough understanding of visitor’s on-site behaviour.

Google states the reason as a privacy concern, but AdWords ads remain unaffected by the change, suggesting that privacy is not the actual reason for this change.  This update arguablyincreases the role of PPC in an effective SEM strategy now as you need the PPC data to help drive the SEO decisions.

+1 on display ads
The Google +1 button can now be found on AdWords display ads.  If you are running a display campaign you should consider adding them.

Dynamic search ads beta
I’ve heard that Google will automatically create ads based on your website content and optimise them automatically.  It would be interesting to see how effective this would be and to view how Google Express is being received.

How Does AdWords Work?
Just to ensure that the basics are not obscured in detail, take a look at this excellent infographic that my colleague Steve Logan posted on the Koozai blog.

Do a Barrel Roll

If all the AdWords changes seem a little much, just type ‘Do a Barrel Roll’ in to Google.  It trended heavily on Twitter and wasted countless seconds across the globe, im sure.  There were a few more that showed off HTML5 – in a modern browser, try typing in ‘askew’…

Have a great week and keep up to date on product changes so you can maximise new opportunities and minimise the threats that updates to policy and terms can cause.  If you don’t have time but want to compete on this channel then I would suggest hiring a professional simply because this channel – like so many others – are growing in complexity and so are becoming more difficult to get the most out of.  If you prefer the hands on approach, get involved with the conversation.

Michael Rolfe

Michael Rolfe

Michael has been earning a living online and winning awards for it since 2005. Projects include launching an affiliate network, database driven comparison websites, and Wordpress education seminars as well as devising and implementing the online marketing strategy for a listed blue-chip organisation.

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