What You Need to Know about Google's 2016 Performance Summit

Google announced some major updates to their platforms and introduced new tools at the 2016 Performance Summit yesterday. This summit mainly focused on changes to the AdWords platform and advertising options, with some additional information on the Analytics 360 Suite, Google’s enterprise analytics platform.

Google has been emphasizing mobile search for the past few years. This Performance Summit indicated that mobile search is no longer something that is going to happen in the future, but rather is currently happening and is on the rise! Mobile search is a major channel for users and is the fastest growing channel when compared to other devices. Google reports that there are globally more mobile searches than desktop searches.

Now, with the great influence of mobile search, Google has made updates to the interfaces of AdWords and Analytics 360 Suite to make insights and opportunities more accessible to administrators and advertisers. Along with newly designed interfaces, Google also announced new tools and features that will integrate with their platforms and make data more relevant to your particular business goals as well as cut down on the time spent on reporting.

A Mobile-First World

Google has been talking about the rise of mobile for some time, but now with the majority of people using their smartphones for search and many owning multiple devices, it is important for advertisers and business owners to capture and engage with customers in their micro-moments of searching online. Google explains these micro-moments as instances where a user has a desire or need that they research to find a solution or purchase a product they’re seeking.

In order to find your target audience in these micro-moments, Google revealed its sleek, new AdWords interface. Notably, the AdWords’ home dashboard is less cluttered and can easily be customized to report on the metrics that are important to your ad campaigns and business goals. The homepage now contains a dashboard that will provide more visual reports, similar to Analytics. Below, you can see where traffic is, shown by device and also by hour and day.

Adwords dashboard Adwords dashboard campaigns

In addition, the ad setup process has been simplified from a 5-step process to a 3-step process. Keyword research tools are also now available when first creating a campaign. This interface update will continue through 2016 into early 2017.

Adwords new campaign

Bid Adjustments

Google has also added bid adjustments across all devices in AdWords. This is important for AdWords advertisers, as they have better control over their device targeting within their campaigns. Previously, bid adjustments were limited to mobile devices and advertisers could not apply bid adjustments across all device types. Now advertisers can specify bids based on desktop, mobile or tablet.

Ad Changes

Google has also increased the character limit to text-based search ads and how they are formatted. Google now allows 80 characters within your search ad’s description line. With the increased characters, Google also updated the input for description lines to merge the old 2 description lines to 1 longer description line, similar to Bing Ads. Plus, Display ads will now appear with a headline, description and URL to allow for more actionable banner ads, especially with mobile users to click, tap or swipe.

Local Advertising & Google Maps

Location and “near me” search now account for a third of total mobile searches. Google has recently introduced local ads within Google maps that will soon be available to AdWords advertisers. At the summit, Google announced their new “promoted pins.” These will be promoted within Google Maps and will display to users with relevant searches nearby them or on their route. In order to appear with promoted pins, merchants will need to use location extensions and sync their Google My Business page. Businesses advertising on Google Maps will also be able to include store inventory and users will be able to shop through your inventory from the ad. Google finds that three fourths of all local ad clicks end up in a physical store the very same day when using location data and targeting.

Google Analytics 360 Suite

Google Analytics 360 Suite is an analytics solution for the enterprise market that was introduced in March and has now undergone a few updates. The suite includes six products including Analytics 360, Tag Manager 360, Optimize 360, Attribution 360, Audience Center 360, and Data Studio 360. This rolled out on May 24 to all Google Analytics Premium and Adometry customers.

The update includes the integration of analytics data and advertising campaigns. Collaboration in Analytics is meant to be easier and will work similar to Google Docs. Within Data Studio 360, creating custom reports has been simplified and there is a deeper integration with AdWords data. Data Studio also supports collaboration so this is meant to be shared and edited by team members.

Analytics Website Performance

Lastly, Google showed how conversational search works in 360 Suite. Within Analytics, marketers can now search using voice search. This will save time in reporting and monitoring traffic to your website, since Analytics is so heavy with data and will be able to find the exact information you are looking for instantly.

Analytics Audience Overview

Takeaways from the Google Performance Summit

Google’s Performance Summit introduced a number of changes across multiple platforms. While many of these are still in beta-testing, they will be gradually rolled out if proven useful. Google is still researching and asking marketers for feedback to understand their needs in order to make their products relevant and easy to use. As we’ve seen in the past, not all features stick around for the long term, but these updates seem to be paving the way for the future of Google products and advertising.

Are you seeing any of these changes in your AdWords account yet? Let us know in the comments below! Do you need help with your AdWords account? Check out our PPC services.

  • Jahnvi Patel & Taryn Gamboa