For the first time, Google has stated that mobile searches have overtaken desktop in 10 countries. That news set the backdrop for the second-annual Inside AdWords event that was broadcast in a livestream Tuesday, during which the company announced a number of new product updates.
“We’ve hit an inflection point where more Google searches are taking place in mobile than desktop in 10 countries, including US and Japan. We think it’s a real turning point in digital adverting and we have been investing in mobile-focused initiatives,” Jerry Dischler, Vice President of Product Management for AdWords, told Search Engine Land in a call Monday.
“The purchase funnel is officially dead. It’s being replaced by short bursts of activity that we’ve been referring to as micro-moments,” said Dischler, adding that relevancy now triumphs over brand loyalty as the driver for users’ mobile behaviors, and the challenge for marketers is to be there in those micro-moments no matter what device users are on.
With that perspective, here’s a look at Tuesday’s announcements.
Google announced ad format initiatives across three verticals: automotive, hotel and mortgages.
Dischler said that over 50 percent of automotive searches happen on mobile. Two new types of ads are rolling out in the auto vertical: automotive ads for OEMs and dealer ads.
The new search ad format links to a carousel of interior and exterior images of the car that users can swipe through. Tapping one of the images brings up a page with more information about the vehicle. Tapping on the “Dealers” link in the initial ad or the landing page goes to a search results page that includes a “three-pack” of ads with nearby dealer listings.
Chrysler is a launch partner for the new automotive ads that are rolling out on mobile first, but will eventually be available across screens.
Last fall’s revamped format for Hotel Ads that appear on both desktop and mobile is rolling out globally, Google announced today. Hotels have special information pages and “Book a room” ads can include those from the hotel itself as well as from online travel sites such as Expedia.
Earlier this year, Google made waves in the auto insurance industry in introducing Google Compare stateside. As anticipated, Google is adding mortgages to the lead generation service later this year. Dischler wasn’t commenting on what the ads would look like, who the initial partners will be or in which states the mortgage piece will debut. “Mortgage queries are huge on mobile, but experiences haven’t been great,” says Dischler. With Google Compare, consumers will be able to compare mortgage rates from multiple mortgage providers, and review a customized set of criteria like interest rate, terms of the loan and fees. Users can apply directly with a lender or call an adviser directly from the Google search ad.
The auto insurance quote comparison service, which debuted in California, is expanding to Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania and now includes reviews and local agent support, Google announced today.
Dischler touched on the auto-resizing tool for display during the livestream, but this was actually announced last September as part of a set of updates for mobile display ads.
Google continues to invest in automation for both bidding tools and creative execution.
The somewhat confusing keyword-less ad functionality of Dynamic Search Ads, which trigger based on the content of the website, is getting an overhaul. Google has rewritten the user interface for DSAs to make it more robust and easier for more advertisers to use. The DSA interface will now include recommended category targets based on the website’s content, suggested CPCs for those categories and more transparency into the ads and landing pages the system automates.
A new reporting dashboard for automated bidding is designed to give advertisers more visibility into the performance of bid strategies over time. Additionally, new simulation tools show the trade-off between volume and cost at different cost-per-acquisition targets.
Google is aiming to give marketers tools that will help them measure performance across these new “micromoments” touchpoints, including devices, apps, calls and in-store. Not surprisingly, measurement was a big focus of Tuesday’s announcements.
Google recently changed the name of Search Funnels reporting in AdWords to Attribution. This is the area where marketers can analyze performance beyond last click attribution, building on this capability, marketers are now able to select an attribution model for each conversion type. These selections will then be reflected in AdWords reporting and integrated into automated bidding strategies.
The new Data-driven attribution will use conversion data available within AdWords to calculate the contribution of each keyword across the conversion path. This functionality has already been available in Google Analytics Premium and Adometry, and will roll out to AdWords later this year.
Estimated cross-device conversions give marketers insights into conversion activity when users click on an ad from one device and complete an activity on another device. Later this year, that data will be available for automated bidding strategies and be used in the Conversions column.
Additionally, estimated cross-device conversions will include measurement for transactions started in-app but completed on the web and vice versa.
Estimated store-visits, which launched last year, is available in the US, Canada and Australia and will roll out to ten more countries in the coming months, making it available to thousands of advertisers. Earlier this month, Surojit Chatterjee, head of Google’s mobile search advertising, shared more background on all the factors that go into calculating store-visits data with Marketing Land.
As many have noted, not all of Google’s announcements from last year have made it into accounts a year later. The interactive reporting dashboard that previewed last April to great excitement, is just now starting to roll out, slowly. Check out columnist Susan Waldes’ sneak peek at that functionality if you don’t have access to the new Reports Editor, yet. Dishler said that the roll-out was slowed because they have been updating functionality based on user feedback
The Testing Labs interface announced last April will kick off in a beta this June. Google, Tuesday, shared a case study from vacation rental marketplace HomeAway, in which the advertiser used Experiments to measure lift from the Google Display Network in a pilot of the functionality. Only advertisers with account reps will have access to the beta.
In 2014, Google debuted a suite of app promotion tools during the livestream. Tuesday, Google released a new study on app discovery, an area where it faces fierce competition from the likes of Facebook and others, showing that search engines and app stores are among the top ways for mobile users to find new apps. In February, the company launched a pilot test to show ads in the Play Store.
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