Google Performance Summit… what did we learn?

At Google’s annual event for AdWords and Google Analytics, it shared new ad formats, mobile-first bidding options and more, but what are the key takeaways?

Mobile Changes everything – a revolutionary movement rather than simply an evolutionary one.

Google announce a new vision for AdWords and Google Analytics. And their stats back this up: With “trillions of searches being made globally” and more than half of web traffic coming from mobile and tablet, we have moved into a ‘mobile first world’.


So how should marketers invest in mobile?

Google highlight that for many, mobiles are the: “first and last thing picked up every day”, so in short for marketers it’s about deciding which moments matter. After all there is a very fine line between ‘moments that annoy’ and ‘moments that matter’. For today’s user a “morning commute is a now an opportunity to book a holiday”, and the mobile now an instore assistant to help chose products in a ‘grocery store’. The mobile first world offers digital marketers a great opportunity to: “connect with these moments” understand user intent and measure the context around. Some of the key highlighted case studies emphasised the impetus Google are placing on native advertising formats and the notion of encouraging user interaction with ads. Toyota: Image ads on mobile encourages interactions and CTR with the possibility of user swiping and ad movement Macy’s: The channelling of mobile and desktop search traffic. Their customer journey was enhanced by funnelling desktop searches to website, and smartphone searches to local stores in the vicinity. Utilised within search results this offered a more tailored experience. Google highlighted with these examples that they have rethought markets and marketing. They go on to highlights some key points from the AdWords evolution: Three years ago, enhanced campaigns on desktop allowed for separate mobile preferred ads and therefore anchored the entire campaign on desktop. Now, mobile ads are imperative, and mobile bids now more than an adjustment – a model fit for a ‘mobile first world’.

So how should bidding work? How should text/image creatives look? How should marketing work for a mobile first world?

Perhaps the biggest update comes in the form of creative for text ads: Ads are to include longer headlines, with an expanded number of characters. Google highlight that this accumulates to a combined 50% more ad text, which they estimate, with support of testing, increases in CTR of over 20%. Display ad creatives are also on the agenda: Dynamic functions are to enable creatives much easier to click and swipe. What will bidding look like? Google are enabling more control across devices, and finally much more flexibility. A cheer in the audience is heard with the announcement of “individual bid adjustments for individual devices” (desktop, mobile and tablet).

Key trends from search:


    • Nearly a 1/3 of mobile searches are now related to location


    • 90% of sales still take place in store


    • 98% shop digitally, 3/4 start on mobile devices


Key takeaways:


    • User flow from online channels to instore is now critical


    • Connection from mobile showroom to physical showroom much more important


Perhaps one of the most interesting points is the growing role of Google Maps. In short, Google Maps is too play a larger role in search marketing. Ads will begin to move to the forefront within Google Maps. With local search ads to show with location extensions on, Google Maps and the Google Maps App. Google highlight a user journey and experience that will be much more affiliated to search in the local area for products or services. Searching in Google Maps for things near you, will now show ‘customisable business pages’ and show those locations with the products that you require. Google highlight the importance of this feature with the fact that 1-in-4 users avoid instore visits, ‘just in case the item is not in stock’. So as Google imply, stay tuned for big brand interaction in Google Maps. Companies such as Starbucks and McDonalds will soon be buying promoted pins within Google Maps for products and services near you. In short, consumer demand for local information continues to grow. A question immediately raised upon this announcement was how would these instore visits be tracked following online interactions? Google outline a new store visit metric, highlighting that AdWords is now the largest omnichannel measurement provider in the world. Google are now tracking store visits after search ads, via Google Maps. Beacon signal technology will also begin to come in to play in order to track users store visits with higher accuracy, and attempting to bridge the reporting gap between online and offline. As is indicated, Google are enabling brands to build strong local search strategies.

Google Display and Video Ads

Google reveal that Display now reaches over 90% of all Internet users. Key theme: Display turning more to programmatic functions… Google highlight the significance of this, with Programmatic enabling ‘the heavy lifting to be done for you’, and the key contextual questions of ‘where, when and who’ being controlled in DoubleClick Bid Manager and the Google Display Network. Google reassert that the Google Display Network is enabling easier access to tools such as, remarketing, auto-bidding and creative optimisation. With a new emphasis on, ‘more reach’, and that same level of precision now part of GDN Remarketing.

Key updates:


    • Similar Audiences for Search (reach searches who have similar interest as those who searched for you)


    • New demographics for Search Ads



Products are also to evolve…

AdWords is to include a new ‘friendlier to the eye’ homepage, including visually attractive data and charts. The campaign creation flow is also to change, with campaign objective options the key driver for campaign creation. Other updates include the easier availability of campaign settings; these are to become a much more central feature of campaign optimisation – rather than as before just during campaign setup. Google Analytics and related products has some of the biggest transformations: Google Analytics 360 Suite is to come to the forefront, enabling marketers easier universal access to Google’s group of digital marketing and reporting products. Google Optimize360 is also to be included, enabling easier access to site experiment tools and CRO functions. New products such as Google Data Studio360 are to feature which enable quicker, intuitive reporting functions in Analytics and team co-working and editing on reports. Google Data Assistant will also feature as part of searches made within GA to improve efficiency in reporting. So if you didn’t already realise, mobile is the new driving force for Google’s Search/Display, Product and Reporting strategy! 

Full keynote available here:

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