In honor of the most wonderful time of the year, here are some of the top SEM features in Google AdWords and Bing Ads that had us feeling merry and bright in 2016.
(1) Deck the Halls with Bing Ads Labels
While adding Labels to Bing Ads might not sound exciting, it is a huge win on the search engine marketing front. Labels help you to organize your account and achieve more granularity. They also greatly assist in filtering and sorting your reports more easily to get to the data you want and need. But perhaps most important is that you can create automated rules to create a custom bidding plan. For example, if you want to bid up or down based on a keywords position, by applying labels at the keyword level you can automate your bidding strategy. Labels have brought more customization to Bing Ads that not only makes our lives as search marketers easier, but also helps optimize both our time and account performance.
(2) Caaaaan I Expand My Ads, Ba Rump Bum Bum Bummmmmmmm
Seemingly the biggest change of 2016, the roll out of Expanded Text Ads in both Google and Bing has taken the Search world by storm. Nearly 2x the size of Standard Text Ads with a total of 140 possible characters compared to 95 previously, we now have two headlines and a longer description line to convey our desired message. Long gone are the days of the 25-35-35 formula, with more text, there is the potential for greater visibility and a clearer snapshot of products/services, which should translate to higher CTRs and hopefully better overall performance. Be sure to test out ad copy variations as you would with any ad format. And, be sure to optimize copy as needed – even with the new expanded format, you still need to ensure your message resonates with consumers.
(3) O Customer Match O Customer Match
As Search Marketers, we are always looking for new relevant audiences and ways to capture those audiences. As if to answer our not so silent pleas, in comes Google with Customer Match. In a nutcracker shell (see what I did there) – Customer Match is a new method of creating remarketing lists in AdWords. It allows you to upload a list of emails (that have been provided to you by the customer), that AdWords works to match with Google accounts in their system to create a custom audience list that can be used for Search, YouTube or Gmail. Because security and privacy is a concern, these email address will only be used to match and create custom lists in your account. Emails will not be shared with third parties or other Google teams, additionally these email address as encrypted and data is deleted after seven days.
While it might seem that Customer Match is just another version of standard remarketing, it provides much more granularity and customizability. Because you as a Search Marketer create the email list, you can include any user based on whatever criteria you choose. You are not limited to time frame or remarketing criteria; you can create lists and strategy as you see fit.
(4) Come All Ye Ad Extensions
Ad extensions, the unsung hero of the PPC world. Whether you employ Sitelinks, Callouts, Location or any other ad extensions, they have a profound effect on creating a more robust and informative ad. We should all know by now that it is important utilize any or all ad extensions because not only are they free additions to our text ads but the provide extra characters to convey our desired message. If you aren’t already utilizing ad extensions, you are missing out.
Additionally, next level ad extensions are on the horizon with testing being done to include images in Sitelinks, price extensions on desktop (previously only available on Mobile devices) and promotion extensions which include special offers that compliment text ads. These new ad extensions should provide substantial quality to existing text ads and further solidify the importance of ad extensions as a whole.
(5) Hark the Attribution Model
AdWords advertisers can integrate your choice of attribution model with your bidding and conversion data. You can now assign one of the six attribution models (data-driven, last click, first click, linear, time decay, position based) to a conversion. The data driven attribution model is next-level because “Data driven attribution uses machine learning to evaluate all the converting and non-converting paths across your account and identifies the proper credit for each interaction.” With this model, there is more granularity (appears to be a theme of 2016) and you can get a fuller picture as to how and why your ads performed which will in turn help optimize across the user’s conversion path and drive greater results.
While these are just a few of the features that had us rockin around PPC in 2016, we look forward to what next year may bring and let’s just hope we have ourselves a merry little 2017.