AdWords Developments in 2012…

Feb. 07, 2012 | by Tobit Michael

Last year I posted on elements which I’d like to see Google incorporate into AdWords during 2011.   Google claim to have tested over 100 new ad formats in 2011, along with a bunch of new features, so unsurprisingly a couple of my predictions came up.  There are still some omissions which I feel are no brainers, but given the progress made this year I’m pretty optimistic about them.

How I did before…

Ad scheduling was resolved by automated rules, which opened up to all advertisers in February. Not only that, it allows for some reasonably advanced automation at most levels of the account. It would be good to see ad extensions added to this, but ultimately it’s a big step in the right direction.

Video Ads have rolled out in the same format as the US rather than the more flexible way I’d hoped. But no real surprises here.

So there’s no sign of sharing impression cookies outside of conversion tracking and Google analytics.  Or of the privacy sensitive, search re-marketing.  Weather-parting also remains a pipe dream (and probably always will do).

So on to 2012…

Google’s focus on monetising every last click seems to have intensified if anything so expect a further slew of alphas, betas and general releases. So here are some expectations, highly likelies and a couple of very long shots…

A Richer GDN (Google Display Network)

With the introduction of re-marketing and more recently dynamic display ads, Google have really started to close the gap on pure play retargeting companies such as Criteo (Google’s largest customer on the GDN) and Struq as well as rival networks such as Yahoo.  The next step will be to allow more types of dynamic ad with higher levels of interaction, such as picking colours, sizes and playing videos etc.  It will be interesting to see how Criteo and Struq react to this, I doubt they’ll do an eBay though.

Social Targeting

The demographic and interest categories on the GDN are pretty good.  If Google+ can get to critical mass then expect to see the ability to target people based on their social sphere, not just their browsing history.  This could be people who have +1′d a certain site, who have just posted a load of holiday photos, or are moaning about their job.  In short, expect something pretty similar to Facebook PPC ads, but all self service and re-branded from interests to circles.  Expect this to be a targeting option across the entire GDN, not just Google+. Search is still their heart and soul.

Goodbye to Comparison Sites

We’ve seen select products in the US being listed separately to the standard ads with a comparison engine style lay out.  Google love the CPA model and have been clearing space on the right hand side for a while.  Along with this they launched Google advisor way back in 2010.  So along with Google Plus your world and product listing ads, expect comparison listings here soon.

Mobile – Hyper localisation

Google have started on this already with local shopping results.  More and more Android phones already have some fantastic functionality with local results automatically showing too.  This year I’m hoping for augmented reality in street view showing which stores have your product and the prices they’ll charge.  Given the painfully slow progress on the 4G spectrum it might be a while before this is practical in the UK though.

ROPO tracking

Google have been throwing Research Online Purchase Offline around for a while now (though research offline purchase online confusingly shares an acronym and is much less talked about by Google).  And with the release of Google wallet due you’ll be hearing a lot more about it in 2012.  With sufficient adoption this would be a huge boon to online marketers, NFC just needs to be standardised and rolled out beyond Pret a Manger.  Microsoft/Bing would be foolish not to wade in on this too, though uptake of their phones remains low at present.  Additionally Apple need to be considered given they still very much set the trend in the smartphone market.

Cross Platform, Cross Device

Android is now the fastest selling mobile platform.  Despite fragmentation issues this is still big news for Google and one of the core ways to benefit from it would be to cookie by user, not by browser.  All Android phones are logged into a Google account, so all searches could be associated with that log in.  When that person then logs in at work, or home why not show that path in Analytics, and in AdWords.  I can’t see Google sharing this with 3rd parties, but within their own ecosystem I see no reason why they don’t.  Realistically I’d put it down for Q4 or Q113.

Audience targeting in Search

With re-marketing lists, interest categories and demographic weighting doing wonders for display campaigns, why not roll it out to search?  If someone has just spent £2,000 on a holiday to Dubai, the next time they search for Dubai they probably won’t be in the buying market.  By allowing advertisers to block people who have converted as they do on the display network Google could let your advertising spend work that much harder.  This is probably a long shot though given it fundamentally reduces the competition, and therefore Google’s earnings, in this type of auction.   I would argue however that the money saved would almost certainly be re-invested as the channel becomes more and more efficient.  It would also tie in with the policy of  showing the most relevant results.

Please share in the comments any formats and features you’d expect or want to see in coming releases. And let us know how likely or otherwise you find the above!

 

——-UPDATE——

Goodbye to Comparison Sites – Google today (09/02/2012) have rolled out the below:

Google comparison ads in the UK

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    Comment (1)

    • Tobit Michael

      Thanks to @Rishil for spotting the roll outFeb 9, 2012 05:24 pm

     
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