8 AdWords Changes That Could Impact Your Account

September 4, 2014

8 AdWords Changes That Could Impact Your Account

If you’ve been working with Google AdWords for some time, then you understand how quickly features and tools within the platform can change. If you’re new to the AdWords game, welcome to the ongoing challenges of AdWords management and optimization. With this in mind, I can’t stress how important it is to stay up to date on the latest greatest AdWords updates.

So let’s bring you up-to-date and take a look at the AdWords changes that have been introduced or announced within the last month or so!

Callout Ad Extensions

This new extension allows you to add an extra line of text to your ads to include callouts like “Free Shipping!” or “24-7 Customer Service.” The benefit here is that these display with your normal ad copy, allowing you to focus on things that are more important to you. The extension displays directly below your standard copy and can be used in conjunction with other ad formats and extensions.

Who will be affected? Everyone! I would encourage everyone to start experimenting with this. It’s a great feature, but you’ll want to see if it works for your business. This feature was just announced on September 3rd, so you should start seeing this option appear soon, if not already.

Read the official announcement.


Close Variant Matching for Exact & Phrase Match Keywords

This AdWords change is relatively huge for some advertisers. The Big G will simply be removing the “Keyword matching options” as a campaign setting moving forward. Advertisers will lose the ability to simply opt out of what are known as Phrase or Exact match “close variants.”

Google AdWords keyword matching campaign setting

What does that mean? It means that optimizing your account for very specific keywords will become slightly more challenging. You will have to invest more time in reviewing search term reports and adding negative keyword to really fine-tune your keyword strategy.

Who will be affected? If you’ve taken the time to review your account settings and opt out of the default “Keyword matching options” for exact and phrase match keywords, then you will be affected by this change. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you will be largely unaffected.

Close variant keyword matching in Google AdWords

Read the official announcement.

Dynamic Sitelinks

A pretty simple change to the AdWords platform here: if you are not serving your own sitelinks, Google may serve them for you. Be proactive in your accounts and ensure that you have sitelinks in place to guarantee your website visitors are landing on the pages that you intend.

Who will be affected? Everyone.

Google AdWords Sitelinks example

Read official announcement.

PLAs Transitioning to Shopping Campaigns

If you haven’t heard about this change, then you need to get out from under that rock. First announced on October 22, 2013, AdWords will be upgrading the features and functionality of Product Listing Ads – now called Shopping Campaigns. This change, which should have already taken effect in your account by the first of September, is meant to address the complexity of this product-oriented campaign type.

The AdWords interface will be more elegantly integrated with your Google Merchant Center product feeds and much of the heavy lifting (working within Google Merchant Center itself) will be unburdened from search marketers.  There are also some useful advanced reports that are available in Shopping Campaigns following the upgrade.

Who will be affected? Everyone in Ecommerce. If you have been running PLAs and didn’t know about this change, review your account immediately to familiarize yourself with the new campaign format. Again, this change should have already taken effect in your account as of September 2014.

Read latest announcement.

Improved App Promotions

Currently in beta is a new app-specific functionality which allows advertisers to reengage with users across both Google Search and YouTube. The new feature allows marketers to target an audience that has already downloaded and installed their app.

In terms of functionality, AdWords advertisers will now be able to deep link to specific locations within the app that relates to user searches. The previously installed app will open after an ad click in this scenario, rather than opening a new page in the user’s browser.

New app promotion ad features from Google AdWords

Who will be affected? Everyone with an app looking to experiment with new ways to engage with their existing audience.

Read official announcement.

Website Call Conversions

The call extension has been around for quite some time and the addition of website call conversions was an obvious choice for the AdWords product team. It’s been a long time coming, but now you can track calls from your website that originated from an AdWords ad click. This provides more insight into how people are using your ads and gives you yet another conversion for which to optimize.

Who will be affected? Everyone with a phone. That probably means you, too. If you haven’t been tracking the source of your calls, I’d recommend giving this one a shot. It does require adding code to your site.

See how to get started with website call conversions.

Search Network with Display Select

The campaign networks setting known as “Search and Display Networks” will forever come to be known as “Search Network with Display Select.” This is a simple change that is unlikely to affect most advertisers, but, if you’re currently running Search and Display (combined) campaigns, you should check this out and prepare your account accordingly.

The upgrade is meant to provide better performance, easier management and certain levels of customization within the campaign. Search with Display Select will roll out in all accounts starting September 16.

Search Network with Display Select

Who should be affected? No one. As a general best practice and as I tell attendees in our PPC trainings, you should really keep your Search and Display campaigns separate as a means to effectively control how and where your budget is being spent. These channels have separate functions in the grand scheme of things. As such you should be budgeting for them separately.

Read official announcement.

Conversions for Optimization

The last change on my list will affect how your bidding strategies work in your account, it’s a potential game-changer, and it should be rolling out in accounts over the next few weeks. As marketers we know that there are many important conversions to track for our websites or our clients’ site. However, not all conversions are created equally.

This update takes this into account and gives you the ability to specify which conversions should be optimized for when you are using bidding strategies like Conversion Optimizer, Enhanced CPC bidding or Target ROAS.

For example, you might be tracking both form fills and PDF downloads in your account. Soon you will be able to specify that these bidding strategies only use your most profitable conversions when being applied rather than all conversions.

Who will be affected? Everyone who optimizes for conversions – probably you.

Read details.

Remember, one of the most important best practices in PPC account management is to stay on top of the many AdWords changes that happen over time. Be proactive in your account and see if any of the aforementioned features will affect you. Happy optimizing!

Are you pleased or displeased with these changes? Let us know in the comments below.