It’s been a big year already for paid search. With more Bing and AdWords news than you can poke a stick at, it’s easy to find some of it slipping through the cracks. Don’t worry though – we’ve done a recap of all the biggest and most exciting news for digital advertisers, so you can catch up on what’s been going down.
One of the first pieces of news to come out in the wake of the new year, Google released its annual “Bad Ads Report” (to be presented this year as the “Better Ads Report”).
Google revealed they shut down 780 million ‘bad ads’ and disabled 25 000 app accounts for ‘policy violations’ in 2015.
Formulas available in Custom Columns for easy mathing
Custom formulas were introduced to custom columns, making life easier for those SEMs who would rather stay within the platform as much as possible. Tabbing out sucks, yo.
AdWords app for iOS launched
AdWords for iPhone was officially available globally in January, meaning we could all log in and optimise on the go. Maybe this is the year marketers can start taking some of that annual leave that’s been accumulating since 2011.
February saw the digital world in a frenzy, with Google announcing the removal of the ads that were shown on the right side of the screen for desktop search results. With this came the addition of a 4th ad in the main results for highly commercial keywords, pushing organic results further down the page (#sorrynotsorry, SEOs).
Drafts and Experiments
Campaign drafts and experiments rolled out in February, giving advertisers the ability to test changes before setting them live *insert Dr Frankenstein laughter*.
AdWords Editor update
The new version introduced support for callout extensions, video campaigns and HTML5 ads.
Trial Run ads for Android
App advertisers were able to let users play with their app for 10 minutes directly from the search results with the introduction of app streaming. Google hoped the ‘try-before-buy’ approach would help increase engagement-after-purchase stats.
Social extensions for Bing ads
Bing started testing social extensions in ads, taking users directly to nominated social channels.
Google gave us a glimpse of what’s to come with the ongoing AdWords renovations. Confirming there would be no major changes to functionality, the search giant showed off some of the shiny new designs, saying the platform would undergo regular updates until the end of the redevelopment (estimated for end of 2017).
AdWords recognises order IDs
In the past, if a user revisited a conversion page (to check order information, for example), they would get counted as converting twice. Taking steps to mitigate double-conversion tracking, AdWords started allowing advertisers to capture order IDs to prevent the same user being counted twice for one action.
Extended ad headlines become a thing
With ads on the right-hand side of the page already a distant memory, Google let advertisers extend their headlines without needing to sacrifice a baby goat, their firstborn child, and the first line of ad copy. This was in beta in April, and rolled out to everyone later on in July. Huzzah!
New extensions in Bing ads
Bing added Callout and Review extensions to their suite of ad extensions, letting advertisers show even more information to potential clickers.
Another Editor update
Version 11.4 arrived, and with it, the update brought frequency caps for Display and video campaigns as well as better functionality for app marketers.
Payday and high-interest loan advertisers banned from AdWords
Ads for loans requiring repayment within 60 days were given the boot with this announcement, with Google basically saying it’s bad to encourage people to get in over their head financially (which is what most of these ads are all about). Legitimate loans (think mortgages, car loans, student loans, commercial loans and credit cards) weren’t affected by the move.
Updates to how attribution is assigned
AdWords opened up attribution models for conversions, meaning last-click was no longer the default. Within Search campaigns, advertisers can now choose which attribution model they use, with a drop down menu offering options like first-click, linear and time-decay.
Filter buttons tested in Shopping ads
Some people have noticed filters on SERPs without needing to click through on Shopping ads. These filters included In Store, Top Rated and Up to [$price], letting users quickly narrow down their search based on relevant criteria.
Google started testing SMS ad extensions
Imagine a world where potential customers could text you for more info. That world is here and now, folks.
Google rolled out price extensions for mobile text ads
Giving searchers exactly what they (usually) want to know, price extensions are another way to gain extra real estate while showcasing competitive prices on offer by advertisers. Currently price extensions will only show with mobile text ads in position 1, but this may change in the future.
Smart Bidding to get smarter
The bid automation tool is set to get better with more conversion signals to be taken into account soon. With the ability to factor in millions of signals to refine conversion performance, this tool is best used by advertisers with sufficient conversion volumes to create accurate bids.