Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending the 2015 Adwords Performance Summit in Half Moon Bay, just outside San Francisco. Google hosts this event once a year and invites the largest global Adwords advertisers for a mix of content, brainstorming, feedback and networking. The most exciting part of the summit is undoubtedly the insights advertisers gain into Google’s product roadmaps and overall strategic direction in the ad space.
Not only is this insight great from a product evolution and upcoming alpha/beta perspective, but it gives some fascinating glimpses into where Google is going in the space and what their “big bets” are for the future. They do hold attendees to NDAs for certain sessions of the summit (booooo), but I wanted to share some of the non-NDA insights we gained from the summit with our loving readership.
- Theme of the day
Mobile devices are creating a new and exciting ability for advertisers to reach consumers in exact moments of need, which Google are calling “micro-moments”. These micro-moments are short, often spontaneous, windows of time where users are are picking up and using their mobile devices and looking to fulfill a specific need. This could be researching a vacation, a home project, a new car… or purchasing a pair of jeans for an upcoming night out, replacing an appliance that broke today, or restocking your Keurig. In every micro-moment, there exists an opportunity for advertisers to connect with potential consumers and put themselves into the commerce consideration set.
- Mobile is a big deal
The good news is “year of mobile” was not mentioned once the entire day. So that was a big win. However, almost everything we talked about during the summit centered around mobile. From new ad units to targeting possibilities to analytics – mobile was the cornerstone and constant in it all. No surprise there, but it was interesting just how central mobile was to almost every conversation – with desktop/tablet often being the afterthought (a stark reversal from, say, 5 years ago).
- The Adwords ad experience is evolving
Google showcased a cool new (mobile) ad unit that features a swipeable image carousel with companion ad text and links. This unit will be available first within the auto vertical, but we expect it to quickly expand to other verticals, including retail. Also revealed were new mobile Hotel Price Ads (HPAs), which represent a very similar experience to the existing desktop format, but more… well… mobile.
- Dynamic Search Ads keep marching on
If anyone doubted whether or not DSAs were here to stay, those doubts were well and truly quashed during APS. Google revealed enhanced support for DSA campaigns, giving advertisers easier access to website “segments” by providing intuitive categories available for targeting, based on the different content areas of your website. For those not familiar with DSAs, they provide advertisers the ability to leverage Google page crawling technology to identify new keywords you should be targeting, and dynamically serve relevant ad copy against those queries. With 15% of searches on Google being unique or “new”, clearly our ability to target these searchers with keywords is extremely limited – making DSAs a great arrow in the SEM quiver.
- Adwords bidding is for real
The Google team continues to invest heavily in its own bidding technology, providing advertisers a pretty compelling alternative to the traditional paid search “platforms” like Kenshoo, Marin, et al. In addition to new bid forecasting tools and bid strategy specific reporting dashboards, Google will soon offer brands the ability to bid using different attribution models… directly within Adwords! Pretty cool, right? And a sign that Google is continuing to bet heavily on its own bidding ecosystem as a viable, standalone option for advertisers who don’t want to invest or rely on a platform.
While there weren’t any groundbreaking, Enhanced Campaigns type announcements at this year’s Adwords Performance Summit, there was a ton of great content and insights from the Google crew. The above is just a sample from the opening keynote, which was also live-streamed globally to some thousands of folks around the world. The following NDA sessions revealed more exciting products innovations and rollouts to come, but I’m not able to share them here. You’ll just need to watch our blog to see when those hit our desktops…