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8 Critical AdWords Updates of 2016

In 2016 we got a new word for BreakUp (Brexit), We got stung watching  Ali float away and other surprises Trumped over predictions as we had to borrow money from our daughter's piggy bank with ModiFied Indian Economy.  I bet you must be bored by how  sports and politics writers survived 2016, not to be left behind its digital marketer's turn to do the same.

  1. No right hand side ads: This probably is one of the biggest changes to AdWords in recent history, this was long discussed and anticipated but seemed quite counterintuitive to think that Google will kill more than 50% of the inventory. As it turned out the impact of this change was not as dreaded as it was projected and CPCs by and large remained in control, Organic traffic did take a little hit but didn't really crash as some expected it to happen. image06.png
  2. Expanded ads: The name expanded is actually in a way misleading and undermines the impact this new ad format has had on digital marketing. These should ideally have been called Massive Ads. Especially on mobile devices pixel to pixel the coverage of this new format is about 20% larger with 50% more text and over 100% more text in headline itself. Expanded ads have definitely made their presence felt especially on mobile devices with noticeable improvement in CTRs. In a way No right hand side ads and Expanded ads are changes that go hand in hand and seem to be focused on mobile devices superseding every other device for content consumption. Yeah next time you want to call someone, better use a smartwatch Smiley Happyimage07.png
  3. Demographic targeting in search campaigns: Finally Smiley Happy until now as a digital marketer you could either buy intent or buy audience but now you can have best of both worlds. Marketers now can create targets with intersection of demographics and intent to customize messaging and to drive higher ROI. This feature was always available on display campaigns but thankfully now we can enjoy the same on search campaigns as well.image01.png
  4. Message extension: Another example of how mobile is redefining advertising and touching our lives in ways which make almost everything available at tap.(Not click just a tap) Smiley Happyimage04.png
  5. Changes to device level bidding: Yippie!!! In 2013 with introduction of enhanced campaigns this feature had disappeared but its back. Now marketers can define their bids separately for each device types, with bid adjustment levels of up to 900% at device level.image05.png
  6. Responsive display ads: You don't have to worry anymore about how your ad will look on different screen sizes and resolutions. This new ad format adapts creatives according to the screen size and resolution on which it is being served. It's a huge time and trouble saver for marketers who are targeting users on all devices. Apart from screen sizes the creatives will be automatically optimized for environment as well (image, text, native). With this text ads are gone, Now we have image ads and responsive ad. image03.png
  7. Google Map ads: Great news for businesses which require physical presence like stores or professional services. These ads are great way to target users who are looking for services / products provided by local business and are located in area nearby physical location of user. This feature also allows local businesses to promote their business with Promoted Pins, In-Store Promotions & Customizable business pages with local inventory. As these ads usually target users who are on the go no prizes for guessing which device is primary target for this inventory. image00.png
  8. Price Extension: Almost feels like retrofitting PLA features for services / Non-tangible products, but either way its an amazing way for businesses offering services to showcase range of their services along with pricing. The use of price extensions is not necessarily limited to services and can also be used for events, locations in case of multi location businesses, etc.image02.png

We are wishing you all Happy New Year! Happy AdWord-tising!



This article is co-authored by @theniks and @Neha Gupta .

about Nikhil Parachure

Digital Marketing / Web & App Analytics expert with experience ranging from small businesses to very large portals. Across varied verticals like banking, travel, ecommerce, insurance. Google Adwords top contributor since 2013 and currently working with a leading Indian ecommerce portal. Aspiring writer, wants to be lighter!

Neha Gupta Top Contributor
January 2017

It is always fun Co-Author with you @theniks! Smiley Happy

MosheTLV Top Contributor
January 2017

Great review.

pankaj1782 Top Contributor
January 2017

Nice compilation

Joshua R Top Contributor
January 2017

Great article @theniks ! 

January 2017

@Neha Gupta Its alway fun to co-author with you as well!

January 2017

Hi thanks for the great post. These new additions are truly powerful and will improve the advertising experience both for the businesses and the consumers.

January 2017

Thanks for your comments @pankaj1782 @MosheTLV @Joshua R @Involto

James K
January 2017

Great article! 




Dharmendra T
January 2017

Great information !

Andrew W
February 2017

Great read!