The keynote speakers for SMX were Google’s Jerry Dischler, the VP of Product Management for AdWords, and Babak Pahlavan, the Senior Director of Measurement & Analytics. They announced a number of new resources for AdWords & Analytics and responded to recent developments:
Expanded Text Ads – Google has pushed back the full transition to ETAs until after the holidays. This is because the adoption level hasn’t been what they wanted to see. They’re looking for people to fully embrace the format and use the new features to their full effect.
Campaign-level RLSA – This is a feature that a lot of advertisers have asked for. Being able to apply search remarketing lists at the campaign instead of the ad group level will make it easier for advertisers to start using this targeting. Google has been strongly pushing adoption because of the strong success in improving conversion rate. This will be coming in the next few weeks.
Demographics Targeting for Search Ads – Targeting and excluding demographics has long been available for display ads, but now you will be able to do the same for search. Using this will allow you to show only your ads for the ages, genders, etc. that represent your target audience.
Similar Audiences for Search in Beta – This is another feature that used to be only available for display. Similar audiences are generated with users that match similar criteria to people on your remarketing list. Again, this is a tool to help your search ads reach only your ideal or top-performing audiences. It was previously a whitelisted beta but is moving to an open beta.
Local Pack Ads in SERPs – Google is still testing ads that appear above the local pack in search result pages to make sure the performance is beneficial. Only 1 ad will show alongside 2-3 organic listings.
Keyword Planner Data Limits – Many people had questions about Google’s recent change to only give detailed keyword planner data to accounts with significant AdWords spend. Dischler explained that this was to keep “bad actors” from using the tool and that the spend threshold is quite low.
Optimize – Google’s webpage optimization and testing tool, which was previously only available for enterprise 360 users, now has a free version for standard Analytics users that you can sign up for using the link.
DataStudio – Google’s tool for graphical report creation is being rolled out to the rest of the world; it was previously only available in the US. They will also be launching some standard report templates in October.
Smart Goals/Session Quality Score – When Smart Goals were first launched last year, we were dubious of their accuracy and usefulness. However, in light of some new insights today, we are reevaluating our position. Pahlavan mentioned 2 specific examples where Smart Goals are most useful – for eCommerce clients that don’t have enough data to use automated bidding strategies or for clients without eCommerce data. If Smart Goals are meant primarily as a way to identify traffic that’s likely to convert (rather than an estimate of actual leads) it is worth testing. Smart Goals use an underlying metric to identify high-quality traffic based on their data; this “Session quality score” will be made available in Analytics. Another recommended use of Smart Goals and Session Quality Score is to segment these users in a remarketing audience.
New Tag Manager Integrations – 20 new integrations have been added to Google Tag Manager, including Bing and Twitter, eliminating the need for HTML tags.
Insights in the Google Analytics App – Available only in the app, under the Assistant section, the Insights alert you to significant changes in performance that could indicate an issue with your site/marketing.
Referral Spam – Pahlavan stressed that this is very important to Google and they have an internal team working on getting rid of this bad traffic.
SMX Keynote Speakers
Jerry Dischler, Vice President, Product Management AdWords, Google
Babak Pahlavan, Senior Director of Measurement & Analytics, Google
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