Is Google Trying Too Hard?
It seems that recently Google has been releasing all kinds of new features, not exclusive to just AdWords either. With Analytics getting a complete overhaul, the new social network Google+ and a plethora of other small tweaks and additions Google is definitely trying to innovate rather than imitate.
This post will talk about a few of the more well-known additions as well as some of the more covert ones that may have slipped under your radar as a consumer or as an advertiser.
I’ll start with general additions to the search page…
The first thing that you may have noticed is the face lift that the results page may have had:
As you can see the biggest two changes are the inclusion of this big black bar at the top, as well as the red headings and grey subheadings down the side.
This is still in a beta mode and hopefully, in my opinion anyway, they ditch it and go back to the old cleaner results page.
The other main addition for the average Steve Searcher is the seemingly unavoidable Google+. I think that NEWgle has been clever by making it invite only, causing Steve to desperately want to be a part of it. However, once he had been granted access to this fancy new social network he immediately closed it down, went on Facebook and got on with his life.
The problem is that normal people use Facebook, it’s not like MySpace used to be when it was just a communal pit of depression for emo’s, people were crying out for a Facebook. Now there is one, it seems like Google is trying far too hard to knock it off it’s perch. I can’t imagine that 750,000,000 (yes that many) users will want to re-upload hundred’s of pictures for no reason. Perhaps Google should have been a bit more FRUgle with their money on this one…
Next let’s look at:
Moving on from things that will affect the average Internet enthusiast and onto more technical features/additions Google has made to the AdWords platform. Some of these you may have heard of, others possibly not.
Here are the 3 feature that I will go into:
- Display Campaign Optimiser
- Mobile Landing Page Designer
- New Columns
Display Campaign Optimiser
This is a great new feature that basically let’s you give a lot less attention to display campaigns. To be able to use it you must be getting at least 15 conversions a day. You also have to be comfortable with Google taking control of your campaign and letting it have a few weeks to ‘Learn’ (some cynics would probably think that this is a way of Google getting out of it not working properly straight away) but being a PPC Account Manager I am happy to at least try taking the required leaps of faith.
Basically what it does is, based on your target CPA, creatives and budget, Google will find lots of new conversions for you on websites that ordinarily you probably won’t have targeted. It is great for people who have huge display campaigns and don’t have time to optimise them effectively. Definitely worth a try if you’ve got the traffic.
Mobile Landing Page Designer
This, in the words of well known decking/fence stain product, ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’.
It allows you to very quickly, and very easily create as many Mobile landing pages as you like, saving hundreds of pounds for the advertiser.
Looking at the sample below, you can see how much scope you have for customisation. It isn’t a perfect solution by any means, as I’m sure that there are soon to be a million companies with the same mobile site, but it does exactly what you need it to so why spend £1000’s on getting one built 3 weeks after it was supposed to be finished!?
This isn’t one that web companies are too pleased to see that’s for sure.
New Columns in the Interface
There have all of a sudden been an influx of new columns to the interface, these include exact match impression share, relative CTR as well as 4 that I have only just noticed whilst writing this blog! These, hot off the press metrics display statistics on the number of times your phone number is displayed on a device that can’t make phone calls, as well as the number of calls that are attributed to your ads. This is done by having a unique number assigned to your campaigns which is inserted into your ads as a 3rd description line. The number of calls you get from this number (which can only be obtained from seeing the ad) is listed in AdWords. All in all a seemingly easy, if untested, way to monitor offline conversions.
The relative CTR is a way of seeing how well your display campaigns are performing compared to ads on similar websites, basically the number that is displayed tells you how much better your CTR is. A stat of 10x means that your campaign’s CTR is 10 times better than other ads on the same site.
The Exact Match IS is a metric that tells you the impression share of your campaign of when the search term matches exactly the keyword in your account. The higher the number here the better, as it means that all your keywords are getting good impression share.
As far as the new Analytics is concerned, I’m sure that blogs have been done to death on this so I shall leave it be for the time being, but rest assured there are some useful things coming along soon, one that will certainly help to clarify the sometimes blurred line between SEO & PPC.
As we come to the end of this blog it seems fitting to end with a Jerry Springer style ‘Final Thought’, Google’s antics sometimes seem like they should be accentuated with taunts of Jerry Jerry! Especially when they are going to be locking horns with Facebook, there is definitely going to be some tantrums being thrown.
Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, it seems that Google is trying to set the pace with new ideas left, right and centre. Some very, very useful (mainly for advertisers and businesses), however their big one Google+ has not hit the right chord with me. It’s main USP is this “Circles” idea, saying that you can guarantee that you keep things separate from people you don’t want to see it. But, as sure as “life found a way” in Jurassic Park, your boss will see that witty rant about his half-mast trousers or piece of food stuck to his face. So it seems that maybe Dante had it right in his Divine Comedy, he was just talking about the wrong place. It wasn’t the underworld, it was Google+.