Not too long ago Google held their Performance Summit and made some huge announcements about the future of AdWords. They're making updates to device bidding (mobile, tablet, and desktop bids are FINALLY being separated), implementing better tracking of in-store conversions, and rolling out new responsive display ads. The two major announcements include improvements to local search ads and expanded text ads.
First, Google unveiled their "next generation" of local search ads that will appear within Google Maps (desktop, mobile, and within the app itself). Nearly a third of all mobile searches happen on Google Maps so it makes perfect sense for the search giant to open this up to advertisers. These new ads will contain business logos and offers and will actually appear on the map instead of alongside it. The sole purpose of these new ad formats? To drive more foot traffic and help push in-store promotions. When do we get them? Google hasn't said, but these new local search ads are in beta, so hopefully they'll become available before the end of the year.
The biggest announcement at Google's Performance Summit? Expanded text ads! This huge change comes a few months after Google killed their right side ads. For years we've been limited to the usual 25-character headline, two 35-character description lines, and a display URL, but Google is finally opening up the limitations. Soon we'll be able to have two 30-character headlines, one 80-character description line, and a display URL that's automatically extracted from your final URL.
This new format will be available on both mobile and desktop, but of course Google is keeping quiet on when this will actually become available. They've been testing these since around April of this year, so one can only hope this gets rolled out in Q3 at the earliest. Early tests are showing strong results, too. Google has reported CTR increases as much as 20%, so we're anticipating strong CTR increases for DMOs, too.
While we're still in the dark as to when we can get our hands on these new features, there's no harm in prepping now. Start thinking about how you might utilize the new local search ads (I'm thinking these could be huge for a DMO's partners!) and what you want to include in your expanded text ads. It'll be a mad rush once these roll out, so do what you can now and be one of the first to take advantage of these new features.
And if you want to watch the entire Google Performance Summit Keynote, check it out here.