A few weeks ago, Google announced major changes and updates to the AdWords platform, several of them designed to improve efficiency and scale for enterprise-class search marketers.
Google wants to make life easier for companies with massive campaigns – for those who are spending hundreds of millions or even a billion dollars on AdWords. Enterprise-level PPC marketers face unique challenges, given the complexity and sheer size of their campaigns.
These new features were designed to increase efficiency, help brands scale their campaigns and make insights more accessible and useful. In this post, we’ll take a deeper dive into the new tools available to enterprise AdWords clients.
Bulk Actions: Making AdWords Less "Complicated"
In the new features announcement a few weeks back, VP of Products Jerry Dischler said, "Many of you have told us that working with AdWords is just too complicated and that often, you have to use offline tools, AdWords Editor or spreadsheets in order to deliver a large number of campaigns." With bulk editing of campaigns, extensions and settings, he said, you'll be able to do this within AdWords.
Enterprise marketers may need to upload thousands of campaigns at once – for a holiday promotion, for example. The new bulk actions feature allows them to do so with just a few clicks, within the AdWords interface. It automates the process of setting location targeting and ad rotation settings across campaigns, as well.
Remember, bulk editing is one of the top two reasons people use AdWords Editor. This seems to be yet another sign that AdWords Editor is on its way out the door.
Automated Bid Management
New bid management features seem once again designed to make third-party AdWords management platforms obsolete. According to Dischler, “Our goal in Automated Bidding is to bring an enterprise class solution to every advertiser, directly within AdWords… we want to deliver state of the art bidding, once only available in third party tools, to all advertisers in AdWords.”
Kenshoo and Marin are two examples of robust third-party platforms with bidding solutions. I think their enterprise SEM platforms add a ton of value, particularly in the cross-platform nature of their solutions. Google isn't likely to offer cross-platform support, but they do seem to be chipping away at other third-party tool features.
The two new AdWords bidding strategies pertain to the Flexible Bid strategies framework, which came out last year.
First, advertisers will now have the ability to automate bids, in order to maximize the number of conversions. The new Max Conversions strategy is not based on setting a CPA goal the way the Conversion Optimizer is. Rather, Google automates the process of trying to get you the most conversions.
Second, advertisers will now be able to automate bids to maximize revenue in much the same way.
Advanced, Multi-Dimensional Reporting
Search marketers spend a ton of time in spreadsheets analyzing, looking for opportunities and attempting to better understand the mass of data available to them. Unfortunately, a lot of time is wasted trying to simply get data into the spreadsheet – if you're doing this as often as enterprise marketers, it gets tedious quickly.
Google's new reporting solutions allow for the types of analysis we do in Excel, including data visualizations. Now, you can simply drag and drop various attributes and metrics into a table, much as you can with pivot tables in Excel. You can use this to create line charts, bar graphs or pie charts just as you would in Excel.
In fact, I found this a very interesting and telling quote, from Paul Feng, Director of Product Management, AdWords: “We know you spend a lot of your time in spreadsheets, trying to understand your data. But we also know that you spend a lot of time trying to get your data into that spreadsheet.” Gee, you would almost think Google doesn't want you to have to use a Microsoft product anymore.
It's also multi-dimensional, so you can group and subgroup data in any way you want by simply dragging and dropping attributes (as seen below). The key advantage here is that because you're within the AdWords platform, you have access to live AdWords data. You don't have to waste time doing data exports and imports.
Another benefit is that you can make real-time changes in your report without having to re-download the data and go through the entire process again. Data exploration is simplified.
Drafts & Experiments: A Real-Time AdWords Lab
This is the last feature Google announced and it's a great one. It's hard to anticipate the effect of potential changes in your AdWords account. You can experiment and try to forecast the impact of bidding strategy changes and other changes, but it's very difficult to accurately project.
Drafts and experiments allows you to turn your entire account into a lab. In draft mode, you can stage and test changes using your own real-time data. Instead of seeing how a change might affect your campaign, you can see how it actually does affect it using a real slice of your traffic, with campaign experiments. If you're ready to commit, simply implement the change and go back to regular mode.
Finally – Tools Befitting Enterprise-Class Needs Within AdWords
Google is working hard to better automate AdWords tasks and further enable marketers to see the value of their efforts. These new functions and features enable enterprise-class companies to make better decisions based on real world data – and to track, measure and evaluate the impact of those decisions.
Google will be rolling out these new features gradually in the coming months, so hang tight. If you're not seeing them yet, they're on the way!