6 Shocking Things Google Revealed About the Future of AdWords at SMX


As I drank my morning coffee in the large conference space by the Seattle waterfront I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Google’s VP of Product Management, Jerry Dischler. What could Dischler reveal that wasn’t previously revealed in the Google AdWords livestream back in May? To my surprise, he confirmed some future functionality I’ve been pondering and even revealed some shocking statistics and future projects the AdWords product team is working on. Yesterday morning at SMX Advanced, Search Engine Land's Ginny Marvin and Danny Sullivan did a phenomenal job of asking all the right questions to get Dischler talking. So PPC people listen up, this is exciting stuff!

 Future of AdWords SMX image of the panel 

#1: Tablet Conversions Have Surpassed Desktop

For real? I’m quite suspicious over this one. Just thinking about the way that I personally interact with my tablet, I’m not sure that I’ve ever made a purchase via the device. Which leads to my next question, what is Dischler defining as a conversion? WordStream’s data scientist Mark Irvine and I were both suspicious and decided to find out for ourselves. From a data-set of about 200 clients we found 15% have a higher CVR on tablet than desktop. Common industries within that 15% that convert higher on tablets include healthcare, tech, and real estate. Of course this data would go against Jerry’s claim, so my suspicions still run high.

Dischler also confirmed that Google will continue to group desktop and tablet as one. Sadly, hopeful marketers should not look forward to tablet bidding because it’s not coming anytime soon! Dischler said that Google still finds the behavioral patterns to be so similar on the two devices and therefore splitting them up remains illogical. Again, hard to believe thinking about the way I personally interact on my desktop vs. my tablet, but let’s move on to the next one.

#2: Google Plans to Scale New Mobile Ad Formats for Multiple Industries

Now we’re talking! A large chunk of the livestream was focused on mobile ad formats for four verticals: automotive, shopping, finance, and travel, leaving marketers in other industries thinking “what about me?” Yes, we feel your pain! Luckily, Google has not forgotten about you!

WordStream founder Larry Kim, who happened to have a front-row seat at the livestream, predicted that Google would release mobile ad formats for other industries as well. Yesterday, to hear it from Dischler himself just confirmed our guess. “For each vertical we’d like to create a template that will better lead to an answer,” says Dischler.

 Future of AdWords image of Larry Kim speaking with Jerry Dischler

Larry Kim chatting with Google’s VP of Product Management, Jerry Dischler

“When session lengths are compressed as they are on mobile, we need to drive people to answers more quickly,” says Dischler. “On mobile, people also expect more rich content. So we’re going to build products that work well on mobile first.”

Dischler confirmed that text ads are here to stay, but Google plans to “enhance text ads to make them more useful for users, especially mobile users.”

At WordStream we’ve found that mobile conversion rates lag far behind CVR’s on desktops and tablets, so Google’s plans to revamp mobile ad formats for advertisers is truly game-changing. “Our goal is to drive people to answers faster,” says Dischler. He went on to speak of their plans to make ads much richer and more interactive on mobile because if the ad looks better it’s likely to perform better.

Future of AdWords image of an average conversion graph by device showing mobile as the lowest 

#3: Google Will Re-Build and Modernize the AdWords Interface

Dischler casually snuck this in during the closing Q&A, which sort of made me love him. Oh, no big deal, just an entire makeover of the platform many of us spend our 40+ hour work weeks slaving away in.

Future of AdWords tweet about the adwords interface redesign 

Unfortunately Dischler didn’t dive too deep into what Google’s plans are, but I would expect that a lot of the holes and frustrations that all of us are constantly throwing our heads down about will be addressed (hopefully). To say the least, this news is very exciting for all PPC marketers who are sick and tired of the outdated and not so intuitive AdWords interface.

#4: Coming Death of the Keyword?

Keywords are dying! I’ve been preaching this for the last few months due to subtle hints Google continues to drop. From killing off the exact and phrase match type to evolving its identify based marketing functionality on Display, it seems that Google’s moving away from the keyword and towards more of a people-based targeting method. Google also revealed during the livestream that 15% of searches on Google are unique and have never been searched for before.

Yesterday, Dischler threw another hint our way when he spoke about the daunting process of keyword targeting. “Selecting 250 million keywords can be painfully time-consuming, but if you can just upload a feed,” says Dischler. “There’s a huge advantage to structure-based data rather than keywords.” Of course he’s talking about shopping ads where advertisers in the industry don’t need to manage keywords, but can instead just upload their merchant feed, making it much easier to set-up and maintain.

Google recently revealed a compete re-design of dynamic search ads, which is being released in the coming months, and yes, keywords are still part of this redesign, but it will make the process of finding the right keywords much easier. Essentially the new ads with be created by first having Google’s webcrawlers scrape through the content of your site, match unique pages with keywords, and then dynamically create ads that match the most relevant landing page.

I’d suspect that at the very least, Google’s shifting away from the keyword match type targeting that we know.

#5: Remarketing Functionality Will Grow

Ginny Marvin asked Dischler what’s next in terms of more custom targeting (since Google knows so much about us it’s frightening). Dischler danced around the question, but did confirm that Google has plans to enhance the functionality of remarketing. “There are two parties Google values as important, users and advertisers. For users the main concern is maintaining trust,” says Dischler. “User data is held to a high standard. On the other hand advertisers are saying ‘You’re letting us get some of this custom data, but not all.’ They want more.” To combat this Dischler pushes RLSA’s as a functionality that advertisers should not be missing out on, and finally confirms that, “we definitely plan to do more in the remarketing space, but we have to be very cautious.”

 Future of AdWords remarketing meme

#6: It Will Be Easier for Users to Buy Through the SERPs

Google has recently revealed that the buy button is real, but Dischler confirmed that Google is not attempting to become a retailer, phew. “The buy button is really about mobile and driving mobile transactions,” says Dischler. “In retail, mobile conversion rates are a little lower — keyboard input is difficult, sessions are shorter, you don’t always have payment credentials available.” Google’s main goal is to focus on the 5% of time that really matters when people are making purchase decisions, and make it really great, according to Dischler.

Other themes discussed during the talk included micro-moments (of course), cross-device targeting, attribution functionality, the accuracy of data, and in-store visits to name a few.

Dischler closed the talk by deflecting a humorous question confirming that Google is not manipulating the ad auction to increase profits. “There’s no conspiracy or collusion. Search and ad personalization are done totally separately,” says Dischler. Well, that’s a relief!

To conclude, Google plans to continue to build great platforms for the moments that matter – the micro ones of course.

What are your thoughts on the future of Google?

Are you surprised by any of the things Dischler revealed?


About the Author:

Margot is a Content Marketing Specialist at WordStream with a background in PPC, SEM, content and digital marketing. Margot is passionate about writing and is also a regular contributor to socialmediatoday.com. She enjoys running and eating ice cream during her free time (not simultaneous although that would be impressive). Follow her on:

Twitter: @ChappyMargot

Google+: +Margot da Cunha

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/margotdacunha

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Jun 08, 2015

Did you mean?

15% of searches on Google are unique and have NEVER been searched for before.

Otherwise I don't get it.

Thanks for a great article.

Margot da Cunha
Jun 09, 2015

Yes, Miguel I did! Thanks for catching that error. I've corrected the post.



Jun 08, 2015

Very good article

Margot da Cunha
Jun 09, 2015

Thank you Sekhar!

Jul 20, 2015

Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.
I'll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more
of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will certainly

Margot da Cunha
Jul 21, 2015

Thank you Alfie! Happy to hear you enjoyed it.

George Papatheodorou
Jun 08, 2015

Really exciting news. Thanx for sharing this valuable info with us :)

Margot da Cunha
Jun 09, 2015

Thanks George! Anytime :)

Matt Tutt
Jun 08, 2015

Great to hear about the planned re-development of the AdWords interface!

Margot da Cunha
Jun 09, 2015

Thanks for reading Matt!

Brad Russell
Jun 08, 2015

Wow some interesting points here Margot! I would never have guessed (without looking at my data of course) that tablet conversions would surpass desktop.

Regarding point 3 - I certainly hope this is a step in the right direction. I quite like the current interface and don't really want to have to relearn the whole platform. Not sure if I'm looking forward to this one!

Great article, some exciting times ahead in the Adwords landscape!

Margot da Cunha
Jun 09, 2015

Hi Brad,

Thanks for your comment! So happy to hear you enjoyed the post. I agree about tablet surpassing desktop, although I'm still very skeptical of how Google is defining conversions.

Regarding the interface, I'd hope that Google would make the re-design so that current advertisers don't have to completely re-learn a new platform, but rather ease in these changes over-time, but we'll see what happens.

It's definitely exciting stuff!

Eric Ellen
Jun 09, 2015

I think we are a long way away from killing off keywords. Google likes to think that they are coming close to facebook when it comes to interest targeting but they are way off. The only way this could really change is if Google allows a different targeting style for the Search network. Currently, for example I cant target Nurses through search if I am selling cool nursing apparel like I can with Facebook. I need to use keywords to target these nurses. But if a nurse does a search for stethoscopes and I am trying to advertise my cool nurse apparel then google will give me a low quality score.

Margot da Cunha
Jun 09, 2015

Hi Eric,

Thanks for your input here! It's hard to say if they are killing keywords or not, but they have definitely hinted at giving advertisers more customization control over targeting users in alternative ways, which I think is exciting stuff! Perhaps we'll be able to layer keyword targeting upon demographic or interest targeting within search in the future, but it remains to be scene.

Jun 10, 2015

Exciting news. Thank for sharing this valuable Information

Margot da Cunha
Jun 11, 2015

Anytime Gawen! Happy to hear you found it valuable.

Bob thomas
Jun 16, 2015

Thanks for sharing this informative post.

Margot da Cunha
Jun 25, 2015

Anytime Bob, thanks for reading!

Jun 18, 2015

Does Dischler actually believe the things he says or does he just have to say them because it's his job? I don't believe for a second that Tablet conversions are better than desktop based on the conversions I track and my definitions of a conversion. Second, I think it's "illogical" to dictate that tablet and desktop behavior is "so similar", therefore let's force advertisers into having no choice. This is typical Google telling me what's best for me when in reality, it's what's best for them and shareholders.

Regarding redesign of the interface, lately, engineers are designing functionality that takes control away, and makes it harder and more complex to manage accounts quickly and efficiently. One example of Google bias design is when a negative keyword conflict exists, you have the ability to remove the negatives, but no ability to remove the keywords being blocked. It's not because their developers couldn't figure out a way to design this functionality; It's because they want you delete the blocked keywords and bid on irrelevant traffic again.

The Adwords interface is a psychological mine-field with 'Recommended' actions that are only good for Google. When Dischler says "There are two parties Google values as important, users and advertisers." I can't help but involuntarily roll my eyes. If Google cares about advertisers, they sure do have an interesting way of showing it. I would say they are equivalent to a control-freak in a relationship.

Margot da Cunha
Jun 25, 2015

Wow! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jared. I think a lot of people likely encounter the similar frustrations.

I definitely agree that I'm suspicious over tablet trumping desktop for conversions, as well as claiming tablet and desktop behavior is similar.

To counter-argue, I did believe a lot of what Dischler said. A lot of companies wouldn't exist without AdWords so I think they're doing something right. As long ad the advertiser takes it upon themselves to be smart and well-informed I think they can over-come any barriers within the Google recommendations and layout of the interface.

Gordon Bujak
Jul 16, 2015

interesting article

Margot da Cunha
Jul 21, 2015

Thank you Gordon!

Osvin Web Solutions
Aug 13, 2015

Very informative post. Thanks for sharing such an awesome information.

Aug 14, 2015

It's really a nice article. Waiting for the complete rebuild of Google Adwords Interface.

Narendra Wetkoli
Aug 26, 2015

Informative article.

Mar 16, 2016

One of the most unfair things about google is they pay per click, especially in mobile business. People tend to ignore ads nowdays buy they do see them, don't they. I mean, if you want an ad on tv, you must pay for it, it doesn't matter if someone will actually buy your product. But it's their business and their rules.

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