Last month, our team had the opportunity to visit Google’s NYC office for the Google Engage Catalyst conference.
The event was directed toward agencies and, to be perfectly honest, I expected to get an earful of Google’s typical agenda pushing. Pleasantly to my surprise, Google delivered on their promise to show us “what’s new and exciting in online marketing.”
Here are the top four Google and AdWords features I’ll have my eye on this summer:
Check out this new twist on Remarketing, one of the most popular Display Network strategies. Similar Audiences  allows you to display your ads to users whose browsing behaviors are similar to those of people on your current remarketing lists. I think this is a genius idea, considering that it will give you exposure to a new, qualified audience that may not be aware of your brand. If you’re looking for a good way to expand your audience, this may be just what you need.
We had the opportunity to hear Google’s side of the story on Enhanced Campaigns , including where “the Googs” believe they have failed us. They recognized downsides like the poor ad scheduling UX, issues with App Promo ads , etc. and pledged to work on them. A number of participants requested the separation of desktop and tablet devices, but the Google reps made no promises. Oh, another tidbit—they warned everyone to take the plunge to Enhanced Campaigns as soon as possible. If you haven’t done so yet, I’d recommend starting to migrate soon. (The deadline is July 22.)
If you haven’t used it yet, I highly recommend heading to the Tools and Analysis tab to give it a whirl. On a basic level, the tool helps you to brainstorm new keyword/ad group ideas, view statistics and performance estimates for keywords specific to your targeting settings and create permutations of keyword lists. Still an advocate of the Traffic Estimator/Keyword Tool? You’re out of luck, as Google plans to sunset these tools in a few months. Start getting used to their replacement!
Pro tip: The Keyword planner uses exact match estimates for average monthly searches. To get broad and phrase match traffic, you will need these Google Keyword Planner hacks .
This is an “oldie but a goodie” that we revisited during our training sessions. This tool allows you to track how popular search terms have been on Google and YouTube based on time, region, demographic and a number of other factors. This is a great way to learn more about your popular keywords and compare the performance of different terms. But be careful, Google Trends has a tendency to suck you in with its stats. Steer clear of the Google Hot Trends section, unless you have some time to kill.