Today's the day: Google finally spilled the beans about the new features that are coming to AdWords. (Protip: sign up for our webinar  tomorrow for an in-depth look at the changes and how they'll affect you!) Now we can finally tell you what they actually announced. Here’s our take on this exciting news.
New AdWords Features Overview
Before we get into the specifics of the new AdWords features, I wanted to provide you with an overview of the key points about these planned improvements. I recently spoke with Aaron Stein, Google’s Global Communications and Public Affairs Manager, who told me that:
- These features will be entirely optional, unlike last year’s mandatory (read: “destructive”) Enhanced Campaigns update.
- Also, unlike last year’s EC update, no existing features are being retired as a result of these new features.
- The new features will be rolled out over the course of “several months”.
- Rather than larger-scale “event launches,” deployment of these new features will most likely be done on an incremental, piecemeal basis.
Now, let’s talk specifics.
AdWords Introduces New Enterprise-Class Tools
When we first heard about Google’s plans for its “enterprise-level tools,” we thought that AdWords was just appeasing its largest advertisers by rolling out a series of features that would let them spend even more money. Google told me that despite their name, these enterprise-class tools would actually be available to all advertisers and won’t be restricted to businesses of a certain size or annual ad spend. And these new tools look really awesome.
Soon, all businesses running numerous campaigns (whether a few dozen or several thousand) will be able to take advantage of:
- Bulk actions - Make bulk edits like location targeting, ad rotation etc.
- Automated bidding - Soon advertisers will be able to set up automated bidding to either maximize conversions or maximize revenues. Google notes that this was "once only available in third-party tools."
- Enhanced reporting - Google is also introducing some cool advanced reporting features, essentially Excel for AdWords. We'll have access to visualization tools and drag-and-drop pivot tables. Instead of moving data over into Excel for manipulation, you'll be able to create reporting with live data. This is pretty awesome.
- “Your Own Lab” - Similar to AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE), this new feature allows you to make changes in "draft mode" so you can see, based on real data, what effect changes would have on your campaigns, in order to make more data-driven decisions.
Here are some screenshots of what the new reporting features will look like:
Bulk actions in AdWords
Drag and drop reporting interface
Data visualization tools
Draft mode in AdWords (this one via Manish Barmecha, our VP of Product, who was at the live event)
Key Takeaways: With this announcement Google is apparently going after enterprise AdWords platforms like Kenshoo and Marin. For the first time, they’re offering enterprise-level features previously only available in third-party platforms. It will be interesting to see if enterprise companies can get by using AdWords alone down the line. It's also surely evidence that AdWords Editor really is going away .
AdWords Doubles Down on Mobile App Marketing
Google chose to lead with the announcements related to Mobile App marketing. However, they said, "it’s not really about mobile, it’s about consumers." The mobile app economy was pegged at $29.5 billion last year by Gartner, which is huge and so naturally, companies are looking for ways to promote their apps in a crowded app store.
Google has previously done some work here, for example, acquiring the AdMob network  made promoting apps easier, and last year they rolled out a helpful App Promotion Ad format . Today, Google hopes to make spreading the word about your app even easier through several exciting new features:
- Better Targeting: AdWords advertisers will be able to reach prospective customers based on the type of apps they have on their mobile devices, how frequently they use these apps, their in-app purchases, and their app download history. For example, if you exercise regularly and use an app to measure how far you run, you might see an ad for an app that helps you measure the foods you eat and calories consumed.
- Way More Ad Impressions: You’ll start seeing App Promotion Ads while browsing YouTube videos on mobile, which should greatly increase the ad inventory for this ad unit, since 40% of YouTube views, are on mobile .
- Better Re-Engagement: According to Google, 80% of downloaded apps are used only once and then deleted. Lots of businesses are able to get their apps onto a device, but might never see their customer again. To combat this lack of app engagement, Google is enabling search ads that push consumers directly into already-installed apps.
- App Analytics Measurement: In AdWords you’ll soon be able to measure conversions across the entire lifecycle of the app - from install to re-engagement to in-app purchases.
I asked Google several questions regarding about this major App Marketing push in AdWords:
- How does the new app marketing targeting work? How does Google know what apps I’ve installed? They confirmed to me that no new identifiers have been developed (e.g.: no new mobile cookies), and compared this new technology to how existing organic search indexing allows performed on the organic side to deep link directly into Android apps.
- What about iOS apps? Google says that these features would be implemented on an “Android-first,” not “Android-only” basis. This means that apps in the Google Play Store will initially be prioritized over those on the App Store, but that Google isn’t eliminating this functionality from iOS apps entirely – hardly surprising.
Key Takeaways: Google is trying to be a trailblazer in the app space – they know apps are where it’s at in mobile, and this positions them at the front of the industry in terms of ad targeting and analytics for mobile apps. They also want to make it easier for users to find, download and engage with apps, since they might not always know that an app is what they need. (AKA, apps are just answers, just like ads .)
Estimated Total Conversions
Google also promised to continue investment in and development of the Estimated Total Conversions features of AdWords.
Details about what this “continued investment” actually involves are still scarce. All Google would say is that there is nothing new to announce regarding the development of non-estimated ways to measure the ROI of mobile ad campaigns – a move that will no doubt delight the naysayers who have derided Estimated Total Conversions from the beginning, but keep in mind that they’re working on interesting ways to follow potential customers in the offline world .
Key Takeaways: Advertisers have been paranoid about Google taking away their toys. The reality is this announcement is no big deal – Google is offering some cool new features, but they aren’t taking anything away like they did with Enhanced Campaigns last year.
Finally, don’t forget to register for tomorrow’s webinar , where we’ll tell you exactly how these changes will affect your campaigns and how to take advantage of these new features.