In last month’s live-streamed Google Performance Summit, some pretty significant changes to AdWords were announced during the ‘Google Ads & Analytics Innovations Keynote’. We already knew about the interface being refreshed from an update a few weeks earlier… but there was more.

Google stated that it is focusing on delivering solutions that will help marketers to succeed in a ‘mobile first world’, which didn’t come as a huge shock considering that half of the trillions of Google searches happen on mobile, plus back in 2013, the ability to bid on mobile devices was added as part of the migration to Enhanced Campaigns. Google was always banging on about the ‘year of mobile’, and eventually, they were right – 2015 was the year that saw smartphone searches overtake desktop in the UK.

The big three changes announced during the keynote were:

  • Expanded text ads
  • Bid adjustments for each device type
  • Responsive ads for display

Let’s take a look at what they mean, and why they are important.

Expanded text ads

After saying goodbye to right hand side ads, there was a lot of lovely space left to play with on desktop. Even though search results on mobile are already completely dominated by ads, the expanded text ads are set to capture even more real estate on mobile devices.

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This is important because:

  • It gives advertisers more characters to play with, allowing them to deliver a more concise message of what they are offering
  • Display URL paths can be customised after the domain is extracted automatically, preventing ad disapprovals for mismatches between display, final and landing page URLs
  • Google reported that during testing, some advertisers have reported increases in clickthrough rates of up to 20% compared to current text ads
  • You will need to rewrite all of your text ads – this has the potential to be a massive task for larger accounts

Flexible bid strategies across all devices

Google will soon offer bid adjustments on all devices – not just mobile. As it stands now, desktop and tablet do not have an option to increase or decrease bids, which is not ideal for B2B businesses who still get mostly desktop traffic, or for those that *still* don’t have a mobile optimised website. Sites that are not mobile optimised often have the same issues on tablet, so while the screen size may be on a par with desktop, that’s where the similarity often ends.


This is important because:

  • It gives advertisers more flexibility to bid on devices based on what ROI each delivers
  • Budgets can be redistributed more easily to target users across desktop and tablet
  • Like mobile, bids on tablet can be set to -100% to stop them from showing

Responsive ads for mobile, built by Google

To compete with social ads and other ad networks, Google has built responsive display ads for mobile, meaning that the ads will automatically resize and adjust to the look and feel of the content being shown to the the user. This allows them to tap into publishers’ native ad inventory – and all advertisers need to provide are headlines, a description, an image and a URL.

Responsive ads finalThis is important because:

  • It frees up resources – no need to bug your designer to create loads of different sizes of mobile display ads
  • It increases the number of publishers available – sites that may have been relying on another network for native ad serving can now use Google, increasing the potential reach of your ads
  • Remarketing will be taken ‘beyond the Google Display Network (GDN)’ as Google provides access to cross-exchange inventory, which includes more websites and apps around the world

For advice on how to make these updates work to your advantage, get in touch with a member of the team or leave a comment below.