Google is Evolving Paid Search

A summary of Google’s newer features aimed at improving paid search presented by Mark Martel, Head of Search Ads Marketing at Google, SMX East 2012, New York City

Google sees 100 billion queries every month – that’s over a trillion a year. As such, Google continues to engineer solutions aimed at providing better results for those searches. As with all things Google, the goal is a quality experience for the end user based on intent, and delivering relevant information quickly. Of course, improved ROI for advertisers is a major goal too. After all, they are the ones writing the checks. Here’s a summary of the features:


These links are displayed within your paid ads to help visitors dive deeper into your website. One of the keys to PPC success is to drive traffic to a relevant page that matches the user’s intent. But in this scenario, marketers decide where the user lands. With site links, more control is given to the visitor. Think about it – aren’t they really the best person to decide what they want? Up to six destination URLs may be added.

Seller Ratings Extensions

In line with their insatiable quest for quality results, seller ratings extensions help people identify how the public perceives merchants on Google. Presented as stars, Google uses multiple databases from around the web to pull the reviews. Adding these can give a 5-10% lift in click through rates. So, if you have good ratings, don’t be shy about integrating and sharing them!

Automated Rules

In the past, these functions were only available through third-party bid management solutions. Now, you can automate changes to certain aspects of your account based on attributes you select. Here are a few examples:

  • Change daily budget on peak shopping days
  • Modify Max CPC bids based on click-through-rate (CTR) or conversion rates
  • Enable ad text that directs users to specific landing pages at a particular time of day or the week

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

Not to be confused with Ad Retargeting, this feature improves the relevance of search ads by allowing you to adjust keywords, ads, bids or landing pages based on pages visited on a website. Note that ad selection is not based on previous searches. For this feature to kick in, the search must match the keywords, and cookies must be enabled. One case study showed an impressive 315% increase in conversion rate; and a boost return on advertising spend (ROAS) by 250%

Search Funnels

As you could guess, these illustrate  the entire search path up to conversion, including ad clicks and impressions. These help you identify which phrases are working, and which need more love and attention. In theory, it’s pretty simple. In practice, it’s very effective. “Set it and forget it” programs don’t hold up over time. This function gives you a visual representation to focus your tweaking efforts and improve performance.

Dynamic Search Ads

This is way cool. Google will generate ads on the fly with a headline based on the query and matching content on your website. How does it know? Duh, it’s Google! It uses organic search algorithms to crawl and identify the appropriate content, then generates the highly targeted dynamic ad.

Product Listing Ads

These are AdWords ads that include product attributes such as image, price, merchant, etc. Again, the goal here is relevance. This function does require you to be up and running on Google Merchant.

Shared Budgets

Simply put, this allows you to share a daily budget over multiple campaigns. This function is designed to better allocate your budget, and improve your performance over time; both with minimized effort.

In Summary

Above is just a sampling of the groovy features that were highlighted. Additional ones included:

Segments – split your data for easier comparison

Google Trusted Stores – a seal of approval that helps attract new customers, but requires integration with your internal customer service and shipping history databases

AdWords Labels – label certain aspects of your program to make it easier to find info and generate reports

AdWords Scripts – make changes to your program via JavaScript

Campaign Simulator – if you change your budget, what will it mean? This function does the modeling for you based on the campaign attributes you adjust.

Google Tag Manager – designed to save time, this allows you to put a single code snippet on your pages to manage monitoring for multiple platforms for analytics, conversion, remarketing, etc. Oh, yes, Google is playing nice – it is compatible with other service providers

At a time where advertisers and agencies are looking to improve campaigns and returns, it’s great to see that Google continues to innovate. You can learn more about these features, and others at Google’s blog

In the meantime, I’d like to know what you’re thinking: which features appeal to you most? Why?

Image courtesy of jscreationzs /
Phil Paranicas


About Phil Paranicas

Industrial Digital Marketing Specialist View all posts by Phil Paranicas

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