Google Performance Summit 2016: Product launch summaries

| 06 Jun, 2016

On 24th May 2016, Google held a Performance Summit in San Francisco to announce the latest Ads and Analytics innovations. Our PPC experts, Meghan KramerRebecca Taylor, and Jessica King have identified the top four advertising announcements and what they mean for you.

During the Summit, we began counting how many times the word “mobile” and the phrase “micro-moments” were used. We lost count! (Disclaimer: “micro-moments” is used exactly five times in this blog). People are constantly on their phones, so this didn’t exactly come as a shock when it was announced last spring that over half of Google searches are now happening on mobile. With a mobile-dominated world, we now know we need to be present on mobile and that we need to focus on reaching our customers in their special micro-moments. Google’s announcements are scaled to help us optimise toward mobile, allowing us to reach these consumers as easily and as efficiently as possible.

Expanded text ads beta

What it is:

Back in February, Google removed the right-hand side ads so that text ads would be streamlined across all devices. This opened up more space on the SERP for ads. The new format will include two headlines of 30 characters each, as opposed to just one headline of 30 characters. The description line can be as long as 80 characters now. The display URL will be pulled in dynamically from your landing page with the option to customise two URL paths. This update offers so much more room to customise your ad copy!

What it means:

Expanded text ads will allow us to take up more of the landscape and to share more information with our potential customers. We have a greater opportunity to create a lasting first impression and a greater impact. These ads should improve click through rate and quality scores as we have more space to provide more relevant information. Ideally, this will also cut down on irrelevant clicks and improve cost per click.

To prepare for this beta, advertisers will need to reassess all ad copy. Ad extensions should also be reviewed as our ads are now more prominent than they ever have been before.

Since this new format is going to take up more surface area on Google, this leads us to wonder what the future looks like for the SERP. If this beta continues to be rolled out, will search ads eventually be taking over the entire SERP? This is especially relevant to mobile where the screens are smaller and may be filled only with ads. Could bigger ads mean no more SEO? This format could have a real negative impact on SEO performance as the organic ads are pushed further down the page.

SERP new layout

Controlled bidding

What it is:

Google has decided to break up desktop and tablet bidding! Gone are the days where we wonder how desktop is actually performing and whether or not it is actually more similar to mobile. We will now be able to bid on tablet, mobile and desktop separately. The advertiser can assign which device the base bid will be attached to for any of the three device types and then can choose the mobile bid for the other two off of the base bid. In addition, there will be a wider range to adjust bids modifiers from -100%-+900%.

What it means:

By isolating mobile, we can build out our mobile strategy more than ever within AdWords. It gets rid of the question: “Is tablet more similar to desktop or to mobile?” We are now able to treat tablet as its own device. We will be able to have more control over each device, allowing us to become even more efficient, bringing down costs and increasing conversion rate.


Below is an example where we could utilise controlled bidding. By placing a negative tablet bid adjustment, this will bring down the cost as tablet does not convert as well as mobile and desktop looking at a 30-day date range. We will show less frequently for tablet and be able to bring the associated cost down.

Bid Results

Google built responsive ads for display

What it is:

This new ad format is dynamically built by Google and will adjust and resize the ad to integrate with the page where it is placed. The advertiser needs to provide the headline, description line, image, and URL. Google will make sure everything else is taken care of. This format will also be including more GDN inventory in apps and mobile websites, specifically.

What it means:

As native advertising continues be a prominent topic in the industry, it seems like Google is trying to keep up with the Joneses with this new ad format. This is one of the most seamlessly integrated GDN ad formats yet.

Local search ads

What it is:

Google announced that 1/3 of all mobile searches are local. In fact, local searches are growing 50% more quickly than mobile searches. Basically, we can confirm what we already know: people are using their phones to connect with the places and the products around them. Google is rolling out promoted pins, available on Google Maps and to supplement these searches. Advertisers who are using location extensions will have the ability to use promoted pins to target consumers who are nearby.

What it means:

There is a direct correlation of the increase of mobile searches and the increase of local searches. We know we need to be reaching consumers in their micro-moments, and local search ads allow us the opportunity to reach these people when they are out and about and most likely to engage.


Jane is on her way to the beauty salon and is using Google Maps for direction. While she is on the way, a promoted pin pops up for Starbucks. Since she is early for her appointment, the promoted pin encourages her to stop for a coffee, as Starbucks is en route.

Bottom line

There has been a lot of growth in the past few years as mobile searches have been ramping up. As these new updates are rolled out, it is important that advertisers are capturing these consumers in their micro-moments. By evaluating mobile opportunity and strategy and reconsidering how clients fit into this new landscape, we can ensure that we will be there for these micro-moments every step of the way!

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