This past month saw two new key developments in how your Adword campaign is delivered; Firstly Google introduced new ad placements in Search and secondly, an improved Product Ads is launched in Europe.
Aside from these developments the real focus of the month has been the intergration of Ads with the Google+ platform. The launch of buisness pages on G+ combined with third party social management intergration see Google showing it's intent to make G+ a superior platform for marketing. No doubt these developments will continue at a pace, and while G+ doesn't have the user numbers just yet, the opportunity is now there to adopt early with minimal effort. As is repeated throughout these posts - G+ is now an 'and' not an 'or'.
Elsewhere there are minor improvements to the Adword editor, particularly improved functionality for the top of page bid estimates. And finally our new favourite, Think Insights is launched - a brilliant resource for data snippets on consumer trends and research.
Since launching in the US almost a year ago exactly Google have seen a 600% increase in traffic from product listing ads and found consumers twice as likely to click through, compared to text ads in the same locations. With these sorts of figures this is an innovation online retailers in Europe can't afford to ignore.
As part of the ongoing improvements to Google search's design and layout your side ads may now appear at the bottom of page search results, and potentially 'elsewhere' in the future (Google are fairly ambiguous on what that could mean). Side ads are traditionally far less trusted than top ads by users, and so less valued by advertisers. This shift to a more similar position, ie. like the more trusted top ads, could really increase their value. Unfortunately Google have bundled these ads in with the 'top vs side' metric and re-named it 'top vs other', so judging the impact will be more difficult. We wouldn't be surprised to see bottom ads emerge as a 'second tier' in the future with their own bids. Watch this space.
Not strictly Adword related, but since Google posted it here we will too - and it's an important announcement for online marketing regardless. Google have allowed six of the premier developers of social media management tools to test intergration with Google+ in their products. This an essential step to Google+ becoming an everyday part of the social marketing environment and it will be extremely interesting to watch ; to see just how prepared Google are to allow content created on other platforms appear on G+, and how aggressively they try to make G+ the initial point of creation. With their hold on the Ad world this could be a prime way for them to bring business' to G+, but without the user base of other platforms will this be effective?
Continuing the theme of Google+, Google have announced the intergration of the +1 recommendation to Adwords campaigns, under the name Social Extensions. Specifically and most importantly Ads will now be able to show all the +1's your brand has received, whether it be on a search result, on your Google+ Page, your website or on your ads - rather than just the ad's landing page. As the power of personal recommendation from friends is now established, this greatly increases the possibilty of click-through based on recommendation.
Think Insights with Google is "a one-stop shop for consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research". A great addition to the Think resource, Insights is a beautifully simple presentation of some otherwise complex data. Google have sieved through the endless data available to them and presented it in short snippets which help marketers and SEOs shape their thinking.
Most valuable in our eyes is the facts and figures which give you perfect ammunition to bring home your ideas to clients, from one of the most trusted brands in the world. A brief example, trying to pitch SEO to a travel company? "62% of personal travelers use search engines as the number one source for travel information." Gold.