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Written by Caroline Cox on Aug 5 , 2020

From mobile app updates to enhanced targeting, these are the latest Google Ads tools that should be on your radar.

Here, you’ll find:

  • The latest Google Ads tools worth looking into
  • How these tools can enhance your digital marketing efforts
  • Ways to make responsive search ads work for you
  • New updates to YouTube ads

In February 2020, Google made the decision to cancel one of its biggest annual gatherings, the Google I/O developer conference. The cancellation came amid the nascent (but, it turns out, lasting) pandemic that had begun sweeping the globe. 

But that doesn’t mean things have slowed down at the search engine giant. Google continues to churn out updates, news, and modifications to its search algorithm and ads platform. 

Whether you’re neck-deep in advertising on a daily basis, just getting started, or working with an agency, these five new Google Ads tools and updates can help make management more convenient, improve your targeting, boost your conversion rates, and more. 

google ads mobile app

The Google Ads app has gone through improvements to make managing your Google Ads account on the go easier than ever. (Image via Google)

1. Improved Google Ads mobile app

Overall consumer trends continue to favor mobile over desktop. Not only that, but Google itself has announced that it will launch mobile-first indexing in spring 2021. This means the search engine will crawl the mobile site of a web page before the desktop version to determine where it should rank in search results.

With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that the Google Ads app has recently gone through its own set of improvements to make managing your Google Ads account on the go easier than ever. Before, you could only use the app to turn on and pause ads. Now, you can also create and edit responsive search ads whether at home, in the office or on the go.

2. Enhanced targeting tools

While targeting tools are nothing new to the Google Ads platform, there are new audience segmentations that you can now put to use. Affinity audience targeting can help you attract more top-of-funnel leads, while in-market audience targeting can help connect you with more bottom-of-the-funnel searchers ready to make a decision.

Affinity audiences can expand your ad reach and help you snag those who could be in the market for your product or service by virtue of their interests. For example, if you’re targeting keywords like “chef’s knife,” an affinity audience could be “home cooks.” For in-market audiences, you can better target those who are ready to buy but that you might not otherwise be targeting. 

HawkSEM blog: Google Ads Tools

You can create these extensions in your Google Ads app by adding a CTA and extension text. (Image via Unsplash)

3. Responsive search ads 

Put simply, responsive search ads let your ads work smarter, not harder. By creating multiple headlines and descriptions for your responsive search ads, Google can try out various combinations and eventually determine which ones perform best together. 

These types of search ads also allow you to show more text in your ads, which provides helpful context for your customers and can potentially increase your conversion rate. Best practices for responsive search ads include:

  • Putting high-volume keywords in your headlines
  • Creating a minimum of five varied headlines that aren’t too similar to one another
  • Including at least two varied descriptions 
  • Adding additional headlines and descriptions that highlight other benefits of your product or service

4. Lead form ad extensions

Leads are at the heart of digital marketing. That’s because more leads mean more data, which means more information about your customers and prospects, which (ideally) means higher conversions and stellar ROI.

That’s where the lead form ad extension comes in. You can create these extensions in your Google Ads app by adding a call to action (CTA) and extension text. Once a user clicks the CTA button, a form will appear. Plus, just to make submission easy-breezy, the form can be pre-populated with the user’s contact info pulled from their own Google account. 

While optimized landing pages are still important, this ad extension allows you to experiment with a new form of information gathering and can pair well with your other efforts to get you as many leads as possible. 

google ads youtube ad lead extensions

The new ad extensions work similarly to lead form ad extensions in that the viewer can interact with your CTA without leaving the YouTube platform. (Image via Google)

5. New YouTube ad extensions

Nearly three-fourths of the U.S. population use YouTube. And with billions of monthly users across the globe, it makes sense that Google is consistently working to enhance and improve the popular video platform. The same goes for YouTube ads.

We talked before about the various types of YouTube ads and best practices when creating video ads of your own. The new ad extensions work similarly to lead form ad extensions in that the viewer can interact with your CTA without leaving the YouTube platform. 

Once someone clicks the CTA, they’ll see a drop-down menu with additional next steps, such as a special discount code, a limited-time offer, or more information about your brand.

The takeaway

Between the algorithm changes, policy updates, and app iterations, keeping up with Google can seem like a full-time job. And, of course, some updates will be more impactful than others. 

But staying in the loop is worth it. By knowing about all the latest and greatest Google Ads tools, you can be sure you’re taking advantage of all the features at your disposal and staying competitive in your industry. 

This article has been updated and was originally published in October 2019.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Aug 3 , 2020

As Google Shopping celebrates its 18th birthday, the founders are giving vendors a nice gift: welcoming unpaid organic listings back to search results.

Here you’ll learn:

  • The 411 on new Google Shopping developments
  • Ways the platform has evolved since it began
  • How Froogle evolved into Google Shopping
  • How these changes can affect your company

The COVID-19 pandemic’s effects have been felt across the globe. As a result, many brick-and-mortar stores have closed, bringing online shopping to an all-time high.

As merchants migrated over to the e-commerce realm, some were met with unexpected obstacles like the need to pay for their product listings onto the Google platform.

In April 2020, Google announced that they were bringing free listings to the Google Shopping tab in the United States. Google’s reps said they’ve been planning to make the Shopping feature free for merchants for some time. The pandemic simply pushed them to implement changes earlier. The new development doesn’t mean that merchants can’t pay for advertising their products anymore. Paid campaigns will simply be augmented with free listings. 

Bill Ready, president of Google’s commerce division, explained that this change means stores can now get free exposure to the millions of users who use Google for their shopping needs every day. (The unpaid listings won’t show up on the search engine results page directly. Rather, they’ll be available under the “Shopping” tab.)

Online shopping package received from the mail

Google Shopping launched under a completely different name: Froogle. It was founded by Craig Nevill-Manning in 2002. (Image via Unsplash)

Google Shopping’s evolution

Google isn’t constantly evolving its shopping feature simply to please merchants and buyers. The service is fighting hard for its place in the online shopping world. In past years, reports say Google Shopping has been losing clients to its biggest competitor: Amazon.

By forcing merchants to pay for listings, Google inadvertently limited the number of products the service offered. With the new development, the service becomes more appealing to sellers, which should eventually bring more buyers to the platform.

How Google Shopping began

Google Shopping first launched under a completely different name: Froogle. Craig Nevill-Manning founded the platform in 2002.

Froogle started out as a service that helped people search for products online and compare their features and prices. Back then, listing products was free of charge. The platform was highly convenient for buyers and monetized through Google Ads (Google AdWords at the time) by sellers.

The platform’s initial goal was to help buyers compare products. The idea quickly gained popularity since it allowed customers to explore different brands without switching to other websites. Even though it was free to list products on Froogle, merchants had to pay to display sponsored links.

From Froogle to Google Products

In 2007, Froogle evolved from a comparison service to a place where customers could also make purchases. That’s when higher ups changed the name to Google Product Searches.

The reasoning was simple: A witty pun that tied Google and “frugal” together was lost on many international users. Eventually, Google Product Searches was shortened to the more concise Google Products.

The same year, the service went through a major change. The site formerly known as Froogle was integrated with Google Search. This meant products could appear on the search engine results page (SERP) right next to other results of the same search query.

Google Products becomes Google Shopping

Another major change came about in 2012, when Google Products stopped being a free service and turned into Google Shopping. Now, merchants had to pay to get their products listed.

Google explained that the move was sparked by the brand’s desire to improve user experience and help connect searchers with the right sellers. At that time, Google also launched a Google Express feature. This allowed shoppers to put products from different merchants into the same cart on the platform and make an instant purchase.

local business e-commerce

The ability to purchase directly from Google simplified the buying process, drove sales, and drove impulse buying. (Image via Unsplash)

Google Shopping grows into a major e-commerce platform

In 2019, the platform took a huge step toward becoming a serious e-commerce platform. The new update rolled out in France, then became available in the United States. 

This update focused on customer personalization and made the checkout process easier with a few new features:

  • Recommendations – Google started offering product recommendations based on the user’s browser history and the products they viewed or purchased — the users also got a personalized homepage
  • Price tracking – users could track the price on their favorite products so Google could notify them whenever prices dropped
  • Local searches – allowed users to search for certain products and retailers in their local area
  • Instant purchase – the ability to purchase products directly from Google Shopping (the Google Express feature was fully integrated into Google Shopping)

With these new features, Google Shopping became a highly convenient selling tool for retailers. The ability to purchase directly from Google simplified the buying process, drove sales, and drove impulse buying.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it was becoming more and more like Amazon. The new update stirred even more competition between the two platforms.

Pro tip: The ability to list products for free on Google Shopping may require adjustments to your search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns. The quality and optimization of the product feed is crucial to the likelihood of it appearing as a response to the search query.

The takeaway

In 2002, Google Shopping started as a user-friendly product comparison service. Fast-forward to 2020, and it has evolved into a serious e-commerce platform poised to give Amazon a run for its money.

The latest Google Shopping update allows merchants to list their products free of charge. Each new step of this evolution drives marketers to monitor and potentially improve their SEO campaigns, since the latest development emphasizes the importance of title, image, and product description optimization.

This evolution is a great example of a brand working steadfast to please users while remaining competitive and current with ever-changing technology.

Want to learn more about optimizing your Google Shopping product listings for SEO? Let us know.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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Written by Jane Serra on Feb 12 , 2020

Get ahead of the competition by optimizing your Google Shopping Ads campaign

Here you’ll find:

  • How Google Shopping Ads works
  • How to target the right keywords
  • The reasons why adding negative keywords is crucial
  • Best practices for optimizing ad images
  • How Showcase Shopping ads can help your brand 

The Google Shopping Ads feature is one of the best ways to get your products noticed. You upload your featured products to the Google Merchant Center, splash in some keywords, and images of your products will start to pop up on a Google search along with their prices.

It may sound simple, but there are a handful of key things you need to know to bring in serious sales using this service. If you want to take your marketing game to the next level, consider these six must-know tips to make Google Shopping Ads work for you.

HawkSEM: 6 Must-Know Tips to Make Google Shopping Ads Work for You

Optimizing the information you submit to Google is the key to getting the best return on investment. (Image via Rawpixel)

How does Google Shopping Ads work?

Before we dive into the tips, Google Shopping Ads – formerly known as AdWords – is a paid search advertising service that is available for e-commerce businesses to use to attract new clients.

This service lets brands set up campaigns based on their budget. Your ad will appear in the search results page with your product, cost information, and product photo when a relevant keyword is used in a search.

This will give you a marketing edge because consumers will see your products at the top of the page. It can also benefit you by pushing competitors farther down the search results page. 

What do I need to know about Google Shopping Ads?

Optimizing the information you submit to Google is the key to getting the best return on investment. Let’s go over these 6 tips.

1. Optimize your data feed

When you log in to your Google Merchant account, you’ll want to ensure that your data feed has the necessary information for your product titles. Descriptions in the product title should include:

  • Brand name
  • Material type
  • Sizes
  • Color
  • Model number

Do some keyword research to make sure you’re using the best keywords in your title descriptions. You can use Google’s keyword tracking tools such as Google Search Console and AdWords Keyword Planner to help with this.

2. Target the right keywords

You’ll want to leverage the same keywords a consumer would type into the Google search bar. For example, if your company sells coconut oil, “coconut oil” as a keyword would be too broad to use. 

Instead, imagine the searcher is looking for more specific information about “coconut oil.” It’s best to use long-tail keywords like “best all-natural coconut oil” or “coconut oil for cooking.” Implementing long-tail keywords gives your product a better chance to reach the right audience.

Being specific is important because you don’t want to waste money serving ads to people who aren’t looking for your exact product. Your coconut oil could be used for cooking, for example, while someone is looking for coconut oil body lotion.

3. Add negative keywords

Adding negative keywords tells the search engine platform that you don’t want your ad to end up in a specific search. Let’s go back to the coconut oil example. 

Refined coconut oil goes through a lot of processing and can be used to make soaps, bath oils, or body moisturizers, while unrefined coconut oil is best for cooking. If you’re selling unrefined coconut oil for cooking, excellent negative keywords you’ll want to add would be “refined coconut oil” or “processed coconut oil.” 

4. Optimize your images

To grab a consumer’s attention, make sure you’re uploading high-quality images to associate with your products. Keep in mind that, per Google, your images need to be under 1024 kilobytes

To get the best images possible, consider using a DSLR camera. These are cameras that provide the most detail and are used by professionals.

 Also, make sure your products are clear with no distractions or busy backgrounds. The most popular look is the product with a white background. Use good lighting and make sure the product is the main focus. 

HawkSEM: 6 Must-Know Tips to Make Google Shopping Ads Work for You

If your products aren’t converting, you may want to consider moving them to a different ad group and lowering your bids. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Focus on your top-selling products

Putting your top-selling products in their own ad group will give you the best chance at finding the right audience. You can track your top-selling products by using Google Analytics. Make your bids are on the higher side for these items for maximum exposure.  

If your products aren’t converting, you may want to consider moving them to a different ad group and lowering your bids. This can help ensure you’re maximizing your marketing budget and not overspending.

6. Use Showcase Shopping ads

The standard option that most businesses use is Product Shopping ads. These are the ads that show up on the top of a search results page. They have a product photo, price, and star reviews all nicely packaged in a small box that consumers can easily click on. 

Another option is Showcase Shopping ads. Showcase Shopping ads give your audience a preview of what your brand is all about. This option lets you feature more than one product. It’s also ideal for broader keyword searches. For example, if you sell summer dresses, you can feature multiple dresses you sell in one ad for that keyword.

The takeaway

The tips we’ve mentioned above are crucial for making your Google Shopping Ads campaign successful. Paid search advertising like Google Shopping Ads help your audience find your products. By following the strategies of keyword targeting, using negative keywords, and image optimization, you’ll be on the right track of making your ads pay off.   

Want to find out how you can optimize your PPC campaigns even further? Let’s talk!

Jane Serra

Jane Serra

Jane Serra is the VP of Marketing at HawkSEM. She's an accomplished marketing executive with more than 12 years of experience leading digital marketing teams across demand generation, branding, events, content, and communications. When she's not strategizing, networking, and honing her craft, she enjoys traveling and scrolling Yelp for new restaurants to try.

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