Google To Set Up And Prioritize A Mobile Search Index

What Happened
In response to the fact that over half of Google searches now come from a mobile device, Google is set to create a mobile index separate from its existing search index within months. The new mobile index will become the primary index that responds to search queries. A desktop index will be maintained, but not as up-to-date as the mobile index.

Why Brands Should Care
For now, it is unclear how the mobile index will be set up as Google has yet to announce any details on the matter. But it seems safe to assume that mobile-friendly sites will receive preferred rankings in the search results. As Google’s plan for the mobile search index unfolds in the following months, brands will need to keep a close eye on this development and adjust their SEO campaigns accordingly.


Source: Search Engine Land

NYC AdWeek 2016: Google Unleashes Four Major Additions To Its Ad Network

What Happened
On the first day of the 2016 NYC AdWeek, Google announced four noteworthy additions to its ad products:

• Cross-device retargeting: Google updated its Google Display Network and DoubleClick Bid Manager to help brands retarget Google users across devices based on their Google profiles.

• Mobile ads get more local: mobile ads on Google Display Network can now include a business address and pull directions and photos from Google Maps. Home Depot tested the feature and reported an eight-time improvement on its ROI compared to its regular mobile ads.

• Online-to-store attribution: Google updated the offline measurement tools in its Google Display Network to bring more data to the table. The search giant says its measurement tools will also employ a five-million-user panel to gauge whether the display ads drive retail purchases with 99% accuracy.

• TV and YouTube ads comparison: With an upgraded version of its Brand Lift measurement product, Google now lets marketers compare the frequency of Google searches that viewers carry out after seeing a YouTube ad versus a TV ad. Google claims that the measurement tool has “seen YouTube generate almost two times the searches per impression than [sic] TV generates.”

What Brands Should Do
All together, these four additions aim to make Google’s ad products more accountable and local. For brands looking to reach a mobile audience via search ads, these new updates should come as welcome news that can further improve their digital campaigns. Retailers in particular should learn to adopt these features to enable in-store attribution tracking and cross-device retargeting for more effective campaigns.


Source: AdWeek

Google Updates AdWords To Better Serve Mobile Advertisers

What Happened
Google has updated its AdWords service to add a few mobile-friendly features. One noteworthy update is the addition of expanded text ads, which grant search advertisers longer headlines to draw in customers. The existing text ads will continue to be available until Oct. 26. Other updated features include separate device bidding and responsive display ads for native inventory. Google started rolling out the features to marketers around the world on Tuesday.

What Brands Need To Do
Google has been making several efforts lately to improve its mobile ad products as it extended AMP support to ads and landing pages, launched “Showcase Shopping” ads that cater to mobile shoppers, and added new ad formats to its AMP pages. As Google continues down this path, brand marketers need to be mindful of new features and leverage them to deliver a better mobile ad experience. And since the standard text ads won’t go away until October, brands can use this window to run some A/B tests of standard and extended text ads to figure out the optimal length for their ad copy.


Source: Search Engine Land


Google Launches “Shopping Showcase” Ads & Hotel Smart Filters

What Happened
Google unveiled some updates to its search ad products on Tuesday as it aims to court more ad dollars from retailers and travel brands. For retailers, the new “Showcase Shopping” ads allow retailers to showcase a series of product images in mobile search results. The unique feature that separates this from regular carousel ads is that it is designed to respond to vague search inquiries such as “summer dress” or “living room furniture,” and allow retailers to display a variety of options. According to Google, this kind of vaguely-worded search makes up for over 40% of shopping-related queries.

For travel and hospitality brands, Google is adding Hotel Smart Filters to search results. Now when users search for hotels, they will have the option to filter the results based on price, rating, and preferences like whether a hotel is “pet-friendly.” Hotels with prices lower than normal or running a discount will also be marked with a “Deal” label in search results.

What Brands Need To Do
The Showcase Shopping ads offer retailers a valuable tool to lure online shoppers with only broad purchase ideas in mind using a variety of relevant items from their inventory. The image-heavy nature should give retailers a better chance to pique shopper interest. As for travel brands, the updated hotel search tool means there is a better chance of standing out among competitors with a discount deal. The added filters also include preferences for hotel features, which hotels will have to make sure reflect reality.  


Sources: AdWeek

Header image courtesy of Google’s AdWords Blog

Google Updates AdWords To Improve Location-Based Ad Products

What Happened
Google has made some significant changes to its AdWords platform, beefing up its local search ad products. The search giant is bringing local search ads to Google Maps, allowing brands to surface their local search ads when a user searches for certain keywords in the Google Maps app or its web version. The company is also experimenting with a new ad unit called Promoted Pins (not to be confused with Pinterest’s ad product of the same name), which enables brands to put their logos on their store locations in Google Maps to make them easily identifiable among the generic map icons.

Besides these two major additions, Google also expanded the text preview of AdWords ads, enhanced ad image responsiveness, and tweaked its ad bidding process to allow advertisers to place bids for specific device types.

What Brands Need To Do
Altogether, these changes should make AdWords a more robust ad platform for brands. The two new additions to its local ads, in particular, should help retailers and quick-service restaurants drive more foot traffic to their stores. As Google remains a dominating force in the local search market, brands should be aware of the new products and changes Google unveils and take full advantage of them to reach consumers in moments that matter.


Source: TechCrunch

Google Brings Product Ads To Image Search

What Happened
On Monday, Google added product ads into image search results, marking the first time Google has allowed ads there. The ads, which will appear atop image search results as a carousel, will direct interested users to a retailer’s website. The ads are mobile only at the moment, which highlights Google’s priority, but the company says a desktop version is in the works.

Besides ads in Image Search, Google is also allowing local retailers to plug product inventories into their search ads, enabling shoppers to make purchases for in-store pickup and check inventory directly within search. Kohl’s is one of the first retailers to use this new feature.

Why Brands Should Care
According to Google, a third of all online purchases in the U.S. now happen on mobile devices, as mobile shopping searches increased by 30% in the past year. The new shoppable ads in Image Search provide a great new channel for retailers and fashion brands to reach shoppers with purchase intent and move them down the sales funnel. The new local inventory feature should also make search ads more effective and help retailers boost sales.


Source: AdWeek


Fast Forward: Google Now is the New Search — How To Stay Visible

Editor’s Note: FAST FORWARD is a new Lab product that aims to be your go-to guide to tech-driven changes in the media landscape. It is a FAST read for you and a simple FORWARD for your clients and team. This is the first of our Fast Forward analyses, and we welcome any constructive criticism or feedback.


What Happened?
Yesterday at its annual I/O developer conference, Google debuted some game-changing new products and services that could redefine the entire app ecosystem. The company wowed the crowd with a new “Now on Tap” feature, part of the new Android M OS, which aims to provide contextual information and app deep links based on the content currently on the screen. Moreover, Google also updated its AdMob platforms to add new features such as improved ad targeting and tools for native ad creation.

What Does This Mean for Brands?
For both Android and iOS app owners, make sure your app is submitted to Google for indexing. While Now on Tap will always be Android only, iOS apps should be indexed also as apps for both platforms will need to do so to appear in Google search results on the web.

Google also announced that Play Store app listing content can be A/B tested, and that they will help developers analyze and understand the results. The A/B testing will be a huge help in converting Play Store views into downloads.

The IPG Media Lab, Ansible, and Reprise Media can help you strategize for these changes and produce content that will maximize the benefits from the new distribution and tools. This will get your app in front of more users, both in search results and in the Play Store, and ensure that those users are reminded of your app at the most useful moments through Now on Tap.

How It Works
If a movie title is mentioned in an email, activating Now on Tap with a long press of the home button brings up a Now card with glanceable information pulled from IMDB, a link to the trailer on YouTube, and deep links to relevant apps on the user’s phone. In this case, the user could go directly to the Tomorrowland page in the IMDB or Flixster app.


For a restaurant mentioned in a text message, Now on Tap surfaces Google reviews and direct links to its location and phone number, as well as the Yelp and OpenTable apps.


For fashion brands, indexing will be key to allowing users to go directly from a brand or product mention in an email or text to an app like Spring where the user can browse your related products or complete a purchase.

For verticals such as travel, where a mobile-optimized website may have sufficed, that strategy will no longer deliver enough value on Android. A native app, submitted for indexing, will allow Now on Tap to surface your brand app at the best possible times and allow users to book the trip they were talking about.

Google has incentive to display some glanceable information to answer basic questions but not to go too far on that front because that would discourage Android app development if users got everything they needed from Now on Tap instead of the third party apps. Therefore, we expect that Now on Tap will drive more app use and surface the right apps at the right moments for Android users.

Market Impact
The new Now on Tap feature means a system-wide deep-linking integration with all third-party apps via Google Now, which produces great opportunity for brands to benefit from contextual suggestions. Interestingly, the official announcement of Now on Tap was posted on Google’s official search blog, rather than the official Android blog. This signals the importance of the new feature for Google in a world where more and more time is spent inside apps and not in the web browser, where Google has been dominant. More than half of total internet time is spent in a mobile app and almost 90 percent of mobile internet time is spent in apps. Google has figured out a way to be useful for both users and app owners in this new reality and at the same time move ahead of Apple’s Siri and Facebook’s Graph Search.

Moreover, with the new updates to the AdMob’s platform, the over 650,000 apps it currently supports can now pull ads from 40 ad networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Tencent GDT, and can present those ads in a more native format using CSS defined by the app. Similarly, Google also launched Universal App Campaigns for AdWords to help advertisers reach a wider audience across Google’s Search and AdMob platforms, as well as on mobile sites, on YouTube and on Google Play. With Facebook increasingly challenging Google’s dominance on mobile app install ads, Google clearly feels compelled to make it a more appealing ad platform for brands and developers alike with all these useful new tools.

For More Information
Please contact Engagement Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) at the IPG Media Lab if you would like more detail or to schedule a visit to the Lab.


All featured images courtesy of Google’s Official Search Blog