Google recently went on a posting frenzy on the AdWords Blog with new updates to Google AdWords:
- Improved competitive data for Shopping Campaigns
- Merchant Center diagnostics
- Richer mobile shopping experience
1. Competitive data for Shopping Campaigns
When Google launched Shopping campaigns, they also added a number of tracking features that would let users know how their Product Listing Ads were doing, including the ability to see how campaigns were faring in terms of clicks, impressions, CTR and how they measured up against competitors. With the most recent update, users can now do a much better job of spying on measuring up the competition, seeing where lack of budgeting or ranking is having a negative effect on their campaigns and determining how campaigns are doing based on device.
The new reporting tools allow you to see not only what your impression share is compared to competitors, but also the overlap rate and your competitors’ outranking share.
You can also now see if or which campaigns are being limited by a budget that is too low or because of poor ad ranking. (Note, if your ads weren’t showing up at any point due to a limited budget during the date range being looked at, you won’t be notified of lost impressions due to rank.)
Since Google keeps reporting that people do a lot of pre-purchasing research on mobile devices, knowing where you are with mobile and tablet reach is increasingly important. A breakdown of how your ads are doing on computers, tablets and smart phones is available now, allowing you to adjust your bid modifiers accordingly.
The last two additions are bid simulator columns and flattened product groups view. The bid simulator columns feature is supposed to let you know what your ad performance will be if you change your bidding strategies, and Google says it uses data from you and your competitors’ from the last 7 days to provide results, but my guess is that all roads lead to “bid more money.” Flattened view of product groups is just another way to look at your data, and it allows you to sort by performance and impression share within ad groups.
2. Merchant Center Diagnostics
If Google isn’t happy with your ads or doesn’t feel they’re accurate, they may not be displayed. In an effort to make sure that all of your ads show (and that Google gets your money) they’ve introduced a diagnostic tab in Merchant Center, which will replace the Data Quality tab. The new tool lets you look at what changes to ads may have caused disapprovals as well as allowing you to download reports that list disapproved items and why they were disapproved. Additionally, you can see how traffic and other metrics were effected by ads not being allowed to display.
3. Fancier mobile shopping results
Since Google has noted (repeatedly, a lot, multiple times) that mobile traffic is way up this year, they’ve improved how product search results display on smart phones. Now, when people do product searches on mobile devices, they’ll get a lot of information that will help them make purchasing choices, including: product details, customer reviews and which retailers sell the product.
Google is also now showing local inventory ads on tablets, which allows shoppers who’ve gone past shipping deadlines or prefer to purchase items in person to find the closest brick and mortar store that carries what they’re looking for.
Google is also boasting that some items have the ability to be seen in 360 degree views, which sounds pretty nifty, until you realize that seeing the back of electronics isn’t really all that exciting.