With the holiday season just around the corner, what improvements have Google made to AdWords in 2016 to help advertisers really make the most of the busiest time of year?
Below is a summary (in chronological, then in priority order) of the more important changes rolled out between January and September in 2016, these include SERP changes, ad innovations, account management & reporting, and enhanced targeting options.
- January: Custom columns (Account management & reporting)
- February: Removal of right hand side ads (SERP changes), Campaign drafts and experiments (Account management & reporting)
- April: Local search ads (Ad innovations)
- May: Customer match similar audiences (Enhanced targeting options)
- July: Expanded text ads and price extensions (Ad innovations)
- September: Cross device retargeting (Enhanced targeting options), Campaign groups and performance targets (Account management & reporting)
Removal of right hand side ads (SERP changes)
Since the AdWords program started in 2000, ads have been served above and to the right of organic/natural results, in February 2016 this changed with Google removing all right hand side ads.
This change caused some concern within the industry, with advertisers predicting a drop in impressions with an increase in costs.
With fewer ad positions available it follows that impressions have decreased, however CPCs have remained relatively static with some advertisers actually seeing a decrease.