Did you know half of all Google search queries are now coming from smartphones and tablets?

Google certainly did, according to Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president of Ads and Commerce.

And also with certainty, Google responded with the introduction of significant features changes to AdWords and subsequently to Google Analytics.

Google announced the changes to several hundred advertisers and partners at its recent annual Google Performance Summit in San Francisco.

'The Shift to Mobile Has Happened'

Google launched its iconic search ads service 15 years ago. AdWords were originally designed for a world where searches were conducted on desktop computers, usually at home.

But ubiquitous WiFi and mobile devices have changed that paradigm.

The new features Google introduced come as marketers increasingly embrace mobile and the related consumer behaviors as essential components of a complete marketing plan.

Ramaswamy summarized the lay of the land best when he stated, “The shift to mobile is not about to happen. Or is happening … It has happened.”

He also gave industry examples of best practices.

Macy's and Toyota, for example, take advantage of micro moments — moments in which customers digitally connect with a brand. The examples demonstrate how retailers and brands can complement the customers' needs in a given moment.

For example, when searching from a smartphone, the Macy’s mobile site gives customers the options to call or search for a local store. If customers are searching on a laptop, the Macy's ad leads to the company website.

The Specifics of the AdWords Changes

The AdWords changes altered how ads appear on mobile with respect to three influences on ad campaigns: device, location and things of interest. They:

  • Overhauled ad creative to take advantage of mobile-first behavior. This includes longer headline lines and expanded text characters appearance — up to 80 characters on a line. Google found that by increasing the ad text and providing more information before a click, the click through rate improved significantly.
  • Bids can be optimized for mobile, desktop and tablet device within a single AdWords campaign.
  • Google also found a way to make call extensions better (for more those, check out this CMSWire post). Location extensions can now provide details on product availability at a given store, helping to increase foot traffic to retail locations.
  • Ad features that complement Google Maps, such as promoted pins, highlight stores along a planned route to help drive store visits.

Google execs also shared that the migration to an updated AdWords manager interface is underway, as we earlier noted in the post Google AdWords Changes Will Affect Paid Search, CX Strategy.

What Marketers Should Know

So what does this mean for analytics?

For starters marketers must consider content that goes into mobile campaigns so that they can understand what additional content draws people to the store.

This can be as straightforward as noting which store products noted in campaigns are selling well when mentioned to considering A/B tests when comparing text.

The changes also mean marketers should consider how advanced measures link behavior to an ad click. An example would be monitoring foot traffic within the store that generates from a mobile ad.

Despite some debates about revenue generate per click ad, Google continued to see significant contribution from mobile search ads. Google controls a large share of the worldwide mobile ad market — 33.7 percent of 2015 global mobile internet ad revenues according to eMarketer.

To continue that dominance, Google sought improvements that better match the new reality of consumer micro-moments that are enhanced with mobile devices.

As the improvements are rolled out, marketers will have the chance to match the micro-moment reality in their advertising campaigns.

Title image "keep up" (CC BY 2.0) by katie licht