shopping in the snow
Google released a number of updates to its Adwords Experience in advance of the busy holiday shopping period PHOTO: Craig Whitehead

Every shopper wants to get bargains online, especially during the holiday shopping season.

With that in mind, Google has added a few features to AdWords to help retailers and marketers improve the take rate on their online deals. The features are incorporated into an updated AdWords Manager, now called the AdWords Experience.

Meaningful ‘Micro-Moments’

The AdWords Experience is meant to foster meaningful campaign strategy changes that relate to customer “micro-moments.” Micro-moments are those instances when people pause to consider what they really need or want before going online to find products or services. These moments occur when people interact with their smartphones or smart home devices to find the answers to questions, say what they want to do or learn what places, events or products are nearby. When people engage in such queries, a brand should respond with content, including digital ads, that demonstrates how its product or service could fulfill the individual’s needs or desires.

With the holiday season in full swing, marketers now have an opportunity to experiment with campaigns to ensure they have what people are looking for during those all too fleeting micro-moments before the customer moves on to their next task.

How AdWords Experience Can Help

The AdWords Experience features a new interface and boasts faster page loads, so users can gain access to reports quicker. It’s one of the results of Google’s “Material Design” overhaul of all of its online properties, an effort in which the company introduced a consistent visual layout standard to its developer community with the goal of having a consistent look and feel for all user interface elements across devices.

The new AdWords Experience also includes bid adjustments for call extensions, an audience manager that unifies troubleshooting and adjusting of remarketing lists across search and YouTube, and a host of dashboard features, such as an overview page that curates campaign performance metrics.

Google’s approach to the new features was to design them in a way that simplifies how an AdWords campaign can be changed, saving marketers time.

Easier Ad Updates

Take promotion extensions. Promotion extensions allow users to update ads without having to create new ads. Google started testing the feature a year ago but only rolled promotion extensions out for all users in mid-November. Updates are meant to be in the form of simple offers that match up to the queries customers make during micro-moments — for example, a certain percentage off a new shirt or blouse, a promotion code that discounts shopping cart items or an offer period for which a discount applies.

Landing page performance is also covered: The AdWords Experience lets marketers know if a page is mobile-friendly. That diagnostic complements a recent update to Google Optimize, the testing platform. Back in May, Google announced an AdWords sync for Optimize. The sync allows landing page testing arranged by keyword, ad group or ad campaign. The end result is a fast and convenient way for marketers to test changes across text ad campaigns.

Showcase Shopping Ads

Probably the most intriguing and useful update is the Showcase Shopping ads feature. Showcase Shopping ads display a group of related products when a shopper searches for a general term. A regular AdWords ad appears, but when a shopper clicks on the ad, a small group of relevant items are unfurled on-screen. You can select the products that will appear in a Showcase Shopping ad, such as best-selling clothes or seasonal items like boots or shovels. In addition to potentially raising the conversion rate, this feature could also raise the average order value by promoting other products that are relevant to a given micro-moment. For example, Showcase Shopping ads for gloves and scarves could appear in response to a query for boots.

An earlier earlier post noted how Google is using machine learning to position its services as a technological assistant. The company is using that approach in the AdWords Experience, and the ultimate result could be ads in which the product or service assists in addressing a customer’s micro-moment needs.