As we’ve come to expect from Google, tons of great new features and updates have been released so far this year. Since we just passed the half-way point of 2011, I thought now would be a good time to take a look at some of the best features that AdWords has released this year (well, in my opinion at least). Take a look at the ones I have listed below, and feel free to share some of your favorite new AdWords features as well.

  • Extended Headlines:
    • This new feature is great to utilize if you want to make your ads stand out among your competition. By editing your ad body copy to be a distinct sentence with proper punction, you increase chances of having an extended headline. Adjust some of your ads and see if this format helps boost your CTR.
  • Google +1 Button for Ads:
    • This is a newer feature for 2011 that is still being rolled out to more and more advertisers. As Google’s +1 initiative picks up steam, ads with the +1 icon will begin to get more notice. Again, what I really like here is the added visibility  this icon gives your ads. The +1 button also gives you another opportunity to stand out from your competition by being "+1’d" more than they are.
  • Automated Rules:
    • Made available to all advertisers in February 2011, Automated Rules allow you to manage those day-to-day account updates much more efficiently. Everything from adjusting ad positions, pausing or enabling ads, or adjusting your bids can be automated to a certain degree with Automate Rules.
  • Display URL in Headlines:
    • Again, we have another new feature that extends the length of your ad’s headline, this time with the destination URL domain tacked onto your normal headline text. As an added bonus, Google may combine both the Extended Headline and Display URL features for select top placement ads, as long as the resulting headline is no longer than 68 characters.
  • AdWords Editor Version 9.0:
    • As I’ve said many times before, if you are not using AdWords Editor, START! The latest release of AdWords Editor comes with several new upgrades, including the ability to manage Ad Sitelinks, adjust mobile targeting options, and easily bulk edit negative keywords. Download it now if you haven’t already.
  • Instant Preview for Ads:
    • Many PPC marketers (including myself) are weighing out the apparent pros and cons of this new feature. On one hand, it does offer users extra insight into qualifying a landing page before clicking, which can be benficial for both searchers and advertisers. On the other hand, the Instant Preview feature itself is kind of annoying, and I have set my own personal search settings so that Instant Preview is disabled. At the end of the day, I have to side with any feature that helps promote relevancy of landing pages for searchers, in addition to potentially saving money for advertisers on errant clicks.

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