How 6 New Changes Announced at Google Performance Summit Will Affect AdSense Publishers
Google sure does love its advertisers! That’s why most of the announcements that came out of the Google Performance Summit (GPS) last week were aimed at keeping their advertisers happy. Because advertisers are like mall shoppers and happy shoppers spend more on ads. Actually, that’s good for publishers too so don’t feel neglected.
In case you’ve lived in a well for the past couple of years, Google is also absolutely in-love with mobile traffic. We don’t need to tell you why — you already know that’s where the audience is but mobile is also where the largest potential for growth lies.
Ad networks have yet to fully crack or hack mobile advertising campaigns, which means there’s still a ways to go to make advertisers and users happy.
But does Google still love us, publishers? Well, the messages we got from the GPS event were somewhat mixed. Most of them had little to do with AdSense directly, but can indirectly affect your earnings. So which direction will your AdSense revenues go, with these new updates on the AdWords side of the ad marketplace?
1. It’s all about location, location, location — Local Search on Google Maps
Google has been working on integrating its map service with its key strength — search services. This isn’t because they want to make it easier for you to find places by using smarter search algorithms to interpret your query.
No, they do this because where there are keywords — there can be CPC ads, and where there’s location data, these ads can be localized for better conversions.
The new Google Maps are going to offer attractive advertising capabilities for small businesses and local branches based on user location as well as other data.
Sounds pretty good for Adwords advertisers but what does this mean for AdSense publishers?
More Inventory = Less Competition
One of the largest issues facing online publishing today is that there’s not enough available mobile ad inventory to satisfy growing demand. This mostly has to do with small screens being able to accommodate less ads without becoming overly obtrusive.
According to Google, Google Maps now has more than a billion users. Now that Google Maps is part of Google’s ad inventory, offered up to Adwords advertisers (as well as other advertisers — more on that below), Google can serve a lot more mobile ad impressions.
The laws of supply and demand tell us that if we increase supply of a certain product to satisfy increased demand we’ll effectively stop prices from going up. Or in digital advertising terms — more ad inventory means diminished demand for every ad unit and diminished CPCs and CPMs. Unless….
Historically, with more inventory come greater ad budgets, especially if the new inventory is effective for advertisers. So this can actually be a blessing in disguise for AdSense publishers.
But if budgets don’t grow fast enough, this new inflow of inventory can have a negative impact on your revenues. This will probably balance out over time, but the first few months might be a little tough.
Search vs. Display
Google prefers clicks on their own turf. Of course they do. They don’t have to share their revenues with publishers there. So offering a Google-owned locale-targeted inventory to advertisers is more than likely to take a bite out of that local search traffic.
This might affect some AdSense publishers more than others (like small local news outlets and publishers dependant on mobile traffic). In any case, it’s early to tell.
Who Gets Paid for Embedded Maps?
There’s also a question that remains unanswered. And we’ll be sure to keep you updated here or on our social channels.
Currently, Google allows publishers to monetize Google Maps on their pages with AdSense using the Google Maps API.
So the question is — will Google be adding ads to embedded Google Maps, and if so — who gets the revenue from the clicks in these local ads?
Another good question is what will happen to said ad units and publishers making a good living from in-map AdSense ads?
2. Who is bigger better for? — Expanded Text Ads Get Double Headlines & More Characters
PPC Advertisers often complain there just isn’t enough room in text ads for a good compelling message to make users click. Google decided to finally address this thorn in advertisers’ sides in two fronts.
First, advertisers will now be able to include a two lines of 30 character each in clickable titles on their text ads, and 80 characters for a description line. Overall, this promises longer ads taking up more screen space in mobile searches.
According to Google, in early testing this change dramatically increased CTR — by as much as 25 percent.
This is great for search advertisers and Google, but for anyone trying to get organic traffic to monetize this is bad news. Looks like paid search ads are worth more to Google than the content you invested in making.
On the other hand, this might make text ads on your publication perform better. You never know if you don’t test. Just give the advertisers a week or two to update the copy in their publisher network ads.
3. The Dread (or not) of Smart Pricing — Better Measurement of In-Store Conversions
Measurement, Attribution, Conversion Tracking. When it comes to performance based advertising these are more than buzzwords. Adwords owes its success largely to its ability to effectively create and measure PPC campaign goals.
However, as you would imagine, measuring offline conversions for Adwords campaign is not that easy, and since Adwords is a performance based network, this lack of effective ROI measurement has kept advertising budgets away from Adwords.
Considering that 90% of retail sales still happen in stores, as opposed to online, it’s not surprising that Google has decided to tackle this problem head-on.
At GPS, Google announced they will now be cross-checking users’ mobile location history with PPC ads they’ve clicked and then attributing conversions to Adwords campaigns accordingly.
While this may sound a bit too Big Brothery, advertisers for brands and brick and mortar businesses are going to love this.
So are publishers who might be the source of these clicks. This can get them “smart priced” by Google to receive higher CPCs if their visitors click but end up going to the store to make the actual purchase.
In addition, the goal of increased conversion measurement is to attract more advertisers. If Google is successful in this, it just means higher demand for AdSense inventory. And that will make everyone happy.
4. Not Just Responsive Ad Units — New Responsive Display Ads
If you’ve ever ran an AdWords campaign yourself, you know that creating image ads for all ad sizes can be a pain. Especially for a small business advertiser. So often, you end up uploading image or flash ads in the most common sizes, and that’s about it.
Google wants more competition between more advertisers over more inventory. By letting advertisers create responsive ads that can fit in more ad units, Google basically does just that. And this is great for everyone.
In addition, these ads look and feel more native. So they are likely to get more clicks than your good old banner ads on the display network.
5. Targeting Your Device — Changes to device bidding
Currently, advertisers set a base desktop bid for keywords, and then set mobile bids as a multiplier on the base bid. If they wanted to manually adjust CPC values for specific devices, it was between hard and impossible. Especially for advertisers with large campaigns with many long-tail keywords.
Google hopes (and we do too) that this will allow advertisers to spend their budgets more effectively and scale their ad spend quickly. Which would lead to more AdSense revenue for you (and Google).
6. Remarketing Gone Open — Lift on AdWords Demand Restriction
This announcement almost went under the radar, but could have significant implications for publishers currently relying on AdSense as a main source of revenue. Alongside other, more colorful announcements, Google let its advertisers know that they can now retarget even more users online and on mobile. So other ad networks can display retargeting ads to users instead of AdSense, where AdSense is not implemented.
Potentially, this could mean that advertisers bid on retargeting ads across multiple platforms in an aim to get the most bang for their buck. This might reduce CPCs for retargeting ads on AdSense, and hurt publishers relying on AdSense for revenues.
Our advice is to avoid putting all of one’s eggs in the same basket. Diversify your offering and open up your inventory to other demand sources or in other words add more ad networks to your current ad inventory.
7. Local, Mobile, and Advertiser Oriented
Overall, the announcements at GPS are performance focused so they’re obviously advertiser oriented. This year’s summit is particularly telling as SMB (small to medium business) advertising budgets that are more focused on performance have started to migrate over to the big F in increasing numbers.
That said, many of the changes above can prove profitable and overall positive for publishers as well. Time will tell, and we will be here to give you our 10c on how Google’s updates to the Adwords platform affect publisher earnings.
I’m Head of Marketing Operations at AdNgin. Before coming to AdNgin, I was a marketing professional focused on SAAS business models. When I’m not working, which is rare, I sail and hang out with my son, Jonathan, and wife, Meital.
Originally published at www.adngin.com on June 1, 2016.