Mobile users of Google Maps and Search could soon get more promoted content served up to them courtesy of changes the company has made to its Adwords advertising platform.
In a post on Google's Inside Adwords blog, Senior Vice President of Google Ads and Commerce Sridhar Ramaswamy said the updates enable local marketers to better reach consumers searching for physical locations using their mobile devices.
The changes include a new local ads capability across both Google Maps and Google.com that will let local businesses showcase their locations more prominently when users conduct specific searches on their mobile devices.
"For example, Maps users may start to see promoted pins for nearby coffee shops, gas stations or lunch spots along their driving route," Ramaswamy said. Advertisers who enable location extensions for their sites will get an opportunity to make special offers and discounts and enable users to browse their product inventory.
Google also is changing its mobile ad formats so advertisers have more space to showcase their products and services on mobile devices, Ramaswamy said. The new formats are optimized for the screen sizes of the most popular smartphone models and introduce several key changes. For instance, instead of the current, one 25-character headline, online marketers will soon have the ability to use two 30-character headlines for promoting their products or services. Similarly, Google also will give advertisers a longer description line and employ a more efficient way to insert landing page URLs in their ads.
According to Ramaswamy, advertisers who have been testing the new ad formats have reported up to 20 percent increases in click-through rates compared with ads based on the currently supported formats. The mobile ad format changes will go into effect later this year.
The latest updates build on changes that Google has been gradually making to Adwords so marketers can promote their products to mobile users in a more efficient fashion than has been possible until recently.
Last year, for instance, Google introduced a service called Universal App Campaigns for developers trying to get more people to download their mobile apps. The service has eliminated the need for developers to create individual ads for promoting their apps. Instead, all it requires developers to do is supply a few lines of promotional text ideas, specify the location where the ads are to be served, the budget and a few other details. Google then uses the material to create mobile app ads on the fly that are targeted at the specified audience.
Prior to Universal App Campaigns, Google introduced so-called responsive design ad units so advertisers could create ads capable of automatically resizing themselves based on the mobile device screen.
The changes are being driven by what Google says is the surging use of mobile devices to conduct Web searches. Of the trillions of searches that take place on Google each year, more than half happen on smartphone and tablets, Ramaswamy said. "To help marketers succeed in this mobile-first world, we have redesigned AdWords—from the ground-up—and re-thought everything from creatives and bidding, to workflow and measurement."
Meanwhile, in a separate development this week, Google introduced a new feature in its Search Console called "property sets" that let developers and Website owners track how well their mobile apps and their desktop and mobile sites are performing in search. Instead of having to track the performance of each property separately, property sets give developers and site owners the ability to get a consolidated view of overall clicks, impressions and downloads across all their online properties in a single report.