Posted:
It’s been a busy year for our customers. We’ve been inspired to learn from all of you -- advertisers from around the world, large and small, across so many industries. Thank you for the feedback you have given on our products as well as the insights you’ve shared. As we come to the end of 2014, we want to share some customer stories that we hope inspire you as much as they have inspired us.

L’Oréal Paris builds brand love with search.
L’Oréal Paris uses Search insights to get ahead of beauty trends and develops product and messaging to respond to consumer interests. The brand rejuvenated the home hair care color category and brought 50% new consumers to their Feria Ombré product. Learn more.

Sephora creates engaging mobile experiences for shoppers online and in stores.
Sephora uses the smartphone to showcase their beauty products with local inventory ads, which drive consumers to buy on Sephora’s website or in-store. In addition, Sephora engages their in-store shoppers with an app that allows them to scan products for more information. Learn more.

Hyatt drives engagement across the web with rich media.
Hyatt creates iconic video creative to attract female business travelers to book a room at a Hyatt hotel. The brand ran Lightbox Ads across the Google Display Network and TrueView video ads on YouTube. The result gave the brand exposure to 17M business travelers with a 26% lower cost per engagement than the campaign average. Learn more.

Extra Space Storage uses new innovations to reach customers in the most relevant and engaging way.
Extra Space Storage develops ads in real time with the newly launched ads customizers to make sure they are reaching their customer with the most relevant message. In a recent campaign, these ads led to a 113% increase in CTR. Learn more.

1-800 Flowers unlocks full customer value.
1-800 Flowers wanted to understand the full value of AdWords search ads - including the impact of click-to-call ads. They tracked estimated cross-device conversions to better understand how their customers interact across devices. They uncovered a 7% increase in overall conversions, and 8% to 10% of their overall AdWords revenue came from click-to-call. Learn more.

Point It implements automated bidding to save time and increase efficiency.
Point It, a Seattle-based search marketing agency, wanted to save their account managers time so they could focus on more strategic initiatives. The agency added automated bidding, and client performance boomed. The agency saw a 47% increase in ROAS, with CPAs that were 4% lower and revenues were 8% higher. Learn more.

We look forward to the year ahead - when we’ll share more product innovations, best practices and customer stories.

From our AdWords family to yours -  happy holidays, and we’ll see you in 2015.

Posted by Jenna Sandoval & Perla Campos, Product Marketing Managers, Performance Ads

Posted:
People are living their lives online, using multiple devices throughout the day to shop, communicate and stay entertained. This constant connectivity means customers are engaging with your business in new ways after seeing your online ad -- they might call your business, download your app or go to your store. Last year, we introduced Estimated Total Conversions (ETC) to give you a more complete picture of how AdWords drives these new conversion types. Since then, we’ve been steadily improving ETC to measure phone calls, in-store purchases and cross device conversions.

With the holiday season upon us, it’s clear that the majority of sales for many industries still happen in person - in fact, roughly 95% of retail sales take place in physical stores.1 And online activities are influencing offline transactions more than ever, bringing together the digital and physical worlds. Thirty-two percent of consumers say that location-based search ads have led them to visit a store or make a purchase,2 so it's more important than ever for businesses to understand the impact that search ads have in driving visits to your physical locations, whether that’s a store, hotel, auto dealership or restaurant.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out store visit measurement to eligible advertisers in the U.S. as the latest enhancement to ETC. Learn more.

New paths to purchase increase consumer expectations, compelling businesses to re-think experiences and measurement

Constant connectivity brings with it an epic shift in the way businesses build experiences for their customers. Consumers are demanding more touchpoints with businesses -- more than 70% of consumers who have used ad features such as directions or the call button say it's important to have location information in ads,3 74% of shoppers want to see how much inventory there is for a product at a nearby store.4 Getting better insight into these new, complex purchase paths can can help you optimize your online marketing programs, design better experiences for your customers and allocate budget more effectively. Store visit measurement is key to unlocking these insights. Here are a few ways that businesses are seeing value so far.

PetSmart, the nation's largest specialty retailer of pet supplies, uses store visits data to improve its customer shopping experience -- today, this often starts with people researching online and then visiting a store. Based on the insight that 10-18% of clicks on search ads lead to a store visit, PetSmart is now investing more in ads that reach customers across screens. For example, PetSmart has increased use of location extensions in their ads to show maps and directions to help people find nearby stores when they are searching for products like puppy treats or aquariums.
Office Depot, Inc., formed as part of the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax, is a leading global provider of products, services and solutions for every workplace -- whether your workplace is an office, home, school or car. The company uses insights from store visits data to understand which products, such as laptops, printers or backpacks, are driving people to visit one of its 2,000 Office Depot and OfficeMax retail locations. These insights help Office Depot, Inc., decide which products to include in its local inventory ads. These ads show whether or not a product is available in a nearby store and where the nearest store is located. This makes it simple for customers to discover what products are in stock as they’re shopping and researching online. Christine Buscarino, VP of E-Commerce Marketing at Office Depot, Inc., says her team is now able to provide "contextually relevant information, where and when customers need it."
This feature has been carefully designed to keep data private and secure.  We never provide anyone’s actual location to advertisers. Instead, store visits are estimates based on aggregated, anonymized data from a sample set of users that have turned on Location History. This data is then extrapolated to represent the broader population.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can start using store visits in ETC, contact your AdWords account representative for more information.

Posted by Surojit Chatterjee, Director of Product Management, Mobile Search Ads

eMarketer: Total US Retail Sales Top $4.5 Trillion in 2013, Outpace GDP Growth, April 2014
Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Purchased, Research: Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior, May 2014
Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Purchased, Research: Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior, May 2014
4 Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Sterling Brands, Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping, October 2014

Posted:
A few months ago, we introduced ad customizers, a new AdWords tool that lets you show highly relevant text ads to your customers, in real-time, even when you have thousands of products, services, and promotions—all changing by the day. Check out this video to see how you can put ad customizers to work in your accounts.

Use ad customizers to boost performance this holiday season

As the holiday season continues, there’s no better time than now to use ad customizers to connect with your customers at scale with the products and promotions they’re searching for, in real-time. Cameron Urry, Senior Interactive Acquisition Manager at Extra Space Storage, says: “We loved the ability to use the same ad template across multiple ad groups, while still being able to share a unique and relevant message to our potential customers.” To learn how Extra Space Storage used ad customizers to dynamically insert their daily inventory details, and increased their CTR by 113%, check out their story on Think with Google.
Elite SEM, a performance driven digital marketing agency, also implemented ad customizers for their client, Clarks USA, to help them dynamically count down the number of days left in their Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, influencing customers to convert on their site. Kylie Beals, eCommerce Marketing Manager at Clarks Americas, says: "When using countdown ads over the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend, we noticed a 32% uplift in CTR. The ads proved effective at driving urgency once the consumer was onsite because conversion rates increased 3% over static ads."

Introducing the new countdown widget

And, to make it even easier to dynamically count down to important events like promotions in your ads, we are rolling out the new countdown widget to AdWords over the next few weeks. Now, you can easily set up a countdown to an event just by typing “{=” into any line of ad text as you’re creating text ads in the ‘Ads’ tab. You can also preview what the countdown will look like in your ads before setting them live.
This holiday season, don’t forget to use ad customizers to dynamically show your customers:
  • the number of days, hours, or minutes left to ship their holiday presents in time
  • daily discounts or promotions for your hottest deals
  • most-up-to date inventory availability on your products, or even the number of flights left to make it home in time for the holidays
To learn how you can set up ad customizers in your account, visit our AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Karen Yao, Group Product Manager, AdWords

Posted:
In AdWords for video, you add targeting and budgets to YouTube videos to make video ad campaigns. Until now, advertisers looking for info on how their videos performed outside of when they appeared as ads would need to jump over to YouTube Analytics for that data. Today we’re excited to announce a revamp of Videos reporting to offer more YouTube Analytics-style performance metrics right in AWV, bringing a greater focus on video creative to campaign management and optimization.
As you can see in the above chart, the new Video Analytics page prominently features a visualization of your video’s views, split by paid and non-paid to give a holistic sense of how your video is doing. The page also brings the powerful audience retention graph to AWV (formerly only available in YouTube Analytics) – with this you can fine-tune your creative by visualizing when audience interest waxes and wanes. For example, are you seeing a steep viewer drop-off at a certain point? This alerts you to an opportunity to re-cut your video to hold their interest longer.
This new reporting page also offers a panel that provides a sense of a video’s contribution to overall account performance, letting you see which videos are over or underperforming across all your campaigns, and more fully depicts how your video creative is helping to build your audience on YouTube.

For more information please check out the Help Center article here. We hope this new feature provides more context for your video ad creative, and helps you make ads people choose to watch.

Posted by Avi Fein, Product Manager, AdWords for video

Posted:
There are millions of mobile apps with more introduced every day. But as we talked about during our livestream yesterday, how do you get people to find your mobile app?  And once they do, how do you keep them coming back? We’ve created best practice guides to help you do both.

The first guide, Tapping into Mobile App Installs, and its one-page checklist will show you how to drive installs of your app and grow a valuable user base. You’ll find out how to:

  • Estimate the value of a user for your mobile app
  • Attract potential users with compelling ads and app store pages
  • Track and optimize the app downloads acquired through display, search, and video

The second guide, Tapping into Mobile App Engagement, and its one-page checklist will show you how to keep users coming back into your app for more. You’ll find out how to:

  • Track what happens after users install your mobile app
  • Create enticing ads that will re-engage users and deep link them to the most relevant parts of your app
  • Drive engagement with your app by reconnecting with users through display and search

Building an app is only the first step. If you want it to be found and used often, download these guides today.

Check out these and other Google Best Practices over at g.co/GoogleBP.

Posted by Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing

Posted:
Over the past two months, we’ve rolled out a series of tools built for AdWords power users. Designed with our most sophisticated advertisers in mind, these tools help simplify your workflow and reduce the time spent on campaign management. And as announced today on our global livestream, we’ve launched an exciting update to one of our most popular tools: AdWords Editor.

AdWords Editor 11.0 represents the biggest update to the application since we released it in 2006. It’s been redesigned from the ground up: we’ve enhanced all of the features you know and love while adding new ones to help you do more in less time. With a brand new visual design and faster interface, AdWords Editor 11.0 is built to make you more efficient as you view and make changes across your accounts and campaigns.
Manage accounts and items side by side

In AdWords Editor 11.0, you can open multiple windows to view different parts of your account at the same time. For instance, you can now open a new window to view your keyword list while creating your ads. You can also easily manage multiple accounts at once by opening as many account windows as you like. Arrange them side by side and even copy and paste or drag-and-drop items between them. You can also add and manage all of your accounts, download data, and monitor status in the new accounts manager.

Find what you’re looking for faster

As your accounts grow, so does the need to find the things you’re looking for. In AdWords Editor 11.0, we’ve introduced a new panel for selecting type lists. This feature removes the need to navigate using tabs, so you can quickly perform common tasks while instantly accessing your campaigns, advanced features, and settings.
Type Lists
If you’re looking for something specific, use the improved, advanced search bar. You can now apply multiple search criteria and filters, and even save popular searches for future use. And once you’ve found what you’re looking for, it’s easy to navigate and make changes using simple keyboard shortcuts (Mac, Windows). Jump to an ad group and create a new set of keywords in seconds. You can also quickly access your favorite bulk editing tools from any view -- find and replace ad text with just a few clicks or change capitalization across multiple keywords.

Perform more actions in bulk and at scale

Making large-scale changes is even easier in AdWords Editor 11.0. Advanced multi-select functionality makes viewing and updating specific parts of your account simple. Select any combination of campaigns and ad groups to view their ads or keywords, and paste them into multiple campaigns and ad groups at once.

Manage your Shared Library to assign bid strategies and sitelinks across multiple campaigns and ad groups. The “Make multiple changes” tool now automatically organizes your text into rows and columns as you add, update, or remove multiple items on the fly. And a detailed history of your recent changes is now just a click away, along with the option to quickly undo or redo multiple changes in sequence or in bulk.

Upgrade to AdWords Editor 11.0

The latest version of AdWords Editor is now available globally for Mac and Windows -- upgrade today! You can learn more about AdWords Editor 11.0 in the AdWords Help Center.

Support for previous versions of AdWords Editor will continue for four months to allow you time to upgrade. To ensure uninterrupted use of AdWords Editor, you will need to upgrade to 11.0 by April 10, 2015.

Posted by Geoff Menegay, Product Manager, AdWords Editor

Posted:
Welcome to the Inside AdWords livestream! Today, Jerry Dischler, Vice President of Product Management for AdWords, explores our most innovative products of 2014, shares customer stories and best practices, and wraps up the year with an announcement you won’t want to miss. Tune in to the livestream on YouTube or watch below.

Posted:
Creating ads that can run -- and look beautiful -- across the ever-expanding universe of the world’s more than 2 billion smart phones and tablets1 is complex to say the least. Last month, we announced that we'd be bringing our popular Lightbox format to mobile devices. Today we're happy to share that these reinvented Lightbox ads are now available for all AdWords advertisers globally.

Bringing Lightbox Ads Across Screens

With Lightbox ads, it's easy to use existing creative assets to create beautiful, engaging ads that look great on any screen size. These ads pull assets from your YouTube channel, can use uploaded images, or your Google Maps listings to build full screen experiences within a standard Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) ad size. The ability to integrate content from other Google products - like Shopping listings, G+ pages -  is coming soon. Because these ads are built in HTML5, using responsive design, the assets dynamically fill the publisher site, mobile app, screen, or device -- desktop and mobile.

Lightbox ads are great at driving brand consideration because they’re billed on a cost-per-engagement (CPE) basis. This helps your digital display dollars go further because your brand’s experience automatically finds a qualified audience -- and you don’t pay if people don’t expand and engage with the creative experience. This expansion happens when people hover over your ad for two seconds to expand it on a desktop, or tap to expand it on a mobile phone or tablet. Plus, the optimization engine behind Lightbox ads learns over time so your campaigns get better at reaching the audience most likely to engage with your message as your campaign runs. Like all of Google's display ad offerings, Lightbox ads work seamlessly with our audience solutions and can be measured using Brand Lift reporting.

See how seamless it is to build Lightbox ads with images, videos, and maps, by watching the video below.

Testing Lightboxes with Important Purchases

For 12 years, Universal McCann and Sony have been working together to tell the stories of everything from the newest box office releases to cutting edge consumer technology. They joined our beta test for Lightbox ads to market both.

Sony Electronics is using Lightbox ads to advertise their 4K Ultra TV, their Xperia smartphone, their Playstation, their soundbar, and more. Sony Pictures is offering people the preview of their new movie, Annie, in theaters on December 19th, featuring the trailer as well as an awesome emoji inspired sing-along video.

"We chose to use Lightbox ads for our Q4 campaigns because we needed our content to achieve scale across the web. Our clients spend a lot of time, money and energy creating video assets and making sure they get seen by the most qualified, engaged users is our top priority. Google’s new Lightbox ads help us make sure that happens." said Deborah Gaudette, Senior Vice President, Digital, Universal McCann.
Kate Spade, Ford Italy, Boots UK, Jabong India and Pepsi Australia are also running successful Lightbox campaigns.

By launching this update to Lightbox ads, our goal is to free brand marketers to spend less time dealing with mobile  complexity, so you can do what you do best -- engage users with a compelling brand story. We’ll be adding more functionality to this format over the course of 2015. Stay tuned for more enhancements to Lightbox ads in the near future!

Learn more about building your own Lightbox ads in the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by James Beser, Group Product Manager, Display Ads

1http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Smartphone-Users-Worldwide-Will-Total-175-Billion-2014/1010536

Posted:
December of 2014 may be remembered as the first truly omni-channel holiday season: the year retailers really stretched the sales funnel to include mobile, store visits and online buying under one big connected holiday umbrella.

Let's take a break from the holiday dash to see what we can learn from companies that have been creating unified shopping experiences for consumers while ringing in bigger and better profits for themselves. We'll start with a salute to three great examples of omni-channel thinking: Macy's, Sephora and REI.

Macy's 

When over 15,000 people streamed into Macy's main New York City store at 6 pm this Thanksgiving Day, CEO Terry Lundgren wasn't too surprised. Omni-channel helped put those shoppers there. “So far, people are gravitating to the doorbusters," Lundgren said the next day. "There’s so much information online, so they’re doing that research and going right for those doorbusters."1

Macy's has been working for years to focus its marketing and retail teams into a group with a
single vision on omni-channel conversions just like these.
"That incentive, of growing the number of omni-channel customers, is something we have shared over the last couple of years," says Jennifer Kasper, Macy's Group VP for Digital Media and Multi-cultural Marketing.

Sephora

"In retail, you can't think of mobile as a threat. You have to think about it as a magnet to draw that client into your store." That quote from Bridget Dolan, Sephora's VP Interactive Media, says it all about how Sephora has been winning with omni-media.

Sephora's progressive approach is the result of watching, and actually listening to, its customers. Today the Sephora mobile app lets shoppers scan products right off the shelf and see if they're right for their look. They can also look up past purchases, in case they want that same great shade of lipstick or eye shadow again.
New research shows that 46% of shoppers who use mobile devices in-store say they turn to the retailer’s site or app for information while they shop.2 "I really can't believe how much of our traffic is now coming from mobile devices," says Bridget Dolan, "and how many of our clients are using search as the way that they figure out which products they want to buy while they're standing in-store."

REI

The trusted outdoor retailer’s stores – especially its flagship locations -- are paradise for anyone who plays outside. REI now uses digital as a way to pull customers right into that local store experience.  After researching online, REI customers come into the store to try on those hiking boots or skis and then make the purchase.

Google/Ispos/Sterling research shows 69% of shoppers say they gather information from physical stores at some point in their shopping cycle.3 "One of the things we know definitively is that all of our digital tools really connect our members to our stores," says Annie Zipfel, SVP of Marketing for REI. "So they're often researching product online… and ultimately they're coming in the store to make that purchase."

What can we take away from these three examples of omni-channel success?

1) Care less about where. All three of these retailers are focused on using all channels to drive sales — wherever those sales might happen. As Jennifer Kasper of Macy's puts it, "The bottom line is, we're indifferent to whether [a shopper] converts in the store or online. We just want her to shop with Macy's."

2) Make mobile a magnet. The best omni-channel retailers make mobile a part of their in-store experience, inviting shoppers to use their hand-held devices as they browse. As Bridget Dolan of Sephora says, "We really welcome our clients to take out their phones in our store. A client that really knows exactly what she's buying, all the reviews, all her options... is actually a happier client and will come back and shop with you more often."

3) Bring down internal barriers. Annie Zipfel of REI says, "It is a smaller and smaller group that shops only in the store, or only online." If you still keep separate online and offline marketing teams, it may be time to think about bringing them, and their incentives, together so they can speak to customers in the way those customers shop now.

Happy Omnidays, retailers!

Posted by Julie Krueger, Retail Industry Director

Visit the Local Retail Playbook to see our new “Digital Impact On In-Store Shopping” research about how consumers are shopping on and offline, and how retailers are responding this holiday season.

1"CEOs of Target, Macy's, and Others Weigh In on Black Friday Sales." Fortune.com, November 28, 2014. http://goo.gl/lz3s0t
2"Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping." Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Sterling Brands, October 2014. http://goo.gl/4TU0sY
3ibid

Posted:
Advertisers have been using interest category marketing since 2009 to connect with people across the Google Display Network based on their interests.  Since then, we've added new and more powerful interest-based capabilities: affinity (for enthusiasts), custom affinity (for niche segments), and in-market audiences (for ready to buy shoppers).

As these more sophisticated audience tools offer advertisers more flexibility and control, “Other interests” will no longer be a targeting option for new and existing audience campaigns starting on January 15, 2015.

Current campaigns that target “Other interests” will continue to run until June 2015, after which they’ll be automatically upgraded to one of these options:

  • Affinity audiences: Reach TV-like segments at scale to drive brand awareness.  Kraft used affinity audiences to reach cooking enthusiasts to build awareness for their new ‘Fresh Take’ brand. 
  • Custom affinity audiences: Find niche segments that you custom-tailor for your brand. Electronic Arts used custom affinity audiences to engage fans of specific NFL teams in their recent Madden GIFERATOR campaign. They created 32 custom affinity audiences, one per NFL team, to reach fans of specific teams with display ads timed to the real-time action on the field.
  • In-market audiences: Reach consumers while they’re actively browsing, researching or comparing products related to a category you choose. For example, the online car dealership Autobytel uses in-market audiences to reach customers actively researching specific models, price comparisons, and consumer reviews, as opposed to casual car enthusiasts. 

Additional details about this upgrade will be shared on this blog and in email communications to advertisers undergoing this change.

To learn more visit the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Max Maxwell, Product Manager, Display Ads