Google recently provided updates to the AdWords interface, giving advertisers better control over their marketing. With such frequent updates though, it can be difficult to know all the changes, and how they affect you. As a search marketing analyst and a Google AdWords certified professional, I spend my days optimizing paid search campaigns and evaluating websites for various clients. Fellow advertisers know the search marketing landscape is ever changing. Advertisers must stay up-to-date on best practices to remain successful in this industry, especially when it comes to Google AdWords.

In 2015, Google has already made some major changes to AdWords every marketer should be aware of:

  • ‘Other Interests’ no longer a targeting option
  • Landing page URLs upgrades
  • Flash ads converting to HTML5 on the Google Display Network
  • Global ‘Call-Only’ ads

‘Other Interests’ no longer a targeting option

In January, Google announced that ‘Other Interests’ will no longer be a targeting option on the Google Display Network campaigns. The ‘Other Interests’ will upgrade to one of the other audience categories, like Affinity and In-market audiences. Starting May 15th, these automatically upgraded.

Should you choose to upgrade your campaign targeting yourself, which we recommend, rest assured AdWords preserves all the performance data with your ‘Other interest’ categories.

Other interests AdWords example

Landing page URL upgrades

The landing page URL update retires Destination URLs and introduces Final URLs. It also allows advertisers to manage landing page URL and tracking parameters separately. There are new tracking parameters available, as well as custom tracking parameters, so you can create your own parameters. My favorite new feature when changing tracking criteria – AdWords no longer triggers an ad review, except at the ad level. This means you can make changes without fearing the loss of data or the loss of time when the ad does not run due to editorial review.

Landing page URL change AdWords example

Landing page URL change AdWords example 2

This new AdWords URL format will go into effect beginning July 2015. In the meantime, it’s highly recommended that you or your interactive advertising agency manually upgrade the URLs. Google has a guide available for the upgrade.

I cover more details about the AdWords URL update in globalHMA’s May Pain Point Talk.

Flash ads converting to HTML5

Eligible Flash ads will automatically convert to HTML5 ads. This update from February should bring a smile to advertisers’ faces. According to Google, over half of the time people spend online is on mobile devices. That’s wonderful for advertisers wanting to reach mobile users, but what about the mobile devices that don’t support Flash? This change allows marketers to target and reach users without a Flash-compatible device or browser.

Not all Flash images will smoothly convert to HTML5. Google will change the ad formats with its online tool Swiffy. If the image file converts properly to HTML5, then it will be compatible for AdWords and allow advertisers to reach people without the need for a plugin.

Global ‘Call-Only’ ads

Near the end of February, Google introduced ‘Call-Only’ campaigns. According to Google, 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results. These campaigns are a chance to target this majority.

call only AdWords example

Call-Only campaigns are especially designed to show on mobile devices with the ability to make phone calls. In this campaign-type, every click is a phone call, allowing you to tailor the campaign to help you get the most out of every call. Since each click is a phone call, it allows you to create ad copy with specific call to action.

What are your take-aways from the most recent Google AdWords updates? What change are you most looking forward to?