Google Ads (formally AdWords) is a staple of many digital marketing campaigns. The search engine giant consistently releases new updates to its advertising platform, often adding innovative features to guide their users toward better results. While an ever-changing platform may seem intimidating, Google has kept their core-customers in mind—small-to-midsized businesses—making it easier than ever to create winning campaigns with real results.

The new updates for 2019 bring exciting possibilities. This blog breaks down the latest and greatest features, providing examples of how an enterprise can begin to implement today.

Smart Campaigns

Smart Campaigns is designed specifically for small businesses. As mentioned, Google aims to make marketing with their platform as fluid as possible for customers without experience. Smart campaigns does just that. Smart Campaigns is the default campaign type for new advertisers.  The campaigns are almost entirely automated, connecting machine learning to Google’s vast pool of consumer data to create a winning ad formula in minutes.

Depending on the desired goals, such as office calls, visits, or e-commerce, Google promises that Smart Campaigns will show ads to users who are most likely to take action using signals like behavior, location, and devices. The company’s research has shown that Smart campaigns are 3 times more likely to place an ad “in front of the right audience.”

One example of a Smart campaign would be a Realtor aiming to capture more local leads. Using a Smart campaign, Google would customize their ads placement to only show only the ad to people who are motivated to buy or sell their home. The ad would show images of previous listings and allow the user to call their work number directly from the advertisement.

Responsive Search Ads

Any marketing strategist can attest, creating “the perfect ad” can be a frustrating process—seeing a combination of ad copy that is ‘for sure a winner’ can flop. Google’s response to this issue may be nothing short of genius. The new Responsive Search Ad system allows a user to utilize machine learning to test various combinations of ad copy for maximum effectiveness.

A user would first provide multiple different headlines and descriptions to be used as ad copy. Once submitted, Google’s machine learning technology will test the effectiveness of each headline and description. The system also takes into account the searched keywords, device searched from, browsing history, and more for up to 43,680 different permutations. Over time, the Responsive Search Ads will deliver the best performing message depending on the set goals.

Ad Strength

If configuring even one combination of killer keywords is a struggle, Google can help there, too. In addition to the RSA machine learning feature, Ad Strength will evaluate and score entered ad copy on a scale of poor to excellent. The scores are based on the keyword relevancy, quantity, and diversity of language in the ad copy. In the same window, Google will provide various suggestions it believes can improve an ad’s performance, claiming to increase the number of clicks up to 15 percent.

Example: Ruff Life Dog Walkers wants to increase the number of calls to the office. After defining the goal with a Smart campaign, the admin would insert various headlines into Google’s Responsive Search system: Professional Dog Walking in Philadelphia, PA; Ruff Life Dog Walkers — Philly, PA; Ruff Life Philly | Philadelphia’s Best Dog Care; etc.

They’ll also add various descriptions that will be shown beneath the headline. After the Ad Strength evaluation comes back excellent, they can let Google get to work optimizing their budget! Every time a user calls the office directly from their Google search, Ruff Life will be billed.

YouTube Leads

YouTube is both the second largest search engine and the second largest social media platform in the world. This diversity in the audience, both searchers and consistent users, creates a great opportunity to reach a large number of potential customers. A recent update to Google’s YouTube Ads will allow an admin to provide a contact form within a YouTube advertisement. In the past, YouTube lead-capturing required a customer to leave their video tab and travel to a landing page. This new feature allows contact information to be solicited without disruption.

For a local law practice, this new feature could be extremely effective in capturing soft leads. To put the power of YouTube in perspective, imagine a standard law practice commercial on television that would allow a potential lead to provide their name, number, and email directly from the screen. Incredible, right? Now imagine that the only viewers who were shown the ad are people that searched for a local lawyer in the past month. Rather than wasting budget on a broad television audience, YouTube ads deliver the message to customers who are most likely to engage. When a YouTube lead is processed, the practice can begin a dialogue via email, call the lead on their own time, or begin to build a relationship via drip campaigns or a newsletter.

Landing Pages

For the nearly half of all small businesses that don’t have a website but still want to utilize Ads, Google’s auto-optimized landing pages provide a functional alternative to creating, managing, and updating a website. The landing pages, powered by Google machine learning, pull information from submitted advertisement copy to create a virtual page with a businesses title, description, and contact information.

This option could be an incredibly useful tool for sole proprietors such as therapists, personal trainers, or caregivers. Designing, building, and maintaining a website can be a cumbersome and expensive task for non-tech-savvy business owners. Using a Google landing page, small businesses can begin to connect with clients using Google without the hassle of website upkeep.

SSL Certificates

One of Google’s 2018 updates brought updated security features for its users. The new standards will only categorize a website as ‘secure’ if it’s SSL certificates are updated. SSL certificates ensure a more secure web-browsing experience; without a proper update, Google will show a prominent message next to a sites URL that reads “not secure.” With a notification like that, business owners run the risk of bouncing customers visit, burning trust, and losing business. Check out our blog post for the full scoop on updating your website’s SSL certificate.

Google’s new updates provide limitless opportunities to capitalize on its vast user base (Google processes around 40,000 searches per second). However, navigating the Google Ad system and creating a strategy that works will take time and patience. If you’ve considered utilizing Google Ads to grow your business, Equivity can help. Whether it’s finding your keywords or conceptualizing a budget, Equivity’s marketing strategists can assist in designing a winning strategy for your business.