Google overhauls AdWords

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Google overhauls AdWords

Mixed reaction to new multi-device system.

Google has unveiled an upgrade to its AdWords advertising platform to enable contextual targeting of prospective customers.

Writing on the official Google Mobile Ads blog, the company's vice president of engineering Sridhar Ramaswamy said the changes also enabled ads to be adjusted to run across multiple device types.

He said the platform enabled advertisers to take advantage of location, time data and device capabilities.

AdWords already requires advertisers to set a budget for the most they are willing to spend per click. Under the changes announced overnight, bids can be adjusted within certain parameters to more effectively target certain types of customers.

"For example, a breakfast cafe wants to reach people nearby searching for [coffee] or [breakfast] on a smartphone," Ramaswamy said.

"Using bid adjustments, they can bid 25 percent higher for people searching a half-mile away, 20 percent lower for searches after 11am, and 50 percent higher for searches on smartphones".

Improved reporting tools for AdWords will also be provided to measure new conversion types such as consumers seeing ads, downloading apps or calling vendors. 

Marketing industry reactions to the enhanced AdWords have been mixed. Search Engine Watch believes the improved contextual ads, location-based bidding and other new features such as sitelink level reporting are "awesome".

However, Search Engine Watch notes that there are several drawbacks too, such as tablets and desktops/laptops now being bundled as one type for bidding, meaning you can't optimise campaigns for different devices. 

Google will provide the new capabilities, known as enhanced campaigns, as options over the coming weeks and intends to upgrade the entire system by the middle of this year.

AdWords brought in US$43 billion (A$41.8 billion) in revenue for Google in 2012.

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