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Google Summit 2016: 10 New Features Every Marketer Should Know

The 2016 Google Innovation Summit is in the books. 6 different Google executives took the stage to break down the latest improvements to its core product line: Google Advertising Network, AdWords, Maps, and Analytics platforms.

For the past 6 months, Google dished out some small tastes of what was likely to come at the Summit: they removed side ads for search, they announced a full AdWords interface redesign, and launched a new Analytics 360 interface for enterprises.

Speculate and postulate no more! Here are the top 10 announcements and new Google features we can expect in the near future. What do they mean for you? How can you prepare for these changes?  

Let’s go!

google performance summit 2016

1. Targeting and Bid Adjustments for Tablets

Analyzing how your ads perform across different devices is a core practice for successful PPC advertising. Before now, you could only analyze this data, not target or adjust bids to each device type. Instead of mobile bid adjustments applying ONLY to smartphones, you now have another layer of segmentation with tablet customization.

People behave differently on different devices. In fact, many studies find that tablet users are more likely to buy than mobile or desktop. This is definitely one of the fan favorites from the summit.


Key Takeaway: Optimize campaign performance across mobile, tablet, and desktop.

2. Demographic Data for Search Campaigns

Segmenting your ads based on audience demographics like age, gender, race, and income level is an integral feature of AdWords, and yet, we still can’t report, target, or adjust bids on these metrics for Search Ads. At Summit, Google bridged this gap. Demographic Data for Search! 

Key Takeaway: target and adjust bids for campaigns and ad groups based on audience demographic data like age, gender, and race.

3. Similar Audiences for Search

sridhar-ramaswamyAccording to head keynote speaker, Sridhar Ramaswamy, the user’s search query is the most important aspect of the advertising marketplace. This determines the person’s INTENT. The marketers jobs is to match that intent with proper context and precise targeting.

For anyone who has seen the Search Terms report for a broad match keyword campaign, what people search and who is searching define a person’s intent.

After today, Google gives us another way to hone in on more qualified users with the intent to buy or consume YOUR product. If you’re not already familiar with the existing Similar Audiences feature in AdWords, here are some resources to learn more about remarketing to an email list and a remarketing video walkthrough.

remarketing for search ads

Key Takeaway: Remarketing for Search Ads opens up an entirely new platform for re-engaging prospects and expanding your reach to your ideal customer segments.

4. Mobile Optimized Search Ads

In a series of case studies and longitudinal testing, Google found that ads with longer headlines on mobile were more useful to mobile users because they provided more information. This is the same logic behind ad extensions.

So, Google is rolling out 2 changes to text ads on search:

  1. A 2-line header (title)
  2. 80 character description

Here’s what we’re talking about:expanded text ads

Key Takeaway: 50% More Text, 20% boost in engagement (source: Google)

5. Dynamic Ad Format for Display

Knowing what image size to include where is tricky. Generally, you want to cover all your bases by creating 5, 10, sometimes 15 renditions of the same image ad to make sure that you have the right size for the right medium.

No longer: “All you need to do is provide a headline, description, image, and URL” and Google will choose the “format that fits best” (Google Summit 2016).

Key Takeaway: Display the optimal ad format across websites, platforms, and devices. Gives ads a more native feel. Eliminates the risk of broken ad format.

6. Expanded Display Network

Even if you followed the Summit live, you may have missed a small announcement with big implications. Google is expanding its display network to more certified apps, websites, and publishers. For the last few years, advertisers have seen a huge increase in cost metrics for display campaigns.

More users for the same amount of slots = more expensive. By expanding its certified network, advertisers should see lower costs with a more diverse reach.

Key Takeaway: By combining your existing remarketing campaigns with the dynamic display ad format, you should be able to reach more people with more relevant, native-appearing advertising. 

7. Promoted Pins in Google Maps

Google Performance Summit Jerry Dischler

Some of the most interesting updates came around bridging the gap between online interaction and offline, in-store behavior.

An increasing number people default to their smartphone to find exactly what they’re looking for nearby. The problem is 1 in 4 of people avoid shopping in-store because they’re concerned that what they’re looking to buy isn’t in stock.

Google solves this problem in a clever way with Promoted Pins inside of Google Maps. Advertisers can show first for Google Maps results for certain keywords.

The BestBuy demonstration solved the “I-WONT-MAKE-IT-THROUGH-THE-DAY” micro-moment by serving an ad for “electronics store” within Google maps. The maps ads feature:

  • A branded pin on the visual Google map
  • Text Ad in the list result
    • Title
    • Description
    • Description
  • A customizable business page for users who click on the ad for a customizable, native experience complete with your business details.

Key Takeaway: More powerful location-based advertising to drive offline action from online advertising.

8. Data Studio 360: Real-time collaborative reporting for Google Analytics

data studio 360

This year’s Summit closed with a demonstration of the new Analytics 360 toolbox. The whole demo was quite impressive. As Google did, I want to focus on two new tools:

Optimize 360: Google’s new paid analytics tool for enterprises.

Data Studio 360: Access data, create reports, and collaborate in real-time.

Google’s Senior Director of Measurement & Analytics, Babak Pahlavan then built a custom report from scratch with the help of a remote time, Google-docs style in 3 minutes.

Key Takeaway: Beautiful Reports on the fly with the help of your friends.

9.  Google Analytics Data Assistant

If you’re a Google super-nerd like the AdHawk team, you tuned into Google I/O in May. I/O was dominated by machine-trained assistants for a wide range of Google products and operating systems.

Chatbots, messenger bots, slackbots and the like are the trendiest thing in tech since tamagotchi’s and mp3’s.

These various solutions deliver user-specific insights on demand.

Google’s new Data Assistant does just that. Built on top of Google Analytics 360, the Data Assistant fields your questions about various business metrics and surfaces the relevant data in your accounts.

Babak asked the Data Assistant “What were my best selling products for April?” and the following data was returned about the products generating the most revenue in the month of April. google analytics data assistant

10. The AdWords Redesign

Perhaps the announcement with the most hype and the biggest disappointment was the proposed AdWords interface redesign.

Samantha Lemonnier, Director of Engineering for the AdWords platform, introduced the new platform and it’s three core principles: adwords interface redesign

Samantha’s demonstration gave us the material design focused dashboard in action. Why was this such a disappointment? Google used the AdWords redesign as the key promotional item of the Summit for the last few months.

Key Takeaway: A new interface is coming, but not yet.


In summary, Google’s Performance Summit did not disappoint. Though it did leave some question marks up in the air around release dates, Google left us marketers with a full serving of new possibilities to consider for the future.

Here’s the live recording:

We’d love to hear your favorite announcements and how you will take advantage of them moving forward. Let us know in the comments below or chat with us on Twitter @AdHawk


Also published on Medium.

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Growth Manager @ AdHawk. Human Being @ Earth. Self-proclaimed expert at moving businesses forward in the digital age through content marketing, design, social media management, customer service, and sales.