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More Characters, More Insights: Looking at Google’s Latest Updates

Matt Brady
#Digital Marketing, #SEO
Published on September 9, 2016

We look at the latest additions and improvements that Google has brought to Google AdWords and Google Analytics and how to get started using them.

As we’ve mentioned before, Google regularly updates their products as they work to add more value to their users (a group that includes just about everyone who uses the internet). For digital marketers, or anyone looking to connect with their audience online, keeping up with these changes is essential, and understanding how to take advantage of these new opportunities can be what makes the difference in the success of your digital strategy.

Let’s take a look at what changes Google has recently made to Google AdWords and Google Analytics:

Google AdWords

Expanded Text Ads

Google’s release of Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) is the biggest change to the pay per click (PPC) ads provided by Google AdWords since the service was launched 16 years ago. Up to this point, ads had consisted of one 30-character headline and two 35-character description lines. Now, ETAs allow two 30-character headlines and a single 80-character description. In addition, the URL displayed in the ad has expanded from one “folder path” (e.g. www.yoursite.com/product) to two 15-character “subfolders” (e.g. www.yoursite.com/category/product).


Expanded Text Ads are currently available in Google AdWords, and Google has provided a best practices guide to help advertisers make the most of this new ad format. The ability to create or edit the existing “standard” text ads will be removed on October 26, 2016, so if you haven’t yet begun creating ETA versions of your ads, now is the time to start.

Mobile Ads

In recent years, Google has increased their emphasis on mobile-friendliness, and this focus on mobile extends to ads as well as search. They recently released the capability to create responsive ads on the Google Display Network which will automatically adapt to the screen size of users who see them. When creating these ads, you can simply provide a 25-character headline, a 90-character headline, a 90-character description, an image, and a URL, and Google will create ads for display across a wide variety of devices and screen sizes. For advertisers, this is a great way to reach the right people at the right time.

Google has also recently introduced device bid adjustments, which allow advertisers to target people using desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets with a greater degree of control and specificity. For more information about how to use device bid adjustments, Google has provided a best practices guide that will help you determine your device bid strategy.

Smart Bidding

Another innovation that Google has recently introduced is Smart Bidding, a system which uses artificial intelligence to automate bidding in Google AdWords. With this system, Google looks at the context of a user’s search, an advertiser’s business goals, and previous reporting to determine the optimal bid in every situation. This helps advertisers save time on account maintenance and lets them focus on their goals. If you’re looking to get started with Smart Bidding, Google has provided a best practices guide for automating and optimizing your bids.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the go-to tool for viewing the data that tells you how people find and use your site, and Google is always continually improving the product and offer new capabilities. The latest new feature in Analytics is a stream of automated insights that uses artificial intelligence to surface meaningful data points that you might not have noticed and offer tips on how to take advantage of this information.


This feature is currently only available in the Google Analytics mobile app (available on iOS and Android), but hopefully, Google will make it available in the desktop version of Google Analytics as well.

As always, it’s exciting to keep up with the latest and greatest features that Google provides for website owners, advertisers, and marketers. If you have any questions about how to use any of these tools, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to helping you make Google a key part of your digital strategy!