Google Announcements – The Invisible Sectors

A lot of great summaries and think pieces have been written about Google’s AdWords and Analytics announcements on May 24th. I actually appreciated that the event had not been over-hyped or over-exposed leading up to it. Overall, the announcements were interesting with a couple rising to the level of intriguing, with the very welcome ability to bid differently on tablets probably being the most popular item announced, based on the Twitter reaction to the live event! Increased ad text should also benefit all types of advertisers.

Access to more sites via the Google Display Network (GDN) with cross exchange inventory could also be interesting. Or it could be like Google Search Partners on steroids. Time will tell on this one if it is a benefit and for whom. The ability to ask Google Analytics questions like you would to Siri or Cortana, again could be cool or could be migrane-inducing for PPC professionals as clients start asking GA for things we should really know about and verify the accuracy of the data provided as answers on…

There was one thing that really, really struck me as I watched this event – the complete lack of focus on business to business (B2B) and lead generation advertising needs and also a seeming tunnel vision about local businesses all having physical locations where they serve customers. This does not come as any real surprise to me, Google and AdWords’ focus has always been on larger brands and certainly in recent years larger brands who engage directly in commerce online. The vast majority of examples there were cited during the presentation fell into these categories. Wow, do they love the auto industry! I’m guessing they spend major, major dollars in AdWords. And, I get it, AdWords certainly wants to cater to its biggest spenders. From what I understand, many of those in the actual room during the presentation that were end clients, were of this type.

The mind-blowing part for me though is just how many organizations they are choosing to leave behind. I can’t help but wonder what kind of monies are being left on the table by essentially ignoring B2B, lead generation and local or regional service businesses? Let’s look at these sectors in a bit more detail.

Business To Business (B2B) And Lead Generation

B2B and more broadly, lead generation search advertising, seem to perpetually be an afterthought, if it is even a thought at all, during these things. This year’s announcements had little that got B2B or lead generation people excited. Sure, we are all interested in seeing what the new interface will bring and if it will make any of our routine tasks easier or more efficient. But as for any big new features for the B2B and/or lead gen crowd? Nothing to speak of, again. It’s not that B2B or lead generation searches don’t happen on phones or tablets (hooray tablet modifiers for all!) but they don’t always have the local or geographical focus that retail type searches do.

Quite a lot of B2B and/or search advertising with lead generation goals is not trying to drive the immediate purchase, but rather generate leads. Just take a look at the sample templates shown on Unbounce’s sales page:

Sample Unbounce Landing Page Templates

Sample Unbounce Landing Page Templates

Notice anything? They are ALL for lead generation. Yes, that’s right, Unbounce – one of the leading providers of landing page design and A/B testing serivces – shows only lead generation templates on their sales page (note that they have 80+ total templates and this is only a sampling). Probably because this is a huge market, one to which AdWords seems to not want to grant full citizenship.

I work with these types of organizations. They spend money. If they are getting quality leads, they will spend more money. The variety of industries that fall into this category of B2B or Lead Generation (B2B or B2C) is immense – everything from software, to education, to manufacturing, to architects, to attorneys, to designers, to contractors, the list goes on and on.

How about ads that have a mini lead generation form right in them? How cool would that be? Even a “Call Me Now” option to click that would send an alert directly to the sales team so they could call the prospect right then?

Local Or Regional Service Businesses

For all of the talk about mobile being the starting point or the focal point or “where we live today” I am surprised that there isn’t more available for businesses with local locations that offer services at the customer’s location. All of the talk about the convergence of mobile + location was focused on a person wanting to ultimately go somewhere and do or buy something. You know what else people search for A LOT on their phones? Services. Plumbers, HVAC service/repair, pest control, landscaping/lawn services, driveway resurfacing, roofing, window and door replacement – the list goes on and on. I have yet to see AdWords really evolve to better serve these types of businesses. Because they may have a single physical location, but serve for example 5 suburban counties, using the new map ads only helps them in the town (and possibly closely surrounding area) where they have a physical location.

I work with these types of business. Competition is fierce. They are spending money, and in many cases lots of it, every month on paid search advertising. But the way the current AdWords system works, it takes a lot of configuration and management to get your ads showing where you want them to and make sure they’re not showing in areas the businesses don’t serve. It seems like with the GPS and location services technology today, this should be easier.

When thinking about “moments that matter” if I wake up and my water heater is dead, trust me it really matters that I can find a plumber who can get to me and quickly! Creating better mechanisms to allow service area businesses to be visible to customers in their target geographies when they need them would be great not only for end users, but would be rejoiced over by these types of advertisers. Trust me. They would pay top dollar for these types of ads reaching motivated consumers!

Top Wish List Items For Next Time

Might as well put them out there, right? I almost typed tablet bid modifiers out of habit…

  1. Negative languages – let advertisers exclude queries by language.
  2. Better geographic targeting settings – to target a local area or region takes way to many steps to get full coverage where you want and not where you don’t, this should be much simpler. AdWords should have a better understanding of cities within states, towns within counties and zip codes within towns, for example.
  3. Machine learning applied to geographic terms that probably represent a conflict with a geo setting. For example, if I have excluded Maryland and someone types in search query + Baltimore, maybe don’t show my ad? Or at least create some type of list of geographies that produce these types of questions that I can review and either apply/accept or reject. Seeing these in a dashboard rather than having to find them one by one in search query reports would be fantastic.
  4. Acknowledgement that B2B and lead generation actually exist in the AdWords ecosystem.
  5. Have a close variant WTF reporting tool where advertisers can report back matches that are not what they want. Grow the system’s knowledge of what actually is a good/quality/useful close variant and what is not. Again, seeing these in a dashboard rather than having to find them one by one in search query reports would be fantastic.
  6. For Analytics – make it easier to share Shortcuts to reports. Dashboards don’t always include all of the information I want a client to be able to see quickly or on-demand. And having to create a custom report version of a standard report just so I can share it is a real pain. Sharing shortcuts for non-custom reports, with or without segments applied, would be awesome.

What about you? What did you think of the announcements? What impact do you expect them to have or not have? What is on your wish list? As always, sound off in the comments or hit me up on Twitter (@NeptuneMoon).

 

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