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The Most Important Updates in the PPC World for 2016

Contributors include: Diane Anselmo, Jeff Baum, Matt Umbro, Jacob Fairclough, and JD Prater

Every year, there are hundreds of PPC updates across multiple platforms. Some have been major successes and some have been flops. It’s easy to get overwhelmed while trying to figure out which ones you need to be implementing and which ones are better to steer clear of for the time being.


That’s where the Hanapin team comes in. Our PPC experts continuously try new updates and features across multiple campaigns in platforms like Google, Bing, Facebook, and Pinterest. Here’s what they’ve dubbed as the most important updates in the PPC industry for 2016.




Expanded Text Ads


“Not only is this one of the most important updates
of 2016, this is arguably AdWords’ most important
update since the platform rolled out back in 2000.”
– Jeff Baum, Associate Director of Services



Google has updated their ad format to include a second headline and longer description line. This updated ad format now allows an advertiser to utilize a maximum of 140 characters of text. Expanded text ads allows advertisers to add a deeper level of detail to their ad copy and to inform
users of things that they previously might not have had the room to do.


This update is important because the additional characters of text available to advertisers forces them to rethink how they message customers. Expanded text ads are almost universal across industries, driving higher click thru rates than standard ad copy, which is leading to more conversions.



Desktop Ad



Mobile Ad



Responsive Display Ads
This new feature decreases the amount of time you need to spend creating display ads and actually does a lot of the legwork for you by adapting your creative to the ad unit available. With responsive ads, you only need to provide Google with a URL, description, headline and image. Not having to create ad variations in every size saves a ton of time for both agency and in-house account managers.



Device Level Bidding
The biggest reason why this specific feature is very important? CONTROL. Now that device level bidding is back, advertisers can create ‘device specific’ campaigns and not have to worry about only desktop being the base bid. Campaigns can now become ‘experiences’ that can be tailored to the behaviors and mindsets of customers, which often change based on the devices they’re engaging on.


Google Tag Manager Improvements
Google Tag Manger (GTM) continues to add quality of life improvements, making it easier to incorporate new tags and collaborate with others.


Over the last year GTM has regularly added template support for new platforms, making it even easier to integrate the growing number of tags in the advertising ecosystem. These include both improvements to major players, such as DoubleClick, as well as predefined templates for a variety of
other platforms.


Workspaces add the ability for multiple users to test updates in a more controlled manner and allow individuals to set aside discrete spaces to implement and test code without accidentally publishing or interfering with other contributor’s edits. It also allows for easy rollbacks in case of errors and a more robust version control.



AdWords Reports
“AdWords reports were long-awaited. With all the talk about tactics, strategies and best practices, it really begins with strong reporting. AdWords Reports make it easier than ever to analyze, segment, and export data from within the interface.”
– Jacob Fairclough, Senior Account Analyst



Rather than trying to bring a range of spreadsheets in line, these reports allow you to segment and combine data in new ways. Users can also save these reports, saving themselves valuable time in the future with quick access to the data and format they need.




Expanded Text Ads


Once Google implemented Expanded Text Ads, Bing quickly followed suit and implemented expanded text ads for its own platform.



“Expanded text ads have been a welcomed feature for advertisers this year, both in Google and Bing. Having the ability to add more text to ads has opened up a world of possibilities, especially for those who found themselves limited by the previous ad parameters.”
– Diane Anselmo, Associate Director of Services





Whereas paid social was only a mention in previous years, it’s clear that it needs to be part of advertisers’ strategies today. Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter have all released new features in 2016 to go along with their granular targeting options. These platforms have given advertisers
justification to invest money. Here’s a few updates you need to pay particular attention to.


Pinterest Remarketing
Pinterest finally opened up the ability for marketers to target the bottom of the funnel. That’s huge for performance-driven marketers looking to increase conversions! They’ve achieved this in two ways – website remarketing and email marketing.



For website remarketing, you can get their new conversion pixel, which is similar to Facebook’s in that it allows you to add events (add to cart, category page, etc.) that help segment your audiences based on actions taken on your website. For those that are less tech-savvy, you can still create website audiences based on URLs, similar to Google Analytics.



For email remarketing, you can now target your customer lists. Targeting customer lists isn’t a new feature for marketers, but it is for Pinterest advertisers. The real winners here are the marketers who use email lists to move potential customers down the funnel or increase lifetime value (LTV) with up-sells and cross-sells.


“Pinterest is growing up and marketers should take note. Pinterest, still in its infancy, is just learning to walk, as the cool-guy teenager, Facebook, reports record profits.”
– JD Prater, Head of Paid Social




Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm
The biggest update for Facebook was the News Feed algorithm changes made in July & August. Users are now seeing more from friends & family, more information/relevant content, and less click-bait articles in the News Feed. From Hanapin’s perspective, this had an impact on our clients and how and what we advertised. Overall, it’s pushed advertisers into more storytelling and guiding people through the funnel. In the end, FB gets more ad revenue, users don’t see pushy ads, and brands create more meaningful interactions with their audience.




PPC updates and changes are inevitable, but the constant innovation is one of the most exciting things about the PPC industry. In a year, many of the things you see today are going to be different; mostly for the better and the ones that remain the most valuable will stick around. If you need a little help staying on top of new features and updates in 2017, make sure you bookmark Hanapin’s industry blog, PPC Hero. Our experts write about every new PPC update and offer tips and strategies on how to best use them in your campaigns.