What happens when you roll out so many new features that you make people’s heads spin, so you have to roll out a new feature to make it easy to keep track of all those new features? That’s what’s happening with Google this week, and while explaining all that makes my head spin a bit, it’s really a good thing.

By the way, is it spring yet? We’ve been slammed with foot after foot of snow and now even the Southern states are frozen under inches of ice. What the heck is happening? It’s insanity, I tell ya. So while you’re huddled under your electric blanket, with gloves and a winter hat on, still shivering, even though you’re inside, I’ve rounded up the best PPC updates for the week for your reading enjoyment.

 

Hey Google, what’s new?

I know this is going to come as a tremendous shock to some of you (enter sarcastic tone here), but keeping track of all the updates to the Google AdWords platform can be pretty overwhelming. Really, I mean, Google launched more than 200 products and feature updates in 2014. Take a minute to recover from the shock. Now, Google is launching some new features to help you keep track of all the new features.

Is your head spinning?

These new features are found in the Learn tab in the Help Center. The first, New AdWords Features, breaks down new features released by month with more details in expandable sections. The second is a page within the Learn tab, Google Best Practices, which houses all the Google AdWords Best Practices Guides, designed to help advertisers get the most out of AdWords.

Basically, Google releases so many new features and best practices guides that there’s a need for a single repository where you can quickly access all this valuable information. It’s a good thing that should reduce head-spinning in the future. For more details on these new features, check out this post on the AdWords Blog.

A new design for the Rich Media Gallery is another helpful update coming from Google this week. A destination for digital creative inspiration and education, the Rich Media Gallery now provides a seamless experience across screens, so you can more easily locate the right product and ad formats to build your campaigns.

Now, in the Rich Media Gallery, you can:

  • See the most relevant creative examples for your campaign quickly by filtering the gallery by ad type or feature.
  • Get recommendations for the best product to use for your campaign, based on your answers to a few questions, from the Creative Recommendation Tool.

The home page now features a curated set of some of the best examples from the gallery, allowing you to deconstruct the ads to see what formats and features were used to create them. A new Ad Types section provides an overview of the various format types, then aggregate all the resources you need to recreate your own version. More on this here.

 

What’s happening, Bing?

If you’re in the tax or financial services industries, tax season is ripe with opportunities for paid search advertisers. It goes beyond tax prep, reaching far into financial planning, insurance, and loans, as consumers search for options to improve their financial circumstances around this time of year. The Bing Ads Blog features a SlideShare slide deck with some highlights on making tax season search activities work for you. Check it out.

As part of Bing’s Power Tools Series, the Bing Ads Blog illustrates how to use Auction Insights as a method for figuring out your competitions’ bidding strategies. Read how – and a few case studies – in this post.

Bing Ads has launched a new aspect of optimization to add to your toolkit: Competitive Bid Opportunity. What does it do? It helps you identify the number of keywords for which your ads could potentially show more often for, compared to the same for other advertisers competing for the same traffic. Additionally, Competitive Bid Opportunity also provides suggestions on which bids you should raise. Learn more here.

Speaking of competition, Bing showcases its entire competitive toolbox, highlighting five key features that help Bing Ads advertisers measure, track, and outperform their competition:

  • Auction Insights
  • Campaign Planner
  • Ad Preview Tool – Bid Landscape
  • Top Movers Report
  • Keyword and Match Suggestion

These tools all help advertisers strengthen their competitive advantages either through cost advantages or differentiation. Find out how each tool can help you beat your competitors in this post.

Finally from Bing, a great tutorial on the various keyword match types and how to use them here.

 

Let’s check in with the web-at-large…

Facebook launched Product Ads this week, enabling advertisers to showcase products or even entire catalogs across devices. Find out what PPC Hero has to say about Facebook’s foray into product advertising here.

Is PPC right for your business? A more appropriate question might be, are you adequately prepared to launch and manage a PPC advertising campaign? This post from PPC Hero reveals the reality behind managing PPC advertising campaigns and offers tips for ensuring your business is prepared – so you can focus on maximizing ROI instead of scrambling through learning the ropes and nuances of PPC.

Does your marketing strategy include the right mix of owned, paid, and earned media? A series of posts at 3Q Digital discusses each component of the trifecta, the final of the three offering tips and advice for gaining earned media – and why it matters. Check it out.

Are you layering negative keywords in your PPC accounts? Michelle Morehouse has the who, what, when, where, and why on the Clix Marketing Blog. Read it here.

Merkle/RKG reveals some interesting findings: Google Close Variant Exact Match conversion rate is 52 percent lower than true Exact Match. What does this mean? Read this post to find out.

A great read for agencies, WordStream has some tips for PPC agencies to save time and get better results for clients. Check it out.

 

Aaanndd that’s all, folks. Another week of PPC news, updates, and trends under wraps. Now, try to stay warm amid this crazy frozen weather. We might have to start building igloos soon.