Tomorrow marks the beginning of August, and you know what that means: The countdown is on, and kids everywhere are anxiously counting down the days until they’re back in the classroom spending quality time with their favorite teachers and studying their most favorite subjects.

Or, they might just be excited to hang out with their friends everyday…or maybe they’re not excited at all. Whatever the case, it’s happening and it’s just weeks away – that means it’s time for advertisers to get on the ball and, if you haven’t already, get those back-to-school shopping campaigns underway.

Time’s a wastin’, so let’s get right to today’s PPC update.

 

Hey, Google, what’s new?

It’s finally arrived: Search Ads on Google Play. With people turning to their mobile devices for anything and everything, apps have grown to play a major role in our day-to-day lives. In fact, search has become a major driver of app installs.

So now, Google is making it easier for users to find apps that help them find the best restaurants in town, track their jogging miles, and everything else that we now turn to apps for. Search Ads on Google Play began rolling out on Wednesday to advertisers and developers who use Search app install campaigns on AdWords. And it’s a win-win: Not only will it help people more easily discover useful apps they may otherwise have missed, but it helps developers drive app awareness.

But that’s not all. Google is also rolling out improved conversion tracking for Android in a commitment to provide “conversion tracking tools that work seamlessly across channels and align with whichever measurement solution a developer chooses to use.”

This includes Android First App Opens, which measures when a user first opens an app after completing an Android app install initiated by clicking on an ad. “In addition to providing app conversion tracking across Search, Display and YouTube, this new solution also allows developers to better align the conversion volume they see in AdWords with the data they see in a third-party measurement solution.”

Finally, soon Universal App Campaigns will be making it easier to promote apps on Google Play as well as across all other Google properties. All you have to do is let Google know what your ad should say, who your target audience is, your budget, and your target cost-per-install, and they take care of everything else. Sweet. Read more about all of Google’s latest opportunities for app marketers and developers in this post.

New enhancements to Merchant Center data feeds will now allow you to easily update and validate your ads, through two specific enhancements:

  • Online product inventory feeds: a new type of product data feed that lets you quickly update price, availability, and sale prices for key products. This enhancement is particularly helpful for larger retailers who are frequently changing these attributes.
  • Google Sheets add-on: a Sheets extension that connects your spreadsheet directly to Merchant Center, uploading is even faster and easier with the Google Sheets add-on. This enhancement is a must-have for smaller or newer e-commerce vendors who want to get up and running quickly with Google Shopping ads.

More info on these time- and sanity-saving enhancements here.

Dynamic Search Ads just got more powerful. First, it’s now available to advertisers globally, but beyond that, DSA is now more functional and useful than ever, offering benefits such as better category recommendations based on your website, tools that provide more transparency into how your ads will show, and more. Get the scoop from this post.

Want to learn how to design and build HTML5? Well, Google officially declared last week #HTML5Week and to celebrate, they released a bunch of super-useful resources to help you learn the ins and outs of building your ads in HTML5. Check out this post for more details and links to the goods.

 

What’s shakin’, Bing?

Funny, Bing points out in a recent post about how it caught flak on Twitter for addressing back-to-school shopping in April – you know, before the kids were even out of school last year. If you’re a regular reader of my weekly PPC updates you’re well aware that I’m always quick to jump on the latest bandwagon, too.

But now, August is upon us (okay, well not yet, but really it’s like tomorrow), and that means back-to-school shopping is in full swing. School starts near the middle of August in some areas, others hold out until the very end of the month or until early September to drag all the unwilling kiddos back to their desks. But at any rate, parents need to get on it to get their kids equipped with all the supplies and new threads they’re going to need to hit the books (and the social scene) in a few weeks.

If you’re a little behind on the back-to-school opportunities, you might want to hit up Bing’s Industry Insights page for tips and tricks for capitalizing on the back-to-school shopping scene before it’s too late.

Want to learn some advertising ins and outs for free? Be sure to check out Bing Ads training and accreditation and visit the Bing Ads Training Courses page to browse learning opportunities by topic. Whether you want to refresh your memory on something specific or you’re looking for a more complete learning experience to boost your knowledge about PPC advertising, you’re sure to find something to engage your brain among Bing’s many courses and tutorials. More info on these opportunities here.

Don’t forget, in early August Bing will stop serving Content Ads on Microsoft, Yahoo and its network of websites. These ads represent less than 2% of traffic on Bing’s network, so the change isn’t expected to have a major impact on advertisers. In the U.S., advertisers will still see their Content Ads serving in Windows media and Windows Apps. More on this and the changes you might notice beginning in early August in this post.

 

And on to the rest of the web…

Bing isn’t the only one hopping on board the back-to-school bandwagon. Check out this post from PPCHero for tips on capitalizing on back-to-school shopping traffic, how to perfect your ad copy, and more.

Do you have a weekend bidding strategy? Of course, search trends tend to be a bit different on the weekend, when searchers aren’t tethered to their desks with their supervisors peering over their shoulders and can freely search on what they really want to buy. In this post, PPCHero talks about the rules for weekend bidding that result in a better cost-per-acquisition.

Can you write content-caliber ad copy? 3Q Digital has the what, where, why, and how right here.

Sniff, sniff. Google Shopping is growing up. It’s so bittersweet. Clix Marketing takes a look at Google Shopping’s rapid growth and lightning-fast addition of useful features in this post.

How about a little social fun? Are you leveraging Pinterest? Find out how some brands are making use of the visually-oriented social network in this video from Merkle | RKG.

Account-level quality score still exists, despite what Google would have you believe, according to WordStream. Learn more in this post.

There’s a game-changing new home service ad format that just dropped for local advertisers. Find out what it is and how it works in this post from WordStream.

 

Time to kick off another fabulous weekend, my friends. Make it a great one!