Opportunities Tab Beta: Now available to more advertisers

In July we announced US beta testing of the Opportunities tab, a new section in your AdWords account designed to help you find additional cost-effective traffic for your search campaigns.

Today we've begun expanding the beta to additional US advertisers, and we've also started including UK and Australian advertisers in the test. We'll make the Opportunities tab beta fully available to all English-language accounts over the next few business days.

Now that we're expanding the beta, we'd like to answer a few questions we heard during the initial test:

When should I use the Opportunities tab?
You can think of the Opportunities tab as your homepage for account optimization. You can use the tab to get a quick overview of Google's customized keyword and budget ideas for your campaigns and ad groups. You can also compare the impact of different ideas before making changes. So, if you're looking to increase your keyword coverage for a specific product, or have your ads appear more often for your existing keywords, the Opportunities tab is a great place to start.

We regularly update our list of ideas, so even if you've visited the Opportunities tab in the past, you may want to check back every few weeks to see if your keyword or budget ideas have changed.

Where did my AdWords Tools go?
We're not retiring any of the existing AdWords tools with the Opportunities tab beta test, but we've changed where they're found. If you're included in the Opportunities tab beta, you'll no longer see a Tools tab. Instead, you can access AdWords tools by clicking on the Opportunities tab and scrolling down the menu on the side of the page. You can also see lists of ideas by campaign by clicking on any of your campaigns listed in the menu on the left side.

To see a full list of available tools, simply click the "More tools..." link at the bottom of the list.

What optimization tools will I see in the future?
This beta test of the Opportunities tab is just a starting point for a broader set of optimization tools we hope to provide in the future. Over the coming months you can expect to see additional changes to the tab focused on giving you more insight into the broader search marketing landscape and more data to help you better estimate the effectiveness of new ideas.

Ultimately we want the Opportunities section of your account to evolve into a single destination you can visit whenever you want to get new ideas for increasing your ad coverage on relevant search terms, capturing additional clicks in your most profitable campaigns, or simply improving your overall ROI.

We plan to expand the Opportunities tab beta to all global advertisers over the coming weeks, and we'll continue working on improvements to the tab on an ongoing basis. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for improving account optimization, please let us know by submitting feedback in your account.

Announcing the expandable ads beta - engage your audience in a big way

Today, we're launching a beta test for expandable rich media ad units on the Google content network. This ad format can expand to double the original size of the ad to provide more information to your audience about your product. Expandable ads can also include a streaming video or other content designed to engage users through an interactive experience.

(Click image for a full size version)

Expandable ads on the Google content network are designed to automatically expand in the direction where the most space is available on the screen. They must be clicked by the user to expand and contract. These features help create a positive experience for users and provide you with more accurate ad engagement metrics by avoiding expansions triggered by accidental mouse-overs. Expandable ads can also help AdSense publishers by engaging users on their sites with more ad variety and opportunities to interact with the ad content.

For now, expandable ads will be available as a limited beta test in the U.S. to advertisers and agencies participating in our 3rd Party Ad Serving program. Please stay tuned for future updates as we expand this test. 

Beta Testing News: An Updated AdWords Interface

We've just asked a small group of US advertisers to start testing an updated web interface for AdWords. (If you're in the test pool, you'll see an alert when you sign in to your account.)

We're testing changes to the ways that AdWords advertisers see and manage the data in their accounts. These changes should make it easier to tackle common tasks, like navigating between campaigns and editing keywords across several ad groups. We hope the updates will give advertisers clearer insights into their ad campaigns and simpler ways to act on those insights.

To answer a common question: The updates we're testing won't affect how ads run. Bidding, ranking, Quality Score, and the other key AdWords performance fundamentals are not changing with these updates.

We've started advertiser testing very early, while we're still working on changes to the updated interface, so that we can make adjustments based on comments from our testers. That's one reason why this test group is pretty small. We'll gradually increase the number of advertisers testing the updated interface (and make it available to international testers) in the coming months. We'll be sharing more details about key features along the way.

In the meantime, if you'd like to be considered for the test, please submit your AdWords account information on our beta sign-up page and we'll contact you when we're ready to add you as a tester.

Demographic bidding beta test

Ever wish you could show your ads more often to a specific group like women aged 25-34? Want to see how your ads perform with certain demographic groups and then adjust your bids accordingly?

We're excited to introduce the new demographic bidding feature from AdWords. Demographic bidding helps you display your ads to specific gender and age group audiences on some sites in the Google content network, giving you more control over who your audience is and greater insight into how your ads perform with certain demographic groups.

We'll start testing this feature over the next few weeks with a selected group of advertisers in the U.S. and U.K. If you'd like to be part of this group, read on.

Demographic bidding and reports are available to advertisers who run contextually targeted or placement-targeted campaigns (with CPC or CPM bidding) on certain sites in the Google content network. Here's how it works: Some publishers in our network, such as social networking sites, know the gender and age of their users because their users sign in with that information when they create a profile or fill out registration or subscription forms. Participating publishers anonymize this user reported demographic data and then send it to Google in aggregate form, allowing us to adjust which ads are shown to members of specific demographic groups. (To protect user privacy, AdWords receives this data only from publishers that have permission from users to share their data according to the site's terms and conditions. Users are never identified personally, but only as anonymous aggregated data in the demographic reports. And to protect the privacy of minors, users under 18 can't be targeted demographically.)

There are two ways you can use demographic bidding. First, you can modify your bids for a particular audience segment, such as increasing your bid for 25-34 year-old males by 230%. Second, you can ask that your ads not be shown to certain demographic groups if they aren't meeting your ROI goals.

If you're not sure which demographic converts best for you, you can run Demographic Reports (found in the Report Center) to guide your bids for certain groups. These reports can show you campaign performance metrics (including impressions, clicks, CTR, and conversion data) by the gender and age range of users who saw your ad. If there are demographic groups that convert well, you can increase your bids for those groups, increasing the frequency your ad will be shown to this audience. You can also choose to have your ad hidden from groups that don't respond well to your campaign.

If you're an AdWords advertiser located in the U.S. or the U.K., we'd like to invite you to try out demographic bidding. You can see which partner sites offer this feature and learn how to get started by visiting this site. We plan to add advertisers on a rolling basis. We'll let you know as soon as you've been added to the test.

Pay-Per-Action Beta Expanding Globally

In March, we launched the pay-per-action (PPA) beta in the United States. Today, we're pleased to announce the worldwide expansion of the PPA beta. Here's a note from Rob Kniaz, the product manager for PPA:

Starting today, advertisers who use AdWords conversion tracking and receive more than 500 conversions from their cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) campaigns in the most recent 30-day period will be invited to join this beta test, on a rolling basis. Eligible advertisers will see an alert in their AdWords account informing them that they can now try the PPA beta.

As a refresher, pay-per-action advertising is a new pricing model that allows you to pay only for completed actions that you define (such as a lead, a sale, or a page view), after a visitor has clicked on your ad on a publisher's site. With CPC and CPM campaigns, advertisers need to continuously monitor and tune their campaigns to meet their target CPA (cost-per-action). With pay-per-action campaigns, advertisers only need to set their desired cost-per-action and pay for completed actions to hit their CPA targets.

PPA ads will appear on publisher sites in the Google content network. Publishers are free to choose the PPA ads most relevant to their site and run them in new ad units.

If you would like to learn more about PPA, please visit the PPA section of the AdWords Help Center.

Update: Corrected PPC to CPC and PPM to CPM.

Try Google Ad Creation Marketplace for video ads

You may have read about the AdWords click-to-play video launch or have heard that online video can result in higher engagement with your potential customers -- meaning that they are more likely to remember your ad or product. Have you ever wondered how you can get started with video ads if you don't have any previous experience? Here's Ann-Lee Chou from the video ads team to give a quick update on a new feature we're testing that can help you get started with video ads.

We wanted to make it easy for any advertiser to try out video -- even someone who doesn't know anything about video advertising or video ad creation. So, we've developed the Google Ad Creation Marketplace, accessible right from your AdWords account. The Ad Creation Marketplace is a resource for advertisers who are interested in running video ads but don't have experience creating video ads and want customized help from a professional.

In the Marketplace, you can find video production professionals to create high-quality video ads at a budget you set. These professionals are not Google employees but industry specialists who provide a full suite of services including concept, script-writing, voice-over, editing, and production.

We're currently looking for advertisers in the U.S. who are interested in using the Marketplace to get help on creating video ads. If you are interested in participating in this beta, you can sign up here.

You can also check out best practices and tips for running an effective video ad campaign. Stay tuned for our follow up post, when we will share with you the experiences of one of our video advertisers.

Google Audio Ads: Questions & Answers

Since the announcement of our relationship with Clear Channel Radio, we've been getting lots of questions from advertisers about our new beta offering. Here's Daniel Helmhold, from the Google™ Audio Ads team, to answer some of your questions:

Greetings! As a member of the Audio Ads support team, I spend a large part of my day answering advertisers' questions regarding Google Audio Ads. I thought it would be helpful to share with you answers to some of the more common inquiries.
  1. What kind of radio adverting is this?
    This is traditional radio advertising, the kind of radio that our grandparents, parents and we ourselves have known throughout our lives. While you may hear ‘Google Audio Ads’ and immediately think it was created for use with online media such as internet radio or podcasting, Google Audio Ads are actually designed to facilitate advertising on traditional radio stations such as those you may listen to in the car, in the gym or anywhere else on your AM/FM radio. Our product aims to make the long standing process of buying radio advertising as simple and efficient as possible, while allowing you to manage it from your existing Google AdWords account.

  2. Is this an auction like AdWords?
    For advertisers familiar with the traditional AdWords auction, fear not - one of the two options for booking a Google Audio Ads campaign uses an auction system very similar to that currently used in your AdWords campaigns. Additionally, for advertisers interested in securing ad space in advance, campaigns can also be booked using a Reserve Buy. This option allows advertisers to make advanced bookings of specific inventory so they can ensure their ads will play when and where they want them to.

  3. Is this remnant inventory?
    No, Google Audio Ads is not remnant inventory. Remnant inventory (or leftover inventory) refers to unbooked advertising time that is sold by radio stations at the last minute to ensure all ad spots are filled. Google Audio Ads offers premium inventory throughout the entire week, including prime day parts such as morning and afternoon drive time. By offering inventory at all times and offering a Reserve Buy, Google Audio Ads ensures that you are able to effectively target who you want, when you want.

  4. What if I don't have an ad or need help?
    We've created the Google Ad Creation Marketplace, accessible from within your AdWords account, to connect you with professionals who can create affordable ads customized for your radio campaign. This feature is especially helpful for first time radio advertisers. The Ad Creation Specialists in our marketplace are radio industry professionals who've been individually selected to work with advertisers who are new to radio. Through the marketplace, you're able to establish a direct relationship with these specialists to ensure they generate ads which combine your specifications with their experience and expertise to create the most effective audio ad for your budget.

  5. I already use Google AdWords, why should I use Google Audio Ads as well?
    Combining your existing AdWords online campaigns with traditional radio advertising through Google Audio Ads can be more effective in increasing brand awareness than running online ads alone. In addition, radio and the Internet combined can reach over 83% of people aged 18-54, ensuring that your business is gaining the exposure needed to strengthen the value of its brand and drive users to seek out your products or services. You can learn more about the benefits of radio advertising here. [Source: The Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab (RAEL), 2007]
To sign up for the beta, please visit the Google Audio Ads site. It takes about one week to process your request, but once Audio Ads has been enabled for your AdWords account, you can start experimenting with building a campaign or find a specialist to create an ad.

We hope this helped shed a little more light on Google Audio Ads. To review additional frequently asked questions, please visit the Google Audio Ads Help Center.

On the Radio: more on Audio Ads

In recent months, we've heard several interesting updates from the Google™ Audio Ads team, who have shared news regarding the development and beta testing of their product.

One of the things that keeps that team up at night is the reach -- or the number of different audience members listening to the radio -- available to advertisers through Google Audio Ads. Needless to say, the Audio Ads folks are very interested in ensuring that our advertisers are able to reach as many of those potential customers as possible.

That's why we're happy to share news of an important strategic relationship with Clear Channel Radio, the largest radio station group owner in the U.S. Here's Andrew Chang, from the Audio Ads team to fill us in on what this will mean for AdWords advertisers:

This relationship with Clear Channel Radio makes a portion of premium and guaranteed radio inventory available to advertisers in Google Audio Ads. These Clear Channel Radio stations, when combined with our existing radio station partners, give AdWords advertisers access to radio inventory that includes 'Top 10' stations in 24 of the top 25 U.S. markets -- providing coverage (i.e. people can tune into the station) to over 99% of the U.S. population aged 12 and older. (Source: ACT1 / Arbitron)

We are accepting additional advertisers to try Audio Ads each week, and would once again like to invite you to be considered as a beta tester. If you're uncertain whether Audio Ads would be a good fit for your business, and would like to learn more, please check out a new 10 minute demo that we've just added on our product site. We think it will help you make an informed decision.

Please note that, because of the large number of stations involved and the technical integrations with each station, it will take some time for us to fully connect Google Audio Ads with all of Clear Channel Radio's stations. Still, Audio Ads beta testers will have the exciting opportunity of hearing their ads on an ever-increasing number of radio stations, across markets, in addition to the hundreds available today.

If you think Audio Ads could be a good match for your business, do keep an eye out for future updates on Inside AdWords. As always, we'll keep you posted with the latest details.

Pay-per-action beta test

Is there a specific action on your site that you want visitors to complete? Do you know how much that action is worth to your business? If so, you may be interested in our pay-per-action beta test. Here’s Rob Kniaz, Product Manager for Pay-Per-Action, to tell us more:

Pay-per-action advertising is a new pricing model that allows you to pay only for completed actions that you define, such as a lead, a sale, or a pageview, after a user has clicked on your ad on a publisher's site. You'll define an action, set up conversion tracking, and create ads that publishers in the Google content network can then choose to place in new ad units on their site. Let's run through the details:

Ad placement: Pay-per-action ads are only shown on sites in the Google content network. Publishers choose specific pay-per-action ads that are relevant to their site and can place them in a new ad unit on their page.

Ad formats: You can create text ads, image ads, or our new text link ad format in your pay-per-action campaign. Text link ads are brief text descriptions that take on the characteristics of a publisher's page. These Javascript-based ads will display like regular hyperlinks and allow publishers to embed these links inline with other text to promote your product or service.

Pricing: You define a fixed amount that you'd like to pay for a completed action based on the value of that action to your business. You'll only pay when that action is completed, not for a click or impression. For example, you may wish to pay $1 every time a user fills out a lead form on your site and $5 when a purchase is made.

Tracking: Google conversion tracking allows us to determine when an action that you've specified has been completed on your site. If you're already using conversion tracking, you'll be able to quickly enable existing actions for your pay-per-action campaign by adding the amount that you're willing to pay. For new conversion tracking users, you'll need to add a small amount of code to your website after you define your actions.

Beta Test Requirements: At this time, the pay-per-action beta test is only available to advertisers in the United States. In addition, you must already be using conversion tracking or be able to implement conversion tracking code on your website so that we can track your completed actions.

Over the next few weeks, we'll begin adding advertisers to our beta test. If you're an AdWords advertiser located in the US and are interested in participating in this beta, please fill out this short web form. We'll let you know as soon as you've been added to the test and will continue to add advertisers on a rolling basis.

We hope you're as excited about this beta test as we are! Please let us know if you have any questions that you'd like us to answer on the blog. You can also read up on pay-per-action here.

More testers needed for Audio Ads

In December, we announced the start of a beta test for Google Audio Ads. The beta has been going well and, in fact, the Audio Ads Team is looking for more testers. Advertisers who are interested in participating in the beta can sign up here.

In terms of feedback, the Audio Ads team has heard that beta testers like the simple and clean user interface and the targeting and reporting options. Beta testers also find the audio ad creation process easy and fast since it only takes them a few days to create their ads and launch their first campaigns (as compared to potentially weeks for traditional radio ads).

You might be wondering whether Audio Ads would be a good fit for your business. Instead of hearing it from us, we thought we'd let a current AdWords advertiser, Richard Swezey, do the talking. Richard is the Executive Vice President of Cequal, which created the Bed Lounge. Over the years, Richard had always made a point of exploring different advertising channels. Some made sense, some didn't. And some, like radio, looked like a good idea, but had limitations that seemed to offset the benefits.

We thought a lot about how to expand the reach of our message, and radio seemed like a great opportunity – it's a 'main stream America' type of channel, but we had zero experience in it. My impression was it was something for bigger companies, or at least companies with bigger pockets and a bigger appetite for risk. Then we learned about Google Audio Ads and thought 'not only does it address our concerns but we can custom fit it to our budget and marketing goals.' So we decided to take the big plunge into radio. We've been really pleased with the experience.

Sound intriguing? If so, check out our product site to listen Richard's audio ad, hear more advertiser testimonials, and sign-up for the beta test.