For the last week, speculation has run wild through the PPC industry about the contents of the April 22nd “Step Inside AdWords” presentation. Today, Jerry Dischler, Paul Feng and the Google AdWords team put our fears to rest by announcing several new updates to the advertising platform. Updates that, on the whole, didn’t live up to the hype.

First and foremost: we still have keywords. That crazy, irrational fear that “not provided” would be inflicted upon the PPC world was, thankfully, unfounded.

The announcements focus on three distinct areas:

App Advertising

Advertisers will now have the option of utilizing new ad formats designed to drive app downloads and app engagement. If you have an app, that is. The new ad formats will encompass Search and AdMob ads, as well as app download ads on both YouTube and the Google Display Network.

In addition to driving app downloads, the new ad formats will also allow for deep linking in to the apps themselves. This may be helpful for app creators with in-app purchases, and can help to funnel users to specific functions in your app.

That being said, it’s a very “Silicon Valley”-esque feature. While I’m sure everyone and their brother in the bay area has an app, they’re a little less prevalent outside of that bubble. I’ll reserve judgment, but for now this strikes me as more an interesting feature than an actionable one.

Estimated Total Conversion Improvements

Unsurprisingly, there continues to be a focus on cross-device and in-store attribution. In their words, the goal is “to reach the right people, at the right moment”, turning the focus from just targeting devices and instead targeting the people that use them.

To that end, AdWords VP of Product Management Jerry Dischler discussed case studies for Estimated Total Conversion data from both Shutterfly, as well as RKG and Express. For the latter, they found that online advertising ROAS increased by 102% with the inclusion of estimated in-store traffic. While a compelling example, it’s still dependent on how much faith you place in “Estimated Total Conversions” as a metric.

New AdWords User Interface Tools

Paul Feng introduced several new interface tools (stressing the interface part of that– no mention of the editor itself) designed to help AdWords users in several areas:

  • Bulk Actions: Using the bulk action/spreadsheet functionality, you’ll now be able to bulk edit Campaign settings and Ad extensions with ease.
  • Automated Bidding: In addition to automated bidding by CPA, Paul also discussed the ability to bid for maximum conversion volume, as well as revenue/ROAS/maximum value.
  • Advanced Reporting: You’ll soon be able to create custom pivot tables directly in the AdWords interface- Paul coined them as “multi-dimensional analysis tools” designed to take the tedium out of rinse-and-repeat Excel work. In addition to pivot tables, you’ll also be able to generate custom pie, line, and bar chart reports. Basically, they want you to do less busy work and find more insights.
  • Drafts and Experiments: Calling it “your very own AdWords laboratory”, users will be able to create Draft campaigns and experiments– experiments that will allow us to split test a portion of our traffic to gauge the actual impact of our changes. Think of it as an AdWords sandbox environment, or a “shopping cart” for your AdWords changes. Ideally, this will be a more user-friendly version of AdWords Campaign Experiments.

Interface improvements are always appreciated, but they still seem focused on simplifying the experience for the beginner-level user. Power users may find some use for the reporting and graphing tools, but the automated bidding and bulk editing tools still pale in comparison to the power of the AdWords Editor.

More details behind today’s news announcement can be found on the Inside AdWords blog. There were no concrete details on when we can expect these changes to roll out, but we’ll keep you posted on these changes as they happen.

So what about you, PPC Heroes and Heroines? Did the announcement stand up to the hype? Or was it just a storm in a teacup? Let us know in the comments and, as always, thanks for reading!