Google revamps ads to prioritize mobile, focus on local searches

More than 50% of Google search queries now come from mobile devices, while location-related mobile searches are growing 50% faster than all mobile searches.

Google on Wednesday announced it has revamped its ad products to prioritize mobile and put a stronger focus local searches.

The changes reflect growing user preferences -- more than 50 percent of Google search queries now come from mobile devices. Meanwhile, location-related mobile searches are growing 50 percent faster than all mobile searches and currently account for nearly one third of mobile searches.

"People's online and offline worlds are colliding -- whether you're researching restaurant ideas for dinner on Friday night or looking for a store that sells rain boots in your size," Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google's senior vice president for Ads and Commerce, said in a blog post.

To help advertisers lure customers to their physical storefronts, Google is rolling out new local serach ads for Google.com and Google Maps. The search giant is trying out a variety of formats, it said. For instance, Google Maps users may see a promoted pin for nearby coffee shop or restaurant along their driving routes. The company is also sprucing up local business pages so that people who find a store website can take advantage of special deals or browse the inventory.

On top of its new local ad offerings, Google announced a revamped version of text ads in AdWords that prioritizes mobile.

"Over the last several years, we've discovered that accounting for mobile and designing for mobile-first are two very different things," Ramaswamy wrote.

The new, expanded text ads will be optimized for common smartphone screen sizes. They will effectively double the description line space under ads, while ad headlines will be more prominent. Advertisers will also benefit from more accurate and customizable URL paths.

Some advertisers who have tried the new ads have reported increases in clickthrough rates of up to 20 percent, Google said.

Google also said it's adding a feature that automatically designs a "responsive ad" that adapts the content shown to what a user is browsing. Additionally, advertisers in the next few months will be able to set individual bid adjustments by device type.

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