The Changes in AdWords You Must Know before Making Your Next SEM Hire

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Big things are happening in the world of search engine marketing. Recent changes by Google and others are fundamentally shifting the way we approach advertising through search–and more adjustments are on the horizon.

It’s critically important for any professional who’s part of digital advertising staffing to stay abreast of these changes to deliver optimal ROI to their employer or clients. And it’s just as important that anyone responsible for hiring a search engine marketing executive or other SEM pro has a good general grasp of these trends so you can identify great talent. Otherwise you risk bringing in someone who is out of date and won’t get the most out of your PPC budget.

Shifting PPSeas

To get the best understanding of what Google’s doing with its paid search offerings and what it means to your digital marketing strategy, I recommend watching the keynote speech of the recent Google Performance Summit:

video from Google AdWords

Of course, many of you don’t have the time or the motivation to listen to an hour of technical AdWords details, programs and projections. So if you just need the highlights for the purposes of search engine marketing staffing, we’ve got you covered.

Adapting to the Mobile Shift

Every year there are trillions of searches made on More than half of them occur on a mobile device. Google has already made many changes to accommodate a more mobile powered and connected world. The search engine ranking algorithm has been adjusted to favor mobile responsive and friendly sites. And it is promoting “Mobile Accelerated Pages” to improve load times and browsing experience for mobile users:

video from Google Chrome Developers

So updating its PPC standards to better serve mobile users is an unsurprising next step. Most of the changes Google is implementing with AdWords ultimately serve the larger purpose of improving mobile experiences and engagement.

What it Means for Hiring Managers:

If you’re not already, it’s time to be looking for a mobile-first mindset in all digital marketing hires. Most marketers work primarily on a desktop day in and out. It’s easy for them to forget that the digital ads they’re creating, developing and placing will be experienced very differently by the huge portion of their audience who will be encountering them on mobile. Look for candidates with experience in mobile marketing staffing or be sure to probe them on their mobile expertise during the interview process.

Optimizing Mobile Ad Experiences

Google will begin enabling longer text advertisements in its search results pages later this year, following its removal of the right-side SERP ad column. The change is substantial; paid search ads will now have up to two 30-character headlines, and the ad description will extend as long as 80 characters. That’s more than a 100% increase in potential copy in both cases.

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image from the AdWords blog

It’s also offering “smarter” display ads that will do a better job of responding to the format and feel of the web content around them and the device they’re being viewed on. These ads will fit more organically in a page and perform better on a growing variety of devices.

What it Means for Hiring Managers:

New ad real estate means more opportunity for particularly creative people to shine, so keep an eye out for search engine marketing staffing professionals that are comfortable with innovation and experimentation. Furthermore, these are perhaps the most significant changes to AdWords offerings in many years, so make sure your candidates are aware of them and have a strategy to adapt. Anyone who calls themselves a SEM expert but isn’t familiar with these upcoming changes isn’t worth your time.

Further, look for strong A/B testing experience and analytical drive in your SEM candidates. AdWords best practices that worked for you before are now obsolete. Your newly hired SEM experts must be able to establish new benchmarks, creative and bidding strategies that work for your products and services.

More Customizable Bidding Options for Mobile Platforms

Faced with a growing number of diverse mobile devices, especially in the tablet and “phablet” space, Google is providing more options to optimize bidding strategy for a greater variety of screens. That means even more ways to adjust your messaging and bidding for maximum ROI.

What it Means for Hiring Managers:

People behave very differently on tablets and mobile phones than they would on desktops. Your digital space buying strategy should reflect that. Seek candidates that have researched or have a strategy to better understand tablet behavior. And find analytically-minded ROI-hunters who are masters of the split testing and will aggressively look for new opportunities to trim costs or grow conversions through these new bidding channels.

Additional Reading on Search Engine Marketing Staffing

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