Google announced some new mobile search ad improvements today. These include: app promotion with a new Mobile App extension, richer info about mobile apps in ad units, the ability to track Android app downloads through AdWords and the addition of custom search ads to tablet apps.
"For the first time, businesses can use AdWords mobile search ads as a holistic solution to promote, monetize and track their app downloads," says Mobile Search Ads product manager Anurag Agrawal.
The Mobile App extension is a new member of Google's Ad Extensions for promoting apps. It lets advertisers add a mobile app download link to their search ads. Google says beta testers found a 6% increase in clickthrough rate with the extension.
As far as the richer info in the ad units, that includes image previews, app descriptions, pricing and ratings. All of the info comes directly from Google Play and the iTunes App Store.
Advertisers will be able to track app downloads from AdWords, specifically as AdWords conversions.
The custom search ads for tablet apps are available through Google's new AdMob SDK.
All of this comes after two quarters in a row of sharp declines in cost per click for Google ads, for which mobile has been largely blamed. More people are searching with their mobile devices, but the CPCs just haven't been what they are for desktop. Google believes that will change, however.
During the company's earnings call earlier this month, CEO Larry Page said he's "very bullish" that mobile CPCs will get better, noting that Google is making lots of investments in that area and comparing it to how desktop search was in the early 2000s.
"Mobile apps represent a significant opportunity for businesses to reach their customers, and mobile search is an important channel to reach these customers," says Agrawal. "We’re looking forward to bringing new products in the coming year that will help businesses grow by promoting, tracking, and monetizing their mobile apps with Google."
It will definitely be interesting to see what other improvements and innovations Google comes up with for mobile ads this year. It will be even more interesting to see how CPCs react in the coming quarters.