(cross-posted on the Google Mobile Ads Blog)

We’ve had conversations with hundreds of business leaders about mobile over the past year and two clear themes emerged from these discussions. Today, companies understand that they need to invest in mobile to engage with their customers on this platform. The problem is, most don't know where to start. To help address this issue, we launched a new resource: The Mobile Playbook. In this interactive guide, we pose 5 crucial questions all executives should be asking to win with mobile:
  • How does mobile change our value proposition?
  • How does mobile impact our digital destinations?
  • Is our organization adapting to mobile?
  • How should our marketing adapt to mobile?
  • How can we connect with our tablet audience?
Visit from your tablet, PC or smartphone today. If you can, visit it from your tablet. Because The Mobile Playbook site is built with HTML5, we had the flexibility to customize the experience for different types of screens. We designed it for tablets first, then scaled the content up for the PC and streamlined it for smartphones. This way, we were able to ensure that readers will have an enjoyable browsing experience, no matter what context they’re in. We hope this resource will help you have productive conversations with your teams and agencies and ultimately help you adapt to the mobile consumer who is waiting to engage with you.

Visit from your tablet today.

Mobile represents a sociological shift with how users relate with both the digital and physical world. The companies that understand that all businesses are becoming mobile businesses will be primed to succeed today and in the years to come.

Posted by: Jason Spero, Head of Global Mobile Sales and Strategy

Times have evolved from analog to digital for everyone except my mom. Even my grandmother is more technologically-savvy than my mother. Sorry mom. A string of usually charming emoticons and abbreviations simply won’t do the trick when speaking to my mom. HSIK what 2 get mom 4 Mother’s Day? WWMD?! How can I begin to thank her for everything she’s done, in a language we both understand?

Step One - WWGD? (What Would Google Do?)
Let me consult the “database of intentions” for this daunting task. What gift ideas are other kids coming up with? Looks like traditional gifts are still the go-to this year. That’s good. I haven’t lost hope on winning the best daughter of all-time award. I’m going to dive into each traditional Mother’s Day gift category to see how I can secure my win. Here is what I found:

Trending searches: gift(s), gift baskets, gift ideas.

Maybe. Let me see what else is out there.

Trending searches: ipod, camera, kindle.

Well this is for the moms with the technological gene. I know there are a lot out there, but this type of gift would not be well received by my mother. Moving on...

Trending searches: beautiful flowers, florist, roses.

I love getting mom flowers, but I did this last year. What about a nice Spring outfit?

Trending searches: dress(es), clothes, skirt.

That is a possibility, but how about something that sparkles?

Trending searches: jewelry store(s), gold jewelry, silver jewelry.

“Ding”! Or should I say, “Bling”! I’ll throw in an “LOL”, or a “mmk” for my horrible joke. I THINK I have found the way to my mom’s heart.

Step Two - To buy online, or to buy in-store... that is the question 
For me, buying online is easiest because I have to ship my gift anyway. For the rest of the population, this can be a tricky situation depending on the category. Last year, in-store sales peaked on Saturday, 24 hours before Mother’s Day (hello last minute shoppers), and online sales peaked on the Tuesday before Mother’s Day.

For Jewelry, there are similar findings; however, there are more dramatic spend increases as Mother’s Day approaches.

Step Three: Where Should I Buy My Mother’s Day Gift? 
Easy! I’m a brand loyalist, so I have my favorites. I know, I know... Mom taught me not to play favorites, but it sure is convenient and comforting to use my stored payment information and know exactly what I’m getting. But that’s just me; other shoppers might be more price-sensitive and opt for the “deal” factor. To ensure a conversion, a retailer should touch on as many attributes as possible when choosing the appropriate advertising messaging.

Step Four: Give My Mom the Perfect Gift & Collect My “Favorite Daughter” Trophy
Stay tuned for the reaction to my awesome gift.

Happy Mother’s Day from the Google Retail Team!

Posted by Keri Overman, The Google Retail Team

(cross-posted on the Google Mobile Ads Blog)

Just a quick reminder to tune in to the Think with Google Google+ page this Wednesday, April 25th, at 3pm EST/ 12pm PST for a special Hangout on Air mobile strategy discussion. We’ll be introducing our new resource, The Mobile Playbook, and talking about how mobile can help businesses win the moments that matter, make better decisions, and go bigger, faster. Our incredible mobile panelists have all been early movers in the mobile space, and we’ll be hearing their perspective on the 5 key questions we feature in The Mobile Playbook that every business executive should be asking today in order to win with mobile. We hope you’ll be there. Leave your questions for the panel in advance by clicking on the scrapbook photo at the top of the Think with Google Google+ page and leaving a comment on the photo.
  • When: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 3pm EST/ 12pm PST 
  • How: In order to view the Hangout on Air, visit the Think with Google Google+ page at 3pm EST on April 25th, look for the stream post about the Hangout on Air, and click on it to tune in. Don’t forget to be signed into Google+! If you aren’t started yet with Google+, get started here with just your Google account. 

On April 25, look for the Hangout on Air post like the image above on the Think with Google +page and click to tune-in!

Posted by: Jason Spero, Head of Global Mobile Sales and Strategy

(cross-posted on the Inside AdWords Blog)

Get organized this spring with new location features in AdWords and share your stories

Over the past 30 years, California Closet Company has grown from the brainchild of a college student organizing his dorm room closet to a successful business with more than 77 franchise locations. To reach customers across the U.S. and internationally, the company centered their digital marketing strategy on creating locally relevant campaigns.

It’s no surprise that local campaigns are a focus for many businesses--from finding directions to looking up a phone number, more people are going online to find local information. In fact, more than 20% of searches on Google are related to location, and people often act quickly on local searches. Research shows that using smartphones, 88% of people who search for local information take action within a day.

To help you organize your local ad campaigns this spring, we’re introducing three new features in AdWords to help you create ads that are more relevant to local customers.

Target customers by zip code
If you customize your direct mail, outdoor ads, or newspaper ads at a postal code level, you now can easily do the same in AdWords in the US. We are introducing the ability to target more than 30,000 US ZIP Codes with your AdWords campaigns.

You will be able to add up to 1,000 postal codes at a time to your search ad campaigns with AdWords Location Targeting. Plus, you can get feedback on the performance of your local campaigns by viewing campaign performance statistics at the postal code level.

"Location targeting within AdWords helped us double lead volume and cut the cost to acquire new customers in half,” said Lois Erbay, Director of Marketing, California Closet Company. “We plan on building on that success by using ZIP Code targeting to create even more locally relevant campaigns for our customers.”

More locally relevant ads in less time
To help you easily create a custom ad title, text, display URL, and/or destination URL for all of your locations at scale, we’ve developed location insertion for location extensions. You’ll no longer need to create multiple ads for multiple locations--this new feature automatically inserts the city, phone number, or zip code of your local business into your ad text.

For example, if your ad text says: “Find a {} Store or Shop Online,” a user viewing your ad in Chicago would see: “Find a Chicago Store or Shop Online.” This new feature cuts out all the work to building out ad text featuring local information for all your locations.

Ad with location insertion in the text and display URL

“We’ve had amazing success manually customizing our creative with local information for our top markets, which shows us that customers want locally-relevant results when it comes to a service like storage,” said Chris Laczi, Advertising Director, Uncle Bob's Self Storage. “That’s why we’re very excited about location insertion. It will simplify the task of creating locally customized ads for our 400+ locations, and we expect it will greatly enhance conversion rate of our ads.”

You must have location extensions set up and running in order to enable location insertion. Location insertion will work even if your location extensions don’t show because of other extensions. We detect location based on where your customer is physically located or by the geographic locations she may have shown interest in.

Better clarity and control
When we launched advanced location targeting in March 2011, we provided you with more control over how you geographically target your ads. Based on advertiser feedback, we’re implementing four additional enhancements that will make location targeting options clearer and more powerful. Read more about these enhancements in the Help Center and in this blog post.

There is significant opportunity for businesses to reach local customers online and win moments that matter by delivering the right ad in the right context. Stay tuned for more information on how ZIP Code targeting can help you grow your business.

We want to hear from you about your success in getting local with AdWords--share your story here and we might reach out to you to participate in our upcoming blog posts.

Posted by Richard Holden, Product Management Director

As the internet comes of age, technology is catching up with our wildest imaginations. We can realize ideas that simply weren’t possible a mere five years ago. And you don’t need to be a technologist or have “Creative” in your title; millions of people around the world are making, remixing, and sharing everyday.

Case in point: There are over 800 exabytes of digital information in the world – words, videos, photos, music. To put that in context, a volume of the complete works of Shakespeare is about five megabytes. It would take one billion book-filled pickup trucks to make just //one// exabyte. This is our creative output; the sheer volume is equally inspiring and overwhelming.

Where to begin? Right here. The Creativity issue of Think Quarterly, launching today, documents this far-reaching transformation, cutting through the noise to focus on what it all means.

In “The Curious Case of Creativity,” Google VP of Global Marketing Lorraine Twohill sees creativity through an engineer’s eyes — as a way to solve problems, big and small. Interviews with the founders of two award-winning global agencies, Sir John Hegarty of BBH and Ajaz Ahmed of AKQA, discuss what creativity means in a digital context and how you can encourage it, even at a big company. Creative minds from Mullen, Wieden and Kennedy, Barbarian Group, AKQA, and Anomaly pick their most envy-inducing digital campaigns. And “Lean Communications” looks at how technology is forcing the traditional creative process to get faster, smarter, and more efficient.

We also explore how the web is inspiring entirely new forms of creativity — YouTube remixes, 3D models, data art and infographics — that are reshaping how we see the world. (And if you want to see how the web shapes your brand in particular, try our new “Brand Impressions” tool.)

Take some time to check it out and let us know what you think on +Think With Google.

Posted by Allison Mooney, Think Quarterly Editor

(cross-posted on the Inside AdWords Blog)

When we launched Google+ Pages last November, we aimed to provide you with a way to post updates and news about your business, have engaging conversations with customers, and send tailored messages to specific groups of people.

We’re now excited to share that Google Ads will be joining Google+ Pages to provide you, our advertising partners, with the latest Google advertising product news, training, tips and Hangouts that can help make the web work for you. We hope it will become a useful resource for growing your business, reaching customers in the moments that matter, and making smarter decisions.

Click to view page

Here’s a quick peek at what you can expect from the Google Ads page on Google+:

Stay ahead of the curve with the latest launches and updates for Google's advertising solutions, including search, display, mobile, social, YouTube and Google Analytics
Receive how-to information, best practices, and recommendations
Learn about upcoming trainings and events
Attend Hangouts with product experts

Add Google Ads to your circles here. We look forward to connecting with you on Google+.

Posted by Christina Park and Katie Miller, Ads Product Marketing