2019 was the busiest year yet for Adzooma as a company and a PPC platform. Here is a review of all our major product updates for the year.
- There have been a ton of product updates in 2019.
- These updates have included a new Early Access Programme, Better Account Creation Experience, and launching Facebook advertising.
- We have more to come in 2020.
- Keep up to date with future changes with our new Changelog.
When looking forward, it’s always a good idea to have a little glance back.
Now, if there was one word to describe 2019 for Adzooma, it would be this: busy.
We have come a long way in a short period of time.
The increase is exponential. It’s meteoric. And it’s all down to a diverse team of individuals who have kept everything charging forwards at breakneck pace.
Now, our people are great, but this isn’t an article about them.
It’s actually about people just like you.
It’s a story about how Adzooma has gone from strength to strength on the back of great feedback. It’s also about the many features and updates the Product Team delivered this year. It’s a big, shouty piece jam-packed with our greatest hits of 2019.
But, above all else, it’s a love letter to great feedback. And if you’ve got it, we’re all ears. Because listening to people like you is what took us from good to great. And it’s people like you who can take us from great to greatest.
Let’s get to the good stuff.
Adzooma Early Access Programme
Early in January, we launched the Adzooma Early Access Programme (EAP). Coupled with our partnerships with Google, Facebook and Microsoft Ads, it’s one of the big reasons we’ve been able to develop the platform so quickly.
Pushed out through our groups on social, the EAP was an exclusive group of users that provided feedback on the platform and told us what they wanted us to build next.
The EAP gave users:
- Early access to new features
- Direct access to the product team
- Exclusive access to trials and discounts
Closing in April, the EAP was a huge success. We expected good feedback from engaged users who wanted to help us make things better, but we didn’t expect feedback that redefined our 2019 roadmap.
You see, the biggest takeaway from the EAP was that people using PPC software, and people running online advertising without any bespoke software built for the task, were far more dissatisfied that we expected.
We learnt that people in digital advertising didn’t have the toolkit they need to do their jobs in the best way.
Not only that, we learnt that there was a wealth of great feedback out there. We set up the right process to implement this feedback, worked smart and delivered high-quality features at speed.
Opportunities are the beating heart of Adzooma.
We’ve added a lot to the platform this year, but Opportunities are a core feature of the product. However big the product gets, we know that we can never back away from having an Opportunities tab that’s constantly updating and improving.
There were massive changes to the Opportunity Engine during Q1, beginning right after New Years’ Day. An entire section of our Product Team was assigned to making improvements and adding to the number of Opportunities we offer customers.
Back in Q1, these were Google Ads Opportunities. Back then, going fully omnichannel was more of a twinkle in the eyes of our directors. But clever work put in by our Opportunities Team allowed for a smoother rollout when Facebook Ads and Microsoft Advertising came knocking.
The Opps. Team are a bunch of unsung dev heroes. They work incredibly hard to deliver Opportunities that work for our customers. Frankly, I don’t know how they do it.
Multiple Google Ads Accounts
This one seems pretty wild to newer members of the Adzooma family.
At the beginning of 2019, Adzooma still operated on a one Adzooma account per Google Ads account basis. It had worked, but an overwhelming number of customers and potential customers wanted to add multiple ad accounts. We delivered this early Q1 and it opened many doors for us.
Rolled out in January, yours truly used “Same Great Software – Performing At Scale” as the strapline for the update.
It was a massive undertaking. We developed an easy account switcher, a better method for importing accounts automatically and a suite of tools that let users manage multiple ad accounts easily. We’re still improving this today.
Big Ol’ Database Migration
While “database migration” might not get your engine started, a small section of our team managed to do something that seemed impossible.
In just two and a half weeks, they managed to:
- Change over 24,000 lines of code
- Migrate 119,000 optimisation suggestions to a new database
- Migrate 17.5 million report stats to a new database
Without that work, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we did in 2019. So thanks for that, champions.
I’ve piped on about how small, disruptive businesses can win big before. It’s about being smart and deploying technology to supplement what you do.
And, when it comes to Adzooma, for this purpose Automation is tickety-boo.
Automation lets you eliminate time-consuming and repetitive tasks. Checking and adjusting daily budgets, pausing parts of your campaigns that are performing poorly, and much more.
It’s all here.
Initially, Automation was a simple stop/go affair that ticked a few big boxes for our users but didn’t do everything they wanted.
It’s improved massively since then, and we have even bigger plans for this part of the platform. Watch this space.
Released in tandem with Automation, the Notification System is all about making online advertising easier.
Here’s the deal. Set up your Automation for any online advertising account. Sit back, relax and Adzooma will email you when there’s a problem.
Adzooma’s Automation replaces unreliable scripts with the certainty of an always-on assistant. Change in your CPA? A spike in spend? Get notified, step in and take action before it becomes a problem. Or let Adzooma fix things for you automatically with the rules you predefine.
Picture this: you’re managing a client’s budget. You set up your Automations in Adzooma. When there’s a problem, you get pinged with an email and can alert your client before they even knew a problem existed.
Quick, easy and powerful.
The Great Refactoring Rampage
Restructuring existing code (known as refactoring in the development world) is an essential part of building any product.
This is because no one gets it perfect the first time around, especially in an industry that moves as fast as this. Refactoring allows us to go back and make these parts perfect, building a better product overall.
And we’ve got some young guns – and some old hands – who can refactor like nobody’s business.
When someone asks “but why aren’t you working on a new feature?” the refactoring answer can be a tough sell, but if something can be done better we won’t look the other way.
2020 will bring loads of awesome new features for Adzooma, but you can rest assured there’ll be a lot of refactoring too. And when refactoring goes smoothly, you’re none the wiser as a customer.
But here’s to the folks who make this happen for us when it’s time to refactor. It’s quiet, overlooked work that’s really bloody important – and absolutely essential to our platform.
After all, Adzooma is about optimising your online advertising. And we’re always looking to optimise Adzooma.
Better Account Creation Experience
In 2019, there was a lot of tinkering with the Account Creation Experience.
First impressions are insanely important, of course. And nowhere is this truer in the world of online advertising.
From complete novice to PPC maestro, people establish a way of working in online advertising quickly. That means introducing a new way of doing things (like Adzooma) can be tricky.
However easy we make Adzooma to use, there’s always going to be an initial learning curve. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy making the first part of this curve as seamless as possible.
I would like to say we’ve nailed it, but there’s always more work to do when it comes to creating a signup process that kicks butt.
New Marketing Website
Our website team get on quietly and deliver some great work.
There’s constant tweaking, tinkering, optimisation and testing that goes on with all our marketing flows, and these guys handle that without complaint.
But this was a whole redesign.
Our old website was fine, but it was time to make it better. The triforce teams of content, design and product got together and they delivered in a big way.
This isn’t even counting the excellent work that goes on for our landing pages designed to get people “through the door” and using our product. That goes on throughout the year.
While reports existed as part of the Adzooma platform, they didn’t allow for much customisation.
We changed all that with the full release of custom reports.
This made building reports for any online advertising account quick and ridiculously easy.
Choosing layouts, adding custom logos and graphics, and showcasing the data important to you (or any of your stakeholders) doesn’t get any easier than this.
A simple widget-based system, which we have refined twice already, is discussed as part of the product tour.
Facebook Advertising Launched
Becoming omnichannel has been a consistent business goal for Adzooma.
Alongside a partnership with Facebook, Q3 was when the product team made this a reality.
This was a monumental task. Getting Adzooma and Facebook to interact with one another sounds wonderfully easy on paper, but buy any of our Facebook Team devs a drink at the pub and they’ll give you a few home truths.
Adding Facebook accounts, importing, previewing ads and providing an overview of Facebook accounts were deployed first as part of a beta.
This early step required massive amounts of work from a diligent team who worked hard to deliver for our users.
From initial build, through waves of testing to tidying up and release, our guys just kept plugging away. And from the beta, we took the good and the bad to work on and improve what we had.
With the building blocks in place, it was time for the Opportunities team to get involved. This has been an ongoing project throughout 2019 and there’s even more work to do in 2020.
Multiple Adzooma Users
Since launching the product, there had been plenty of demand for adding multiple users to the same Adzooma account.
For example, there might be a team of PPC managers at an agency managing multiple advertising accounts wanting to use the same Adzooma account to get things done.
There’s one admin account at the top of the pile and they can set up users with permissions as required. In one fell swoop, it was easier for teams to use Adzooma. Boom.
Microsoft Advertising Phase 1
Q3 marked the beginning of our Microsoft Advertising integration.
With the bigwigs working closely with Microsoft, the guys on the ground started to get our architecture in place.
A full plan and internal roadmap were deployed and the hard work started in the UK heat of August.
Opportunity History Log
A big part of any job is justifying what you do. An important request from many of our users was an Adzooma Log.
They wanted to see all the changes that had been made to the account. Time was found in Q3 to deliver the first version of this feature.
It’s great. It gives you feedback and the Opportunities you’ve applied and includes the ones you’ve dismissed too. Moving forward, we want to provide even more context and feedback on how the changes you’ve made to your online advertising account have helped improve your online advertising.
One of the most hush-hush of the Adzooma has been something we called the “Proposal API”.
It’s pretty damn big and, if we’re wholly honest, a gamechanger for Adzooma.
Here’s the elevator pitch: let customers build and publish a complete Google Ads campaign in minutes.
The key points are as follows:
- A user can punch in a few quick details about their business – industry, location, website, Facebook page, etc. – and then get a full Google Ads campaign setup and ready to roll. This includes all their ads, too.
- This is great for big companies who manage lots of customers who aren’t comfortable running online advertising alone.
- It’s a great way to offer an automated system to customers who want a done-for-you service.
If you know anything about PPC, you’ll know that this has been a gigantic project.
Some of the best and brightest devs working in the UK today have been beavering away on it for ages now and I can’t wait to be able to champion what they’re doing.
Some very big names are using the Proposal API, and it’s not hard to see why.
Product Tours & Videos
A more engaging onboarding experience that makes new customers excited to try out all of Adzooma’s bells and whistles is essential.
While there’s still lots of work to do in this area, Q3 was when Adzooma finally got time to start taking things seriously.
Before, it was too difficult for people to unlock the massive benefits Adzooma offered. It was too hard for them to find out where things were, and why they should use them. That’s changing, and every time Product Tours get worked on it gets a little easier for new users.
2020 will involve making things even easier for new users to get around and become Adzooma experts. Because once you know what you’re doing with our platform, you can take your online advertising to the next level.
Microsoft Advertising Phase 2
Phew. If Phase 1 was a doozy, it had nothing on this.
The Beta launch of Microsoft Advertising was initially handled on a small number of early adopters. Importing accounts, previewing ads, ensuring management and opportunities displayed as intended was no mean feat.
And, of course, the team rose to the challenge.
Learning from what went well and what didn’t from previous releases allowed us to get Microsoft out of the door with incredible speed.
There’s still plenty of work to do with Opportunities, but we’re delighted with the initial deployment.
2020 will be an exciting time for Microsoft Advertising and Opportunities in general.
King & Queen of Context (Even Better Opportunities)
Linked to the above was a massive amount of work on Opportunities.
In line with creating new Opportunities for Microsoft Advertising, the Opportunities team improved our existing Google and Facebook Opportunities to provide more context for users.
The demand from customers was more explanation for their Opportunities. More control. More informed decision making.
Hard to argue with that, right? We agreed, and we delivered. But there’s still plenty more work to do in 2020 when it comes to making things even easier to understand and action. Quicker decision making for our customers is a win for you, and a win for us.
Google Ads Smart Creative & Google Display Ads
Responsive Search Ads and other Smart Creatives were tested and deployed in this period.
At the same time, Google Display functionality was added to the platform keeping Adzooma right at the cutting edge of what’s working in PPC right now.
Management Tab Updates
This is a catchall heading for major updates to our management tab.
We added the bulk edit feature, better filtering and sorting and a handy search box.
The aim of the game was to make things even quicker and easier to view at-a-glance.
You can read more about the management tab here, and see a demo of it in action right here.
Major Demo Updates
When customers see Adzooma in action, they’re generally in.
That means a large part of our sales funnel involves a working “dummy” version of Adzooma using realistic-looking data.
This allows users to dip their toes in the water without importing any accounts or having any formal relationship with Adzooma whatsoever.
We’re no fools, and neither are our customers. Importing your online advertising data to a platform you might have just learnt about is a very big ask, and the demo is a good way of assuaging some of these fears.
But Adzooma moves fast. It changes a lot. That’s just the nature of the PPC industry.
Keeping our demo as close to the live product as possible is no small task. It requires experienced and junior developers to come off building awesome stuff for our product for our existing users to work on a demo for potential customers, which can seem like a strange use of their time.
But it’s vital to our business model. Trust me, I’m a marketer (poor choice of words, right?)
The demo is constantly updated, but Q4 saw a particularly heavy workload from the product team and that’s why I’ve slotted it in here.
Thanks for bringing in our customers and showing them how awesome the platform is.
Free Report Suite
A big ol’ pivot comes up last on the update wagon.
Initially a contentious idea among the Adzooma team, this one turned out to be a golden goose.
As 2019 raced on, we decided to change the way we bring in new customers. And a big part of that change was the free report suite.
Frankly, they’re a bloody great version one. And there’s a whole heap of work planned to make them even better.
You can see them in action here, and while I’m obviously biased I recommend hooking up your online advertising accounts to see what insight they can provide.
I’ve been dipping my toes in the PPC waters for years, and I’ve found plenty of insight in these free reports to improve my setup.
These function well as quick weekly snapshots for how your advertising is doing. They replaced the Adzooma Health Check, which worked well enough at bringing people in but was separate to our platform in ways that confused customers.
Our Report Suite is the bee’s knees and I hope 2020 makes them even better.
Still with me? Well, thanks very much for coming along for the ride.
There’s a whole heap of stuff I left out to keep the article from becoming ludicrously long, but I think you’ll agree we got a lot done at Adzooma in 2019.
One final thing: we’ve launched a changelog where you can get all of Adzooma’s updates as they’re released.