Six years ago, Google launched its online advertising platform AdWords with just 350 advertisers. Today, more than 1 million people rely on AdWords to sell products and services across the globe. If the nearly $62 million in Google’s ad revenue isn’t enough to vouch for its success, then perhaps the company’s investment in ongoing research and development is.

This year Google officially launched a variety of updates to the AdWords platform, all of which are designed to cost effectively connect businesses with customers. If you have found yourself hesitant to give AdWords a try, here are three reasons 2016 is the year to dive in.

Expanded Text Ads
As of August, advertisers now have nearly double the characters in their ad copy as were available before and can now feature two headlines. Both of these changes increase the likelihood someone will click your ad and be further exposed to your brand. Additional characters incentivize clicks by allowing more room to communicate compelling information like prices, promotions, competitive advantages and other selling points. Longer headlines, or the clickable portion of an ad, take up more real estate on the search results page making your message more noticeable and increasing the chances of someone clicking on your ad. With more information available at their fingertips, users who click on your ads are further qualified and can potentially show a greater ROI. To sweeten the deal, early tests of these extra-long ads have shown a nearly 20% increase in ad click-through-rate.

Device-Specific Keyword Bidding
AdWords is a pay-to-play system, and the price you are willing to pay for keywords, called keyword bidding, is at the center of the process. In the past, keyword bids applied equally to all devices, so you paid the same for searches that took place on a mobile phone, tablet and a desktop. To accommodate the significant increase in people using mobile devices, AdWords now allows advertisers to adjust how much they are willing to spend on certain keywords based on the device a person is using when searching for them. This update offers a strategic advantage for advertisers who are knowledgeable on what devices generate the most customers for them. For example, restaurants may want to pay more money for searchers who are on-the-go using a mobile phone versus those at home on a desktop. If searches on a certain device are more valuable to a business, AdWords now allows them to increase bids for just those devices. Gone are the days of treating all devices equally!

Experimenting with Texting
For every official AdWords update, Google is usually developing and testing many more. One of these experimental updates is SMS, or text message, ad extensions. This ad format would allow potential customers to text your business directly by clicking on a call-out that appears next to your ad. The text icon would be similar in appearance to the call icon that currently displays next to some ads. When clicked, it would auto-populate a text message to the business requesting more information. Whether the text-to-business option comes to fruition, advertisers can be assured that Google is actively looking for ways to better connect them with paying customers.

With more ad space to tell your story, increased customization on how you spend your ad budget and a continued focus on better, faster connections between customers and businesses, there truly is no better time than now to give AdWords a try.

Written by Maggie Hodges, Marketing Strategist.