Google has announced that it will now automatically apply recommended bids when setting up categories in AdWords dynamic search ad (DSA) campaigns. That sounds a bit terrifying, I know, but before you panic about losing control, know that you can still easily override the automated recommended bids when setting up new categories. I actually see this coming in pretty handy as a way to quickly get a lot of DSA categories up and running. From the announcement: he bid recommendations are “based on the performance of your existing keywords that are targeting similar search queries.” So while you should absolutely review the bid recommendations before launching a new campaign, the fact that the recommendations are based on your own account activity means they should at least be a good starting point, “should” being the operative word. Again, you have the opportunity to review everything and adjust any bids that look out of whack before going live. Only accounts with sufficient data will see bid recommendations.- Since Bing entered the search space just over six years ago, the landscape has transformed and technology has advanced, and the changes are only accelerating. In a time of limitless expectations and technology, consumers are continuing to reshape the search landscape as they look at devices and services to help them do and achieve more. Search is now a critical ingredient that helps people and companies realize this need. As search becomes more universal across services and devices, it will continue to drive a massive shift in strategy and opportunities for brands. Search is not only becoming smarter, it’s become an increasingly critical source of consumer understanding and real-time engagement. Simply put, it’s the bridge between intent and the experiences the world has to offer. And make no mistake: consumers are driving this evolution. Consumers today have very different expectations around technology. No longer do they just want to punch in words on a keyboard; they want to express themselves in natural, intuitive ways. And search is evolving rapidly as a result. Take consumers’ rapid adoption of digital assistants like Cortana, Google Now and Siri, for example, all of which are spoken-language driven. Spoken language connects people to what they’re searching for with an immediacy, convenience and intimacy that text-only search could never provide. In fact, we’ve seen Cortana use, not just in Windows, but also in Android and IOs, increase rapidly over time. In general, today’s searchers are moving away from the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), choosing instead to use search in different ways. Kids these days are talking to phones to get search results — and increasingly, so are their parents. Search gets smarter and more predictive When search engines first came onto the scene, they did little more than awkwardly index the content of the internet. Then search evolved to encompass social media properties and contextual entities. Today alone, Bing indexed six billion facts and 28 billion entities, including 1.2 billion people profiles, connections and interests. This knowledge allows us to deliver actionable results nearly instantaneously across any device or service. The big story? Search is getting smarter — learning to interpret context, and even to predict. To see the evidence firsthand, spend a few minutes with Bing Predicts. Ahead of this year’s Grammy Awards, for example, the Bing Predicts team accurately predicted Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artist. And their 2016 Academy Awards predictions were an astonishing 84 percent accurate. It’s exciting to consider how this capability could be used to help brands be more successful. This intelligence enables smarter experiences for consumers. When a searcher says, “Cortana, show me three-year-old gift ideas,” Cortana knows you’re talking about gift ideas for a child who is three, not gift ideas that are three years old. And when a searcher asks, “How tall is Liam Neeson?,” Bing’s quick answer predicts you might also want to know how tall his wife is and how tall his recent co-stars are. The answers are provided before you can even ask the question. In order to enable this, search has evolved from a destination service to an ecosystem of connected experiences that serves relevant and personalized information. It is a platform that powers the services consumers rely on every day. Of course, all of this intelligence highlights the critical importance of trust and security in delivering a next generation of services and experiences for consumers. Data privacy is crucial, based not only on trust but on a value exchange that makes consumer experiences ever more relevant. Of course, the consumer always remains empowered and in control.