Google knew they were making news when they announced Expanded Text Ads at their annual performance summit in May. The standard ad format of 25/35/35 characters had been the norm since AdWords was introduced in 2000. The change to the SERP with ETAs is a BIG one (quite literally – ETAs are 50% larger than the traditional ad format) and may be the largest change to AdWords in 16 years!
Just two months later, Google released Expanded Text Ads to all advertisers with the forewarning that advertisers would only have three months to transition all their ads to the new expanded ad format, as AdWords would no longer support the creation of new standard text ads after October 26.
The short transition timeline was stressful to small and large advertisers alike, many of whom realized that the October 26 deadline would mean adjusting to an unfamiliar new ad format right during the middle of their holiday seasons in November and December. Gratefully, Google seemed to be sensitive to SEMs’ concerns when they announced yesterday that they’d be allowing advertisers three more months to create standard text ads before retiring the standard ad format on January 31, 2017.
On the official AdWords blog, Google reports:
“To make sure you have ample time to test and iterate your expanded text ads for the holidays, we are giving advertisers more time to upgrade your creatives. You now have until January 31, 2017, to make the transition to expanded text ads (instead of the original date of October 26, 2016). This means starting on January 31, 2017, you’ll no longer be able to create or edit standard text ads.”
This means that advertisers rushing to meet the original deadline in six weeks can take a quick breath of relief and make sure they’re creating their best ads for their holiday season.
So I Can Wait Until January to Create Expanded Text Ads?
Absolutely not! We still recommend that you create Expanded Text Ads now. We’ve seen countless clients have early success with this new ad format, with some advertisers seeing their CTR DOUBLE after transitioning to Expanded Text Ads!
But not all advertisers have had success with expanded text ads on their first try – some saw their CTRs or conversion rates drop after creating their first expanded text ads! It really depends how you use the extra space. Smart advertisers will take the extra three months to test creative new expanded text ads and discover the new best practices for expanded text ads. After testing your expanded text ads alongside your other ads, advertisers will be confident that when they’re forced to only create expanded text ads in January, they’ll be ready with their best paid search ad copy.
The delayed timeline should also help Bing Ads advertisers make the transition to Bing’s expanded text ads later this year. Bing Ads is currently testing their expanded text ad format in pilot but doesn’t expect all advertisers to have access to the new ad format until this December. This means that advertisers will have more time to test what works well on Google and import their best performing expanded text ads over to Bing when they’re ready.
Google has given advertisers 16 years to perfect their traditional ad format, but that era is quickly coming to an end. We may have gotten three more months with our old text ads, but the future is clear – Expanded Text Ads are coming and they’re here to stay.
Data is based on a sample size of 11 accounts (WordStream clients) using Expanded Text Ads on the Google Search Network in June 2016.
About the author:
Mark is a Senior Data Scientist at WordStream with a background in SEM, SEO, and Statistical Modeling. He was named the 14th Most Influential PPC Expert of 2016 by PPC Hero. You can follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google +.
Guess what! It’s the year of Mobile! Again!
This year, it’s the year of mobile payments, mobile recruiting, mobile advertising. The first hand-held mobile phone was sold thirty-one years ago for $4k; it was fourteen inches long. As our cell phones have shrunk in size and price, they’ve grown in value.
I am 100x more attached to my smartphone than I was two years ago—four years ago, I had just invested in my first smartphone. Instead of just being a handy tag-along to communicate, it is now my #1 resource for everything from social media, to Pokémon Go, shopping, finding an apartment, and diagnosing any mystery illnesses (thanks, WebMD!).
In search, SERPs have been advancing efforts to incorporate mobile-friendly ads. Mobile search spending is expected to increase by 62% over the next 3 years (Tweet This)! The Google changes this year include the loss of right-side ads on desktop (making every SERP look more like the mobile SERP), the introduction of huge Expanded Text Ads on every device and the return of device-level bid adjustments. At WordStream, we’re constantly reminding clients to make sure their websites are mobile friendly—or at the very least, their PPC landing pages are. (And if they aren’t, to avoid mobile landing pages altogether.)
Mobile drove more than half of the total paid search clicks this past Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and mobile conversion rates are constantly improving.With a smaller screen, different ad formats, voice search, and other variables at play, it’s much easier to fail on mobile. If you’re concerned about how you measure up, new features in our AdWords Performance Grader make it an even more valuable as a source of free competitive intelligence, especially for small and medium-sized businesses who are learning how to win in mobile PPC.
If you’re still not buying into the importance of mobile, we have an infographic from Invesp full of mobile advertising stats and trends to prove it! Don’t underestimate the power of your beloved iPhone and prepare yourself for even more ads targeted to your 6.5’’ screen.
So far this year, we’ve seen the rise of many new audience targeting trends that are helping businesses reach out to their target buyers and more effectively market their products and services.
From persona targeting to remarketing ads and many other new trends already spreading like wildfire, it’s no wonder paid search advertising continues to be the buzzword for businesses looking to tap into the world’s largest market – the Internet.
But here’s the brutal truth about paid search marketing:
There are WAY too many marketers and businesses that just follow the conventional wisdom readily available on the Internet.
If only it were that easy…
If you’re serious about paid search advertising, you’ll need to be embrace the trends of tomorrow to stay ahead in the game. That’s why we decided to hand-pick a list of seven PPC trends of tomorrow to help you stay ahead of the curve in 2016 and beyond.
So, let’s begin, shall we?
Trend #1: Google Adwords Re-Enables Mobile-Base Bidding
In a recent development, Google announced a significant change in order to ensure greater control for users over device-level bidding in AdWords. With its recent announcement, Google has made it clear that tablet bidding is back, and that base bids will now apply to mobile with bid modifiers set for desktop and/or tablet.
This means that now businesses and marketers will be able to anchor their base keyword to the devices relevant to their business. They can then easily set bid adjustments for other devices. In addition, marketers will now be able to adjust bids up to +900%, which has been increased from +300%.
It’s important to understand that device bidding will apply to ALL campaign types. This is true even when keyword targeting is not being used, as in Shopping campaigns, for example.
Mobile and tablet usage is finally outpacing desktop usage (after years of speculation and hand-wringing), and this realization is pushing a lot of marketers and businesses to change the way they conceptualize and create ads for their target audiences.
Trend #2: Responsive Ads to Be Featured in the Display Network
In another recent development, Google announced the introduction of new, responsive ads for display. This means that you can now go for dynamic, responsive ads that will automatically resize and adjust to match the look and feel of the content your target audience is browsing.
Image via PPCNI
Built dynamically by Google, these responsive ads automatically fit available ad spaces on the Google Display Network. All you need to do is to provide a marketing image, a short headline, a long headline, a description, and an optional name and custom logo design. That’s it! Google will do all the hard work for you.
Trend #3: More Characters for Text Search Ads on All Devices
Google recently launched Expanded Text Ads, a new formatting option that offers advertisers more room for ad copy. Essentially, Expanded Text Ads effectively double the size of PPC ads on AdWords, meaning that advertisers have more opportunities to entice prospects with their ads.
Image via PPC Hero
Not so long ago, Google raised eyebrows by removing text ads from the right hand side of the SERPs. Now that these ads aren’t there anymore, Google can now streamline its text ad formats across both mobile and desktop.
Soon, advertisers will be able to use two 30-character headlines as against the present 25-character headline. In addition, the updates mean that advertisers now have access to an 80-character limit for description copy instead of the earlier two 35-character lines.
And that’s not all! The display URLs will automatically pull the landing page domain, but advertisers will be able to name up to two directory paths — neither of which has to be a real navigational path — to provide description about the landing page content.
Trend #4: Shopping Feed Update Will Impact PPC Campaigns
On May 25, 2016, Google announced vital updates to its Shopping Products Feed Specification. These updates meant changes to the information that Google requires from advertisers in order to run Shopping ads.
Now, Unit Pricing will be available for all markets and categories in a bid to ensure consistency in the displayed prices. Color and Size values will now be compulsory to ensure a better, more consistent shopping experience for users.
The minimum image size requirements for non-apparel products will be increased from 32 x 32 to 100 x 100 pixels to be able to support new ad formats better. The minimum image size for apparel images will remain 250 x 250 pixels.
The maximum feed file size will also be increased from 1 GB to 4 GB. This means going forward, you’ll be able to use larger, high-quality images (file size as large as 800 x 800 pixels or larger) to ensure better performance. This is sure to be a winning trend that will help you ensure that your ads feature the most accurate prices, specifications, and availability information – and plenty of gorgeous, high-resolution imagery!
Trend #5: Video Ad Campaigns will Rule the Roost
Here’s another 2015 trend on the list that looks to be going strong in 2016. Video ads have become increasingly popular among marketers and businesses. With Google and Facebook focusing more on video ads, it’s no wonder why video ads have become very much a part of the mainstream advertising medium.
Image via Marketing Land
Today, ever-so-connected and ever-so-busy users often like to watch more than read. Therefore, presenting your ads in video format can get you more eyes and more clicks compared to plain old text ads.
Contrary to common misconception, creating video ad campaigns can be economical. You don’t need any special technical skills to actually run video adverts (though you’ll still need at least a rudimentary understanding of video production techniques and the equipment to do it, if you plan on producing your own video ads) and you can easily manage it through AdWords. It was a major win for us last year and will be again this year and beyond.
Trend #6: Interactive Advertising Will Be the New Normal
Today’s consumers are smarter than ever. They look for – and essentially demand – to experience the products and services from brands before they spend money on it, and Google seems to be serious about making it possible for its app users.
Image via Media Post
Did you know that 1 in 4 apps listed on Google’s Play Store have never been used? This realization is pushing Google to use its virtual machines on its cloud platform to enable users to use an app for at least 60 seconds before downloading it. This will help users decide if they actually want to download the app or not. Great for users, not so great for the developers of the millions of mediocre apps out there.
This is arguably the most audacious of our 2016 PPC trend predictions. Soon, advertisers will help users experience their products before they actually purchase them. This implies that more and more advertisers will utilize interactive ads to showcase their products to their prospects and consumers.
This also means we’ll soon see more and more interactive ads that will allow users to experience products before spending their hard-earned cash on them.
Trend #7: RLSA Will Steal the Limelight
Though launched officially in 2013, RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) have not yet been fully explored by many marketers yet. However, we’re confident that many marketers will reap the benefits from RLSA once they realize the potential returns that RLSA offers.
RLSA gets you access to an extensive list of search ads where you can select ads for products and services similar to yours. You can then modify search ads, bids, and keywords.
It also helps you review the returning visitor data right from your AdWords dashboard to analyze your users’ behavior. This information will provide greater insights into and control over your paid search budget.
For example, if you know that your returning visitors are converting at a higher cost-per-acquisition against first-time visitors, you can easily lower the bid on your search ads for this audience. On the other hand, if you find that your returning visitors are converting at a lower cost, you can increase bids for them.
About the Author
Nancy Kapoor is a blogger and digital marketing expert at Design Hill, the world’s fastest-growing crowdsourcing platform for custom web and graphic design. Nancy has spent more than seven years working in SEO, email marketing, paid marketing, affiliate marketing, digital marketing, blogging, and content marketing.