2016 has been a year of monumental change for AdWords. We’ve seen the removal of right-hand side ads to make the Google experience more consistent across devices, the addition of new Sitelinks, such as Price Extensions, and the automatic counting of cross-device conversions, to name but a few of the most recent updates. However, on Tuesday we saw the largest AdWords update in, well, ever. Google has officially rolled out Expanded Text Ads, as well as Multiple Device Bidding and Responsive Display Ads for Native. This update was originally announced back in May at the Google Performance Summit, but now it’s for real, for real, so what does all this mean for your AdWords account?
Expanded Text Ads
For those of you who haven’t already started planning for this important change, you might want to get your skates on. Regardless of the size of your AdWords account or the number of accounts you manage, rewriting every text ad, every message, every CTA is no light task.
Google have not yet announced when Standard Text Ads will be removed — however, as of October 26, 2016, you will no longer be able to create, upload, or edit Standard Text Ads. Google have advised that Standard Text Ads will continue to run alongside Expanded Text Ads for a sufficient enough time for us advertisers to A/B test the two ad types before the permanent removal of the Standard Text Ads.
So, what exactly are Expanded Text Ads?
Expanded Text Ads have been created with the goal of uniting the Google experience across all devices, specifically with mobile users in mind. The new ad format has been optimized for screen sizes of the most popular smartphones. With 90% of people starting their activity on one device and finishing it on another, your text ads should show uniformity across each device.
Expanded Text Ads differ from Standard Text Ads in a number of key ways:
- Expanded Text Ads will have two headlines instead of one, each with up to 30 characters.
- Expanded Text Ads will have one single description line, of up to 80 characters.
- The Domain of your Display URL will now be based on your Final URL domain, and you will have the option to combine it with up to two Path Fields.
- Expanded Text ads are optimized for mobile, so you will no longer need to create separate mobile text ads by selecting the Mobile Device Setting when creating or editing an ad.
By extending the headlines of the ad text, it provides more clickable information for mobile users, making your ads more descriptive and relevant, thus increasing your click-through rates, and ultimately your Quality Score. An estimated 20% jump in CTR was experienced and reported by Google in early tests whereby they implemented the new ad format in comparison to the old ad format. This is understandable as the new Expanded Text Ads are nearly 50% larger in size than the Standard Text Ads which we are used to.
Here are 8 tips on how to successfully set up your Expanded Text Ads and how to best utilize that extra real estate on the SERP:
- Take Full Advantage of the Character Limits: The more descriptive your ad is, the more relevant it is and the higher your CTR will be.
- Write Compelling Ad Copy with Relatable CTAs: Rethink your ad creative, there’s plenty of room.
– What stands out about your business? Is it the price, the reviews, the geography, the facilities, the awards?
– What do you want the user to do to when they click your ad?
– Move away from generic CTAs.
– Give answers, don’t ask questions.
Note: Always remember to include the appropriate keywords in your creative. Every keyword in your ad group should make sense when placed in your creative, if not, you have too many irrelevant keywords in your ad group.
- Focus Your Ad Tests on Headlines: Headlines are the clickable portion of your ads which should prioritize testing. They have now doubled in size and are far more prominent than the description line which rests below them. Headlines should include enticing, valuable text, providing the most potential to make a big difference to your ads performance.
- Take Lessons from Your Successful Standard Text Ads: If you already know that your ads perform better with a specific piece of information — for example, prices, hours, or amenities — build your new ad copy around this information.
- Leave Your Standard Ads Running Alongside Your New Expanded Ads: If you find that your Standard Text Ads are outperforming your new Expanded Text Ads, mimic the ad copy. Take the description line 2 from the Standard Text Ad and add it as your new headline 2 in your Expanded Text Ad, and utilize the description line to provide further information about this product or service.
- Adjust Your Ad Rotation Settings: Try using the optimize for clicks or optimize for conversions settings. That way, if one of your new, fancy Expanded Text Ads outperforms your older copy, it will serve more often, and vice versa.
- Update Ad Extensions: Avoid overlapping information. With the extra space in your ad, you may find yourself including a current Callout Benefit or a Structured Snippet Amenity in your ad text. Repeating text in ad copy and ad extensions puts your ad at risk of being rejected by Google.
Note: As always, you should aim to use as many ad extensions as possible for your business, as it will increase your ad rank.
- Test, Iterate, and Optimize Ad Copy. Repeat.
*AdWords Editor and the AdWords API support Expanded Text Ads, as well as third-party tools including DoubleClick Search, Kenshoo, and Marin.
Responsive Display Ads
Another announcement made by Google this week was the gradual introduction of Responsive Display Ads. These are going to save your design team a lot of time. Not only will Google automatically adjust the size, format, and appearance of your display ads, they will also create the ad for you. Your ads will be adjusted to fit any available ad space across more than 2 million publisher sites and apps on the Google Display Network, and also on Native Inventory. Native Inventory allows you to engage with customers with ads that match the look and feel of the content they’re browsing.
All you have to do is provide Google with the following:
- A 25-Character Headline
- A Long 90-Character Headline
- A Description up to 90 Characters
- An Image
- A Landing Page URL
..and Google will create the ad for you, as easy as pie.
You can find detailed guidelines on setting up responsive display ads here.
Device Bid Adjustments
Last but certainly not least, Google announced that you will now be able to set device bid adjustments for Tablets and/or Desktops, as well as the current Mobile bid adjustment functionality. This will provide advertisers more flexibility when optimizing towards various devices.
While device bid adjustments will allow us to optimize with greater precision, it is still important to factor in other areas which impact performance, such as location, day of week, time of day, and audience. These bids can be managed manually or alternatively, you may decide to implement Google’s new AdWords Smart Bidding, which automatically looks at device, along with a whole host of other factors, directly at the time of each auction. Whichever you choose, when using bid adjustments, revisit them from time to time to ensure they are set sufficiently to meet your goals.
If you are not seeing this feature in your AdWords account, fear not, It will be a few months before we see this change rolled out across all accounts. In the meantime, Google has published a comprehensive Best Practices Guide for managing Bid Adjustments and they will be holding a live Q&A on the topic on August 9, 2016 at 9am PDT/12pm EDT. We’ll be tuning in and so should you — register here.
Do you need further support with your Google AdWords campaigns? Let us know — we’re happy to help!