The past year, 2016, gave us some substantial and unforeseen changes in the world of Paid Search Marketing (PPC) to both the Google AdWords and Bing Ads platforms.
This Blog aim to sort out the sheep from the goats for all PPC Agencies!
Let us run through the new features of PPC/Adwords Features.
1. Right-Side Ads: No longer for desktop SERPs
In order to bring the SERPs more line with the Google’s mobile experience, Google removed right-side text ads on desktop search results in the month of February 2016. As a compensatory step, for “highly commercial queries,” Google included an additional fourth ad spot at the top of the organic search results.
Google’s official statement was:
“We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.”
Here, the only exception is PLAs, which will continue appearing on the both top and right side of desktop SERPs. Initially, this significant change was a bombshell to virtually every PPC marketer. They thought that PPC strategy is going to change drastically since instead of 11 ads, people will see now only max 7 ads. The loss of desktop impression share mostly affects those who appeared in the eighth position and lower: However, based on the experts’ experiences more than 80% of the paid clicks mostly come from top ads.
This change resulted in major surprises for all search marketers. It unexpectedly failed to capsized advertisers in lower positions. Some advertisers dropped desktop impressions and experienced rise in CPC. On the other hand, some advertisers experienced almost 100% rise in their CTR and average position! However, post this change, Position 3 was the biggest winner for advertisers.
2. AdWords ETAs (Expanded Text Ads): More Prominent Headlines
In the last 15 years, this was another biggest change announced by Google in the month of May 2016. Changes to AdWords! A standard format of 25-35-35 character text ads to be replaced by a new format of 30-30-80 characters. As per the expanded text ad format, there will be two headlines, each with up to 30 characters and a description of up to 80 characters.
According to Google’s Vice President, “These upgrades help your ads work harder across screens, especially for the on-the-go mobile consumer that wants to know exactly what you offer before tapping into your website,”
Google cited that in initial testing, advertisers experienced CTRs augmented by as much as 20 percent.
As yet, ETAs are accessible to all advertisers. Based on Google’s announcement, the standard ad (old) format will be phased out on January 31, 2017.
3. Local Search Ads, Responsive Display Ads, and In-Store Conversions
In May 2016, Google also disclosed few more exciting features at the Google Performance Summit:
- New Local Search Ads: Google announced several new Google Maps Local Search ad formats and features intended to drive more foot-traffic to the business. These include Promoted Pins, in-store promotions, customizable business pages, and local inventory search.
According to Google, “its new Maps ads will help businesses increase their visibility at times when consumers are exclusively searching for someplace to shop or eat”.
- Responsive Display Ads: Based on this PPC feature, Google creates responsive display ads for a user. A user need to provide a URL, headline, description, and image for creating a responsive ad. Responsive ads resolve complexity for display advertisers. Responsive ads adjust to the content of the websites they are on and apps in the GDN.
- Better In-Store Conversion Measurement: This PPC feature is not novel for all. However, it is new to the businesses that gained access to this feature for the first time in 2016. Here, Google looks at phone location history to decipher whether someone who clicked on your ad ended up walking into the store. Google considers ad clicks on all devices – smartphone, desktop, and tablet. Estimates are based on store visits within the last 30 days of an ad click.
4. Bing ETAs: Much Identical to Google ETAs
In an attempt to be on a par with AdWords, Bing Ads have also introduced ETAs, in September 2016. Both Google and Bing ETAs share similar formatting and character limits. According to Bing Ads, they were going to present ETA support for all advertiser accounts in December of 2016. However, Bing is not going to eliminate standard ad texts. It will allow both a 25- to 71-character format and 60- to 80-character format.
Under Bing ETAs, advertisers are benefited with additional space and additional text to use. If you have already created ETAs in Google AdWords, you can easily import them into Bing Ads. This can be done with the help of Google Import tool, the Bing Ads web interface, or Bing Ads editor. However, Bing ETAs have surpassed Google ETAs. Unlike Google, Bing permits advertisers a little command over the capitalization of their domain name, which is a boon for specific brand standards.
Check out this great CTR data:
As a search marketer, do not forget to set Bing ETAs on your to-do list in 2017!
5. New AdWords Interface: a complete redesigning
In AdWords Performance Summit, Google displayed preview of the new AdWords interface, which rolled out broadly in August.
According to Google, “Through 2016 and into 2017, we’ll continue to build out this new AdWords experience, and invite advertisers along the way to try it out and provide feedback. Invites will be sent based on a number of factors; therefore not all advertisers will be able to test the new experience right away.”
The new interface is smoother and easy enough to comprehend where to find the things a user was looking for.
Relax! Since these changes are cosmetic only; no core changes in functionality of AdWords were announced.
6. Demographic Targeting for Search Campaigns: Target age and Target Gender
Facebook and Bing already offer demographic targeting search campaigns based on ‘user intent.’ In September 2016, Google provided advertisers the awesome demographic targeting for search campaigns feature. AdWords has enabled advertisers to target age and gender demographics within their search campaigns.
Now a user can see the performance data based on ages and genders within ad groups. Based on this data, you can either create bid adjustments for different demographics or exclude people of a certain age or gender from viewing your paid search ads.
7. AdWords Message Extensions: High-CTR Click-to-Message Ads
In October, an exhilarating type of mobile ad extension was introduced by AdWords. These message extensions allow users tap to start texting a business directly from the search results. Here, advertisers can write a pre-written text message to initiate the conversion. In initial testing, message extensions boosted mobile CTR by an average of 50 percent clients who got spontaneous access to the ad extension.
AdWords advertisers are charged nominal CPC fee when a user clicks on a message extension. It is the same as the charge applies on the click on the ad’s headline or another ad extension.
The only drawback is no conversion tracking!
8. Google Display Keywords Targeting Settings: Ideal for limited budget Display Campaigns
In October 2016, Google inaudibly introduced some new display keyword targeting settings. This PPC feature provides you more command over how your display ad campaigns are targeted.
Now, Google allows PPC agency the alternative to target either audience or content (sites, videos and apps) that is relevant to the key word.
- Audience: This is the default option. You can provide display ads to anyone potentially interested in your keywords, despite of what type of site they are currently viewing.
- Content: Your ads will only be providing on websites, apps, and videos that are contextually relevant to your keywords.
Google claims that using the “Content” setting only provides about 30% the reach as the defaulted “Audience” setting.
9. The AdWords App for iPhone and iPad: Stay tuned with your ad campaigns from anywhere
2016 got indeed an incredibly splendid start when Google announced the release of a new AdWords app for iOS. The app allows AdWords customers view their campaign stats– like clicks, CTR, CPC, and others. It also allows managing and monitoring bids and budgets. A user can contact Google experts for support, and get real-time notifications for updates on their active campaigns.
Google also comments, users will be able to “act on suggestions to improve your campaigns” from within the app”.
If you have not tried it till now, download and start availing its benefits!
10. The Return of Device-Level Bidding: for Tablet and Desktop Devices
PPC advertisers have reason to cheer because device level bidding is back! Google has given the ability to adjust bids for mobile bids, desktop bids, and tablet bids with device bid adjustments
Device bidding will relate to all campaign types, even when keyword targeting is not applied, as such in shopping campaigns.
11. Call-only campaigns: Only for Mobile Searchers
According to Google, “70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results.”
In February 2015, Call-Only Campaigns was introduced by Google. These campaigns are effective for businesses that put more value on a phone call than a website visit conversion. These are only for mobile devices. They feature a large clickable number with a few short lines for text.
In speculation, every click you pay for is a phone call to your company. Such conversion allows you to create a bidding strategy. It merely depends on how much value your business lays on a phone call.
12. Ad Extensions: Improve Conversion rate
Have you ever come across ads that appear “bulkier” or have additional features than others? These ads are using ad extensions! Ad extensions allow a user to get a higher click-through rate (CTR), increased visibility, and enhanced user experience.
Here is a brief synopsis:
|App extensions||Allows searchers to click a link that sends them to the app store to download your app.|
|Call extensions||Allows searchers the ability to click a number to call your business.|
|Callout extensions||Allows you to add extra ad copy so you can tell searchers what sets you apart from the competition.|
|Location extensions||Allows searchers nearby to find your location or give you a call (map pin, navigation assistance, or call option).|
|Review extensions||Allows you to showcase reviews from reputable sources.|
|Structured Snippets||Allows you to add descriptive text to learn more about a product/ service.|
|Sitelink extensions||Allows you to add links from your website to help people find what they are searching for.|
Below is a snippet of an ad with callout, site links, & location extensions:
13. Customer Match
In inbound marketing best practices, probably you have a few mailing lists developed from your efforts. Fortunately, AdWords has a technique of retargeting those users in their Google search engine with the help of feature called customer match!
Now, you can upload a list of email addresses to AdWords. Afterward, you can demonstrate those prospects ads when they are logged into Google Search, YouTube, or Gmail. This will permit you to demonstrate them new products or promotions. This may re-engage them back into your sales funnel.
14. Ad Customizers
This particular feature enables you to alter the text in your ads based on user’s search query. For example, if you have several products in the same category (like different LG Double Door Fridge) you can set your AdWords ad up so the exhibited text will match the precise product a searcher is looking for: “LG Fridge” vs. “Double Door Fridge”.
Especially, this works better when you have either a special offer or a sale for a limited time. Prior to the feature of ad customizers, you had to alter your ad text each day to reflect the countdown. However, now you can set a new active ad parameter that robotically alters the ad text to a new number each day.
15. Interest Targeting
These days the only way to target searchers is not keywords alone. Google’s Display Network offers a few diverse means you can target audiences by interest. The aim is to increase the chances of your ad being displayed to people who are most likely interested in your product/service.
|In-market Audiences||This is used to reach an audience who is actively searching and comparing your product or service. Here, Google looks at browser history (via cookie tracking) to figure out what market segment a person is researching, and temporarily categorizes them in that market. In short, it is tailoring ads related to the subject that person is searching.|
|Affinity Audiences||Custom affinity audiences are evaluated on the basis of overall interests and identity as compared to in-market audience. Here, Google will analyze online patterns in order to find possible matches to an interest category.
Although they may not be actively searching within that category, they still have a association that makes it possible, they would be interested in a product/service.
16. Promote App Downloads Directly
Now, Google has App Promotion Ads for the companies that have their own app. These ads have keys that allow searchers to click and download the app directly from the app store on their mobile phones. This helps get rid of any additional steps the user has to take in order to convert.
17. AdWords Editor In PPC
This feature helps you to manage and stay on top of your campaigns. The AdWords Editor is a free desktop app. It can be downloaded to deal with multiple accounts for offline editing. This editor allows you to perform more tasks in lesser time compared to the usage of web-based interface.
This power tool possesses ability to:
- View different parts of your account at the same time
- Edit items alongside
- Use keyboard shortcuts to jump around account
- Easily undo/ redo changes
- Bulk edit to make several corrections