In February 2016, Google stunned the business community by removing PPC sidebar ads in a major overhaul of its digital marketing service. The search giant was at it again recently, with the push to make search uniform across the many devices consumers now use.
Its update has drastically altered the way in which digital marketers develop AdWord campaigns. The changes include expanded text ads, alterations to the bidding process, and local search ads for Google Maps. Many of these went live around the 26th July, and standard text ads will no longer being accepted from October 26th.
It’s February all over again this summer as businesses busy themselves with getting to grips with the update. So what do you need to do to keep your ads as compelling as ever?
The AdWords Updates
At the start of 2016, it was the search results layouts which received a surprise update – gone are the sidebar ads of old and in are a total of seven PPC ads per above and below the fold of each SERP. We’ve managed to get to grips with this update, so what are the even newer features we have to familiarise ourselves with?
New Local Search Ads on Google Maps
Google Maps is now part of the search network, which means there’ll be more ads appearing on maps. Google is bringing about a new era of local search ads which will show up to users on its Maps software, which is similar to what a certain app by Nintendo and Niantic is busy doing right now (Pokémon GO, in case you’ve been living in a cave away from the news).
The ads will feature brand logos and offers – rather than being to one side of the map, however, they’ll be there on the surface of your local area!
With more than a billion users, Google Maps is a big business opportunity. Location related searches have also grown (as indicated by Google) 50% faster than other mobile searches over 12 months. For brands, it’s simply a brilliant opportunity to get seen by a local community and drive sales forward.
Ads will be query based and will be run on a cost-per-click basis. It’s all expected to roll out… eventually. Google hasn’t revealed further details as of yet.
Expanded Text Ads
Google has made the move to double headlines and longer descriptions. For PPC analysts who’ve perfected their ad copy over the years, this will be a frustrating update. It does mean everyone will now have to perfect a new way of ad writing over the summer.
Some advertisers have already been using extended headlines (the first description line is combined in the headline). Now PPC analysts, rather than crafting two headlines, will be able to double up headlines in their copy. In short, with the new format you’re allowed 30 characters per headline.
However, the new ad format also features an extended description which has gone up to the disconcerting figure of 80 characters. This may appear excessive, but it’s now in the realms of a meta description (see our SEO services to know your digital lingo) size which can attract customers with compelling copy.
Improved Measurement of In-Store Conversions
Google has taken steps to improve the measurement of sales. As a result, in-store conversions will soon become widely available. The search giant will determine this by examining phone location history to see if a consumer who searched and clicked your ad ended up inside your store.
Responsive Display Ads
With mobile-friendly websites and responsive web design there’s the opportunity for responsive display ads. Google will require a URL, headline, description, and image, and the search giant will go ahead and create a responsive display ad from there.
This means your business will be able to run ads which now adapt to the content of the websites they’re on. This is extremely good news as it takes away the bother previously created by doing everything for you.
Device Bidding Updates
The bidding process has also received an update. Brands are now able to set mobile, desktop, and tablet bids separately, or make them all dependent on one another.
Simply put, this offers greater flexibility for digital marketers. It’s also an indication the future is well and truly mobile. With more and more people using their devices to search online, it’s a new era where ads have to adapt to differing screen sizes.
How to Write New PPC Ads
If you have a digital marketing department, talk to your team and make sure they’re immersing themselves into the changes. They’ll have to brush up on their copy skills in order to fill the entire 140 characters available – so long as you aim for compelling copy, you should be as successful as before.
Previously, with only 95 characters available, it was a tough call to make copy compelling in as little as 25 characters per line. Now it’s going to be possible to expand on your message to your target audience, so ensure your marketing talent perfects this quickly.
For the other updates, you can read your feeds (such as on Google My Business) to ensure your location data is finely tuned and ready to deliver big results.
The update should be greeted positively by the business community, as they provide new opportunities to connect with consumers. If you want to know more and get your PPC campaigns in line with Google’s updates quickly, get touch and we’ll provide you with further insights.