Paid Search (PPC)

Within this post I look at some of the main benefits of using Google's extended adverts within AdWords, and why you should be looking to convert your current ads sooner rather than later.

In July, it was confirmed that Google was going to roll out their new extended ad formats, and it wasn’t long before it was available in AdWords accounts for advertisers to use. After a successful testing period, Google has decided that this format will be the only available one going forward. However, this change is not immediate, allowing advertisers to update their ads over the next few months. You can even create new adverts in the previous format until October 2016. Although, having seen some of my ads live and some of the results already being returned, I’d recommend only creating ads in the new format going forward. Within this post, I’m going to discuss some of the benefits of the new extended ad format.

Increased Visibility

One of the obvious benefits to the new extended formats is the increased visibility your ads will get. Competition for retail space at the top of SERPs continues to intensify, so it’s important that you capitalise on every opportunity available to capture as much as you can. This is the main reason why I’d stress in getting your ads updated as soon as possible as you may be able to steal the march on competitors as they could potentially be dragging their heels in doing the same. The image below shows a client’s advert with the extended format positioned below a competitor’s. But despite losing out on position, more retail space has been acquired.PPC advert occupying more retail space with extended adverts

Additional Advert Headline

The additional information Google has made available are within the most influential areas of an advert. With regular introductions of new ad extensions and layout changes, we can now finally improve the prominence of an advert headline by simply adding another. This change has been long awaited, and one that seems to have been widely welcomed by PPC managers.

The example below demonstrates the value of that second headline. The second advert down has used the new format, and in doing so has got a highly prominent ad title. The first advert also has a prominent ad title, however the second part is made up of the first description line being pulled up, and has therefore reduced the amount of information within the advert’s body. Finally, the third advert hasn’t got an extended ad title and has therefore only got the domain showing next to it. As you can see, this limits the control you have over the content that fills this valuable space on the advert.Larger advert headline

Improved Performance

Now this is very early days, however I am already seeing improved performances across some of the campaigns that have been carrying the new avert formats. Despite only having a week’s worth of data, conversion rates are significantly higher for the new ad formats in comparison to the previous.

Campaign chosen for the trial:

  • 4 adverts (2 new, 2 previous)
  • Both carry similar messaging and the same final URLs
  • Ad rotation set to ‘rotate evenly’
  • Traffic sample size: 280 sessions

New ad formats conversion rate =                      8.35%
Previous ad format conversion rate =                4.84%

New ad format cost/conversion =                      £15.06
Previous ad format cost/conversion =              £19.54

As mentioned, these are early days and it’s too soon to state that these improved results are sustainable just with new adverts, however, the results so far are encouraging.

Making the change

One of the big problems is the process of changing all these ads, especially if you are responsible for a number of large accounts. Despite reading a few posts on possible ways to make these changes in bulk, the most recent one talking about using meta data on your site to populate the ad fields, I’m yet to be convinced that they’d work well. Unless you’re using generic/common messages across campaigns, there may be now escaping the fact that you’ll have to change many of these manually. It’s going to have to happen at some point, so I’d encourage changing them as soon as possible and hopefully you can take advantage of your competitors not doing so.

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