While Leicester City was winning the Premier League and Donald Trump was becoming President, some pretty significant changes were also happening in the world of search and display marketing in 2016 – although maybe not so unexpected.
Google AdWords introduced new features for advertisers and agencies to help get their messages across to the ever-demanding online world. Google even changed the way ads appear on its site.
To keep track with everything that happened, we have put together a review of some of the more notable changes and what to expect in 2017.
The Disappearance of Right Hand Side Ads
Ads appearing in lowly positions on the right-hand side ceased to exist at the beginning of the year, with more emphasis being placed on those top three positions. It was also a move which made the desktop page more in sync with the mobile experience. As a result, it’s never been more important to make sure you maintain a high ad position through engaging ad copy and maximising your top performing keywords!
Expanded Text Ads
The format allowing 30 characters for two headlines and 80 characters for a single description line has been a blessing for copywriters who can now create a much more detailed ad. It has also given the user more of an opportunity to understand what is being offered.
The ‘25-35-35’ format is being slowly phased out with the creation of standard text ads being stopped on January 31st. At Search Seven, we saw our clients’ click-through rates improve significantly after we rolled out the changes, with one client seeing a 58% increase in their CTR in one month!
Demographics for Search Campaigns
While it has been a regular feature on any Display campaigns as well as YouTube campaigns, the ability to target by demographic hasn’t been made available for Search campaigns. In September however, it was finally rolled out across to Search so advertisers can now make bid adjustments based on age and gender.
This gives us the advantage of making sure that the right people are seeing the right ads for them – a very handy feature if your market is age or gender focused.
Click-To-Message Ad Extensions
The ability for the user to directly get in contact with a business via this new extension has given a level of contact as high as a call extension. When the user taps the option on their mobile phone, they are presented with a pre-written message which then gets sent to the business.
This quick way to start an interaction with a customer is great for increasing your conversion rates.
The Uptake of Similar Audience and GSP Campaigns
These features have become more prominent in 2016 as advertisers look to explore other ways than the traditional Search, Display or Remarketing campaigns to reach a potential customer.
We have particularly seen Similar Audience campaigns, on both the Search and Display networks, be a great driver in generating quality traffic and conversions for our clients. One client saw their overall CPC reduced by 69% and their CPA reduced by 19%!
GSP campaigns are also on the rise with the ad format appearing as natural as possible within a user’s inbox. For generating awareness at a low cost, GSP campaigns are the way to go.
Facebook Lead Generation Campaigns
Away from AdWords, Facebook was busy making changes to their advertising. Most notably, this was done in the form of the lead generation campaigns. Instead of taking the user away from Facebook to a landing page, a customised form appears where they can leave their details for the business to follow up with.
This is a great way to cut out the middle man if you looking to acquire a high amount of leads or if your website isn’t set up for tracking.
Coming up in 2017…
Advertising platforms will continue to roll out new changes with even more of an emphasis being placed on mobile as Google rewards sites with a friendly mobile landing page. Your site will also need to make sure you have highly relevant, up-to-date content as well as your brand needing to foster trustworthiness.
As a Google Partner Agency, we are always talking to Google about new features and what is coming up in new releases. As such, we are currently working with our clients on new BETA features that AdWords have introduced – and we are seeing some great results already!
If you would like more information or have any questions, then please get in touch with us.