MAJOR CHANGES TO PAID SEARCH ADVERTISING
In April 2016, Google began beta testing a new ad format, which more than doubled the number of characters within standard paid search ads. Since then, both Google and Bing have fully switched to the new expanded text ad (ETA) format. As of July 2017, advertisers are no longer able to create or edit ads in the standard format across both Google and Bing.
Prompted by the biggest change in AdWords’ 14-year history, MnSearch hosted Nina Hale Media Supervisor Andrea Guglielmino to share key findings and takeaways for paid search advertisers.
The 5 key findings from Nina Hale’s expanded text ad analysis
To learn more about the impact ETAs were having on paid search campaigns, Andrea examined the performance of standard text ads (STAs) and ETAs across more than 50 Google and Bing accounts, made up of more than 2,500 campaigns. Key findings from the analysis, which was published as a whitepaper, include:
- Expanded text ads averaged a 45% higher click-through rate compared to their standard ad counterparts
- Expanded text ads drove equal or higher conversion rates with consistently lower costs per click for competitive nonbrand queries
- ETAs were overall less effective on mobile devices, with lower conversions per impression on both brand and nonbrand queries
- Expanded text ads on Bing averaged a click-through rate over 9%, far outperforming standard ads
- Within the B2B vertical, ETAs converted searchers at nearly twice the rate of STAs
Tips for utilizing expanded text ads
According to Nina Hale’s Google rep, approximately 50% of client accounts had so far converted all ads to ETAs. Slow adoption of expanded ads may be due to hesitation in switching entirely to the ETA format. Andrea’s tips for adopting the new ad format may help to alleviate some of these doubts:
- Don’t immediately pause standard ads. Until ETAs consistently outperform their standard ad counterparts across priority KPIs, standard ads should remain in circulation.
- Advertisers should continuously test and optimize for the new ad format. High-performing standard ads can also be edited and lengthened to match the ETA format.
- Longer headlines and descriptions should attempt to more directly meet searcher needs. The additional text may help to prequalify searchers before they click on an ad.
- STAs should not only be copied into the ETA format. Ad extensions and customizers can help to differentiate ads.
- Although pre-optimized for mobile and desktop use, advertisers should mind truncation when creating ETAs. Preview ads across devices to ensure ads will properly appear.
- Advertisers should work closely with their SEO teams to monitor organic and paid performance together. Co-optimization between organic and paid search efforts can lead to greater efficiency.
ON THE HORIZON FOR PAID SEARCH
Finally, Andrea shared Nina Hale’s predictions for future adoption of ETAs:
- Google and Bing now allow advertisers to utilize Dynamic Search Ads in the expanded text ad format
- – Headlines and landing page URLs are automatically generated to best match search queries
- – Widespread adoption of expanded dynamic ads could lead to a quicker transition to ETAs
- Utilizing Google’s acceleration mobile pages (AMP) in addition to ETAs with higher CTRs could lead to a quicker transition from search to conversion
- – AMP may require additional development resources and can be less flexible than custom landing pages
- As voice search continues to grow in use and impact, paid voice opportunities may develop
- – ETAs could work with voice search devices to provide a sponsored result, such as “According to this sponsored result from Nina Hale…”