In typical Google fashion, there have been a multitude of recent changes to how ads appear in the search engine results page (SERP). At the beginning of this year, I wrote a blog post about the big enhancements Google made in 2016. Two of those enhancements, specifically expanded text ads and the removal of right rail ads, were focused on the SERP appearance and streamlining the user experience between mobile and desktop.
Throughout 2017, Google has been making additional improvements to the customer experience by making ad extensions more powerful and prominent than ever before. While there are multiple new features in Google AdWords extensions, and you can read about them all here, there are three ad extension releases that I am using most:
1. Location Extensions for Display Ads for Local Businesses
It is no secret, that the Google Display Network (GDN) has its pros and cons. I have written about GDN and how after years of trying to make ads work, I just recently started to see success. With this new release, however, I believe it is a great opportunity for advertisers running local search ads to get (back) into the GDN space. Local ads have increased in popularity alongside the increase in mobile search volume. Historically, I have shied away from running GDN ads on mobile due to “fat finger” syndrome, especially in a cost-per-click payment model.
With the release of location extensions for GDN ads, advertisers can target very specific audiences within a radius of the store location. This allows marketers to promote their brand to a location specific target audience, and get conversions by driving traffic in-store, via their website, or via a phone call to that specific location.
2. Call Extension Bid Adjustments
Last month (July 2017), Google AdWords rolled out the option to apply bid adjustments to call extensions. Google’s algorithm determines which ad extension shows on each ad, and historically advertisers have not had the choice of which ad extension appears on each ad. This has now changed, and I couldn’t be more excited!
Lead generation advertisers often see that calls convert to revenue 10x more often than form fills, and getting a customer or lead on the phone is the most valuable type of lead to a brand. This is definitely true for my paid search advertising, so by having the option to bid up – all the way to +900% – I can now ensure my call extensions are showing on my ad groups or campaigns that have the highest click-to-call conversion rate.
NOTE: This feature is only available in the new AdWords interface. If you are like me and have been hesitant to update from the older version of Google AdWords (I have used the old UI for 8 years – the new one is taking some getting used to), it’s time to bite the bullet and switch over. Just think, if you upgrade before your competitors and use this bid adjustment feature, you will have a competitive edge!
3. Tappable Sitelink Extensions
One of the biggest challenges in PPC marketing is driving the consumer to the best landing page that will drive the highest conversion rate for each customer. Sitelinks make that a bit easier because they allow the advertiser to give a few options to the consumer to ensure they can get to the site location that they are looking for as quickly as possible.
However, on mobile devices, the sitelinks don’t have the opportunity to show the description text, only the headline. This limits advertisers from showing the details of each product or service. With this new release of tappable sitelinks, Google is improving the mobile experience by letting consumers click into the headline and read the description. Google’s early reports show consumers are twice as likely to interact with this new format – a win for both advertisers and consumers.
It’s tough to stay up to date on all of the releases, but remember the early adopters are going to have the competitive edge, so make it a priority. Also, don’t forget to define and report on success metrics. Consider implementing call analytics and attribution to ensure you get the full customer journey and insight into how your customers are converting.