Beta testing has now ended and Google has rolled out two significant AdWords updates, with Expanded Text Ads almost doubling character limits and the yellow ‘Ad’ label getting a green makeover.
So what has been the early impact of these modifications and how can AdWords marketers make the most of the opportunities they present?
Early results of AdWords updates
As a premier Google Partner, we had early access to the new layout and have already been experimenting with expanded text ads for several weeks. Early indications have shown improved click-through rates of 20-30% across each account, which is exactly what Google predicted when announcing the changes.
It stands to reason that having more words to play with will encourage more clicks; two 30-character headlines rather than one 25-word character headline allows you to highlight key features and detail exactly what you have to offer, while an extra 10 characters in the single Description Line allows more room for creativity. Making the most of the available space can only help incentivise target demographics to click-through.
This is big news for specialist PPC managers who have long been espousing the benefits of pay per click marketing; if the most cost-efficient form of online advertising is set to explode and generate at least 20% more traffic to client sites, the forecasted returns could be huge.
Not only has Google opened up the restrictions on word count, giving AdWords agencies plenty of scope to craft imaginative and emotive copy, the decision to ‘go green’ is also expected to boost CTR’s.
There’s no doubting that the previous yellow label stood out more, highlighting paid-for listings, making them really stand out from organic search results. However, ‘going green’ ensures that ads blend into organic listings more naturally. The reason for doing this? A Google spokesman told Marketing Land that the change of colour is part of ongoing research to ‘improve the look and feel of the search results page,’ and that it has been rolled out ‘based on positive feedback from users and advertisers.’
The yellow ‘Ad’ icon was first introduced in 2013 to ensure people could clearly tell ads apart from organic results, but AdWords managers have long been aware that some consumers tend to bypass ads altogether, assuming that sponsored content is somehow untrustworthy or spam, no matter how targeted and high quality it may be.
Going green might be a subtle change, but it’s not as brash as the previous yellow, so savvy web surfers might start taking ads more seriously. Importantly, the labelling remains prominent and clear without standing out quite so much. Google is highly focused on improving the AdWords customer experience, so far from being a deceptive move, it’s highly likely that their feedback has indicated that the green facelift has resulted in a better overall user experience.
Some AdWords agencies have noticed increased CTR’s of 15% since the change of colour, and invalid clicks from fraudulent search bots have dramatically fallen, possibly due to the fact that it’s now much harder for them to differentiate between ads and organic search results. A double win for PPC marketers and their clients.
Capitalising on extra clicks
With significantly higher CTR’s, all the indications are that the recent Adwords updates – the biggest in the platform’s 16-year history – will ultimately lead to increased revenue for users, so long as best practice for AdWords campaign management is followed.
Attracting more visitors to your site is only the first part of the game, though, and monitoring user behaviour once they hit your landing page is key to converting clicks into cash.
All landing pages must be optimised, which means making them highly relevant to each individual ad, packed with exciting and accurate sales copy, as well as having an easy-to-use, clear call-to-action. Not forgetting, of course, the renewed importance of ensuring that websites are fully-responsive to mobile devices.
There’s no doubting that AdWords has grown to be the most cost-effective advertising method in the world, with the ability to analyse and refine campaigns until they consistently deliver big returns. However, these changes have the potential to completely revolutionise the PPC marketing game, helping AdWords marketers take already-impressive revenue streams to the next level.
For more information on how we can make the recent AdWords updates work in your favour, please read all about our unique Return On Ad Spend package and get in touch today!