Expanded Text Ads – What You Need To Know

The new text ad format has been around for a while now, but it’s surprising how many advertisers aren’t using them yet.

If you’re not familiar with them here’s a quick overview of how they compare:

Standard Text Ads Expanded Text Ads
Headline (25 characters)

Display URL (35 characters)

Description Line 1 (35 characters)

Description Line 2 (35 characters)

Final URL

 

Headline 1 (30 characters)

Headline 2 (30 characters)

Path 1 (15 characters)

Path 2 (15 characters)

Description (80 characters)

Final URL

Total characters available: 130 Total characters available: 170

This great image from the Wordsream blog illustrates the differences between the standard and expanded text ads in the search results:

As you can see you get a noticeably bigger ad than before!

3 Great Reasons To Use Expanded Text Ads

#1  Get Ahead Of Your Competition

If they’re not using them you can get a step ahead and show bigger, better ads that are more likely to get clicked.  If they ARE using them then they’re taking up more ad real estate than you and those searchers are more likely to click on their ads instead of yours!

#2  Increased CTRs

Although not the case across the board, most advertisers are seeing higher click through rates with the expanded texts ads.  This will be even more noticeable if you’ve beaten your competitors to implementing them and your ETAs are up against standard text ads in the search results.

#3  Say More!

You have 40 more characters to get your message across with extended text ads – that’s 30% more ad text available to persuade and convince prospects to click on your ad.

Don’t Ignore ETAs

From 26th October 2016 you’ll no longer be able to create new standard text ads or edit existing ones.  Ads already running in your account will continue to do so, but any new ads will automatically be created as extended text ads.

Best Practices

Write one ETA that’s similar to your existing ad, to use as a control ad.

Put your most important messaging in the headlines

These are shown in larger font and highlighted in blue so make sure your most important ad copy goes here.

Remember that sometimes the headlines can be spit over two lines and you have no way of knowing where the line will break.  Google can even truncate your second headline so make sure not to have anything vital at the end of that line!

Don’t pause your old ads straight away

It’s not always the case that the extended ads have higher click through rates than the old ones, so keep your existing ones until you know the new ones are performing ok.  That way you can tweak and test until your happy with performance and then pause the old ones.

Write ads for all devices

You can’t create mobile preferred ads with expanded text ads so make sure your ads will work for desktop, mobile and tablets.

Put keywords in the path fields

You can add 2 15 char path fields to how in your display URL – this is a great way of reassuring searchers they’re going to a relevant site and that the ad relates to what they searched for.  It will also improve your quality score by making the ads more relevant and increasing CTRs.

Check your ad extensions

If you’ve added more information to your new ad make sure you’re not duplicating what’s already in your ad extensions.   Make sure you still have unique content in your extensions that will complement the text in your new ads.

Welcome To The All New Merchant Centre

OK, so it’s not ‘all new’, but rather it’s had a face lift and some new functionality.  This all happened last week.

If you’re running Google Shopping ads you’ll be familiar with Google Merchant Centre from when you got things set up and imported your first feeds.  Many retailers don’t need to visit Merchant Centre again once things are up and running, unless there’s a problem.  So the new look and feel won’t have been noticed by most people.

All New Navigation

(Image courtesy of Google.com)

The first thing you’ll notice is the new layout, navigation and colour scheme.  According to Google this is now “..aligned with the modern look and feel of the rest of Google’s products”.  Common tasks have now been grouped together in the navigation eg the new ‘products’ menu option contains data about product feeds and data quality.

Discover New Shopping Programs

One very cool feature is the ability to look at what new shopping programs are available to you and to enable them from within Merchant Centre.

If you click on the 3 vertical dots in the top right of the dashboard and select ‘Merchant Center programs’ you’ll see the screen below.

It’s important to note that the options shown here will vary depending on what programs you’re already using.

Feature Updates

Not only has the look and feel changed, they’ve made changes to the most frequently used features to make them quicker and easier to use.

There are improvements to feed rules, diagnostics and currency conversion – for a full explanation of the changes and updates read the Google blog here: http://adwords.googleblog.com/2016/08/introducing-new-google-merchant-center.html

All in all it seems like a change for the better with improved functionality, easier navigation and faster load times.  If you’re using Merchant Centre I’d love to know what you think of the changes.

Tablet Bid Adjustments Are Here!

People access your website in so many ways: on their desktop PC, smartphone or tablet.  Even with a mobile friendly website, however, you can get wildly differing results for your ads on these various devices.

For most people mobile and tablets don't do as well, usually giving higher Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) figures.  Until now, the only way you could combat this was to use bid adjustments for mobile devices.  What this does in a nutshell is to lower your bids to anyone viewing your ad on a smartphone.  This usually results in lowering the CPA for mobile visitors.  Great!

But, what we usually find is that the worst performing device of all is tablets.  CPAs for tablets can often be double, triple or even more those of desktop CPAs!  This is probably down to a poor user experience on tablets even if your site is mobile friendly.  It's not really a mobile and it's not really a desktop.....

All that changed today however!  I'm very pleased to say that now you can also make bid adjustments for tablets and desktops.  My first job tomorrow will be to go and add them to a multitude of campaigns that I know perform dreadfully on tablets, and I suggest you do the same.

How do you check on the performance by device?

From the Campaigns tab click on 'Segment' and in the drop down box choose 'Device' (make sure you have the columns enabled to show your conversion data - Columns > Modify Columns).  You will then be shown the breakdown of performance by campaign and by device.  If you've never seen this before you might be in for a surprise!

When you spot a campaign that has either a very high or very low CPA on a particular device make a note - don't forget you can add a bid adjustment up if a device is costing you less for conversions too.

To make the adjustments navigate to the campaign and click on the 'Settings' tab, then on the 'Devices' tab.  Each device will be listed along with the data for the campaign.  If you've never set bid adjustments before there'll be a little dash under the 'Bid adj' column - simply click on that and enter your adjustment.  You can increase or decrease bids for each device: increase on devices that are giving low CPAs and decrease if they're costing more than they should.

Don't forget to check back regularly to keep track of how the campaign is performing and edit the bid adjustments as needed.

Not Sure If You Need To Adjust Bids?

If you're not sure if you should adjust your bids for tablets (or any other device for that matter) then why not book a FREE account audit and I'll not only tell you about this but any other issues you may have in your account, along with how to find areas for growth. 

How To Use Custom Labels In Google Shopping

If you’re running shopping campaigns and you’re not using custom labels you’re missing a big trick.

What Are Custom Labels?

When you upload your feed to Google you have the option of defining multiple ‘custom label’ attributes.  These are fields you can add to your feed to record any data you like relating to your products.  This is not required and many merchants just don’t bother with them.

Why Would You Use Custom Labels?

The main reason you’d use custom labels in your product feed is to give you additional ways to organise your products in your AdWords campaigns.  More importantly, you can organise products in any way you choose, depending on what you have in your custom label fields.

With a ‘normal’ product feed, you can organise products in your campaign by Brand, Category, Product Type etc – not very inventive and not always the most helpful way when it comes to bidding.

With custom labels you can define other attributes by which to sort your products.  For example, you could define ‘custom label 0’ as price ranges: <£50, £50-£199, £200-£499, £500-£1,000.  Now it stands to reason you’d want to bid more on a product that’s £650 than you would for one that’s selling at £16.50 right?  By categorising your products by price range you can group them in your campaign and adjust your bids accordingly.

Another similar option would be to divid products with different profit margins.  Assign a custom label accordingly and then your bidding can be adjusted depending on how much money you make for those products.

There’s no limit as to how you can use this.  Another very popular method is to add a custom label to sale items or products on special promotion.    You might even want to exclude such items from your campaigns if the margins are very low.

What Does It Look Like In AdWords?

You can see below that we’ve already got our products sub-divided by brand.  To break them down further you’ll click the ‘+’ symbol on the right as usual.

This opens the dialogue box shown below, which I’m sure you’re familiar with from when you sub-divided your products by brand or product type and such.  You can see here I’ve selected ‘Custom label 1’.  In this example the feed has been categorised using ‘price buckets’, from low  to high and various options in between.  You can now add these by selecting the right arrows and you’ll then be able to bid and optimise according to the price range of your products.

I’m sure you can see the potential for using custom labels: it gives you much more control and flexibility within your Shopping campaigns.

Here are some other examples of great ways to use custom labels:

  • Best Sellers
  • Sale Items
  • Margin
  • Brand
  • Seasonal
  • Gender
  • Special Shipping
  • Push Label
  • Colour, Size, Weight

The possibilities are really only limited by your imagination but think of how you can use these to make a real difference to your Google Shopping Campaigns and ultimately to your company’s bottom line.

What Are Structured Snippet Extensions And Why You Should Use Them

There are lots of things you can do to improve your ads and one of the most important ones is by using ad extensions.

There are currently 7 ad extensions available, but the one I see being used most infrequently is the structured snippet extension. Maybe it’s because it just sounds to techy? In reality, though, it’s very easy to set up and can help give your ad that edge over the competition.

What Is A Structured Snippet Extension?

A structured snippet extension allows you to highlight a particular aspect of your product or service, such as brands, styles and types. The full list of categories you can use is below (Google calls them ‘headers’):

• Amenities
• Brands
• Courses
• Degree programs
• Destinations
• Featured hotels
• Insurance coverage
• Models
• Neighborhoods
• Service catalog
• Shows
• Styles
• Types

What Do They Look Like?

Ray-Ban are using two structured snippet extensions in this ad – types and styles. As you can see they can add considerable real estate to your ads and helps searchers to understand better what you do and how your products are relevant to them.

Who Can Use Them?

If any part of your product or service can be categorised into the pre-set headers above then you can use structured snipped extensions.
Probably the most common would be adding brands you stock or types of product/service you sell. If you have a retail store or venue you can use the ‘amenities’ header to let people know whether you have disabled access or on-site parking for example.

It’s easy to look at the list and think you don’t fit into any of them, but try and be creative: an accountant, for example, might not be the obvious type of advertiser to use these. But you could use the ‘service catalog’ header to list your services such as year-end accounts, personal tax returns, payroll and the like.

‘Types’ could also be used to show who you do this for: sole traders, limited companies, landlords etc.

Why Should You Use Them?

The issue of quality score is worthy of a separate blog post but suffice it to say that using ad extensions improves your quality score and so improves the chances of your ad showing up above those of your competitors.

Quality score aside here are a few more reasons you should be using them:

• They give your ad more space on the page (who doesn’t want a bigger ad for free?)
• They increase the chance of your ad being clicked by giving more information to searchers
• They make your ad more relevant – which again will improve your ad’s click through rate.

How Do You Add Them?

You’ll find them under the ‘Ad Extensions’ tab. Structured snippet extensions can be added at the account, campaign or ad group level so it’s worth giving some thought to how you might structure this before you start. Account level extensions will show on all ads in the account so if you want to be able to show different snippets for different campaigns or ad groups then you’ll want to set them up at this level instead.

Once you click on the big red ‘+extension’ button it’s pretty self-explanatory: you can either choose to add an existing extension to this campaign or ad group, or add a new one.

 

Simply choose your Header and then create values in the fields below. You can add as many as you need. Notice you can schedule your snippets, so if you have a promotion coming up they can be one ahead of time and set to run automatically.

What’s Next?

Head over to your AdWords account and start adding these extensions! As with all ad extensions they’re a quick win and can only improve your campaigns’ performance so why wouldn’t you?

10 Surefire Ways To Get More AdWords Clicks

Would you like to get more clicks for your Google Ads? More clicks mean a higher Click Through Rate, which means a better quality score and in turn lower costs and higher ad rank. So yes, of course you do!

It sounds great but it’s not an easy task – you have to come up with a sales pitch that fits into 3 lines of text made up of only 95 characters in all! That’s a big ask for anyone, but here are some ways you can get an upper hand and outplay your competitors for those valuable clicks.

Of course you won’t be able to use all of these in the same ad so you’ll have to mix and match and test them out in different ads to find out what works best for you. Remember, you should constantly be split testing your ad text to find your best performing ads.

1 – Use Numbers

This is something that doesn’t just work with AdWords – it’s a proven strategy in sales copy writing in general. Put prices in your ad: ‘Shoes From Just £9.99’ or if you’re having a sale give a discount percentage ‘Save 20% During June’. You can even put ranges eg ‘Great Choice From £29-£99’

2 – Use Unusual Characters

AdWords allow you to include symbols in your ads such as #1, ® , % , $ & é – if these are appropriate to what you’re advertising then use them! Your ad will stand out from your competitors to attract that click.

3 – Add a Call-to-Action

This is another proven strategy – if you want someone to do something then just tell them! There’s a reason why the internet is full of ‘Buy Now’ buttons☺ Other examples would be ‘Call Us Today’ or ‘Subscribe Now’.

4 – Include A Feature And/Or Benefit

Features tell your customer the specifics of the product or service; the benefit tells them what they will gain by buying it.
Eg a laptop feature would be: ‘14 Hour Battery Life’ and the benefit would be ‘Get More Work Done On The Go’. Both can be used to great effect in your ad copy so test it out and see how well it works for you.

5 – Include a Phone Number and Address

If you’re a local business you can add location extensions to your ads so that customers can see exactly where you are and come in person. Call extensions show your phone number and as an added bonus if a user is on a mobile they can even ‘click to call’. ( Note: don’t forget to use a call tracking number – Google provides them for free)

6 – Remove The Risk

This is another mainstay of sales copywriting – use guarantees to remove the risk for the customer, or offer a free trial/sample of your product. If you have a no quibble returns policy tell them about it!

7 – Free Or Express Shipping

This doesn’t just work for AdWords, it’s a surprisingly powerful thing to offer, and you’d be amazed how often customers don’t see past the ‘free shipping’ to see whether they’re actually paying more overall.
Likewise if you offer an express delivery option that might just be what your customer needs so try putting it in your ad. It’s worth considering ad scheduling with this, though, so if someone has to order by noon for fast next day delivery they only see the ad between 9am and 12 noon.

8 – Ask a question

Do you need more clicks on your AdWords ads? Our top 10 tips will help you do just that! ☺
By choosing keywords that reflect the searcher’s question and using ad copy that reinforces it they are much more likely to click on your ad as they will see it as both relevant and the solution to the problem they came to Google to solve.

9 – Include Social Proof

If you’re lucky enough to have endorsements from major names then use this to your advantage. Or maybe you have 100% positive feedback on eBay, or 10,000 reviews on Google – it’s all proof that you are a reputable, trustworthy company and the searcher will feel much safer and be more likely to click on your ad.

10 – Scarcity or urgency

We’ve all seen the TV ads ‘hurry, sales ends soon’: adding a sense of urgency compels people to act more quickly in case they miss it. And example is ‘Save 30% Today Only!’. Bringing scarcity into the equation has a similar effect: ‘Only 20 Remaining’ for example.
So get logged into your AdWords account and start trying some new ads so you can measure them against your existing ones. Keep testing so you’ll always have the best performing ads possible, and more clicks for your AdWords account.

 

5 Things NOT To Do In AdWords

If you’re managing your own AdWords campaigns then hopefully you try and keep up with all the latest news and updates as well as looking for help with what to do to keep your account performing at its best.  You’ll find countless checklists, guides and posts telling you what you SHOULD do, but what about what you SHOULDN’T do!  Well here are the 5 most important things you should avoid when managing your AdWords account:

1.  Forget About Your Account

You’ve just set your brand new campaign running and you’ve got all the info on how to split test and optimise.  You diligently log in every week to check your account and make those all important tweaks to improve performance.  Then you miss a week…. and another….. and before you know it it’s been a month or more since you last checked on your campaigns.  This is probably the most common mistake people make once they get things going and start seeing results.  They think things are all tickety boo and just leave the account to get on with it.  The problem with AdWords is that unless you are constantly looking for ways to improve your performance the account can stagnate – there’s always something that can be improved upon, whether that’s getting a better click through rate with a new add, or identifying new keywords that could bring you more clicks and conversions.

Action Step:  Set a weekly alarm to remind you to log in and do your optimisation or if you don’t have time consider hiring a professional to manage the campaign for you.

2.  Don’t Add Negatives

Many businesses who manage their own accounts overlook the impact that adding negative keywords can have on an account.  It’s shocking sometimes to see how much money is being wasted when people click on your ad for some completely unrelated search term – a search term for which you shouldn’t even be showing up in the first place!  This is where negative keywords come in.  Imagine you are advertising for your Excel training course – someone does a search on Google for ‘puppy training’ and Google in its infinite wisdom matches this search to your keyword ‘training’ and shows your ad.  Clearly it’s not what they’re looking for – by adding the words ‘puppy’ and ‘dog’ as negative keywords you can stop your ads from showing for searches like this and can often save a fortune in wasted clicks.

Action Step:  Check your Search Query Report regularly to see which search terms are triggering your ads and add ones which aren’t a good fit as negatives.

3.  Ignore Ad Extensions

If you’re not using all the ad extensions that are available you’re missing a huge trick.  These can add extra lines to your ad giving you extra real estate in the search results FOR FREE.  At the very least you should be using Call Out Extensions and Site Link Extensions as illustrated below – callouts let you add promotional text to your ad and site links allow you to link to different pages in your site while also giving you the opportunity to say more about your company and encourage people to click on your ad.

Ad Extensions

To learn more about ad extensions see this article on Google’s help centre: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2375499?hl=en-GB

4.  Forget To Measure Conversions

This should probably be #1 because it is hugely important – if you don’t track conversions on your website then you have absolutely no idea if your advertising is actually working.  A conversion can be any action you want your visitors to take when they visit your website: fill out a form, call you, buy something or get a free download.  It’s vital for the success and ongoing optimisation of your campaigns that you set up conversion tracking in your account so you can see what actions people are taking and more importantly which keywords they used and ads they clicked on to get there.

Check out the AdWords help centre for help with Conversion Tracking: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/1722054?hl=en-GB

5.  Not Having A Remarketing Campaign

Many times someone will click your ad and visit your site but not complete the desired action – maybe they got distracted or simply wanted more information before making the final decision.   With remarketing you can ‘follow’ people around to other websites and show them your ad again to encourage them to return.  OK, so if not done right it can be very creepy and make you feel a bit like you’re being followed around the internet by the sites you’ve visited, but when done properly it offers excellent conversion rates by keeping YOUR business top of mind with your visitors and reminding them about what you offer.    It’s very powerful and it’s certainly something you shouldn’t be avoiding!