Today’s announcement by Google of a new expanded format for text ads is an important recognition of the growing importance of the mobile market.
Just last quarter, we reported in our Digital Marketing Snapshot that Skai’s clients saw 52% of search clicks performed on mobile or tablet devices. Smartphone search spend was up +77% year-over-year, and was one of the largest drivers of search spend growth overall.
But it’s the PLA format that has seen a lot of the uptake. As we saw during the busy holiday season: “Brand keywords drive the highest share of conversions and revenue, but it’s PLAs that account for the largest baskets with the highest order values from shoppers.”
So, search marketers who could not move to PLAs have had a problem. There needed to be format enhancements so text ads could hold their own with the increasingly mobile audience.
Will Google’s changes help?
We think they will.
- The new format is visually larger. Taking up two lines for the heading, the expanded text ad takes up more space and brings a consistent readability across all devices
- The new format is more descriptive. Ads have an extra 35 characters of text to describe the result in detail, bringing more relevant information to the user
- The new format fosters increased trust in the mobile browser. Increasingly, mobile browsers are under threat from dedicated mobile apps, and one component of this threat is the user’s hesitancy to click on links due to unexpected destinations. The new format builds a destination URL automatically based on the advertiser’s domain, which should lead to clear expectations of destination and increased user trust.
How well do these Expanded Text Ads perform?
Time will tell, but early results from Google show promise with higher performance results: upwards of +20% higher CTR over existing text ads!
Is this change unexpected?
Google has made changes to search formats and capabilities on a regular basis to optimize results for changing consumer behaviors. From Enhanced Campaigns and Upgraded URLs, to the removal of the right rail ad space, new developments are made to adapt to changing user behaviors. Today’s announcements, designed to optimize a mobile first search experience, are welcome enhancements that will lead to more ad space on the SERP mobile experience.
Wasn’t there another change announced about Bid Modifiers?
Yes. Google announced that there would be support for bid modifiers for a wider range of device categories: desktop, mobile, and tablet. The range of these modifiers has been extended from +/- 300% to 900%. This is another indication of Google’s emphasis on enhancing support and flexibility for mobile and tablet devices.
Note: Our last quarterly trends report indicates the opportunity for clients to align tablet bids with their relative performance.
When will Skai support Google’s changes?
Skai partnered with Google early on to ensure immediate support for Extended Text Ads was provided to our clients.
Currently, Skai’s adaptive optimization technology is already able to account for performance data associated with the new Expanded Text Ads. Halogen, Skai’s planning and forecasting solution, and Skai’s Portfolio Optimizer, can already execute over campaigns that use the new ETAs to support optimization and initial A/B testing by our clients.
Our agile marketing approach also applies to our product development process, allowing us to be nimble and adaptive to these and further changes required to fully support this new ad format.
Skai will continue to work closely with Google to coordinate our global support for these new capabilities. Expect announcements from Skai on broader support for full management, creation, tracking, and reporting against Expanded Text Ads in the coming weeks.
For more questions regarding Skai’s support of Expanded Text Ads and the Bid Modifier update, please reach out to your dedicated Skai representative.