It shouldn’t come as any surprise to those who work in the marketing industry that Google has launched several major (and minor) changes to paid and organic search in 2016. As the way users interact with the web shifts increasingly toward mobile search, the world’s largest search engine continues to pave the way for advertisers to have a larger presence in searches on mobile platforms.
In this post, we’ll review three changes and what they mean for our clients and the way we advertise online.
Expanded ad copy
This is, by far, the most consequential change to the way that Google handles text ads. When we create advertisements for your business, we are extremely limited by the amount of characters we have available. However, that amount is now increasing by 140%. Instead of a headline and two description lines, ads will have two headlines and a longer, single description. The URL that displays will be pulled directly from the website being linked to.
This feature is still in beta testing, but Google is already reporting a 20% increase in ad click-through-rates. That’s a significant jump. We look forward to general release and working with this new format, since we have some fun ideas on how to leverage the dual headlines and the addition to the character count.
SMS Ad Extension
Texting is the new calling, and Google is embracing this new world with a feature that they’re experimenting with called the SMS Ad Extension. Before the launch of this—on some searches—the paid advertisement contained a button to the right that allows mobile users to automatically call the advertiser from their phone. Now, with the new feature, users will be also be able to auto-generate a text message to the advertiser requesting more information. While this is still in beta, it represents another way for text ads to connect customers with the companies we represent.
As a number of studies and experts agree, millennials overwhelmingly prefer texting and emailing to making phone calls. Google adding an auto-text feature may allow your business to better connect with younger users who are becoming an even greater share of the market for products and services in the United States.
Local Pack receives advertising
When customers search for a category related to your business on their mobile device, they receive a “pack” of results that are bundled together underneath a map. These results contain easy links so that customers can either call your business right from their phone or load directions. To this point, these results have been organic only.
However, Google has now indicated that they’ll be launching text ads inside of the local pack. This allows advertisers to quickly and effectively connect mobile users with businesses at a point of high conversion: if the user is driving and looking for businesses like yours, this instantly gives them an address and a phone number. We’ll be continuing to monitor this as it enters beta and gets rolled out to all users.
Google goes green
Up until this point, most text advertisements on Google have been marked with a gold-colored “Ad” indicator. If you’ve done any kind of search on Google over the past few years, you’ve probably seen these markers: they separate paid text ads from the organic search content below.
Now, Google has decided to go green by changing the color of these familiar, yellow-hued markers to a Kermit-the-Frog (or “Tea Lizard”, according to some) shade of green. This makes text advertising stand out less boldly from organic search results, which fits in with Google’s approach to blending paid ads with usual search returns.
How does this impact what 5 Fold does?
Our PPC expert, Drew Martinez, is always keeping an eye on the latest trends and updating our team on what Google has been up to. By tracking the status of beta features, Drew is better able to predict when Google will release the features to the general public, and have the text ads for our client ready for the change ahead of time. “I’m always keeping up to date on new betas or trends,” Drew says. “I use Feedly to keep up-to-date on everything, so I never miss anything. We test new features to determine what works best based on the data.”
This philosophy fits with 5 Fold’s ultimate goal of remaining flexible in a fast-changing world of web, and allows us to deliver better performance to our clients—no matter what changes to search and text ads Google has coming down the pipeline.
Welcome to this edition of 5 From 5 Fold. Each month, we’ll ask a different member of the 5 Fold Marketing team five questions about themselves, what their job is like, and what they see as the future of marketing.
This month, we sat down with 5 Fold’s newest employee, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Specialist Drew Martinez, to talk about PPC campaigns, what he likes about working at 5 Fold, and his favorite kind of food.
1. Where did you grow up, and where did you go to college? What did you study there?
“I grew up here in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m a native of the city, and I’ve lived on the west side my entire life. I went to Grand Canyon University (GCU) and majored in marketing, and I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. It’s not quite like a traditional university, but GCU is definitely growing and expanding.”
2. What did you do prior to joining the 5 Fold team?
“Prior to joining 5 Fold, I worked for a company called Revana. Same thing: I handled PPC there. We worked with agencies across the U.S. and Canada and helped manage their PPC accounts.”
3. What is “PPC”? How does it impact the campaigns of our clients?
“PPC, in layman’s terms, is being able to show up above the organic listings at a really quick and fast pace. It doesn’t necessarily take as long as SEO, which can take three to six months or longer. PPC is a quicker process, and we can get you above the organic listings on the search engine’s results page. As far as helping a client’s PPC efforts, that depends on their specific Key Performance Indicators. Pay-Per-Click can be used for a sales driven campaign, a branding campaign or both. PPC has the flexibility and products to achieve both goals.”
4. What are some other things that make PPC and SEO different?
“They do have their differences. One of the major things is that, as I said, SEO can take some time to mature. It’s not as quick as PPC where we can create a new campaign, start it, and you can get on top after the first day or two. PPC is a combination of understanding your clients’ goals, using that to build an effective campaign and constantly monitoring and optimizing to achieve KPI’s. The similarities are that, in the long haul, it’s going to deliver the same results. At the end of the day, we’re trying to achieve whatever goals the client has. So, both SEO and PPC are necessary in digital marketing. One is not better than the other: they both can be utilized in different ways to achieve the same goal.”
5. So far, what has been the most exciting thing about working at 5 Fold Marketing?
“I’m excited about being able to sculpt the PPC Department down the road. Make it how I’d like it to be and fully manage it, once I am fully accustomed to all the tools and how the workflow runs. That’s what I forsee moving into the future.”
Bonus: What is your favorite kind of food, and why? What is your favorite dish?
“Well, my girlfriend is Filipino, so right now, I’m really into Filipino food. However, in the long run, it’s always been Mexican food. My favorite dish has always been chimichangas.”