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.