Google is on an eternal quest to provide better search results to its users. After all, that’s why the users keep coming back. But when it comes to paid search, better search results also mean better performance for advertisers and more advertising revenue for Google. This win-win-win was undoubtedly the inspiration for recently announced Google search changes. Read all the way to the bottom to find out whether or not these changes will truly have an impact.
Google Responsive Search Ads: Currently in Beta
Earlier this summer, Google announced their new responsive search ad (RSA) format and service. Currently in beta, advertisers using Google Responsive Search Ads can provide Google Ads with multiple headlines and descriptions. Google will automatically test combinations of the headlines and descriptions to learn which combinations perform best and then serve those up repeatedly to drive better search performance.
The Google RSAs come with a new, longer ad format and a promise that Google will adapt ads to show more text and more relevant messaging across varying device widths. Advertisers using RSAs are encouraged to submit 15 headlines and four descriptions for each search ad.
Note: If you’re relying on Google to optimize your campaigns, make sure you know what the optimizations are based on. Read “Optimizing for Conversions? Don’t Rely Solely on Google Attribution” to learn more about the shortcomings of Google Attribution.
Google Paid Search Ads: Benefiting from RSA Changes
Google made the decision to extend the longer ad formats to all of their paid search ads. Later this month or early next month, advertisers will be able to (but don't have to) add a third headline and a second description line to their ads. Google hopes the lengthier ad copy will better connect with searchers, leading to better click through rates (CTRs).
Headlines: Three headlines, each up to 30 characters, can now be included in Google paid search ads. Headlines are separated by vertical pipes ( | ) and may show differently on different devices.
Descriptions: Google paid search ad descriptions can now include two lines with up to 90 characters each. Google encourages advertisers to include calls-to-action within the description lines.
Display URLs: Usually shown in green, the display URL can now include the domain from the final URL plus two paths with up to 15 characters each. Intended to provide clarity with regard to the click destination, the paths do not have to match the exact language of the display URL.
Within the new longer format ads, special characters like tildes ( ~ ) and umlauts ( Ö ) should appear correctly, and ad extensions can still be included to direct searchers to the content that best matches their search objectives. The new length limits will be enforced across all languages.
Google Text Display Ads: Now with Logos & Formatting
Google also recently modernized their text display ads, shown across the Google Display Network (GDN). Text ads can now include logos, custom colors that align with branding preferences and a rounded call-to-action button. New, modern fonts can be deployed as well.
Google Responsive Display Ads: Easier & Better
Google has enhanced their machine learning to create better responsive display ads. By extracting colors from images provided to Google Ads, Google is now creating custom layouts intended to approximate human-created image ads.
Will Longer, Prettier Google Ads Result in Better Performance?
The jury is still out. Google expanded text ads (ETAs) launched for search in 2016 with the longer format required by the end of January, 2017. To date, performance has not proven to be better with the lengthier ads. Intuitively, it seems the additional headline and description characters should result in higher CTRs, but we’ll have to monitor performance to know for sure.
Do you have room to improve your paid search results? Contact the Digital Media Solutions team to learn what enhancements can be made to your paid search campaign to take it to the next level.