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Google's New Ad Strength Indicator

Google is giving advertisers a new tool to predict how their ads will perform before they start running.

The new ad strength indicator evaluates responsive and display ads, then rates them on a scale from “Poor” to “Excellent”.

The tool also gives specific tips on how you can improve your ads to improve their rating and improve performance.

When evaluating ads, the tool assesses a number of factors including relevance, quantity, and diversity of ad copy.

To help prepare for the rollout of the tool, Google provided a few bits of guidance:

  • For responsive search ads: Provide as many headlines and descriptions as makes sense for your business. At least five headlines are recommended.
  • For responsive display ads: Provide up to 15 images and five logos, headlines, and descriptions per ad.

The tool will roll out in stages and will likely take until early next year to be fully available.

First, the ad strength indicator will begin appearing when constructing responsive search ads within the next few weeks. Then, in early September the tool will be given its own column in the Google Ads interface. Finally, the ad strength indicator will be brought to responsive display ads in “several months.”

Along with the announcement of the ad strength indicator, Google also rolled out a number of several updates to responsive search ads.

The biggest change is that advertisers can now preview ad combinations as you are building them, letting you see several possible combinations while you work. This can help shape your ads to ensure ads will always be relevant and readable.

Google is also providing more information about responsive search ads in search reports, including data for headlines, descriptions, and top combinations.

These changes to responsive search ads are already rolled out and available to all advertisers.

Google has been using its Accelerated Mobile Pages technology to deliver content almost instantaneously for over a year, and now it is starting to spread the technology to new areas of its platform.

Specifically, Google says it is beginning to use AMP technology to speed up search ads in two different ways.

Firstly, Google AdWords is launching a beta program allowing advertisers to create landing pages using Accelerated Mobile Pages. The result is a faster transition from seeing the ad to being able to convert, and less chance of someone leaving because they get tired of waiting for your site to load.

Secondly, Google is boosting all ads across the entire Google Display Network by automatically converting them to a new AMP ad format. As of today, the search engine has already converted a “significant” number of ads across its display network.

Google says its new AMP ads load 5 seconds faster than regular ads without any visual changes. This way, ads on AMP pages can load just as quickly as the content, creating a more seamless experience.

Retailers are increasingly relying on Google Shopping Ads to promote their products and increase sales. In fact, some estimates suggest more than half of all retailer ad spend in the US is spent on Shopping Ads.

However, the increased popularity is making it harder than ever to compete within Google Shopping listings. With so much competition, how are you supposed to guarantee your products will show up for interested searchers?

Well London ad agency Cliqteq has some answers for you. With their helpful infographic, you can learn seven great ways to boost your Google Shopping performance and get even more attention with your ads:

Paid search advertising continued to rise last year, accounting for almost $35 billion in ad spend, but the IAB’s latest revenue report shows big shake-ups in where that money is going.

During 2016, desktop paid search dropped by 10 points and was down by almost $3 billion. However, mobile paid search shot up, leading to an overall increase in paid search revenues by almost $6 billion.

As such, mobile ad spending also surpassed spending on desktop search advertising for the first time ever. Throughout the year, mobile accounted for 51 percent of digital ad spend in the US. Notably, it was even higher in Q4, where it represented 53 percent.

In total, digital ad spending accounted for $72.5 billion in 2016, rising 22 percent from 2015. Mobile is largely responsible for this increase, as it grew across every digital format, including search, display, and social. Most notably, mobile video ad revenue jumped 145 percent year over year. The cumulative mobile spending across formats nearly reached $37 billion in just the last year.

Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of IAB, best sums up the report by highlighting the versatility and ubiquity of mobile devices to reach customers no matter where they are:

“Mobile fueled the internet economy in 2016, with advertisers showing their confidence in digital to achieve their marketing goals. This increasing commitment is a reflection of brands’ ongoing marketing shift from ‘mobile-first’ to ‘mobile-only’ in order to keep pace with today’s on-the-go consumers.”

The Super Bowl is advertising’s biggest day of the year with brands spending millions to get their products in the spotlight. Many tune in just to enjoy the biggest ads of the year and this year commercials gave audiences a fair share of laughs, pangs of nostalgia, and surprises – though maybe not anything as shocking as the Patriot’s comeback.

Of course, these days you don’t have to sit through the big-game (and insanely long pre-show) to see the ads. Several advertisers shared their campaigns early on YouTube, and the others were uploaded as they aired for you to watch and re-watch.

To make sure you catch the best and biggest ads of this year’s Super Bowl, I collected five of the most unforgettable commercials you’re likely to hear people talking about:

Snickers Live Commercial

https://youtu.be/_9M_wQDTTdk

Most brands spend weeks shooting and editing their commercials ahead of the game to make sure everything is absolutely perfect. Snickers took a different route this year with a live commercial starring Adam Driver which ends in a (perfectly orchestrated) catastrophe. It’s a novel twist on the typical Super Bowl ad in a way that perfectly ties into the message, and I predict other brands may follow their lead in the future.

Avocados From Mexico

https://youtu.be/VneoEvAJX0g

Comedy in Super Bowl ads usually boils down to celebrities doing zany things (and yes, we will get to one of those soon). But, the funniest ad in this year’s game is almost entirely celebrity free – aside from SNL’s Jon Lovitz, if you consider him a celebrity.

Instead, it sets up a simple premise of a secret society gathering to discuss their recent leaks, including all the most well-known conspiracy theories. Even better, the brand took a risk and slipped in a “Deflategate” joke knowing there was a good chance the Patriots would make it to the Super Bowl – and it payed off beautifully.

T-Mobile – #NSFWireless

https://youtu.be/pNCG9fHGXB0

T-Mobile went with the “celebrities doing zany things” angle this year, with mixed results. While the dancing Justin Bieber ads were eye-rollingly awkward, two hilarious commercials starring comedian and actress Kristen Schaal more than make up for their missteps.

Schaal, playing a Verizon customer addicted to being treated poorly by her service provider, perfectly sells the message that only a masochist would enjoy the customer experience of T-Mobile’s competitors.

It’s a 10 – Four Years

Perhaps unsurprisingly, politics also played a major role in ad campaigns from several advertisers including Budweiser and Audi. While those ads were beautiful, my favorite political ad of the night took a lighter tone. Opening with “America, we are in for at least four years of awful hair,” It’s a 10 urges viewers to “do your part by making up for it with great hair.”

Understated and smart, the brand left a mark on their night with a truly bipartisan message urging everyone to take pride in their hair.

Tide Cleans Terry Bradshaw’s Shirt

https://youtu.be/jF3otdfvSBQ

Terry Bradshaw and Tide teamed up last night to tear down the walls between reality and advertisements like never seen before. Many viewers noted that Bradshaw returned from commercial in the second quarter with a conspicuously large stain on his shirt, which prompted mass ridicule on social media.

But, the joke was on us. Bradshaw’s stain was setting up a Tide ad telling an epic journey from the broadcasting booth to actor Jeffrey Tambor’s house to clean out the stain and do some quiet sitting in front of the TV. The ending is enjoyable enough on its own, but the creative breaking of the fourth wall makes Tide’s campaign a standout ad of the night.

bingmobileads

While Google largely pretends Bing Ads doesn’t exist, Bing has been working hard to make it easier for advertisers to manage campaigns for both services from one place.

This started by offering the ability to import Google AdWords campaigns directly to Bing Ads, but now the company is expanding this with the ability to automatically sync your campaigns across platforms.

With this new feature, advertisers no longer have to make manual updates to their Bing Ads campaigns if they decide to tweak things on AdWords. Instead, when anything like ad copy, campaign budgets, and ad extensions is updated in AdWords, the changes will automatically be applied to a synced Bing Ads campaign.

automated-import-1-final-edit

To do this, go through the typical process to import your campaigns into Bing Ads. At the end, you’ll be asked if you would like to import data now, at a later date, or on a recurring basis. Campaigns set to import on a regular basis can be set to update on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Once you’ve done this, you can also view your import schedule and history, to ensure your campaigns are being properly updated. From here you can also pause or edit scheduled imports.

It sounds like Bing is already at work to expand these features even more, as they say to expect enhanced compatibility with multi-language targeting in the not too distant future.

GoogleAdWords

Online shopping isn’t always a static process. Shoppers often hop from device to device freely as they browse and ultimately purchase. In fact, Google says 61% of internet users and over 80% of online millennials begin shopping on one device but finish their transaction from another.

To help you better keep track of these customers as they progress throughout your sales process, Google is making cross-device conversions more prominent in their online reports.

Introduced three years ago, cross-device conversions is finally becoming a default feature included in the Conversions column. According to Google, this will help businesses get the most complete view of their conversions possible and improve your ability to measure the full value of mobile ads.

Google also says that advertisers who have already gotten access to automatic cross-device conversion tracking have generated an average of 16% more conversions overall.

Beginning on August 16th, Google will make cross-device conversion a default feature listed in conversion reports.

As a business advertising on Google, this means you’ll gain easier access to information about how your ads are performing across all devices. That means you’ll be able to quickly see whether your mobile or desktop ads are failing to perform. You can also see what devices your customers are most likely to use throughout the sales process and better cater your ads and sales process to their needs.

AdWords In Store Visits

It is no secret that many consumers often get annoyed with ads. Either they get worn down by sites that go overboard with ads littered across their pages or they just get tired of seeing ads that aren’t relevant or interesting to them. Thankfully, Google has found a way to give users the power to only see the ads they want.

Google is sending out notifications to users through Chrome and Gmail alerting them to a new web portal which puts the power to control ads into the users’ hands – among many other things.

The opt-in service allows you to voluntarily give Google a small number of personal details and surveys your interests to better target ads that are actually useful to users.

The feature is a part of Google’s new portal called ‘My Activity’, which displays all your activity across Google and Google devices in reverse chronological format including your past searches, visited websites, Map searches, and ads you’ve interacted with.

Obviously this might make many people nervous to see all the information Google can collect and store about their activity, but the portal also gives you the power to delete any information you don’t want to be there.

The ability to control the ads you see is specifically in a section of the portal called Ads Personalization. Here you will find checkboxes on topics you want to see ads on, along with sections to provide your age and gender.

Screen-Shot-2016-06-29-at-8.52.37-AM-760x613

If you turn on the feature, Google will use this information to serve you ads based on your previous search history, recently watched videos on YouTube, and other information you provide. Conversely, by opting in you are agreeing to provide Google with information about ads you have interacted with.

Users who don’t opt-in will be shown ads based on other more general information such as location data.

Google is far from the first company to use user data to target ads towards users. In fact, they’ve been doing this for years. However, this is possibly the first time a company has so transparently allowed users to control what information is being collected and how it is being used to serve them ads.

 OnlineVideo

Advertisers are seeing more value in online video ads than traditional TV advertising, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureaus’ third annual Video Ad Spend study.

The annual survey asks 360 marketing and media buying professionals about their past ad spend habits and how they plan to spend their ad budgets in the next year. The takeaway from this year’s findings is that advertisers are moving away from traditional advertising channels in order to reach the more diverse audience online.

“Marketers and agencies are telling us they clearly see great value in original digital video programming,” said Anna Bager, svp and general manager of mobile and video at IAB.

The majority of advertisers surveyed by IAB (72%) said they plan to move advertising spending away from TV ads in favor of focusing on improving and sharing digital ads in the next year.

Out of those advertisers who said they intend to increase their digital video spending, 41% said they plan to pull from cable TV advertising. Similarly, 47% of these advertisers plan to pull from broadcast TB spending.

Some advertisers said they would also pull from non-video ads online (30%), advanced-interactive TV (30%), and mobile video ads (28%).

Most tellingly, more than two-thirds of advertisers and marketers (68%) said they believe original digital video will be as, if not more, important than, original TV programming within three to five years.

The study also found that advertisers and media buyers have increased their overall investments in digital video by more than 114 percent over the past two years, averaging more than $10 million annually spent on digital video.

GoogleAdWords

When it comes to search results pages, everyone wants the top spot. That goes for advertisers as well. But, a new analysis from Adobe Media Optimizer suggests the first ad on the page might not always be the best for your dollar. In fact, the 4th position may produce the best results in some situations.

The only catch is that sometimes Google doesn’t display the fourth ad.

According to the findings published in Adobe’s April 2016 Advertising Report, cost per click (CPC) is down ever since Google removed ads from the right side of the page. Meanwhile, click-through rates (CTR) has gone up.

The Adobe Advertising Report reviews three months of aggregated anonymous data from search advertising customers. The company specifically says they hoped this particular assessment would help customers understand Google’s decision to cut ads from the right-hand rail of desktop search results in February of this year.

Overall, the analysis found the changes impact smaller advertisers more because these advertisers generally depend on lower volume keywords. Due to the removal of the right-rail ads, smaller advertisers are having to pay our more to reach the top spots. They are also seeing 10% fewer clicks for less expensive keywords that appear in the lower ad spots.

The results also show that costs per click have risen for the number 1 and 2 positions by 6% and 7% respectively. Meanwhile, costs for the 3rd and 4th positions dropped by 8% and 10% respectively, showing advertisers are placing more of an emphasis on reaching the top spots.

Despite this, the lower positions are actually producing better click-through rates. CTRs for the 4th position jumped by 18% while the rates for the 1st and 3rd position rose by 13% and 2% respectively. Rates for the 2nd position have remained the same.

When all this is taken together it shows that the lowest spots on the AdWords results may provide the best value for advertisers, especially small businesses who are advertising on the platform. The results also suggest customers are responding well to the removal of right sidebar ads and engaging in ads more overall.