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As announced last August, Google is set to stop allowing advertisers to create, edit, or start running expanded text ads across the search engine’s ad network starting June 30, 2022.

Though expanded text ads have been a popular way to make your ads stand out and increase click-through rates, the company says it plans to replace the ad format with responsive search ads.

The goal, according to Google, is to simplify running ads while using automation to improve ad performance. 

According to the announcement, advertisers who have already made the switch from expanded text ads to responsive search ads saw an average 7% increase in their conversions.

Why Google Is Switching To Responsive Search Ads

Things are shifting all the time online, including the ways we are searching. According to Google, at least 15% of all search queries are never-before-seen searches. With responsive search ads, Google is trying to help brands keep up to date with these ever-changing trends and to always be where their audience is.

How To Prepare

For the time being, existing expanded text ads will be largely unaffected by the change. Though they cannot be edited, existing ads in this format will continue to run as normal. However, no new expanded text ads can be created.

To help you prepare for the upcoming change, Google recommends taking these steps:

  • Repurpose high-performing text ad content into responsive search ads and focus on improving ad strength.
  • Apply changes suggested in the account’s Recommendations
  • Pin headlines and other copy in specific positions to ensure they always show.
  • Use variations to test different ad versions.
  • Review assets in cross-campaign reporting based on performance to identify the most effective messaging.
  • Evaluate incremental growth in impressions, clicks and conversions at the ad group and campaign levels.

For more information, you can read the full announcement here.

As part of its big Google Marketing Live event this week, the search engine announced a big makeover is coming to some shopping ads in the near future.

Initially limited to apparel-related shopping results, Google is revamping both online ads and organic listings to be more visually exciting and drive more engagement.

You can get a  preview of what to expect below:

Swipeable Google Shopping Ads

The revamp brings shopping ads more in-line with the more visual organic listings which have been rolling out since last year.

Google is accomplishing this using Search or Performance Max ad campaigns, though the images or graphics must be provided by advertisers.

As the company described the makeover:

“These will be clearly labeled as ads and will be eligible to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page. We’re also rolling out new ways to showcase multiple product images within Shopping ads in the U.S., along with information such as product descriptions, reviews, and product availability, with no further action required of advertisers.”

Though it is unclear when this revamp will be rolled out, advertisers should be excited by the more stylish and engaging presentation when it arrives.

Google Ads is testing including small favicons next to links in ads shown on search results.

Over the weekend, some users noticed that ads for food delivery service UberEats were including a small icon of a pizza slice when they appear in search results. 

Google Ads Testing Favicons With UberEats

This was particularly notable because the icon looks like a typical emoji for pizza when emojis are “invalided or unsupported characters” according to Google Ads policies.

Thankfully, Ginny Marvin, Google Ads’ product liaison, has clarified that the icon is actually a favicon – a small visual icon associated with a URL. These icons already appear on many search results, as well as within many browsers when visiting a website.

Marvin went on to confirm that the company is testing using these icons in ads on search results to make advertisers more identifiable:

Currently, the test appears to be limited to a very small number of advertisers on a small number of search results for some users. Still, the immediate interest in these ad favicons across social media likely reinforces that these icons not only make it easier to recognize advertisers. They make ads more attention-grabbing for users.

For years, two names have ruled the online ad game – Google and Facebook. Currently, that is still true, though a new analysis suggests Amazon is steadily expanding its ad business to be a sizable challenger to the Big Two.

Research firm eMarketer’s latest annual digital ad report shows that Amazon’s share of digital ad revenue broke two digits in 2020, earning 10.3% of U.S. online ad revenue. That’s a significant jump from 7.8% in 2019.

In actual dollars, the online retail giant’s ad revenue reached $15.73 billion, an increase of more than 50% from the previous year.

Should Facebook and Google Be Worried?

Amazon still has some ways to go before it’s ad platform is the size of Google or Facebook’s – both of which receive more than 20% of U.S. digital ad spend.

Still, eMarketer predicts the company will continue to increase its share of online ad revenue over the next few years until it is on par with the other two giants.

For Facebook, this might not be a big concern since much of Amazon’s advertising is driven by Amazon Prime video advertising and product ads. In their current form, both platform’s ads largely serve different purposes.

Google, on the other hand, might be getting a little nervous. Over the past few years, the search engine has been investing heavily into its online shopping services, as well as expanding YouTube’s advertising platform.

What Does This Mean For Brands?

Though this might have significant implications for the future of online advertising, nothing has really changed for the majority of brands who might use these platforms for their ads. 

However, it does serve as a reminder that there are more than just the Big Two online ad platforms. Many of the others out there may be a better fit, provide less competition, and allow you to reach your potential customers at a more ideal time. This is why it is important to know what each has to offer and invest your ad budget into the platform (or platforms) which make the most sense for you.

Often, businesses think of SEO and online advertising as being entirely separate. They may feel like they need to choose one or the other. However, a new study from WordStream shows that most experts agree that SEO and advertising work best together, not apart.

The new data published in WordStream’s report on the online advertising landscape in 2019 reveals that more than three-quarters (79%) of online advertisers are also incorporating SEO within their marketing strategies.

Even more, digital advertisers ranked SEO as the leading marketing channel aside from advertising for growing their business.

The full breakdown of responses is as follows:

Outside of digital advertising, what other marketing channels are you using to grow your business in 2019?

  • SEO – 79%
  • Email marketing – 66%
  • Content marketing – 60%
  • Word of mouth marketing – 47%
  • Direct mail – 32%
  • Event marketing – 26%
  • Guerrilla marketing – 9%
  • Affinity marketing – 6%
  • Telemarketing – 4%
  • Other – 1%

As WordStream explains, the findings show that while advertisers may prioritize paid search for bringing in immediate revenue, they also recognize the importance of fostering a long-term strategy for bringing in new potential customers:

“Like content marketing, SEO can be an extremely valuable long-term strategy when done effectively. Kudos to those surveyed for recognizing the importance of balancing short-term results with a long-term strategy for sustainable growth!”

The report includes a number of other interesting tidbits about the current state of online advertising, including the discovery that nearly half of advertisers are increasing their Google search ads budgets this year.

To read the full report, click here.

Analytics is an essential way to measure the effectiveness of your ads, but traditionally your results are kept in isolation. The only thing you have to compare against is past results.

Bing is changing that, with a new way to compare the results of your ad campaigns against how your competitors are performing.

These new competitive metrics, also known as “share of voice” metrics, have been added to Bing’s in-line performance views, with details on your ads and similar campaigns in your industry. You still can’t hand-pick your local competitors and spy on their campaigns, but the new metrics will give you a better view of how you are doing within your market.

To get started, just log into your Bing Ads account and select either Accounts Summary, Campaigns, Ad Groups, or Keywords. Once you’re on any of these pages, click the Columns button. This will allow you to add any metrics from the Competitive (Share of Voice) section. Once you’ve applied your changes, these new metrics will appear in your reports.

Bing says the metrics are compatible with all other reporting features offered by the platform.

The announcement says this latest update is just “one of many” enhancements to Bing analytics the company will be releasing this year, though they are keeping those upcoming updates a secret for now.

Bing is giving advertisers until July 31st of this year to adjust to the new extended text ads format. After that, they will have to make the switch because Bing will stop supporting the creation and editing of the popular standard text ad format.

The company is giving some leeway to those who still prefer standard text ads, saying “all your existing standard text ads will continue to serve alongside expanded text ads for the foreseeable future.” Eventually Bing will stop supporting and serving standard text ads entirely, but they will give advertisers a warning when they plan to finally shut it down entirely.

To prepare for the change, Bing listed several best practices and tips to make the most of expanded text ads (EXTAs):

Create EXTAs within existing campaigns and ad groups along current STAs

  • Use Standard Text Ads as a baseline to measure how well Expanded Text Ads are performing
  • Create a 1:1 ratio of EXTA to STA ads in each ad group to maximize EXTA impressions
    • Helps avoid impression and click loss while testing EXTAs
    • Assures that EXTAs inherit all ad extensions and other set ups from the existing STAs
  • Once you are confident in the Expanded Text Ads performance, customers can move to 100% adoption, and delete their STAs

Take full advantage of the additional character limits

  • Use your best performing STA copy as a starting point when creating EXTAs
  • Experiment with messaging (try different length combinations)
  • Remember that headlines are important. Longer headlines help increase the visual space of text ads and help communicate additional information to searchers
  • Think about using content such as domain, display, description, query in ad title 2

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.”

Source: Jhaymesisviphotography / Flickr

Source: Jhaymesisviphotography / Flickr

Online advertising is something many people hate. While some brands make it their effort to provide valuable ads in an un-intrusive format, it seems like the majority of websites and advertisers would rather bombard you with full-page interstitials, auto-playing video ads, and pop-ups no matter where you look.

That is likely going to change soon.

The biggest names in online advertising, including Facebook and Google, have joined together to improve digital ads in response to the rise of ad-blocking and widespread public dissatisfaction with ads.

The Coalition for Better Ads was unveiled this week at the Dmexco conference in Cologne, Germany. The group’s founding members include not just Facebook and Google, but several huge advertisers like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and The Washington Post. According to a report from AdWeek, the coalition also includes the 4As, the Association of National Advertisers, the World Federation of Advertisers, GroupM, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

While the new coalition could mean big changes are coming to online advertising, don’t expect anything in the immediate future. For now, the coalition says they plan to monitor and evaluate the quality of online ads with technology being developed at the IAB’s Tech Lab, which will score ads on several factors including creative and load time.

From there, the group will develop new standards using this data and other feedback from consumers and marketers.

“It is essential that industry create standards to assure that consumers get safe, fast, secure delivery of the sites and services they love,” said IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg.

The announcement comes just days after AdBlock Plus, the biggest ad blocker on the market, unveiled a new “Acceptable Ads” program, which will function as an ad exchange that sells ads to brands looking to work around the software distributed by the company. The announcement of the Acceptable Ads service claimed it would be working with Google and AppNexus to distribute ads, however, both companies have since disavowed their relationship with AdBlock Plus and its new business strategy.