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Don’t you wish you could somehow run one set of ads with the perfect headline for anyone who sees it, even when they have different needs or interests? AdWords is bringing that fantasy a little closer to reality with Responsive Search Ads.

These ad formats, currently in beta and available to some advertisers, allow you to set up one ad with multiple varying headlines and a few different descriptions which are alternated based on your advertising goal and the user’s intent.

Interestingly, these ads also get more screen real estate than standard text ads while Google is giving them a try.

The idea is to make your ad more versatile and to do the function of A/B testing for you without all the manual work. This also allows you to have a wider variety of keywords trigger your ads.

You can set up to 15 different headlines and four unique descriptions in a responsive search ad. With these, you can include headlines or descriptions for any scenario that might bring potential customers upon your services or products.

When shown, the ads will include up to three headlines instead of two, and up to two 90-character descriptions instead of the usual one 80-character description.

To best plan for this, Google recommends writing your first three headlines as if they will be shown together (in any order).

Google also suggests making headlines distinct by focusing on different features, benefits, or offers.

You can also “pin” certain headlines or descriptions into specific positions. This allows you to guarantee one headline will always be shown on top or a disclaimer is consistently positioned at the bottom of the ad.

Google has released its latest “Bad Ads” report, which shows the search giant is cracking down harder than ever on ads that violate its advertising policies.

In total, the search engine and ad platform has removed over 3.2 billion ads in 2017, nearly doubling the 1.7 billion ads removed in 2016.

“That’s more than 100 bad ads per second!” writes Google’s director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer.

The highlights from the report include:

  • 79 million ads were taken down for sending users to malware-laden sites.
  • 400,000 malware sites were blocked
  • 66 million “trick-to-click” ads were removed
  • 48 million ads that initiated unwanted software installation were banned

About a year ago, Google launched new brand safety controls for video and display ads. As such, they updated their policies to prohibit the monetization of inappropriate and controversial content. Reflecting these policy updates, Google reports it has removed 320,000 publishers that violate publisher policies, blacklisted 90,000 websites, and banned 700,000 mobile apps in 2017.

“After expanding our policy against dangerous and derogatory content in April 2017 to cover additional forms of discrimination and intolerance, we removed Google ads from 8,700 pages [that] violated the expanded policy,” writes Spencer.

Spencer says Google also recognizes that only a small number of publishers account for the vast majority of sites that misrepresent themselves or present themselves as another legitimate organization. Of the 11,000 websites reviewed for possible misrepresentation, 650 were blocked and 90 publishers were removed from Google’s ad network.

The report shows how Google’s latest policies have worked to cut-out ad fraud and policy breaking advertisements across their AdWords network, but they won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Search Engine Land reports that Google is poised to enact new restrictions for ads related to financial products later this year.

Starting today, Google’s own web browser will start blocking troublesome ads across the net. The company has been warning they would be launching their own ad blocker since last June, and has officially started rolling out. By default, Google’s Chrome browser will remove ads from sites that use disruptive ad techniques.

“A big source of frustration is annoying ads: video ads that play at full blast or giant pop-ups where you can’t seem to find the exit icon,” said Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, vice president for Chrome. “These ads are designed to be disruptive and often stand in the way of people using their browsers for their intended purpose — connecting them to content and information. It’s clear that annoying ads degrade what we all love about the web.”

What is getting blocked?

The built-in ad blocker is designed specifically to filter out ads on any sites that repeatedly show offensive or disruptive ads. These include a wide swath of frequently used ad techniques including pop-ups, prestitial ads, and flashing banner ads.

Google is using the guidelines laid out by the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA) – a collective of advertising and media companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Unilever.

Rather than just block the offending ads, the tool will instead block ALL ads on any site that has broken the rules repeatedly. That means, all ads get stripped away is a publisher continues to let intrusive ads persist on their site after a warning.

Chris Bentzel, engineering manager for Chromium (an open-source version of Chrome), says Google is using this approach because webmasters are largely in control over what ads they choose to display.

“Although a few of the ad experiences that violate the Better Ads Standards are problems in the advertisement itself, the majority of problematic ad experiences are controlled by the site owner — such as high ad density or prestitial ads with countdown,” said Bentzel.

According to Bentzel, Google’s mission isn’t to block ads at all. They want to encourage webmasters to clean up their sites and deliver quality, unintrusive ads (like those offered by Google AdWords).

“Our goal is not to filter any ads at all but to improve the experience for all web users.”

According to The Guardian, approximately 42% of sites that have received warnings from Google ahead of the ad blocker have since altered their ad displays.

Why start blocking ads now?

The news that Google was designing its own ad blocker raised eyebrows when it was first announced. Considering Google runs perhaps the largest ad platform online, it is a bit like the pot calling the kettle black for the search engine to complain about ads.

More likely, the decision to launch an ad blocker of their own was motivated by the growing use of third-party ad blockers across the internet. While some ad blocker companies have partnered with Google to “whitelist” the ads from the search engine, many also strip out ads published from AdWords. This cuts into Google’s potential ad reach and can cause ad spend waste in some cases.

“We’ve already seen more and more people express their discontent with annoying ads by installing ad blockers, but blocking all ads can hurt sites or advertisers who aren’t doing anything disruptive,” said Roy-Chowdhury.

Estimates from PageFair indicate approximately 11% of internet users have third-party ad blockers installed.

“By focusing on filtering out disruptive ad experiences, we can help keep the entire ecosystem of the web healthy, and give people a significantly better user experience than they have today,” Roy-Chowdhury said.

For now, Google estimates its ad blocker will only affect around 1% of all ads. So, don’t get your hopes up for an ad revolution. Most users are unlikely to notice a huge change online, and only those who are most egregiously abusing the rules are expected to be hit.

Retargeting is undeniably a powerful way to reconnect with potential customers and remind them to take action on something they were interested in. Unfortunately, when done poorly, it can also be terribly annoying.

Now, Google is giving users the power to mute ads from brands who abuse retargeting or remarketing ads.

Retargeting ads – or as Google is calling them, “reminder” ads – are designed to gently nudge someone into taking action on a product or service they previously looked at on a website. They work by tracking what pages a user has looked at but not taken action on, then reserving that content in ads afterword.

The problem is that many fail to monitor just how frequently these ads appear to users. This causes a problem where people see an annoying number of repetitive ads that seem to follow them all around the internet.

 

With the new section in Google’s ads settings, called “Your reminder ads,” you can now see who is retargeting ads to you with Google display ads. You can also mute these advertisers individually is they are showing repetitive or excessive retargeting ads.

If a user mutes an advertiser, their ads will entirely disappear across all of Google’s apps and websites – not just a specific offending ad or campaign. Google says it will soon be expanding this to include YouTube, Search, and Gmail.

The advertiser will be muted for 90 days and can be muted again if desired.

Google also says it has updated the mute feature to sync across devices for logged-in users. This means ads muted on laptop will also be muted on a phone or desktop, and vice-versa.

While users will likely be glad to see this feature, advertisers should take the move as an indication to check their retargeting campaigns. Make an effort to find the “sweet spot” between showing your ads enough times to have an impact without being overbearing. Otherwise, you risk being muted.

Do you ever look at how your ads are performing and wonder why all those clicks aren’t turning into sales for you? The answer nine times out of 10 is that your landing page just isn’t fast enough.

According to Google’s estimates, advertisers lose 20% of their possible conversions for every second it takes for their site to load. That may be even higher when those clicks are coming from smartphones and tablets.

Thankfully, Google and AdWords are about to start offering a way to make sure your landing pages load lighting fast – even if your normal website isn’t quite up to pace.

Starting in two weeks, advertisers will be able to create landing pages using Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages technology. That means that your landing pages will be specially optimized for mobile users to ensure the fastest possible journey from click to conversion.

Since earlier this year, Google has powered the majority of its search ads using AMP to speed up the loading time substantially. While this means your ads showed up almost instantaneously for mobile users, the jump to a non-AMP page caused a jarring disruption in the shopping process which lost many impatient shoppers.

However, “by directing your search ad clicks to AMP landing pages, you can create the super-fast and delightful mobile experience that consumers expect.”

Later this month, you can expect your Google ads to start looking quite a bit different, especially if you use sitelinks, callouts, or structured snippet ad extensions. The search giant has announced plans for a pretty big makeover, but only on mobile devices.

Here’s what you can expect to see changing:

Sitelinks

Google is changing sitelink extensions to a carousel format, allowing users to swipe through your different categories and pages of interest. According to Google’s data, the change makes searchers up to twice as likely to engage with your sitelinks.

“Going forward, we’re simplifying how mobile sitelinks will show by using both horizontal buttons and larger vertical links.”

Callouts and Snippets

Instead of being broken into a separate section of your ad, callouts and structured snippets will now be integrated with the ad copy. This also means they will appear in paragraph format. The upside is that this allows advertisers to include more callouts and snippets in their ads, and Google says users find the new format to be “more informative and engaging.”

Changes for Advertisers

While these changes can make your ads look quite a bit different when they are seen, there’s not much of anything changing on your end. Just keep running your campaigns as you have been, but keep in mind how they will look when the makeover rolls out later this month.

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.

If you’re a business investing any amount of your budget into online marketing, there’s a good chance you are running ads on Google. So, it may raise your eyebrows to learn the company operating one of the largest online ad platforms is about to release a new feature that will block ads on Chrome.

Indeed, Google is updating its web browser to block ads by default. However, it appears Chrome’s ad blocker will only filter specific types of ads which are considered “unacceptable” by the Coalition for Better Ads standards.

As the original report about the new feature from The Wall Street Journal explains:

“Unacceptable ad types would be those recently defined by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group that released a list of ad standards in March. According to those standards, ad formats such as pop-ups, auto-playing video ads with sound and ‘prestitial’ ads with countdown timers are deemed to be ‘beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability’.”

The news makes it fairly certain that Chrome’s ad blockers will be significantly less aggressive than many third-party options, but it is unclear exactly how it will work. It is possible the site may only block specific offending ads, but the report indicates Google is also considering blocking ads across an entire site if any ads are deemed unacceptable.

In other words, play by Google’s rules or have all your ads on your site blocked.

Many consider the news that Google is preparing an ad blocker to be a surprise, but there is a reasonable argument for the decision. The rise of ad blocker usage isn’t going away, with many citing malicious, aggressive, or annoying ads as their primary reason for using a third-party blocker.

By taking a proactive action to block offending ads by default, the company may be able to pull some users back from blocking all ads entirely. That means the typical ads across their platform would continue getting shown and generating revenue instead of being removed by a third-party app.

There are a lot of questions about how exactly the ad blocker will function, but the WSJ says you can expect to learn more about the feature “within weeks.”

Google is putting the spotlight on local businesses in search results with a new location extension ad format rolled out across AdWords this week.

The new format includes big photos, store location and information, as well as typical ad features like an attention-grabbing headline and ad copy, as you can see in the example below.

Location Ad Format

It is still not exactly clear exactly when the ad format will be shown in Google results, but Google uses an example of a local bakery using ads to target nearby users reading a cooking blog. According to their test results, approximately 60 percent of clicks on the extension info were to get directions or store location information.

Interestingly, you may not have to do anything for some of your ads to start showing in the latest format. Text, responsive, and 300×250 image ads may be dynamically converted to the new location extension format in related searches from nearby users, unless you opt out in the Location Extension section of the Extensions tab in AdWords.

If you’d prefer to take matters into your own hands to optimize for the new format, simply select the option in the ad gallery in AdWords under “general purpose ads.” From there, you can upload up to three pictures, a logo, and your ad headline and copy.

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.