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App ads on Google’s ad network will soon be eligible to appear in some very high-profile places as the ad platform is expanding app ads to both Google’s Discover feed and within YouTube apps. 

Currently, app ads are shown across a wide variety of apps in Google’s display network, as well as the Play Store, Google search results, and in select areas of YouTube. 

With the latest announcement, however, these ads will soon be appearing in a few more areas which could be highly rewarding to advertisers. 

Google Discover

 

Starting this week, app campaigns running in the US will automatically be eligible to appear within users’ Discover feeds when they are identified as being potentially interested in your app. 

Currently, Google says the Discover feed (formerly known as just the Google Feed) connects more than 800 million people with targeted content every month. 

Over the next few months, similar ads within the Discover feed will also be available to those in Malaysia, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and Indonesia. The company also said it hopes to make the app ads available to all markets before the end of the year. 

YouTube 

In the same announcement, Google revealed that app ads are now eligible to appear at the top of search results from YouTube’s mobile app. Within the next month, app ads will also start appearing as in-stream video ads while viewing other YouTube videos 

Along with these announcements, Google says it is exploring the possibility of allowing ads to also display ads while loading content for users:

“Our new app open ad format allows you to show ads to your users as they wait for your app to load. Designed to seamlessly integrate with your app’s branding, this format gives you new ways to earn revenue while creating a good user experience. Reach out to your account manager to get started with this format in alpha.”

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.

bingmobileads

Bing is officially expanding their ad format selection to include app install ads in a pilot program open to all US advertisers. These ads are designed specifically to drive users to install apps when searching from their mobile devices.

The new format isn’t exactly revolutionary. Google has offered similar adds which directed searchers to the iOS App Store or Google Play Store for a fairly long time. However, this is the first time these ads have been available for Bing advertisers.

Setting up App Install Ads is easily done when selecting your ad type in your campaign settings screen. Once your campaign is running, Bing will then detect what type of device a searcher is using and show ads with a direct link to installing an app through their device’s app store.

”Using App Install Ads gets app customers to your app store directly, eliminating the extra time, navigation, and clicks they would otherwise need to take from your website.”

App Install Ads do have a few quirks compared to older ad formats. For example, there is no display URL on the ad. Instead, any clicks will take users directly to an app store page. The new ad format is also limited to just iOS and Android apps. There is no indication whether they will eventually support Windows or Windows phone apps in the 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.

GoogleAdWords

As more people are searching for businesses from a variety of devices like smartphones and tablets, it is important that businesses provide a diverse number of ways to get in touch. Now Google is testing a new AdWords extension that will allow users to contact advertisers in an entirely new way.

In the past, Google has used ad extensions to make it easy for searchers to call businesses they were interested in. With the latest ad format, you can now text or SMS advertisers directly from their ad.

Here is an example of how the ad format looks:

TextAdExtension

By clicking the text icon, you will be taken to your default messaging app, where a prefilled text message is started with the advertiser’s information. For example, if you click the icon in the results above, the pre-filled text message reads, “[Zipwip] I’m interested to learn more about Zipwhip.”

Judging by other results like the one below, the text ad extension can be combined with ad call buttons to provide a variety of ways to contact your business.

TextAdExtension2

Barry Schwarz was the first to report this new ad format. When he reached out to Google for more information, he was provided with this statement:

We’re always experimenting with new ways to connect our advertisers to customers but don’t have further details to share at this time.

google-animation-01-2016

If you own a smartphone, chances are you know the frustration of accidentally tapping on an ad you had no interest in when you were trying to scroll down a page. These accidental taps aren’t just annoying to users, either. Advertisers hate these mobile clicks because they wind up paying for clicks from users who had no intention of converting.

Now, Google is stepping in to improve their mobile ad performance and user experience by altering how their ads operate on mobile devices.

Of course, Google has been trying to fight back against accidental mobile clicks for a considerable time now, but its recent announcement extends their initiative to its native ad formats. Before, their efforts were limited to just search and display ads. The search giant says they are stepping up their efforts because accidental clicks and taps are bad for everyone. Beyond simply being an inconvenience for advertisers and users, Google says accidental taps also drive down the value of ads.

“When we look at the effect for advertisers in mobile apps, we observe double the value per click,” Google said in a blog post. “We work hard to ensure that the clicks advertisers are charged for are more meaningful, and we hope sharing insight on these protections helps raise awareness and guide the wider advertising ecosystem.”

The changes being rolled out to native ads prevents accidental clicks in a few ways. First, Google ignores any clicks that are unusually fast, comparing itself to a professional baseball player having 680 milliseconds to tell whether they should swing at a pitch.

“That’s fast, even for a professional who’s paying close attention to hitting the ball,” Google said. “We think it’s virtually impossible for someone to read, understand, and take action on an ad in that amount of time.”

Additionally, Google says it will ignore when a user likely accidentally taps on an ad by excluding clicks on the edge of an ad. According to the search engine, clicks on the middle of an ad are associated with “dramatically higher” conservation rates and show much higher intentionality than those on the edge of ads.

Large overlay advertisements will likely be going out of style fast, as Google has announced app interstitial ads that cover a “significant amount of content” on your page will be considered not mobile-friendly and will not rank as well as mobile-friendly pages.

The change will go into effect on November 1, but Google’s mobile-friendly testing tools are already showing them as not mobile-friendly as of yesterday. In the announcement, Google wrote:

After November 1, mobile web pages that show an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page will no longer be considered mobile-friendly. This does not affect other types of interstitials. As an alternative to app install interstitials, browsers [should] provide ways to promote an app that are more user-friendly.

Here is an image to give you an idea of the kind of app interstitials that Google is attempting to do away with:

app-interstitials-google-not-mobile-friendly-750x600

Here is an example of the type of interstitials that will be considered mobile-friendly, according to Google:

app-interstitials-google-yes-mobile-friendly-750x600

This means the native Apple-supported Smart Banners and Google Chrome-supported App Install Banners will continue to work just fine without causing any problems for your rankings, but the extra-large ones that cover up most or all of the page will no longer be mobile-friendly.

If you want to make sure your site is safe, be sure to test your pages that use app interstitials to ensure they pass the mobile-friendly test or the mobile usability test. Either of these tools will show you immediately if your pages have issues with app interstitials or other issues that may make your pages rank poorly on mobile searches.

Google said this only impacts app ads that block content like this while other ads not for apps will apparently remain unpunished. In the announcement, it said, “This does not affect other types of interstitials.”

A report released late last week finds that, beginning in 2015, just over half (50.1 percent) of spending on paid search ads will go towards mobile ads. The findings come from research firm eMarketer, who also predicts the trend to continue until mobile claims 76.7 percent of US search ad spend in 2018.

emarketer-mobile-search-surpass-desktop-2015

These findings show the swift and clearly defined shift in ad spend, as less than a quarter (24.7 percent) of search spending went to mobile only last year.

The report says the change is the result of “the ubiquity of smartphones, and consumers’ growing use of phones in almost every waking moment of the day,” which in itself “means that search will be more mobile than desktop next year.”

While more spending is going to mobile, ROI is not quite following. The report does predict mobile ROI will continue to improve, but it will continue to trail desktop ROI until tracking and analysis becomes more precise and marketers can further refine their efforts.

As Google rolls out more mobile ad formats and targeting measures for marketers, the customers seeing the ads appear to be more readily engaging advertisements from their smartphones and tablets.

Marin-2014-Ad-Conversions

A new study from Marin Software shows that consumers are starting to use mobile ads to complete purchases, but desktop is still the dominant platform for conversions. Other interesting facts from Q3 of 2014 included in Marin’s report are:

  • Mobile devices comprised 31% of paid search impressions and 38% of search ad clicks on Google.
  • Mobile accounted for 30% of ad conversions with mobile conversions increasing 2.4% quarter-over-quarter and nearly 11% year-over-year.

Facebook:

  • 1 out of every 3 ad conversions on Facebook took place on a mobile device with mobile ad conversions increasing 16% quarter-over-quarter.
  • Mobile ads on Facebook accounted for 52% of ad impressions and 63% of clicks.

The findings also make it clear that Search ads are performing miles better than Display or Social ads. More-so, while smartphones may not be the most prominent medium for conversions, they consistently gain the highest rate of clicks.

Marin-2014-Ad-CTR

Marin says the large difference between Search CTE and Social or Display CTR can be attributed to intent. Searchers tend to be actively looking for something, meaning ads will be more tightly focused. On the other hand, those on social sites or Display ads which appear while users are already engaged with something else are less attention getting.

The latest “audience insights” report for Q2 of this year from NinthDecimal was released this week and the findings about shopping on mobile devices could have a big influence on how marketers think about on-the-go research and conversions.

The report shows that smartphones are quickly becoming the primary way users research retail purchases, which should be of little surprise. However, the findings also show that research on tablets has been significantly declining which may suggest a troubling future for the devices.

Retail Product Research

NinthDecimal says they believe the decline is due to increasing consumer comfort with shopping on smartphones, especially as screen sizes are increasing and NFC services like the newly launched Apple Pay make it easier than ever to shop on a smartphone.

Also unsurprising is the finding that consumers tend to conduct shopping-related research before they leave the home to shop, although in-store usage is also growing. The report also shows that the length of time that consumers spent researching a purchase before buying was directly tied to cost. Products under $50 saw an average of 10 days of research or less. Meanwhile products above $1,000 days got an extensive 45 days of research lead time on average.

Product Research Time

Of particular note to online marketers and businesses may be the data claiming that within the last month approximately 45 percent of consumers reported making a retail purchase after seeing a mobile ad. However nearly three-fourths of respondents said they were more likely to engage with retail-related advertising at home, before they began shopping.

Mobile Ad Response

According to the report, the types of ad content most likely to sway mobile users were (in order): product discounts/sales, reviews, product information, giveaways and store-location information