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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

For years, the only way to advertise on Snapchat was by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to work directly with the company for custom advertising. Gradually Snapchat has been opening the doors to advertisers, but still require interested businesses to work with third-party partners to purchase ad space.

Starting this June, that all changes. Snapchat is preparing to throw the doors open to businesses of all sizes and budgets with a new self-service ad manager and Snapchat Mobile Dashboard.

Combined, these new tools allow any business or publisher to create and track video Snap Ads from anywhere. Most importantly, they also simplify the process so that anyone can get involved – instead of just high-level advertisers with massive marketing budgets.

Compared to other social ad platforms, Snapchat’s Ad Manager still looks to be relatively limited. For example you can’t directly purchase Sponsored Geofilters or Lenses through the tool, however, there is a separate self-serve tool for geofilters. However, it is a significant step forward for the platform that has always seemed like a walled garden when it comes to advertising.

In addition to the new Snapchat Ad Manager and Mobile Dashboard, the company is releasing Snapchat Business Manager to let you control permissions and roles for team members helping publish and monitor your ads. All three will be available in June to everyone in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Australia, and select other countries.

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.”

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.”

YouTubeAds

Finding the right length for video ads can be a tricky balancing act. Too short and you can’t get your message across. Too long and you annoy or lose your viewers’ interest. Apparently, 30-second ads fail this tightrope walk, as YouTube has officially announced it will be doing away with 30-second unskippable ads starting next year.

In place of these ads, Google says it will focus on more interactive or user-based advertising.

“We’re committed to providing a better ads experience for users online. As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers,” a YouTube spokesperson told AdWeek via email.

Of course, this doesn’t mean YouTube is ridding itself of all unskippable ads. The platform will still sell 15-second and 20-second ads that don’t give viewers the option to skip to their content. Additionally, viewers are likely to see an influx of six-second “bumper ads” instead of full-length ads that you can skip after five seconds.

Ultimately, 30-second unskippable ads lose too many viewers along the way. Some get distracted during the interval, while others entirely refuse to wait that long for their content. There is still plenty of time to make use of any ad campaigns you’ve been planning, but the decision to move away from this ad format underscores the ineffective nature of the format.

It’s no secret that there are lots of bad people trying to operate scams online. Bing’s latest report on bad ads makes that crystal clear, as the search engine has removed over 130 million ads and banned 175,000 advertisers in just the last year.

Somewhat surprisingly, that number is actually 120 million fewer ads than in 2015. In comparison, both those ads combined are still dwarfed by Google’s 1.7 billion blocked ads in 2016.

As the Bing Ads’ Ad Quality in Review 2016 report explains, the ads were rejected for “direct policy compliance issues or intention to mislead users.” It continues:

“We introduced new policy around software download advertising that reduced unwanted and potentially malicious ads for many top free software programs. We ramped up systems that detect browser hijacking ads, phishing attempts, scareware ads, ads targeting the most common sites on the internet, and ads with multimedia content. We also enforced policies directed towards gender determination ads to comply with country specific regulations.”

The report specifically highlights six different types of bad ads it removed in 2016:

1-1

  • Phishing: More than 5,000 advertisers and 7,000 sites were blocked for phishing.
  • Counterfeit: More than 1 million ads were blocked for selling counterfeit goods.
  • Tech Support Scams: More than 17 million ads were blocked for third-party tech support scams.
  • Download: More than 4 million ads were rejected for violating download-related guidelines.
  • Scareware: More than 300 advertisers were blocked for ads that highjack the browser or scare users that their PC is infected.
  • Misleading Ads: 7 million ads were blocked for misleading content. This is a huge drop compared to 2015, when Bing rejected 30 million ads.

Bing emphasized the scale of their efforts with a final comparison, saying “if one person took a minute to find and take down a bad ad or actor, it would take them nearly 500 years to remove the same number of bad ads or actors found by our automated methods in 2016.”

GoogleAdWords

Google is giving AdWords’ price extensions a makeover this week to make prices even more prominent in search results, according to an announcement Monday.

Price extensions are one of Google’s many extended ad formats designed to highlight individual products and services and allow searchers to easily compare prices.

The extension was first released in July as a simple list, similar to how sitelinks are displayed. Now, Google has redesigned the extensions to appear in a card carousel near the top of search results. You can get a preview what these cards look like in the tweet AdWords released to announce the change:

The 10 languages included in the release are English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.

While the new price extensions put the emphasis on cost, it is also useful for highlighting your brand, events, products, and related services. The ad format includes a header, description, and price.

Unlike some ad formats, price extension ads don’t direct users to a landing page. Instead, they serve as direct links to sales pages for the specific item highlighted.

The best part of this redesign is that price extension ads now take up even more valuable space at the top of search results, without costing any more than a typical ad. That means you get to make an even bigger splash without costing you anything extra.

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.

GoogleAdWords

This past July, Google began rolling out expanded text ads to advertisers everywhere. The intention is to eventually replace the standard text ads offered by Google with the new, longer versions. But, it looks like some advertisers are taking longer than expected to get adjusted to the new ad format.

When expanded text ads were released, Google said standard text ads would cease to be available starting October 26, but it is pushing back the deadline to early next year to allow advertisers to become more accustomed to expanded text ads. Now, Google says advertisers have until January 31, 2017, to make the switch.

After this date, brands advertising on Google’s network will no longer be able to create or edit standard text ads. Instead, they will be forced to use expanded text ads. While standard text ads won’t be available to advertisers, Google says it will continue to serve ads standard text ads that have already been made and published after the deadline.

Google has said the release of expanded text ads is intended to help advertisers improve their ad quality scores and improve clickthrough rates, but it is important to note that just making your ad longer doesn’t necessarily mean it will receive a better quality score. It does, however, allow advertisers more flexibility to put forth the best ads possible.

In order to raise your quality score on all ads – not just expanded text ads – Google offers a few suggestions:

  • Test multiple versions of your expanded text ads.
  • Focus your testing on headlines.
  • Replicate what works in standard text ads in your expanded text ads.
  • Consider shorter headlines on brand terms.
  • Leave your standard text ads running until the new versions are consistently outperforming them.
  • Review your pre-existing ads for previous success with longer headlines.
  • Don’t implement the same expanded text ad across many different ad groups.
  • Don’t blindly insert a new second headline without changing the rest of the ad.
  • Don’t write expanded text ads that lose their relevance to a user’s query.
  • Don’t leave out specific benefits or attributes of your product that had proven to be enticing in the past.

FacebookClick

Facebook Offers have been around since 2012, allowing brands to distribute coupons to users for special promotions. However, they never really took off like many of Facebook’s advertising features.

The social network is trying to turn that around by improving Offers to make it easier for people to find, save, and redeem coupons, especially from mobile phones. The changes also make it easier for brands to control who sees and uses their coupons.

Offers have always functioned by distributing online and in-store coupons as ads or organic Page posts that link to a brand’s site. When a person clicks the ad or post, they were then emailed a copy of the coupon.

Facebook_OffersAd-1920

Facebook has streamlined and integrated the feature more thoroughly into their platform. While users can still click on Offers to visit the advertiser’s site and redeem their coupon via email. However, now offers will also be saved to a new Offers bookmark tab linked to their account.

This way, customers can quickly and easily access their coupons through Facebook’s mobile app and cashiers can easily scan the promotional barcode on their phone. Also, Offer codes will be shown at the bottom of the screen when users travel to an advertiser’s site to immediately redeem the code. That means they don’t have to exit the app to open their email, making the process less convoluted for users.

Not only is Facebook trying to make Offers easier to use and more attractive to users, the company is working to make sure those who show interest but don’t immediately redeem coupons don’t forget about you. When a saved offer gets close to expiring, Facebook will alert users to let them know time is running out to get savings.

On top of all of this, Facebook is making it easier for users to find Offers shared by brands with a new Offers tab on brand Pages.

Offers shared organically by brands are still available to anyone who sees it in their feed, however, Facebook is improving targeting for offer-carrying ads with more ad-targeting options. These including selecting people in your customer database to offer loyalty promotions or targeting similar individuals based on their characteristics.

According to media reported Tim Peterson, Facebook is working on expanding their Offer targeting options for brands even further, but it is unclear when those improvements can be expected. For now, Offers are getting a big shot in the arm that will make them more attractive to users and more effective for brands who use them.