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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

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

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.

Google Logo

Google has officially confirmed the end of ads in the right hand column of its search pages, except for two notable exceptions.

As of February 19th, Google is phasing out ads on the right side of its desktop search results. Instead, all ads will appear at the top or bottom of the results, though Google may include an additional ad above results for “high commercial queries.”

The change will effect users worldwide, in all languages. Google is also saying the change is motivated by a push to bring desktop results closer to the mobile experience, however rumors suggest the low click-through rate (CTR) of right side ads may also be a factor.

There are also two specific exceptions to the change. No ads will appear on the right side of desktop search results except in two cases:

  • Product Listing Ad (PLA) boxes will still show either above or to the right of search results
  • Ads can still appear in the Knowledge Panel

Overall, most users probably won’t notice the difference in search results. However, businesses competing for the already limited organic space on the front page of search results may find the change makes the competition even fiercer.

The decreasing front page real estate means an even higher focus on SEO for businesses seeking high ranking organic listings.

The rollout for the change should be complete today.

ppc-icon-300Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is still relatively new and many business owners are still hesitant about investing their limited resources into an advertising system they are unfamiliar with. But, there are countless reasons you should make the jump.

PPC advertising has proven itself time and time again as a means of driving real results for all types of brands across all industries, but it also offers several other benefits lacking in other ad formats.

Compared to other ad formats, PPC gives you a whole new level of control and visibility. That means you can finally feel like you hold the reins on your online advertising. Combine that with a professional to help guide you through the dangers of PPC and you have a surefire combination.

If you still aren’t sure, consider these five reasons PPC advertising is worth your time:

  1. You only pay when real people show interest. One of the best parts of PPC is being able to always know exactly where your dollars are going and you only pay when an interested party clicks on the ad. That’s starkly different from most traditional advertising strategies, where you spend money with the hope your demographic engages with the ad.
  2. You set the budget and control the costs. PPC is amazingly flexible and can be made to suit your needs, no matter what they are. You can set the budget to your needs, including putting a cap on daily spending. Of course, the more you invest the more you get back. But, you can at least get your foot in the door and see some engagement with limited investment.
  3. You reach your target at the best time with the right ad. PPC allows you to target a certain type of person in a specific place at a specific time with a specific ad in a simple and easy to manage manner. With full customization of who you are reaching out to, you get to decide who sees your message and when, allowing you to deliver specific messages to your consumers at just the right time.
  4. You can see results in just a short time. Traditional optimization and other organic online marketing can have a huge impact, but they take lengthy periods of time to gain momentum before their effect is obvious. In comparison, PPC is downright speedy. You can see results beginning to take shape the day after your ad runs and make changes to your strategy as soon as problems pop up.
  5. You can use PPC to improve your other marketing channels. The information you get from PPC can inform all other aspects of marketing, such as which keywords are improving, which products are getting the most response, or to promote niche events that often wouldn’t gain attention on other platforms. If you want to refine your marketing, chances are you will find useful data in your PPC reports.