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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.

googladextensions

In the past, Google AdWords used a complex and confusing algorithm for deciding when to display ad extensions. Recently, the company changed this by introducing a new policy which adjusts the impact of ad formats in the ad rank formula and allows AdWords to provide an estimate of how visible an ad would be on search engine results pages (SERPs).

As of now, an ad’s visibility will depend on ad position and ad formats, meaning ads with higher positions in the SERPs will display more ad extensions than ads in lower positions. This is a shift away from past systems which allowed lower ranked ads to show more ad formats than those above them.

The term ‘ad formats’ refers specifically to visual extensions that appear on ads in search results that display extra information about a business, including phone numbers, addresses, consumer ratings, and more.

In a way, this change ads even more incentive for businesses to make sure they get the top rankings in search results pages, as they will be rewarded by having it be more likely their ad extensions are shown along with their ad. Those who are able to score the top spots will certainly be happy with the change, though, as it means they are less likely to be outshined by a lower ad on the page.

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.

 Bullseye

Over the weekend, Google announced a powerful new feature in AdWords that will allow advertisers to target their audience unlike ever before. Through Customer Match, a new feature rolling out in the coming weeks, advertisers will be able to target ads by email address.

After you upload a list of email addresses, Customer Match will pair them with the corresponding Google users who you can target ads to. Advertisers can also target ads to similar audiences who share similarities with the individuals in the email list.

Customer Match is capable of targeting ads to anyone signed-in to Google on Gmail, Search, and YouTube.

With the audience sets generated by Customer Match, you can craft ads specifically build around reaching them, such as in the example provided by Google:

“Let’s say you’re a travel brand. You can now reach people who have joined your rewards program as they plan their next trip. For example, when these rewards members search for “non-stop flights to new york” on Google.com, you can show relevant ads at the top of their search results on any device right when they’re looking to fly to New York.”

There are still no details about any security measures in place to protect customer email addresses uploaded to Customer Match, other than stating the process is conducted in a “secure and privacy-safe way.”

 non-clickable-areas-google-display-ads-800x513

Tell me if this has ever happened to you. As you’re browsing a website, your thumb accidentally hits an ad as you try to scroll past it, launching a new page. You close it out, and try to scroll down again only to accidentally tap the ad on the page yet again, leaving you in a loop of trying to close the page and move past it but repeatedly wind up tapping an ill-placed ad that you have no interest in.

Not only is this scenario a bad experience for the user, but it is also a nightmare for advertisers who are wasting money on valueless clicks.

This has been a growing issue for the online advertising industry as mobile browsing increases, but sites have struggled to optimize their sites (and their advertising) for mobile viewers and errant taps. Now, Google is finally making changes to hopefully solve the so-called “fat finger” ad clicks problem.

  1. First, taps close to the edge of an image ad won’t be considered clicks. Google says it has identified the border area particularly prone to accidental clicks during scrolling.
  2. Second, for in-app install ads interstitial ads like the one on the right above users won’t be able to click on the app icon because the close button is overlayed on that image. Users will need to click the call-to-action button.
  3. Finally, ads will only become clickable after they’ve been onscreen for “a short period of time”. How long that period actually is isn’t clear, but Google says the delay is to give users “enough time to examine the content of an ad”.

While most of these changes are relatively common sense (why on earth was the app icon ever considered a click?), but they are still welcomed by the advertising community who have been complaining about “fat fingers” since display ads came to mobile.

googleadwordsGoogle AdWords is one of the most powerful tools available to companies trying to get their ads seen online. The only problem is the service can often feel overwhelming to those who are not experienced with the tool, especially with the near constant updates.

Thankfully Google is making it easier for business owners and advertisers to keep up to date and learn the ropes of AdWords with a super useful how-to-guide to paid search.

The guide is part of the Google Best Practice series, located in the Help section of AdWords. The series provides practical advice on using AdWords products to get the most out of paid search and covers everything from optimizing keywords to measuring analytics data.

To help keep up with the frequent updates, AdWords has also added a timeline tool which displays new features and changes to policy and guidelines in a convenient location. The timeline shows recent updates chronologically, so you can easily see what the latest news is.  The tool will show brief descriptions of all new products, features, and updates, with links to more information.

Considering AdWords updates hundreds of times a year, this timeline will be a godsend to many advertisers who are vigilantly watching for updates.