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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.

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.

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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.

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Since its launch in 2010, Apple’s ad service known as iAd has seemed largely like an afterthought. In fact, the company had announced earlier this year that iAd’s services were being discontinued. This all makes the iPhone maker’s latest announcement a bit of a surprise.

Ahead of this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple announced it is revamping its App Store. One major part of this reworking is the introduction of paid search ads for apps in the company’s app store.

Apple is starting small by adding a single paid ad to the top of search results within the App Store for users in the US. However, there already appears to be pushback from users and developers who say they would prefer improvements to the organic search results before including paid ads.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, Phil Schiller, explained that the company believes paid search ads will allow developers to focus their marketing budgets specifically in places where people are most likely to download their apps.

“There are hundreds of millions of searches on the App Store every week, and 65pc of app downloads are driven by search,” he said. “It’s a very valuable tool for users and developers. For developers, this will be very efficient marketing.”

The ads will be available in a self-serve auction-based platform similar to Google’s AdWords with no initial minimum spends.

To prepare for the revamp of the app store, Apple is adding ad features like its Search Match feature, which is comparable to Google AdWords Universal App Campaigns. The feature allows advertisers who aren’t familiar with the platform or are limited on time to create an ad campaign in as few steps as possible.

Apple Search Ads will not officially launch until the fall, but the company is allowing developers and marketers to get familiar with the platform through an opt-in beta from Apple’s developer portal.

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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.

Pinterest-logo

Pinterest’s promoted pins and ads have made a huge splash in the 18 months of beta testing its small platform with select brands, and now it is set to become even bigger. The site is rolling out its ad tool, Promoted Pins Ad Manager, to all small and midsize brands in the United States.

The company also announced it would be increasing the number of interest-level targeting options from 30 to 420. In the past, advertisers could only choose from 30 broad interest groups such as food, beauty, and fashion. The new options are more specific, so marketers can target their audience much more accurately with categories like “healthy food,” “sustainable architecture,” and “street-style fashion.”

“Pinterest knows more about the interest of its users than any other platforms,” said Nipoon Malhotra, Pinterest’s ad products lead. “This is very different from a graph that represents something you browsed a month ago.”

Pinterest also noted that marketers who spend at least $1 per day advertising on Pinterest see a 20 percent increase in clicks on their posts.

Pinterest Pins function just like normal Pins on the site, however, they are shown to more people than a typical Pin. By using the Pinterest Ads Manager, you can target exactly who you want to see your Pins based on interest targeting, keywords, or customer database targeting using your customer list.

AdWords In Store Visits

When Google recently removed all text ads from the right rail of search engine results pages (SERPs), it caused quite a stir among both advertisers and webmasters who rely on organic traffic for their business. The change in design and the number of ads on SERPs pushes even more organic results below the fold and makes the competition even fiercer for both top ad spots and top organic listings.

Google has been overall fairly tight-lipped about the changes, only confirming that it has occurred and implying the change was largely aimed at bringing the desktop search experience more in line with the mobile search experience.

While it’s not an official statement, Google employee Matt Lawson recently went into depth on why Google decided to cut text ads from the right side of search results and how it could affect your pages and advertising account.

It largely confirms what was already suspected: Right side ads performed poorly and they wanted to bring mobile and desktop search closer together. However, Lawson provides data to show exactly how they expect the change to affect advertisers and steps you can take right not to mitigate any changes in your CPCs and ad performance.

Read what Lawson had to say about the change in his column for Search Engine Land.

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.”

Google has made a big deal about its ability to prevent advertisers from paying for ads that aren’t seen by real human eyes, including on YouTube’s ad network, but a new study by a team of European researchers suggests something is amiss. According to their findings, advertisers are still being forced to pay for ads despite YouTube’s systems flagging the view as “suspicious” or fraudulently coming from a bot rather than a human.

The experiment from researchers at NEC Labs Europe, UC3m, Imdea, and Polito, was conducted in three stages. First the researchers uploaded videos to YouTbe and set up an AdSense account to monetize them. Then, the team set up AdWords accounts to run ads against the video, before creating and deploying bots designed to specifically view the videos with the ads.

While the researchers concluded that “among the studied online video portals, YouTube is the only one implementing a sufficiently discriminative fake view detection mechanism,” they also found “that YouTube only applies this mechanism to discount fake views from the public view counter and not from the monetized view counter.”

That means that YouTube filters out views it deems as fraudulent for the public view counter, but they are still charging advertisers for those views.

Throughout their experiment, the group observed the number of monetized views was consistently larger than the number of counter views and came to the realization that “views considered suspicious are removed from the public view counter, but monetized.”

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This isn’t the first time Google has been accused of charging for fraudulent clicks. When similar situations were brought up with YouTube, the company said the discrepancies are likely due to users watching the video ad, but not the video itself. That would lead to the view to be monetized but not included in the public counter.

However, the researchers say that cannot be what happened here because the bot was designed to “view” both the ads and the accompanying video all the way through.

The team also took the fact that YouTube performs part of its view validation after the fact into consideration, however after six months the team saw no compensation adjustments. That happened even after YouTube suspended the AdSense account due to the bots’ suspicious activity.

The team also found YouTube is vulnerable to relatively simple attacks. They say they have given their findings to Google and will continue to refine the tools used for the study and potentially make them widely available.

A Google spokesperson said, “We’re contacting the researchers to discuss their findings further. We take invalid traffic very seriously and have invested significantly in the technology and team that keep this out of our systems. The vast majority of invalid traffic is filtered from our systems before advertisers are ever charged.”

Bing Ads is improving its age and gender targeting by collecting more robust demographic data from users to help advertisers better target consumers.

According to the company’s blog, Bing’s global coverage of demographic data has recently doubled, which the company says will ensure its new targeting capabilities will provide “an increase in click-through rate and conversion rate for targetable users, thus potentially increasing the overall return on investment for all your campaigns.”

Advertisers can now utilize Bing’s new increased targeting features by setting targeting rules in “Advanced Targeting” within their Bing Ads dashboard. From there, they can segment audiences by age range, gender, device, and time, which will cause an automatic lift in bids when targeted audiences are searching.

Along with the announcement, Bing Ads released comScore data on its current audience, showing Bing Ads audiences tend to be more female and are most likely within the age range of 35-44.

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