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After nearly a year of testing, Facebook is finally launching search ad placements for all advertisers. That means anyone can now run ads within News Feed and Marketplace search results for any search with commercial intent – such as queries related to e-commerce or retail.

Currently, search ads only appear in results on mobile devices.

In the announcement, Facebook describes how the ads appear and function within search results, saying:

“The ads are designed to fit the experience on the given search results surface (Marketplace search or general search). They look similar to News Feed ads and have the same transparency and controls, including a “Sponsored” label so it’s clearly marked as paid placement.”

To have your ads appear in search results, advertisers can simply select “Automatic Placement” or the “Facebook Search Results” placement when creating or running News Feed ad campaigns.

Notably, advertisers will have little control over how the ads are targeted, aside from broad people-based targeting options. Instead, Facebook will target the ad based on a number of details including keywords, ad features, ad text, product category, and more.

Currently, the ads support three specific campaign objectives, including Product Sales, Conversions, and Traffic Objectives.

Banner Image courtesy of Launchpresso

 

Don’t you wish you could somehow run one set of ads with the perfect headline for anyone who sees it, even when they have different needs or interests? AdWords is bringing that fantasy a little closer to reality with Responsive Search Ads.

These ad formats, currently in beta and available to some advertisers, allow you to set up one ad with multiple varying headlines and a few different descriptions which are alternated based on your advertising goal and the user’s intent.

Interestingly, these ads also get more screen real estate than standard text ads while Google is giving them a try.

The idea is to make your ad more versatile and to do the function of A/B testing for you without all the manual work. This also allows you to have a wider variety of keywords trigger your ads.

You can set up to 15 different headlines and four unique descriptions in a responsive search ad. With these, you can include headlines or descriptions for any scenario that might bring potential customers upon your services or products.

When shown, the ads will include up to three headlines instead of two, and up to two 90-character descriptions instead of the usual one 80-character description.

To best plan for this, Google recommends writing your first three headlines as if they will be shown together (in any order).

Google also suggests making headlines distinct by focusing on different features, benefits, or offers.

You can also “pin” certain headlines or descriptions into specific positions. This allows you to guarantee one headline will always be shown on top or a disclaimer is consistently positioned at the bottom of the ad.

Analytics is an essential way to measure the effectiveness of your ads, but traditionally your results are kept in isolation. The only thing you have to compare against is past results.

Bing is changing that, with a new way to compare the results of your ad campaigns against how your competitors are performing.

These new competitive metrics, also known as “share of voice” metrics, have been added to Bing’s in-line performance views, with details on your ads and similar campaigns in your industry. You still can’t hand-pick your local competitors and spy on their campaigns, but the new metrics will give you a better view of how you are doing within your market.

To get started, just log into your Bing Ads account and select either Accounts Summary, Campaigns, Ad Groups, or Keywords. Once you’re on any of these pages, click the Columns button. This will allow you to add any metrics from the Competitive (Share of Voice) section. Once you’ve applied your changes, these new metrics will appear in your reports.

Bing says the metrics are compatible with all other reporting features offered by the platform.

The announcement says this latest update is just “one of many” enhancements to Bing analytics the company will be releasing this year, though they are keeping those upcoming updates a secret for now.

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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.

As promised, Google is launching ads in Android search results which will allow users to test out games before deciding whether to download them. Google announced the feature was coming in the next few weeks during its Developer Day at Game Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday.

With the launch of AdWords Search Trial Run Ads, app advertisers can now create ads with a “Try now” button as well as a download button. If Android users choose to try out the app, they will be able to preview the app for 10 minutes before deciding if they want to download it from the Google Play Store.

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Google has been testing out the feature since December, however, those app previews were limited to just 60 seconds. The longer trial period should allow test-drivers to get a better feel for the app and make a more informed decision.

The new feature is aimed at helping users choose to download only apps that will actually be used. According to Google, just one in four apps are ever used after being downloaded. Hopefully, the test-drive feature will increase the chances a user will stay engaged with the app beyond the time of install.

During the conference, Google also announced that Portrait Video Ads in mobile apps will be coming shortly. The company says 80 percent of video ad views in mobile apps on the Google Display Network are viewed vertically, however, the majority of ads are created to be viewed in landscape orientation. Early tests suggest the new ad orientation significantly improves both click-through and conversion rates. This leads to lower cost per install and more installs overall from Portrait Video Ads.

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.

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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.

Google announced the results of an interesting study this week that proclaims “Search Ads Lift Brand Awareness“. By the title of the announcement alone, it sounds like a promising reason to invest more in AdWords campaigns for your business, too bad the information is slightly misleading.

Don’t get me wrong, pay-per-click search ads can be absolutely beneficial for a business. But, it is troubling when a group misrepresents their findings to a more positive spin when it clearly benefits their own business.

Ginny Marvin was one of the first to point out the misleading nature of the Google report, and sums up the issue quite well by offering the alternate title “The Top Search Ad Lifts Brand Awareness”.

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The Google meta-study reviewed several studies conducted by Google and Ipsos MediaCT across a set of verticles including CPG and automotive. A total of 800 consumers were asked to search for a category specific keyword. Across those searches, the results showed that the test brands saw increases in awareness across all verticles.

When respondents were asked what brand first came to mind when thinking about a specific category keyword, an average of 14.8% in the Test group named the test brand, while just 8.2% of the Control group named the same brand. That’s a 6.6 percentage point increase or an average 80% lift in top-of-mind awareness.

That is all well and good, but the problem is Google only tested the brand impact for brand’s appearing in the top spot. None of the other ad positions were evaluated at all.

The Test SERP featured the test brand in the top search ad position, with all other ads on the page moved down by one position. The Control did not feature an ad from the test brand at all. The organic results of the SERP were not manipulated in any way.

Marvin is much more precise with her deconstruction of the flaw in Google’s study, but simply put: all ad spots are not made equal. In fact, like ranking positions, ad spots are highly inequal. The ads in the second and third positions are likely to experience in awareness, but the nature of the study makes that impossible to verify. Almost certainly, any awareness lift they see is modest compared to that found in the first position.

In the end, Google’s recommendations based on their findings are probably still solid and no online marketer will argue about the value of branded paid advertising. Still, Google should be more careful with their words next time. Intentional or not, misrepresenting findings never looks good.

With the constant stream of news coming out of the online marketing industry, it can be hard to keep up with all the latest updates without missing some important information. That’s why we compile all the news you may have missed this week all in one convenient place every Friday. Let’s get started:

Google Updates Guidelines Regarding Redirects

Google has had a policy against redirects intended to deceive or manipulate search engines or users, but this week they updated their Webmaster Guidelines to explicitly include mobile-specific redirects. They also include an example of a deceptive mobile redirect with a scenario where “desktop users might receive a normal page, while hackers might redirect all mobile users to a completely different spam domain.” Google details the revisions in an announcement on their Webmaster Central Blog.

Google Wants To Help You Remember Where You Parked

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According to Android Authority, Google’s latest update to the Android version of the Google Search App includes a new feature which can help users remember where they parked their car and even give directions on how to get back to that spot. For users parking at large venues, malls, or in heavily-populated areas, this could potentially be a lifesaver. The parking reminder works by asking if you want to save a location as a Google Now card. Then when you are ready to get back to your car, you just tap on the card in the app and directions will appear.

Search Ads Get More Revenue per Conversion When Integrated With Social

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Online marketing is quickly reaching the point where you can’t approach it in a vacuum and hope for success. The days of keeping SEO, PPC, and social media marketing apart are fading fast, if they aren’t completely gone already. A new study from Marin Software confirms this y showing that advertising performs vastly better when integrated with a social advertising strategy. Jessica Lee breaks down the details of the study at Search Engine Watch, but you can also get the full white paper here.

YouTube Now Lets Channel Owners Attach Short Intros To Their Videos

This week, YouTube announced that channel owners can now add a three-second intro to their videos, allowing them to build a stronger and more cohesive brand presence across the video platform. Channel owners must upload the intro as an unlisted video, then click “Add a channel branding intro” on the InVideo Programming page. At that point, channel owners can select which videos should include the intro. However, YouTube has said intros can not be used as ads, sponsorship, or product placements, and should not be used by channels whose videos act as advertisements.

Twitter Earns 14 Million Monthly Active Users in Q1 of 2014

Twitter’s earnings report for the first quarter of 2014 shows they continue to grow in just about every area, even outperforming Wall Street estimates in all but one area. The area in which they have continued to struggle is gaining monthly active users, but even there Twitter is showing very positive signs. While not beating Wall Street estimates, Twitter monthly users did grow by 14 million since Q4 2013, culminating in 255 million total users. This is substantially more growth than shown n Q4 2013.

Vine is Coming To Desktop With New Features

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Up until now, Vine has been confined to smartphones, but this week the social video platform has made the leap to desktop with a well laid-out website and some new features. The new features include top navigation in the left which includes the home feed and popular now feed, and all feeds can now be linked together in TV mode. The biggest addition however is the new search bar that lets users search by tag, person, or location for the first time. You can get more details in the announcement on Vine’s blog, or you can see the new site for yourself here.