Extended Text Ads: What We Learned in Beta
By Eileen Buleza and Amanda Mayfield
Last week, Google made the official roll-out of extended text ad formats across all AdWords accounts, taking the much anticipated update out of beta. The full transition from standard ad formats to extended text ads is slated to come in late October. What impact will these changes have on your SEM and SEO efforts? How can you effectively utilize extended text ads to improve your performance?
Using Extended Text Ads in SEM
During the last few months, the Lever SEM team has been testing extended text ads through beta with a number of clients and would like to share a few lessons learned. We encourage all to use these three quick tips when working to roll out the new ad format to all clients:
- Consider mobile. Extended text ad formats will also be used in mobile devices automatically. Consider your mobile message, which in the past may have been customized to shorter messaging than your desktop standard ads. Consider mobile-specific extended text ads and when reviewing results, be sure to segment out device performance to determine nuances.
- Review ad extensions. In the past, ad extensions were leveraged to often include the important CTAs or differentiators that you couldn’t fit in the standard ad copy. Now with basically double the room, consider what worked best in some of your Call Out and Sitelink extensions and test that messaging in the extended text ad. Also, review necessary updates to extensions so you aren’t being repetitive and using the entire ad real estate to its fullest potential.
- Results will vary. The standard impact Google is touting for the new ad format is up to 20% CTR increases. In our beta testing, most of our clients experienced CTR increases compared to standard ads during the same time period. CTR lifts averaged around 10%, but some of our clients did not experience a lift at all. Results will vary by client, and messaging will need testing and reworking to find the right formula for each client.
Impact of Expanded Text Ads on SEO
It is still early to tell exactly what kind of impact Extended Text Ads (ETAs) will have on organic listings, but it is likely there will be some effect on natural search results. Advertisers will see a greater amount of traffic coming from paid ads as opposed to organic listings, especially on mobile devices, where organic real estate tends to be more precious due to a limited amount of space. This evolution in paid search is another example of why it is so important for advertisers to create robust digital marketing strategies that allow SEO and Paid Search to work together to achieve incremental growth amongst all channels. While it has been documented by Google that SEO does not pick up the slack when paid search advertising is not present, it is essential to growth in the overall attribution model to run paid search and organic in tandem with each other.
Organic search’s role in this comprehensive strategy is just as important (if not more) than ever. It is still crucial that marketers are coming up with solid SEO strategies that continue to seek results to fight for the top spot in search engine results pages (SERPs). Marketers should take great care to ensure their website’s organic listing on a SERP is as optimized as possible. This means making sure that Title Tags are well-optimized, using unique keyword themes, and that Meta Descriptions are written in a concise way, using interesting action words for a call-to-action that encourage searchers to click on the listing. Structured data markup or ‘Rich Snippets’ are also highly recommended so sites can stand apart from their competitors’ sites with emphasis on specific content types such as product, recipes, reviews, events, etc.
It is also important to make sure a website has undergone a full technical audit to identify any unknown issues that may be preventing the search engine spiders from properly indexing and ranking the site. Common technical issues that impact sites are broken or outdated XML sitemaps, incorrect robots.txt files and improperly executed page redirects.
In the ever-changing search landscape, SEO and Paid Search are essential partners in creating a long term strategy that will carry website visitors through the conversion funnel and result in increased revenue growth for the long term.
Ensuring Your Success
You can trust that your team at Lever Interactive will be following these evolutions closely as they fully roll out, making sure that your SEM and SEO efforts are using the very latest best practices. As a certified Premier Google Partner, a status only 3% of agencies can claim, we’ll ensure your online marketing efforts are set up for success.
Want to find out more? Contact us today.