At Google’s last annual ‘Marketing Live’ event back in July, the announcement that will likely change the PPC game is the introduction of their new Google Responsive Search Ads that are being rolled out this month to replace Expanded Text Ads as the default ad type.
What’s all the fuss about?
The new ad format is made up of up to three 30-character headlines instead of two, and show up to two 90-character descriptions instead of one 80-character description, which they have with the Expanded Text Ads.
This allows for up to 15 different headlines and up to 4 different descriptions to be written, allowing for up to 43,680 different permutations to play with – meaning the testing possibilities are immense.
This consequently allows for Google’s learning machine to test what combinations perform the best by automatically optimizing the different combinations of headlines and descriptions in real time. This has been developed in the hope that machine learning models will soon completely remove the legwork involved in ad creative optimization, automatically serving the best message to different searchers dependant on factors such as the keyword they search for, their device, their past browsing behaviour, and so on.
The new format also allows any headlines or descriptions to be pinned to the ad. So, if there’s a message that is felt needs to be displayed to every searcher, this is the best way of going about it.
However, Pins should be used sparingly as they somewhat counteract the purpose of Google’s learning machine testing. By pinning just one headline, it reduces the amount of testing Google can perform on the ad by 75%, and by 99.5% if two are pinned!
According to Google, the new ad format will have a 5-15% higher Click Through Rate (CTR) than the standard search ads. In order to achieve the best response from these ads, advertisers are going to have to work with Google by adding as many headlines and descriptions as possible to allow for the searcher to get the most relevant combinations. Google ads have specified that to increase the likelihood that the ad will show, at least 5 distinct headlines and 2 distinct descriptions that don’t repeat or have similar phrases should be provided.
Let alone ensuring best performance, in order to ensure Google shows the ad at all, the headlines and descriptions must differ significantly. If they’re too similar, Google won’t show the ad. In order to ensure the differences are seen by Google, it will be necessary to consider differing Call to Actions, keywords, and length when writing the headlines and descriptions. The advancement in these ads is just one example of how fast Google is learning and evolving. The prospect of having ads automatically optimized by search engines will take out a lot of legwork that’s currently needed to be done by search engine marketers – and that’s definitely something worth getting excited about. Happy ‘ad’ing!
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