Google announced a tranche of changes to its ad products yesterday.
Whilst there were no massive surprises (updates were in line with recent tests seen in the wild), there’s still work for marketers to do to understand their impact.
Here’s a summary of things to look out for in the coming weeks and months.
Start preparing now for expanded text ads
Text ads will include more characters for the first time since Google launched AdWords.
For mobile, neatly summed up by the GIF below, this means two lines of headline and more description.
This expansion will occur on desktop, too, with more space to spread out across the page since right-hand-side ads were culled earlier this year.
Google cites 20% increase in clickthrough rate for some advertisers in early trials of these expanded text ads.
So, what’s important is that advertisers start preparing now, writing expanded ad text and getting ready to test once they get their mitts on the new format.
Below is Google’s table showing the exact extent of the changes. Note that restrictions on URLs have been loosened.
Structured data is becoming more important (is yours ready?)
Google’s information page on local search ads shows the image below as an example of a local search ad in maps.
Apart from the purple pin, there isn’t much change on display here.
However, the biggest changes appear to be within local business pages, where structured data is becoming more important.
See the Walgreens example below, where special offers and local inventory search have been added to local business pages.
Google Shopping has already leant heavily on structured data, offering local inventory ads, and this is set to be championed in new Maps ad formats.
This means it is increasingly vital for advertisers to have full oversight of their data, particularly in retail.
Those retailers who have a single view of stock will be best positioned to gain more footfall through AdWords.
Promoted pins set to change Maps UX?
In the Walgreens example above, you may have noticed a branded pin on the map.
Google has guardedly mentioned that these promoted pins could be used to highlight businesses as a user embarks on his route.
Below is a shot from the presentation yesterday, showing a Starbucks pin along with a page preview at the bottom and a familiar directions button.
Google didn’t add detail to how these pins would work – initially they’ll undoubtedly be just a pin, with the user needing to tap on the map to view more. However, it will be interesting to see if these are brought into route planning more.
Could it be that route options may eventually offer to find points along a journey for me to eat or shop?
Desktop and tablet bids uncoupled – get ready for testing
See the following quote from Google’s announcement.
In the next few months, you’ll be able to set individual bid adjustments for each device type — mobile, desktop and tablet.
This rolls back the change in Enhanced Campaigns which grouped together desktop and tablet.
Maps added to search inventory – get ready for more competition
Google Maps has moved from being a ‘search partner’ to part of search inventory.
This means more advertisers will undoubtedly give it a go, experimenting with these improved local search ads.
In the long term this means that although I fully expect Google to drive much greater in-store value with its local ads, cost per click will be commensurate.
Early mover advantage could be significant in some sectors (restaurants, hardware, electronics etc.).
Google’s mobile ecosystem grows
With Android Instant Apps and now greater information in local business pages, Google is allowing more users to stay within its ecosystem and away from the web.
It’s easy to extrapolate to a world where advertisers are sending structured data to Google and website functionality is narrowed.