There has been a lot of buzz over the past few months about the many changes that have hit the SEM landscape in 2016. There is no question that these “tectonic shifts” have impacted advertisers in significant and permanent ways. The question is, are they creating mountains of opportunities, or valleys of despair?
Like many changes, the outcome hinges more on how you respond to the change than in the change itself.
One of the most prominent changes we’ve seen in recent months is the global rollout of Google Expanded Text Ad format.
What are Expanded Text Ads?
Announced last spring, Expanded Text Ads are a long-format text ad that are now globally available throughout the Google AdWords ecosystem. This increased ad real estate helps advertisers tell their story and show their value to consumers like never before. It’s easier to highlight specials, promotions, and differentiators that make your dealership or your inventory unique from the competition. As shown in the screenshot below, this format increases the number of ad copy characters by a generous 47%.
Google set the stage for this change in February when they made significant changes to the layout of the desktop search engine results page (SERP). Two notable changes were made:
The ads on the right-hand margin were eliminated.
The number of ad positions above the organic search results increased from 3 ads to 4 ads.
Both of these changes draw more attention to the paid ads section of the SERP, arguably at the expense of the organic listings. As the real estate for SEO continues to decrease, it’s more important than ever for dealers and OEMs to have a well-planned and well-executed SEM strategy.
Given the far-reaching scope of this change, the timeline was very compressed. The time between announcement and roll-out was barely over two months. Even now, with the public launch squarely in the rear-view mirror, the vast majority of advertisers are not yet using this new format.
How Can I Use Expanded Text Ads?
If you’re a client of Showroom Logic, the good news is that you don’t need to do anything. We’ve been aggressively updating our ad library so that our dealers to take advantage of the new format.
In the past few months, we’ve re-written hundreds of thousands of ads. Like all our ads, each Expanded Text Ad is reviewed for performance indicators, best practices, as well as OEM compliance. This process takes some time but we are proud to say that our current adoption rate is now over 99% and we are in the final stages of roll-out.
Do Expanded Text Ads Work?
YES! All early indicators are very positive, with average Click-Through Rates (CTRs) increasing by 20-40% among our test groups. Expanded text ads, when put in the hands of our skilled team and run through our award-winning AdLogic platform, are clearly exceeding performance expectations. Individual results can vary, but it is a clear and compelling step forward in digital marketing for dealers that can properly leverage this new capability.
An increased click-through rate not only means more in-market shoppers are visiting your website, it also improves your AdWords quality score. This has the potential to lower your cost-per-click and ensure that your ads are shown for relevant searches more frequently.
Is your SEM partner helping you capitalize on this new feature? If not, you could be losing valuable customers and market share to dealers who are aggressively using this breakthrough digital marketing tactic. Expanded Text Ads represent a mountain of opportunity for dealers who have the right targeting, technology, transparency, and team to maximize their results.
Jake Hoopes has 15 years of industry experience. Starting in the early 2000’s as a web developer for a digital agency, he has grown up in the nitty gritty of paid search since the days of Overture and Google Cash. Jake joined Showroom Logic in 2012 where his technical marketing background has been put to good use with the ongoing development of Showroom Logic’s innovative automotive digital marketing solutions. He has been a guest speaker at several national marketing events, including SMX West, SMX East, and SLCSEM.