April come she will (if you don’t understand that, you might need to educate yourself in the fine art of Simon and Garfunkel). Actually, April’s over – and with the passing of that fine month came a seemingly endless stream of interesting updates, topics, and general discussion in the world of paid search. Unfortunately, I only have a finite amount of space for this blog, therefore I have cut down the many updates into what I think are the top ten most interesting; and as ever, in no particular order…
Google launched Outstream Video Ads for mobile
The idea behind the new ad format is to expand the reach of video ads, giving advertisers the ability to reach potential customers where a YouTube video isn’t present. Unlike the pre-existing TrueView and Bumper ads, Outstream Video Ads will not require a placement on a YouTube video, but can reach customers on Google video partner sites. The ads will run without sound by default, but can have the sound turned on by users if they choose.
To get the ads up and running, create a new video campaign (with the goal set as ‘brand awareness and reach’) and select ‘Outstream’ as the campaign subtype. You’ll also need to provide the video, a logo, a headline and description, the URL, and a thumbnail (Optional).
Bing Shopping updated with several new features
Last Month, Bing announced Bing Shopping will get several new features to “help your business with easy setup, improve account maintenance, and increase reach for your Bing Shopping Campaigns”. Perhaps the most welcome among the updates is the ability to include multiple image URLs in product feeds. Now advertisers can add up to ten image URLs into the [additional_image_link] in the feed, meaning you could show different angles of the product, for example.
Additionally, four new columns were added to Bing Ads, seen in the reporting grid for Product Groups. These include ‘Products Submitted’, ‘Products Ready to Serve’, ‘Products Targeted’ and ‘% Products Targeted’.
The ‘Products Submitted’ column displays the number of products uploaded to Merchant Centre, with the ‘Products Ready to Serve’ column displaying how many of those are eligible for bidding (and error free). The ‘Products Targeted’ column allows you to see how many of your products are currently being bid on, with the ‘% Products Targeted’ column showing you what percentage this constitutes of your total products. You can view additional information regarding all the updates on the Bing Ads website.
Facebook introduced new ad-targeting prompt for anti-discrimination
It’s been a tough couple of months for Zuck and co with the revelations regarding Cambridge Analytica followed closely by a cross-examination from US Congress. Something brought up during Zuckerberg’s testimony was issues regarding discriminatory ads and how Facebook review and remove them.
In reaction, Facebook will now identify advertisers promoting employment, housing, or credit related ad campaigns and require them to confirm they are following the anti-discrimination policies. If you yourself run ads on any of these topics, we recommend you confirm they comply ASAP, as failure to do so could see your ads removed without warning. Facebook have also introduced a new prompt which appears when you start to create a new ad campaign, which offers a link to their advertising policies.
Google officially launched the ‘More results’ button
Following extensive testing, Google has finally launched the ‘More results’ button – to be found at the bottom of the search results page on mobile. The button allows for additional search results to be shown along with the first set of results, and was initially planned to display only additional organic results. However, it is now clear that additional PPC ads can also show once the ‘More results’ button is pressed, but will show only below the new organic results.
We see this update as a bit “meh” – without further testing we can’t be confident that it will have any positive effect on clicks driven (or even impressions). Essentially, the ‘More results’ section will serve the same purpose as page two on Google; and research has shown 92% of people never go beyond page one.
Snapchat updated ads to include “Shop Now” button
Last month, Snapchat announced they were updating their AR lens to allow advertisers to add a ‘Shop Now’ button onto their ads, as well as the ability to add a ‘Watch’ or ‘Install Now’ button. This will allow for branded snapchats to drive sales, video views, and app downloads. The new buttons display at the bottom of the screen, as seen in the picture below:
Once the user clicks the “Shop Now” button they are redirected onto the company’s website – in this case the official Adidas website. Snapchat allow three different payment options for the ads: the most popular being their own ad platform (similar to AdWords) where advertisers bid for placements (for as little as £100 a day). Alternatively, advertisers can pay a flat fee which guarantees them the first lens position on the apps camera. The last payment option gives the advertiser an audience-targeted shoppable lens, for a minimum fee of $40,000.
YouTube ads still appearing next to extremist content
It’s been over a year since YouTube were accused of displaying ads on extremist propaganda channels (some of which included pro-Nazi and white nationalist material), and it appears Google are yet to properly deal with the issue.
An investigation by CNN found that multiple brands, including Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, Netflix and Adidas, had ads show on these extremist videos, meaning the brands have subsequently removed their video campaigns. According to YouTube, they have removed one of the extremist channels which had ads running on them, and have denied another channel from monetising its videos. Caution is advised here; until YouTube properly deal with the situation, it’s possible that some of your ads may run alongside these extremist videos – so keep an eye out!
Google released beta for new video campaign planning tool
Reach Planner (currently in beta) is a new planning tool designed to help advertisers forecast more accurately their video campaigns, specifically in regards to reach and frequency. The tool will also recommend product mixes, and will suggest various ad formats which it predicts will perform well based on your goals, budgets, and ad preferences. So far, Reach Planner looks useful – especially for those who rely heavily on video campaigns for branding. If you have a Google representative, you can ask them for access to the beta.
Reddit ads became available on Android
In March of this year, Reddit introduced ‘promoted posts’; which are essentially paid ads designed to mimic generic posts. Last month, Reddit announced that the ads were to be supported on the Android app, following their initial introduction on iOS. The setup is identical to iOS; with up/down voting available and with user comments enabled.
Those wishing to target Reddit users can do so by location, time of day, type of device, interests, and subreddits followed. With around 300 million active users, the ROI potential is significant. Reddit have since announced since the launch of promoted posts on iOS, they have seen a 300 per cent increase in click-through rate.
Google tested a second shopping ad carousel on mobile
Last month, a number of users noticed both product listing ads and Showcase Shopping ads appear together at the top of the search results page.
The Showcase Shopping ads, under the title ‘Shop by store’ in the above picture, take the user to another Google page displaying a range of related products – unlike the traditional Shopping ads which redirect to the advertiser’s website. It’s clearly still very early in the testing process, as we’re without any official confirmation from Google yet. However, you may start to see both Shopping carousels on the search results page once or twice over the coming weeks; however, it’s very unlikely to become permanent before we hear anything from Google.
Google launched Responsive Search Ads Beta
The new ad format will display three headlines and two descriptions, and are generated from a pool of copy which you provide. You can include up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions for Google to select from, which will then be tested to determine the best performing combination. Google will also allow you to ‘pin’ a certain headline to an ad, ensuring that it will appear in your desired location.
We recommend you add at least one responsive search ad to each adgroup (preferably ones targeting very generic keywords), in order to maximise data and allow for a quicker performance analysis – initial testing has suggested that these ads account for around 5% of overall traffic. Currently, responsive search ads are available for English accounts only, but will launch in French, German, and Spanish accounts in the coming weeks.
Subscribe for regular content on all things digital marketing!
For more insights into the world of digital marketing, see our blog! You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.