10 Things That Happened In PPC Last Month (August, 2018)

Imogen Collins
August 29, 2019

Google text ads extended

Towards the end of August, advertisers started to notice that their standard text ads went through a bit of a face-lift. Now, advertisers can add a third headline to their ads, and a second description line. Furthermore, the description lines have had their character count increased from 80 characters to 90. These features seem to mirror those of the upcoming responsive search ads, which will have extended character counts and will use machine learning to automatically show the best performing headlines/descriptions out of a provided pool.

We haven’t properly tested the impact of the extra headline/description line yet, however anything which gives your ad more real estate on the search results page is usually a good thing. What’s your USP you aren’t already shouting about in your ads?

Facebook released mobile-first video tools

The new tools allow advertisers to add motion to an existing image or video, and to create video ads from assets such as photographs or company logos. In a statement, Facebook said mobile-first creative are “27% more likely” to raise brand awareness, as opposed to video ads not optimised for mobile. These tools include the Video Creation Kit, the Video Cropping Tool, and the Animate Option; all of which designed to optimise for mobile. Our Facebook specialist expects them to perform better than slideshow, but not as good as a real video, and suggests using them where you have a diverse set of image assets for the same product.

‘Ad strength’ indicator introduced for responsive search ads

An issue many have reported with the new Responsive Search ads is the inability to assess how good the ads actually are, and which ad variations work best; something which Google have addressed with ‘Ad Strength’. Now, advertisers will be able to assess the relevance and diversity of the ad copy, with ranges from “Poor” to “Excellent”.

Google recommend that every ad group should now contain a responsive search ad, each containing a minimum of five headlines and three descriptions; in order to properly test the best performing.

Bing Ads updated the overview page

Last month, Bing made some drastic changes to the overview pages in their advertising platform, allowing advertisers to “better analyse their accounts performance”. The first of these updates is the ability to save and share reports from the Account and Campaign summary pages; adding the ability to email reports to specific people straight from the interface itself. This can be scheduled to send to that person on a regular basis – either daily, weekly, or monthly.

Other updates to the overview page include the addition of certain tiles such as “top changes” (allowing you to view the largest spikes in campaign performance), “what people searched” (displaying user search behaviour”), and “devices” (with updated support for period-over-period comparisons). It appears as if these updates are yet to be rolled out universally, so expect them to drop some time over the coming weeks if it hasn’t already.

Google Ads also updated the overview page

Just when you thought Bing had taken the initiative over Google… Advertisers are now able to make changes to campaigns, ads, keywords, and bids right from the Account Overview page. Furthermore, the page will also allow for further customisation, allowing you to display only the metrics which you require to meet your particular needs and goals.

Advertisers can now pause or activate specific campaigns/adgroups/keywords, edit campaign budgets, make copy changes to specific ads, and add negative keywords right from within the “Searches” card. Google will also flag keywords with low quality score/search volume and allow you to make the necessary changes. We see these updates as rather necessary as accounts inevitably grow, and the ability to make top-level changes all in one place makes the upkeep feel much more manageable.

LinkedIn Campaign manager updated with Dynamic Ads

As of last month, advertisers using the LinkedIn Manager platform are now able to create and monitor Dynamic Ads within the management tool itself. The ads, which run on the desktop version of the site only, can be shown to users whose profile matches your ads audience. According to LinkedIn, Dynamic Ads generate up to two times the click-through rate of traditional display ads.

Following the update to the campaign manager platform, advertisers are now able to run A/B tests and properly track the performance of their campaigns, the same as they would with any other type of ad campaign.

Google Ads now display DSA performance by landing page

Advertisers are now able to view the performance of their Dynamic Search Ads landing pages, with a breakdown of the best (and worst) performers. To find the report, navigate to your DSA campaign in Google Ads, select the Dynamic ad targets heading and go to the Search Terms tab. Here you will see page performance data aggregated from all search terms.

This is an excellent new addition to the DSA reports, as it will allow for a better strategy when deciding which landing pages we want to include/exclude from our DSA campaigns.

Bing announced the release of Microsoft Audience Ads for the UK

Bing’s native advertising solution went live on the 12th of September in the UK. If no action is taken by the advertiser, then all Bing campaigns will be eligible to appear across Microsoft property sites such as MSN, Outlook, and Microsoft Edge in “high-quality native placements”. Utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence, Microsoft Audience Ads use intent and audience data to create more relevant ad experiences for the user. We think it’s a good idea to test the Audience Ads, at least for a short while; for the first two weeks Bing won’t charge you for using the ads, as they test and make adjustments – however following this initial period, a regular cost-per-clicks system will resume (by which time you could opt out if preferred). To get started/opt-out, contact your Bing advertising representative.

Facebook announced Ads for Stories

At long last! Facebook has announced an official launch date for ads in Stories is getting closer and closer, with initial testing in the US and Mexico coming to a promising end. Traditionally, Facebook has struggled to get their 1.47 billion daily users to properly interact with Facebook Stories, with Instagram’s feature proving far more popular. However, they have begun to increase in popularity this year; with Facebook recently suggesting that up to 150 million people interact with them.

Marketing partners of Facebook are currently being offered the opportunity to beta test the new ad format and are being asked by the social network to set Story Ads as their default opt-in for their ad management platforms. For the ads to be worth the effort, however, Facebook needs to get their users to interact with them more. Although 150 million sounds impressive, this is compared to 400 million Story consumers on Instagram, despite Facebook having 1.5 times the audience size of Instagram. However, expect the new ad format to be (at least initially) successful, as new ad placements generally perform well due their novel appeal and lack of user fatigue.

Google Ads changed the definition of exact match keywords

Traditionally, exact match keywords meant that the search query had to be identical to the keywords of the ad for it to trigger. This was updated to include close variations and plurals. Then, in 2017, misspelling was included. Now, Google will also consider words which are used interchangeably with your exact keyword; for example, if you are targeting the keyword “big”, and a user searches “large”, then your ad may trigger as the usage and meanings of the two words are similar.

Google, justified this change by pointing out that around 15% of daily search queries are new queries, and therefore expanding exactly in this way will give advertisers the opportunity to reach these new searches without having to generate exhaustive lists of keywords. Early research seems to support this, with a reported 3% increase in clicks and conversions, most of which coming from variations of existing keywords.

This update seems to be a positive one for the most part (get your negative keyword lists ready!), but also seems to be another step towards the inevitable banishment of exact match altogether, as the keyword type seems to get broader and broader with every update. There is no opt-in/out for this update, so as soon as it rolls out you’re good to go!

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