Ad Extensions at the Ad Group Level – Google AdWords and Bing Ads

April 11th, 2016 by Molly Rod

BLOG-ad-extensions-at-ad-group-levelThere is no question that ad extensions are critical to the success of any search campaign. Extensions provide additional information about a product or service, capture more real estate on the search engine results page, and set your ad apart from the competition. All too often Google AdWords and Bing Ads PPC accounts include one set of extensions across the entire account and miss the opportunity to get creative with site links, call outs, and structured snippets. Creating these extensions at the ad group level will further tailor your message to the search query and make your ad even more relevant!

Site Link extensions (available on Google AdWords and Bing Ads) offer additional links for customers to click on. While the more general “Contact Us”, “Directions”, and “About Us” site links are necessary to include in the account, more specific ad groups may benefit from the use of tailored site links. For example, an ad group designated to blue sweatshirts could include site links to Men’s, Women’s, and Youth Blue Sweatshirts. Offering these extra links related to the search query could give the searcher more options to find a more relevant page.

Call Out extensions (available on Google AdWords and coming to Bing Ads sometime in 2016) provide an additional line of text and are a great way to reach your customers. Let’s revisit the blue sweatshirts example. While the account may be using more general call outs like “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and “Free Shipping”, we can get more specific for the blue sweatshirts ad group. “10% Off Blue Sweatshirts”, “15 Different Shades” and “Super Soft & Durable” will give the customer more information about the specific product and may make them more likely to click on your ad.

Structured snippets (available on Google AdWords) are currently only available in a few headings. If applicable to the business, this extension can allow an additional line or two of text to show with your ad. Account wide, you can use a snippet similar to “Types: Sweatshirts, T-shirts, Jackets, Long Sleeve Tops”. However at the ad group level, an ad for blue sweatshirts will not make much sense with such a general snippet. Instead, “Types: Hoodies, Pullovers, Crewnecks, Zip-Ups” would be more relevant to the search query and would increase the effectiveness of your ad.

Image extensions (available on Bing Ads) are a new way to add a visual component to your ads. Showing an image of a blue sweatshirt next to your text ad can really attract attention.

Using site link extensions, call out extensions and structured snippets creatively can increase the impact of your extensions strategy by making your ads more specific to search queries and increasing the relevancy of your ads. Get the most out of this extra space on the SERP and continue setting yourself apart from your competitors!


The Growing Threat of Ad Blockers

March 28th, 2016 by John Callery

BLOG-Growing-Threat-of-AdBlockersThere’s no denying the fact that more and more people are using ad blocking software these days, and this trend only promises to get stronger in the coming years. Recent estimates indicate that 40% of the world’s internet users have installed some kind of ad blocking software, which is up from just 28% in mid-2015 (Newsweek, 2016). In the U.S., an estimated 45 million internet users were using ad blockers as of Q2 2015, and this figure represents a 48% increase compared to the previous year (NY Post, 2016).

This alarming trend is a serious threat to the world of digital marketing, and advertisers will need to prepare accordingly. There are a number of ways that marketers can overcome this problem, and advertisers should explore all of their options before determining what approach will work best for their situation. Here are three of the most popular strategies that every advertiser should strongly consider when deciding what direction to take with their digital advertising in the coming years:

1. Direct Consumer Messaging

One of the options available to digital marketers is to directly address the issue by asking users to uninstall ad blocking software when it is detected. This approach can be effective because it gives the user control over the situation, which will create a better user experience and increase consumer satisfaction.

However, the obvious drawback is the fact that many users will continue to block ads even when they’re politely asked to stop. The resulting loss in revenue can add up quickly, and this caveat is something that most businesses/websites/advertisers cannot afford to ignore. Globally in 2015, internet publishers lost $21 billion in revenue due to ad blocking, so many marketers favor other approaches that offer less risk when it comes to losing ad revenue.

2. Circumvention

This strategy involves the use of marketing software that allows advertisers to show ads even when ad blockers are being used. This option will generate more ad revenue than the direct messaging approach a large majority of the time, so it’s no surprise that circumvention has become a very popular strategy among digital marketers in recent years.

The promise of more revenue is very attractive, but it doesn’t come without a cost. By showing ads to people who have already actively decided to install ad blocking software, users may feel deceived or ignored by a business/website/advertiser. This reaction will definitely have a negative impact on user experience, and ultimately cause lower returns when it comes to sales, leads, visits, likes, or any other marketing objective an advertiser might have.

3. Content Blocking

A third option is to block the content that users are trying to access unless they agree to turn off or uninstall their ad blocking software. This strategy represents the middle of the road compared to the two previous strategies, and initial tests suggest that it can be successful: Forbes reported a 42.3% success rate during a recent experiment with content blocking (Forbes, 2016).

Content blocking offers less risk when it comes to lost revenue because ads will still show to some users, and it should have less of a negative impact on user experience compared to circumvention. This happy medium sounds great on paper, but if only a fraction of advertisers and publishers choose to employ this method, it will likely prove itself to be ineffective.

If a user can easily access the content they’re looking for somewhere else, content blocking will simply lead to higher bounce rates and less engagement with the business/website/app doing the blocking. On the other hand, if enough advertisers and publishers use this strategy alongside one another, people will be more inclined to disable ad blockers in order to access the content they’re looking for.

Every situation is unique, and each advertiser will need to find the solution that works best for them, but the three strategies outlined above are certainly a good place to start. Moving forward, these strategies will likely play an important role for any digital advertisers who hope to combat the inevitable growth of ad blocking.

The bottom line is clear: ad blockers are here to stay, and they do represent a major challenge to the world of digital advertising. Nevertheless, timely innovation and adaptation can offer digital marketers across the globe the opportunity to survive and thrive in this rapidly evolving environment.


Google AdWords Shared Remarketing Lists

March 14th, 2016 by Michael Marchese

BLOG-SharedRemarketingListsThe all mighty remarketing list has had a tremendous impact on conversions and revenue over the years, but what if that list could be expanded to two times, five times or even ten times its size? One solution has always been to have your remarketing code placed on a competitors website, but that always leads to the discussion about the security of placing someone else’s code on a website and usually ends with “it’s just not worth the risk.” But what if you were able to share your list with others and no foreign coding was required? This is achievable with a little help from Google AdWords on the back-end of individual accounts, and just recently made possible without the help of Google on an MCC  (My Client Center) account.

If you have an MCC account and have the consent of all parties involved in the sharing of remarketing lists you can complete the set-up in just a few minutes using the below steps:

– Go to the admin tab of your main accounts page and check the accounts you want to share remarketing lists.
– Use the edit drop down menu > remarketing account and “change to this manager.”
– Go into each individual account > Account Settings > Account Access and flip the “on” switch for the remarketing list sharing which should now appear under the users with account access section.
– Go back to the main account page and select the audience tab and use the red drop-down menu to select “add list created by client.” Any client accounts you selected to share the lists in the prior steps should appear for you to click on and see all their available lists.
– Select the lists you want to share and hit save. Now those lists can be shared with all clients you enabled to share. The list may take a few hours to become available in the new client account so be patient.

How to monetize the list? Clients can choose to “rent” their lists to other clients or possibly just swap lists with businesses with similar types of audiences for greater exposure. Remember, you must have approval for sharing lists and make sure your website has any necessary legal disclosures regarding the use of personal information. Share responsibly!