Back in June, Google announced it would be rolling out “power save” mode in Chrome in order to increase page load speed and reduce power consumption by blocking various plugins, including Flash. As part of this change, Chrome will automatically pause Flash content that is not considered central to a user’s experience, including Flash-based video and display ads. Flash will still be supported on Chrome, but these ads will only play when initiated by the user. Flash ads will show a static image until a user clicks to activate the ad, likely resulting in lower CTRs and overall performance for these ads.
While Flash initially allowed for some really powerful ad creative production, its popularity continues to decline over time. Safari never supported Flash content, Amazon banned Flash ads on their ad platform, and Firefox also made a similar move back in July, blocking all Flash on the browser due to reported security risks. Google Chrome will change the way it serves Flash ads on September 1st.
The impact on Google AdWords and other PPC advertising platforms:
Online advertisers will have to upgrade all current Flash ads to the HTML5 format in order to achieve ad animation without required user initiation.
Google is automatically upgrading “eligible” ads to HTML5, stating that, “Over half of time spent online is now spent on mobile devices. This presents a tremendous opportunity for marketers to reach their customers throughout the day, whenever they may be browsing. But there is an all-too-common barrier: many mobile devices and some browsers do not currently support Flash. That’s why we’re introducing a way to automatically convert Flash ads to HTML5, giving advertisers better access to the portion of Google Display Network inventory that is HTML5-only. Eligible Flash campaigns, both existing and new, will now be automatically converted to HTML5 when uploaded through AdWords, AdWords Editor, and many 3rd party tools.” You can use Google’s Swiffy tool to determine if your Flash ad is eligible for conversion to HTML5.
Yahoo stated that, “Yahoo has been working hard to accelerate its support of HTML5, and is ready to accept HTML5 creatives across display and video. We also acknowledge that some advertisers and publishers may not be fully HTML5-compatible by September 1st. While we encourage HTML5 adoption, we will still support campaigns built with Flash assets for the time being. We have enabled some short-term workarounds, including browser de-targeting for display ads, to ensure that our clients’ campaigns run without issue.”
If your various PPC advertising campaigns are running flash ads, this change is something that should be further explored. If flash ads are just a small portion of your current ad inventory and their results have not been historically any better than static ads, then there is nothing to worry about here. However, for advertisers that run a great deal of successful flash ads, this change can have a substantial impact on future results. If you have not already explored transitioning your animated ads to HTML5, now would be a really good time to consider that path.
It’s astounding what some simple changes in the title line of your products in your Google Merchant Center feed can do for your Google Shopping campaigns in Google AdWords. Google gives serious weight to the first five to ten words in the title line for products when their system decides which keyword search phrases will trigger your Google Shopping Ads to show in Google’s search results. By taking the most important core keywords that directly relate to what the product is that you are selling and moving those keywords towards the front end of the title, you can often make dramatic improvements in the performance of your Google Shopping campaigns. After all, the first objective is just to get your Google Shopping Ads to show up in the search results. You need the Shopping Ads to show before a potential customer can click on them.
Sorry if I might be belaboring the obvious here, but sometimes you have to go back to the absolute core fundamentals and start with the most basic steps. Without a solid foundation, you will have nothing to build on. It’s worth the time and effort to do a review of those title lines. We have seen improvements happen in real-life scenarios when optimizing title lines in this manner. By re-writing one title line on one product, we have seen that one product go from getting about one or two sales a day in Google Shopping to getting 15 to 20 sales a day on the same product. And it was all due to simply optimizing and re-writing the title of the product, and putting important keywords front-loaded at the beginning of the title.
JumpFly can work with you to discuss what improvements you can make to your product titles. JumpFly also offers Product Feed Management to their clients as another service, taking the raw feed data and optimizing it for Google Merchant Center, as well as Bing and other Comparison Shopping Engines.
Google has another unique tool to help advertisers make the most of their paid ad space. Advertisers can include Seller Ratings as part of their ad and can take advantage of this feature to highlight the quality of their products or service and lend additional credibility to their business.
There is no cost involved in showing Seller Ratings with your ads, but ad click charges apply as they normally would. These extensions can appear in ads in the top positions, either just next to or just below the display URL. Your business must have at least 30 unique reviews (each from the past 12 months) and an overall rating of 3.5 stars or higher in order to be eligible to have Seller Ratings appear alongside your ad. There is nothing additional you need to do (and it’s important to note that you can’t force Google to show your ratings), but if you prefer not to have Seller Ratings appear with your ads, there is an opt-out feature available as well.
In order to compile these Seller Ratings, Google pulls reviews from a number of sources including Google Trusted Stores, StellaService, Google Consumer Surveys, and individual reviews from a seller’s domain from a wide variety of third-party sources. Google automatically filters out any reviews it considers to be questionable.
If your store doesn’t yet feature reviews, you can apply for free to become a Google Trusted Store by following this link: Google Trusted Stores.
In order to get the most out of Seller Ratings and to ensure that the reviews shown are as accurate as possible, there are things that you, as an advertiser, can do to improve the quality of the ratings shown.
- Make sure your customers have a positive experience! Great customer service is key to building customer loyalty and earning positive reviews. Encourage your customers to fill out a review!
- Interact with your customers. Use Social Media to re-engage former customers and recruit new ones. The more you engage with existing and potential consumers in a positive way, the more brand recognition you’ll have, and the more likely they will be to leave positive reviews.
In order to make it easier for advertisers to understand how effective these automatic extensions are, Google has unveiled its new Automated Extensions Report.