The new text ad format has been around for a while now, but it’s surprising how many advertisers aren’t using them yet.
If you’re not familiar with them here’s a quick overview of how they compare:
|Standard Text Ads||Expanded Text Ads|
|Headline (25 characters)
Display URL (35 characters)
Description Line 1 (35 characters)
Description Line 2 (35 characters)
|Headline 1 (30 characters)
Headline 2 (30 characters)
Path 1 (15 characters)
Path 2 (15 characters)
Description (80 characters)
|Total characters available: 130||Total characters available: 170|
This great image from the Wordsream blog illustrates the differences between the standard and expanded text ads in the search results:
As you can see you get a noticeably bigger ad than before!
If they’re not using them you can get a step ahead and show bigger, better ads that are more likely to get clicked. If they ARE using them then they’re taking up more ad real estate than you and those searchers are more likely to click on their ads instead of yours!
Although not the case across the board, most advertisers are seeing higher click through rates with the expanded texts ads. This will be even more noticeable if you’ve beaten your competitors to implementing them and your ETAs are up against standard text ads in the search results.
You have 40 more characters to get your message across with extended text ads – that’s 30% more ad text available to persuade and convince prospects to click on your ad.
From 26th October 2016 you’ll no longer be able to create new standard text ads or edit existing ones. Ads already running in your account will continue to do so, but any new ads will automatically be created as extended text ads.
These are shown in larger font and highlighted in blue so make sure your most important ad copy goes here.
Remember that sometimes the headlines can be spit over two lines and you have no way of knowing where the line will break. Google can even truncate your second headline so make sure not to have anything vital at the end of that line!
It’s not always the case that the extended ads have higher click through rates than the old ones, so keep your existing ones until you know the new ones are performing ok. That way you can tweak and test until your happy with performance and then pause the old ones.
You can’t create mobile preferred ads with expanded text ads so make sure your ads will work for desktop, mobile and tablets.
You can add 2 15 char path fields to how in your display URL – this is a great way of reassuring searchers they’re going to a relevant site and that the ad relates to what they searched for. It will also improve your quality score by making the ads more relevant and increasing CTRs.
If you’ve added more information to your new ad make sure you’re not duplicating what’s already in your ad extensions. Make sure you still have unique content in your extensions that will complement the text in your new ads.
OK, so it’s not ‘all new’, but rather it’s had a face lift and some new functionality. This all happened last week.
If you’re running Google Shopping ads you’ll be familiar with Google Merchant Centre from when you got things set up and imported your first feeds. Many retailers don’t need to visit Merchant Centre again once things are up and running, unless there’s a problem. So the new look and feel won’t have been noticed by most people.
(Image courtesy of Google.com)
The first thing you’ll notice is the new layout, navigation and colour scheme. According to Google this is now “..aligned with the modern look and feel of the rest of Google’s products”. Common tasks have now been grouped together in the navigation eg the new ‘products’ menu option contains data about product feeds and data quality.
One very cool feature is the ability to look at what new shopping programs are available to you and to enable them from within Merchant Centre.
If you click on the 3 vertical dots in the top right of the dashboard and select ‘Merchant Center programs’ you’ll see the screen below.
It’s important to note that the options shown here will vary depending on what programs you’re already using.
Not only has the look and feel changed, they’ve made changes to the most frequently used features to make them quicker and easier to use.
There are improvements to feed rules, diagnostics and currency conversion – for a full explanation of the changes and updates read the Google blog here: http://adwords.googleblog.com/2016/08/introducing-new-google-merchant-center.html
All in all it seems like a change for the better with improved functionality, easier navigation and faster load times. If you’re using Merchant Centre I’d love to know what you think of the changes.
People access your website in so many ways: on their desktop PC, smartphone or tablet. Even with a mobile friendly website, however, you can get wildly differing results for your ads on these various devices.
For most people mobile and tablets don't do as well, usually giving higher Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) figures. Until now, the only way you could combat this was to use bid adjustments for mobile devices. What this does in a nutshell is to lower your bids to anyone viewing your ad on a smartphone. This usually results in lowering the CPA for mobile visitors. Great!
But, what we usually find is that the worst performing device of all is tablets. CPAs for tablets can often be double, triple or even more those of desktop CPAs! This is probably down to a poor user experience on tablets even if your site is mobile friendly. It's not really a mobile and it's not really a desktop.....
All that changed today however! I'm very pleased to say that now you can also make bid adjustments for tablets and desktops. My first job tomorrow will be to go and add them to a multitude of campaigns that I know perform dreadfully on tablets, and I suggest you do the same.
How do you check on the performance by device?
From the Campaigns tab click on 'Segment' and in the drop down box choose 'Device' (make sure you have the columns enabled to show your conversion data - Columns > Modify Columns). You will then be shown the breakdown of performance by campaign and by device. If you've never seen this before you might be in for a surprise!
When you spot a campaign that has either a very high or very low CPA on a particular device make a note - don't forget you can add a bid adjustment up if a device is costing you less for conversions too.
To make the adjustments navigate to the campaign and click on the 'Settings' tab, then on the 'Devices' tab. Each device will be listed along with the data for the campaign. If you've never set bid adjustments before there'll be a little dash under the 'Bid adj' column - simply click on that and enter your adjustment. You can increase or decrease bids for each device: increase on devices that are giving low CPAs and decrease if they're costing more than they should.
Don't forget to check back regularly to keep track of how the campaign is performing and edit the bid adjustments as needed.
Not Sure If You Need To Adjust Bids?
If you're not sure if you should adjust your bids for tablets (or any other device for that matter) then why not book a FREE account audit and I'll not only tell you about this but any other issues you may have in your account, along with how to find areas for growth.
If you’re running shopping campaigns and you’re not using custom labels you’re missing a big trick.
What Are Custom Labels?
When you upload your feed to Google you have the option of defining multiple ‘custom label’ attributes. These are fields you can add to your feed to record any data you like relating to your products. This is not required and many merchants just don’t bother with them.
Why Would You Use Custom Labels?
The main reason you’d use custom labels in your product feed is to give you additional ways to organise your products in your AdWords campaigns. More importantly, you can organise products in any way you choose, depending on what you have in your custom label fields.
With a ‘normal’ product feed, you can organise products in your campaign by Brand, Category, Product Type etc – not very inventive and not always the most helpful way when it comes to bidding.
With custom labels you can define other attributes by which to sort your products. For example, you could define ‘custom label 0’ as price ranges: <£50, £50-£199, £200-£499, £500-£1,000. Now it stands to reason you’d want to bid more on a product that’s £650 than you would for one that’s selling at £16.50 right? By categorising your products by price range you can group them in your campaign and adjust your bids accordingly.
Another similar option would be to divid products with different profit margins. Assign a custom label accordingly and then your bidding can be adjusted depending on how much money you make for those products.
There’s no limit as to how you can use this. Another very popular method is to add a custom label to sale items or products on special promotion. You might even want to exclude such items from your campaigns if the margins are very low.
What Does It Look Like In AdWords?
You can see below that we’ve already got our products sub-divided by brand. To break them down further you’ll click the ‘+’ symbol on the right as usual.
This opens the dialogue box shown below, which I’m sure you’re familiar with from when you sub-divided your products by brand or product type and such. You can see here I’ve selected ‘Custom label 1’. In this example the feed has been categorised using ‘price buckets’, from low to high and various options in between. You can now add these by selecting the right arrows and you’ll then be able to bid and optimise according to the price range of your products.
I’m sure you can see the potential for using custom labels: it gives you much more control and flexibility within your Shopping campaigns.
Here are some other examples of great ways to use custom labels:
The possibilities are really only limited by your imagination but think of how you can use these to make a real difference to your Google Shopping Campaigns and ultimately to your company’s bottom line.
There are lots of things you can do to improve your ads and one of the most important ones is by using ad extensions.
There are currently 7 ad extensions available, but the one I see being used most infrequently is the structured snippet extension. Maybe it’s because it just sounds to techy? In reality, though, it’s very easy to set up and can help give your ad that edge over the competition.
A structured snippet extension allows you to highlight a particular aspect of your product or service, such as brands, styles and types. The full list of categories you can use is below (Google calls them ‘headers’):
• Degree programs
• Featured hotels
• Insurance coverage
• Service catalog
Ray-Ban are using two structured snippet extensions in this ad – types and styles. As you can see they can add considerable real estate to your ads and helps searchers to understand better what you do and how your products are relevant to them.
If any part of your product or service can be categorised into the pre-set headers above then you can use structured snipped extensions.
Probably the most common would be adding brands you stock or types of product/service you sell. If you have a retail store or venue you can use the ‘amenities’ header to let people know whether you have disabled access or on-site parking for example.
It’s easy to look at the list and think you don’t fit into any of them, but try and be creative: an accountant, for example, might not be the obvious type of advertiser to use these. But you could use the ‘service catalog’ header to list your services such as year-end accounts, personal tax returns, payroll and the like.
‘Types’ could also be used to show who you do this for: sole traders, limited companies, landlords etc.
The issue of quality score is worthy of a separate blog post but suffice it to say that using ad extensions improves your quality score and so improves the chances of your ad showing up above those of your competitors.
Quality score aside here are a few more reasons you should be using them:
• They give your ad more space on the page (who doesn’t want a bigger ad for free?)
• They increase the chance of your ad being clicked by giving more information to searchers
• They make your ad more relevant – which again will improve your ad’s click through rate.
You’ll find them under the ‘Ad Extensions’ tab. Structured snippet extensions can be added at the account, campaign or ad group level so it’s worth giving some thought to how you might structure this before you start. Account level extensions will show on all ads in the account so if you want to be able to show different snippets for different campaigns or ad groups then you’ll want to set them up at this level instead.
Once you click on the big red ‘+extension’ button it’s pretty self-explanatory: you can either choose to add an existing extension to this campaign or ad group, or add a new one.
Simply choose your Header and then create values in the fields below. You can add as many as you need. Notice you can schedule your snippets, so if you have a promotion coming up they can be one ahead of time and set to run automatically.
Head over to your AdWords account and start adding these extensions! As with all ad extensions they’re a quick win and can only improve your campaigns’ performance so why wouldn’t you?
If you’re a business that serves local customers then the value of being in the ‘snack pack’ on Google’s search results is huge. The snack pack, as illustrated below, shows the top 3 local listing for the search you entered, in this case ‘Plumber Cardiff’. This shows up below the paid ads but above the #1 organic listing and as a result the click through rates are excellent.
But a question I get asked a lot is ‘How do I get my business on Google Maps?’. This blog post will give you step by step instructions to do just that.
It’s not uncommon, however, for companies to have multiple listings on the map simply because they forgot they added it or can’t find their original listing. The first step, then, is to check whether you’re already on Google maps.
You can do this by searching on Google maps directly (maps.google.com) or by going to Google My Business https://www.google.com/business/ and clicking the ‘Get on Google’ as shown below:
You will then be presented with the following screen:
It’s vital at this stage that you search for your business to ensure you’re not already listed – just because you haven’t added your company, it doesn’t mean it won’t be there. It’s particularly important to search by any variation of your company name, address or phone number, especially if you’ve moved or changed details in the past, however long ago it might be.
If your business is already listed it will look like this:
And if it’s not it will look like this:
Don’t forget to try every possible option when searching, before continuing to add a new listing. Multiple listings for the same business can get confusing, not to mention difficult to manage.
You will now click on the box where it says ‘Let me enter the full business details’ and you’ll be taken the this page:
Make sure you add the full address in the right format and double check your phone numbers too! For the category, you can start typing and you will get suggestions – it’s worth searching Google for the terms you want to show up for and see what categories the top 3 results are using, then use the same one. If you click on the top listing you’ll see this:
Click to continue to the next step. If you checked the box to say that you deliver your services to customers at their location, you’ll see the following:
Enter the appropriate details so Google knows when to show you to relevant searchers in local areas. When you continue you’ll be presented with the following screen:
Check the box to say you’re authorized to manage this business listing and click continue.
Now you have to verify your business, which is normally done by sending a postcard to the address that’s been registered. The card contains a verification code which you will then enter into the admin area of your listing to verify. In some cases you are given the option to verify by phone, in which case a code is sent by text or by voice call to the registered phone number.
By clicking on the ‘Mail’ button you will be sent the postcard, or you can click very later. Whichever you choose you will then be taken to your Google My Business listing so you can edit the details.
At this stage you need to add as much information as possible as a fully filled out listing will have a much better chance of ranking in that snack pack.
Clicking on the red ‘edit’ button will take you to the page where you can add all your business details:
When you’re finished hit ‘done editing’.
Be sure to add your logo and other images – click on ‘manage photos’ and you’ll be taken to the area where you can add a profile and logo image, plus various other photos about your business.
Add as many as you can to make for a better profile.
Your listing won’t show in Google until you’ve verified it – keep an eye out for your postcard and follow the instructions when it arrives. It usually arrives within a few weeks.
And that’s it!
There’s been lots of talk of AMP in SEO circles lately, but what exactly is it and do you need to be worried about it?
Mobile has become more and more important in terms of SEO in the past year, with mobile searches finally overtaking desktop. It’s hardly any wonder when you think how much time we all spend with smart phones in hand…
It’s no surprise, then, that Google is working hard to provide a better experience for its mobile searchers. We first saw this with the ‘Mobilegeddon’ update back in April 2015. That was when Google categorically stated that if your site wasn’t mobile friendly then it wouldn’t rank for searches made on mobile devices. Ouch! Think about that for a second: if more than half of the searches are done on mobiles, if your website isn’t mobile friendly you could be losing more than half your potential visitors!
(If you want to check how mobile friendly your site is then visit their mobile friendly test: https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/)
But even mobile friendly pages can be a pain to load when you don’t have great signal. Indeed even when you have 4G they can sometimes be sluggish because so many these days are full of ‘images and interactive elements. Be honest, most of the time when you’re looking for something on your mobile you aren’t interested in pretty pictures and funny videos, you just want the information you’re looking for. And usually you want it fast.
This is the latest solution to that problem. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are pages with all the fancy stuff stripped away. They’re ‘back to basics’, simply coded pages, which are designed to load at lightening speed.
It doesn’t take a genius to see how this can benefit both users and businesses, and there will be a raft of marketing and tech companies falling over themselves to offer to implement the technology on your website.
But before you go full steam ahead and allocate a chunk of budget to doing this, just stop and think about who your potential visitors are. Why are they searching for you? Will it make a huge difference to them if your page loads in 4 seconds or 1? If you’re an emergency locksmith and I’m stuck in a secluded carpark at midnight with my keys locked in my car then the answer is probably yes. Or if I’m wandering around Tesco and need to know the ingredients for the casserole I’m making tonight, maybe yes too.
For the vast majority of business, however, there won’t be this urgency. You don’t need to fall over yourself to get AMP implemented by next Tuesday. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on the horizon – something you can plan into your next website overhaul or upgrade perhaps.
It might be that your target market simply don’t use mobile! Do you even know how much of your website traffic comes from mobile? Are you measuring what percentage of visitors who become customers are coming from mobile? Does it make you think you should be measuring it at least? I hope so….
Whatever happens, don’t be scared into thinking your world will end if you don’t have Accelerated Mobile Pages on your website. There are plenty of people who will be only to happy to play Chicken Little and try and convince you the sky is falling…. and of course take your money to put it right.
If you’d like to read more about the AMP Project then visit their website at https://www.ampproject.org/
Would you like to get more clicks for your Google Ads? More clicks mean a higher Click Through Rate, which means a better quality score and in turn lower costs and higher ad rank. So yes, of course you do!
It sounds great but it’s not an easy task – you have to come up with a sales pitch that fits into 3 lines of text made up of only 95 characters in all! That’s a big ask for anyone, but here are some ways you can get an upper hand and outplay your competitors for those valuable clicks.
Of course you won’t be able to use all of these in the same ad so you’ll have to mix and match and test them out in different ads to find out what works best for you. Remember, you should constantly be split testing your ad text to find your best performing ads.
This is something that doesn’t just work with AdWords – it’s a proven strategy in sales copy writing in general. Put prices in your ad: ‘Shoes From Just £9.99’ or if you’re having a sale give a discount percentage ‘Save 20% During June’. You can even put ranges eg ‘Great Choice From £29-£99’
AdWords allow you to include symbols in your ads such as #1, ® , % , $ & é – if these are appropriate to what you’re advertising then use them! Your ad will stand out from your competitors to attract that click.
This is another proven strategy – if you want someone to do something then just tell them! There’s a reason why the internet is full of ‘Buy Now’ buttons☺ Other examples would be ‘Call Us Today’ or ‘Subscribe Now’.
Features tell your customer the specifics of the product or service; the benefit tells them what they will gain by buying it.
Eg a laptop feature would be: ‘14 Hour Battery Life’ and the benefit would be ‘Get More Work Done On The Go’. Both can be used to great effect in your ad copy so test it out and see how well it works for you.
If you’re a local business you can add location extensions to your ads so that customers can see exactly where you are and come in person. Call extensions show your phone number and as an added bonus if a user is on a mobile they can even ‘click to call’. ( Note: don’t forget to use a call tracking number – Google provides them for free)
This is another mainstay of sales copywriting – use guarantees to remove the risk for the customer, or offer a free trial/sample of your product. If you have a no quibble returns policy tell them about it!
This doesn’t just work for AdWords, it’s a surprisingly powerful thing to offer, and you’d be amazed how often customers don’t see past the ‘free shipping’ to see whether they’re actually paying more overall.
Likewise if you offer an express delivery option that might just be what your customer needs so try putting it in your ad. It’s worth considering ad scheduling with this, though, so if someone has to order by noon for fast next day delivery they only see the ad between 9am and 12 noon.
Do you need more clicks on your AdWords ads? Our top 10 tips will help you do just that! ☺
By choosing keywords that reflect the searcher’s question and using ad copy that reinforces it they are much more likely to click on your ad as they will see it as both relevant and the solution to the problem they came to Google to solve.
If you’re lucky enough to have endorsements from major names then use this to your advantage. Or maybe you have 100% positive feedback on eBay, or 10,000 reviews on Google – it’s all proof that you are a reputable, trustworthy company and the searcher will feel much safer and be more likely to click on your ad.
We’ve all seen the TV ads ‘hurry, sales ends soon’: adding a sense of urgency compels people to act more quickly in case they miss it. And example is ‘Save 30% Today Only!’. Bringing scarcity into the equation has a similar effect: ‘Only 20 Remaining’ for example.
So get logged into your AdWords account and start trying some new ads so you can measure them against your existing ones. Keep testing so you’ll always have the best performing ads possible, and more clicks for your AdWords account.
So you have a great product and you want to start selling online? What are your options?
There are a few ways of doing it:
If you decide on this option you’ll need to set up a web hosting account and then install whichever eccommerce package you choose. This is only going to be an option if you’re comfortable with setting up and managing a web hosting account and have the confidence to deal with problems if they occur. It’s NOT an option for the novice as you are responsible for keeping the software up to date and ‘glitch’ free.
There are lots of open source shopping carts available – open source is free to use and is developed by the combined efforts of programmers and users that form a community around the project. They also have active support forums where you can go for help and advice for installing, settin up and managing your online store.
Thirdy party outlets are sites like Amazon, eBay and Etsy. You generally pay a monthly fee to list items and then pay a comission when a product sells.
The advantage of selling on sites like these is that you have instant access to their huge customer base and many of them have a faithful following. From a practical point of view there’s also the advantage that you don’t have to worry about things like payment processing and site security, which of course these days is of utmost importance.
The downside is that you are at the whim of such sites and it’s not unheard of for changes in their policies or site to affect your sales, making you rather vulnerable and lacking in control. Most of them are also very customer centric which of course is not a bad thing in itself but many customers can use this as a form of bribery, knowing that threatening a seller with a negative review can sometimes mean they take advantage and make unreasonable demands!
You also have to pay commisions which can be as high as 20% of the selling price so you have to make sure you take this into account with your pricing.
From the outside this looks just like the first option – you have your own website on your own web address but this is where the similarity ends. You don’t have to set up the hosting or install the shopping cart, that’s all done by the shopping cart themselves. All you have to do is create your account and you’re good to start setting up your shop.
There are plenty of shopping carts to choose from, each varying in functionality and price but my two favourites have to be Shopify and Bigcommerce. They’re both very easy to set up and have lost of great functionality like being able to have product options (sell a shirt in different colours and/or sizes in one product).
Both have some good looking free templates so when you’re starting out you don’t need to pay a designer a fortune to get your shop looking decent.
Not sure which to choose? Both offer a free trial so set one up and have a play!
Google have recently circulated an email in forums and online communities (an excerpt of which is below) stating that Google My Business pages that haven’t been verified will be unduly closed down on 28th July 2015. Here’s what they said:
In the past few months, you may have seen some changes in the look of Google+ pages that have been associated with Google My Business (GMB) accounts. These changes, including how we treat business pages without owners, are part of Google’s ongoing effort to simplify people’s experience with our tools. We are constantly working to provide only valuable and rich content to our users.
On July 28, Google will begin shutting down those GMB-associated Google+ pages that have not been associated with user accounts and are also not verified. You may find that some of your Business View tours also sit on such pages, but note that after this removal of unverified Google+ pages, the Business View tours will still remain available on Google Maps and Google Search.
For many small business owners the process of claiming and verifying their Google My Business or Google+ Local pages as they’re also called doesn’t always run smoothly. First you have to have a Google user account, then claim your listing and wait for your postcard to arrive with the verification code to verify the listing. Many people quite frankly don’t even know if their listing is verified, and many more end up with duplicate pages.
What IS a GMB page even?? If you’re a local business (eg a plumber or tree surgeon) your Google My Business page certainly has some SEO benefits. When you claim your page and your map listing you have the chance to rank locally in the map listing results on Google even if your website is nowhere to be found so that’s a definite advantage. So if you haven’t already claimed your listing you should do so.
What if you’re page is one of those that’s been affected? You can simply create a new Google+ page and follow their process to verify it fully to get you back in the game. Even if you’re not a purely local business you should do this – a fully completed and SEO optimised Google+ Business Page can still help your website’s ranking as a link from here to your website still carries weight.
To get your business on to Google My Business visit this page.