As of January 9th, 2017 Match Media is now Blue 449

We’re in one of the biggest periods of change in AdWords history

We’re in one of the biggest periods of change in AdWords history, and the latest updates have really got us thinking. First there was Customer Match, then they took away the RHS ads and now the focus is on device bid modifiers and messaging thanks to ETAs (Expanded Text Ads).

Device Bid Modifiers

Recently Google announced they would be bringing in tablet bid modifiers. Hallelujah! For a long time, we have been able to split performance out by tablet devices, but do absolutely nothing about it. While this is huge for AdWords advertisers, what could be even more powerful is the ability to set device base bids. This means all that work we did to group everything together for Enhanced Campaigns could be thrown out of the window as we now have the ability to create true device specific campaigns once more.

Tablet accounts for around 13% of our clicks here at Match, which is not an insignificant amount. But the real wins could be across mobile where 55% of our clicks come from. We threw Google’s best practice out of the window for one client when they launched Enhanced Campaigns.  While others consolidated, we continued to split out mobile in separate campaigns and saw strong results. This got us a highly commended award at the ADMAs for the Best Use of Search. While that competitive advantage looks to have faded, this change provides a new opportunity to outmaneuvre the competition with some creative thinking.

Expanded Text Ads

ETA, or Expanded Text Ads, could play a big part in this and were rolled out as a BETA across few Australian advertisers a few weeks back. This allows us to write 2 x 30 character headlines and an 80 character description line allowing more freedom and creativity. We were lucky enough to get a few clients on the first rollout and saw mixed results. Google initially claimed increased CTRs of up to 25% but this has since been brought down to a more modest 10% after initial results in Australia. We have seen anything from a 40% increase in CTR to a 20% drop across various accounts and campaigns. But, if we take the non-brand average across all accounts, we do see an 8% improvement which is close to Google’s claims.

Old

RSA Old Ad

ETA

RSA ETA

Though we have 2 x 30 character headlines our top tip is to watch out for truncation as we have seen this across some of our new ETA copy. Google now recommend to keep the headlines under 33 character to avoid truncation, though we recommend playing around and seeing what you can get away with.

MotorServe ETA Trucated

The BETA has just been rolled out across all advertisers so we will soon start to see the wider impact. This new ad format will replace the current format by as soon as October so we know it’s here to stay, but there’s a catch. Google have taken away the option to have a device preference across ETAs so our copy will now be the same on all devices. Unless, of course, we split our campaigns back out by device and create tailored copy for each device. Suddenly this tactic looks like it could be the way to go to retain a strong device specific strategy.

This could mean huge account overhauls and will be another learning period for us Searchies with much trial and error, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.