Nick Rennard
By Nick Rennard | SEM, Video | August 18, 2016

Google Display Network Responsive Ads

Responsive Ads

Hello fellow advertisers! Today I will be discussing a new Google AdWords ad copy rollout: Responsive Ads for Google Display Network (GND). These are similar to my last blog regarding Expanded Text Ads for Google Search Network. The primary difference is that Responsive Ads are for the display network. I’ll review the similarities between these types of ads, and also discuss best practices and give you some examples of what they look like. Enjoy!

Full Transcript:

Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of my video blog series. I am your host, Nick Renard, and today we’re going to be talking about Google Display Network responsive ads. This is a new type of ad that Google is rolling out with. They said that they’re expecting to have most of this live by October, I believe is what they said, although, everything with Google betas and alphas is always subject to change. Sometimes it comes out 6 months earlier, sometimes it comes out 2 years later, sometimes it doesn’t come out at all, or they end up going a different route entirely. I’ll give you a lowdown on the overview of this.

You’ll recall that in my last video blog, I went over expanded text ads. Responsive ads are similar to the expanded text ads that I went over last time. The biggest difference is that these are going to be on the display network rather than the search network. The expanded text ads, the advantages we had on those were we had significantly more room to write ad copy which allowed us to get our ads clicked on more, higher click-through rates, pushed our competitors further down the page because we have more ad copy, and gives us more opportunities to write creative ad writing, so I gave some examples of asking and answering questions in my last blog. Vlog? Blog? Blog.

One of the biggest reasons that these are being revamped is mostly for mobile. Everything is transitioning towards mobile these days, and they’ve found that the larger headlines that they’ve been doing in the expanded text ads and the responsive ads are effective on mobile and so yeah, you can see here, “Internal studies shown up to 12% increase in CTR for the ETAs,” we see … I’ll go over some of the statistics for the responsive ads shortly so the point is is that these are similar, but they’re tailored for the display network. Let’s go over some of this stuff here. We have greater creative input for advertisers. We can upload images, headlines, and descriptions that meet your brand guidelines. These are all from Google. This recently just came out to us, so we just learned about it ourselves.

They’ve found that there have been more conversions coming from the ads within the … They do internal tests on the old ads versus the newer responsive ads with the expanded text ads. They always beta test this stuff before they roll it out for us so the tests that they did on a similar product showed 20% increase in conversions at a 33% lower CPA or cost per acquisition, compared to the old ads. Sometimes those numbers are a little bit inflated, but usually, they always go based off of statistical significance. Long story short in this is that the new responsive ads are going to be strictly better than the old ads, assuming you’re using conversions and cost per conversion as your KPI, which you should be. Vlogs and blogs about that, as well.

These ads will drive awareness beyond just the click that native ads, that they tried uploading, or that they did testing on were viewed 53% more often than the banner ads which is pretty significant. The difference between native and display ads, and this is a lot of the reason that they’re switching over to the new style, and I’ll show you some examples of what they actually look like here on the next slide. Native ads generally have more information, more text on them. The display ads are going to be more brand awareness, so it’s just going to be more graphicy, have a logo. They encourage you on display ads to not really use that many words, maybe like 10 to 15 words on them. These ads on the responsive ads for the Google Display Network, what they’re realizing is that the native ads, you can see on the previous note, viewed 53% more often than banner ads.

They’re starting to realize that the text on the ads isn’t all that bad after all, and yeah. It’s showing better stats which is why they’re transitioning over to it. It says here, “Google is leaning more towards native, but not all the way,” which is why they’re encouraging us to use more copy in the ads. I have a final note here, there’s definitely a balance between that. Just because they say use more ad copy doesn’t mean you want to have a wall of text in your ad. What it means is that we want to have more information so that the … Well, client. Potential client, or potential customer feels like they have more information about your product before clicking on your ad and going to your website. They found that to be more effective.

Here we go with the examples of what they look like. My favorite 2 examples are the ones here where it says, “Standard text here.” You can see “Book stylish hotels in New York City, plan your getaway today and get the best rates.” A very typical text ad. Then, you can see with the GDN responsive ads, the biggest difference between these 2 is that we get more room to be writing, so we get more headlines, we get more description lines, we get more characters. Not a huge difference in those. I’m actually in the following slide, I’m going to show you the exact differences between these but this, I wanted to give you a visual first.

You can see here in the rich media text one has an image with some text over the image. One of the biggest differences with the GDN ads is that the text is actually complete separate from the image. That’s actually one of my favorite changes because one of the biggest problems that we had with trying to get clients to upload display ads is that we needed a graphic designer to resize the images and overlay the text and sometimes that could get a little convoluted or complicated, or the graphic designer that we were working with on their team, I don’t want to say that they were incompetent, but sometimes those jobs are just easier said than done, and it can take longer than you would like it take.

What they’re doing is they’re segmenting the image from the text entirely, so now all we have to do is have a high resolution image, upload that, and then you can see here how the text shows up below the images. Yeah, I think it just simplifies things and allows us to make more lucrative images at a faster rate, which is great, especially if you have a large campaign where you’re trying to rotate things in and out and do A/B split testing, figure out what’s working, what’s not working, et cetera. Let’s go over the exact differences on these. Here’s the specs between the 2, so here’s the original GDN text ads and then on the left and then on the right you have the GDN responsive ads.

You can see the old version, the headlines, we only got 1 headline, and it was 25 characters long. The new headline/headlines, there’s 2, so it’s plural now. There’s 2 of them. 1 of them is 25 characters, so the first one is going to be 25 characters and the next one’s going to be 90 characters. That’s very similar to what you see in the expanded text ads on the search network. Our first 2 headlines I believe are 30 characters on the ETAs and the next one is 70, so you can see how they’re giving you a couple of shorter lines, and then one really long line to put a longer description in there. The old one, the old specs, we got 2 description lines, 35 characters each, so a total of 70. In the new one, they’re just merging that into 1 description line, but now they’re giving you an extra 20 characters, so now we get up to 90 characters on that, so that’s good.

On the image, again, we talked a little bit about the image already, and how we had to … Well, I guess this is for text ads, but the advantages that with the new responsive ads, we don’t have that text overlay on the images makes it easier. They recommend here uploading an image of 1200 x 628. Those specs are going to be important. The reason that they have such a big image there as the recommendation is you want to upload a high resolution image because often times you’re going to be cropping, re-sizing, so if it’s a crappy image and we’re trying to blow it up, it may turn blurry or pixelated, and we don’t want that.

Here, under advertiser name and final URL, one of the advantages of what they’re doing with the new ads is they’re revamping the display URL and so we actually get a little more room to be working with on the display URL. It’s not really a huge change, but it does give us strictly more text to be working with in our ads which make our ads that much bigger, which is also extremely important in these next few months as they’re transitioning over to the new ads because if you jump on this quickly, then your ads are going to be much bigger, have better quality scores than your competitors, and so you’re going to have an advantage out the gates when they do decide to launch this product live. All right, let’s move on here.

I’m going to go over some of the best practices that they have from Google. Some of these will be very good, some of them are things that are kind of obvious so I’ll point those out for you. The first one is regarding the images. They recommend using simple images that make sense at a glance on a range of screen sizes, for mobile and desktop, which is really important because you’ve got to consider some people are going to be looking at this on a massive monitor at their desk. Other people are going to be looking at a tiny screen on their cellphone. Yeah, they say use it to support the main point in your headline, description, and landing page. I have another note here that your headline description and landing page need to line up, so the ad copy between those and the words between those, and even the images between those need to line up, in order to get you high quality scores.

If you have different keywords in your ad than you do on your landing page, we’ve found that that generally lowers quality scores overall, so it’s a good idea to make sure that those line up. That’s something that I threw in there that wasn’t from Google. Again, for the image sizes, they’re recommending 1200 x 628. That’s just the biggest image size. Again, it’s just for resolution purposes. The last thing here is to avoid text or calls to action in your image. It’s actually the opposite of what they used to recommend, because we always wanted a call to action, but now they’re including a call to action separately from the image, so what they want now is just an image, no text, nothing. The text and all that is going to be filled out in other fields, so the image is just the image.

All right. Best practices on the logo. Now we get to insert a logo. I believe the logo’s actually optional. If you do upload a logo, it has to be perfectly square. It says here, “Consider providing a logo even though” … Oh, it is optional, yeah. This will increase the branded assets shown in your ads. Yeah, the logo’s nice. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want your company’s logo on your ads. It is optional, so you don’t have to have it, but they highly recommend it. Best practices regarding the headlines, draw interest by writing longer editorial style, 70 to 90 character headlines.

Now, since we have 90 characters now instead of 2 broken up 35 character headlines, we get a lot more room to get creative. They say here, “Entertain, question, and inspire versus overselling a product or service.” This is probably one of my favorite best practice suggestions that they have. When we only have 35 lines of text, we are often limited to how creative we can get, especially if you have really long keywords that you were trying to include. I was always use the word “communications” as an example keyword, because a lot of our clients bit on the keyword “communications” in some form or another, but it’s just so many characters in that one word and it’s so much ad space. It’s a big word.

If you’re trying to fit that in a call to action line that’s only 25 or 35 characters long, it can be kind of difficult to get creative with those, but now with 90 characters, we get more room to be doing things like asking questions and answering them, or even just setting them up. You could even write about 2 different aspects of, or I guess advantages of your product or service within your ad, and still fit that in, just because we have so much space now. I have a couple of examples here. I mentioned the example of asking a question and answering it, so the first one here would be an ad example that says, “Need new appointment scheduling software? Schedule demo with our experts.”

Then, the next one that would be less, so you can see how I ask a question there and then answer it, so it’s like, yeah, pretty straightforward. Then, the following one here that I would consider to be less good says, “Buy now, free quote, call today, we’re the best.” That’s how a lot of … That’s an oversimplification of how our ads used to … Obviously we’d never upload an ad that looked exactly like that, but you can see how there’s really no setup in that. It’s just spamming you with call to actions. Doesn’t really give any information about the product or what they are, whereas in the first one, you can see that it’s appointment scheduling software, you can see the call to action is scheduling a demo, which is also answering the question that you originally asked in the first line.

Getting a little more, I don’t know if poetic is the right word, but creative is probably a better word, with your ad copy, is definitely a suggestion that they advocate, and that we definitely advocate as well. Moving on, the description, make sure that the description is different from the headline that you have. You’re going to have a lot of room to write in your headline, and same thing with your description lines, so breaking it up so that you’re not talking about the same thing the whole time. Maybe you know, including just the keywords that you’re interested in hitting on the first line, along with a call to action, and then your description line, the 90 character one, is kind of a longer sentence explaining exactly what you are, maybe some of the advantages of using your product or maybe a particular promotion, something like that, but breaking it up a little bit.

Again, we have so much room to work with so why not do more? It says, “This will allow you to get the most opportunity to get your message out. We have a lot more room to work with in the new ads so we can be more creative with ad copy strategies.” Moving on. Best practices for the number of creatives. “To optimize the performance of responsive ads, create a responsive ad using creatives from the top performing text in your ad group.” This is pretty straightforward. Essentially what they’re saying is to take the ads that were performing well previously, and don’t try to revamp it entirely, but just try to build on top of that. You can use the same copy that you were using in the previous ads that you’ve already done A/B split testing on, but just try to add an extra description line, because we have that extra room to work with, and keep going from there.

The next one it says that Google will automatically optimize for the best performing ads. This is one where I actually would not condone that at all. We never recommend giving Google any kind of control over bids or bid adjustments or ad rotations or anything like that. We advocate educating yourself about it and doing it manually. Any time that you give Google control over that kind of stuff, you’ve got to realize that Google is a business and their biggest concern is making money, which means getting clicks, but getting a bunch of clicks is not necessarily good for you if those clicks aren’t converting, which is why you should be doing this stuff manually, and be doing the bid optimization based on what you’re KPIs are as a company.

If it’s just strictly for brand awareness, then you might want to look at impressions, or if you’re trying to generate revenue for your company, then you should be using conversions, or cost for conversion as your KPI. We actually have some blogs that have written about that as well. I have one called “Understanding Your KPIs,” you can check out if you want. Moving on, best practices for update frequency. This will be very specific to each advertiser. Keep in mind that every new ad requires time to be learned by AdWords to understand CTR and conversion performance. I even print the [inaudible 00:16:47] statistical significance.

Except the system will take 3 to 7 days to learn the new ad creative. What that all means, all they’re saying is that make sure you have statistical significance before rotating your ads. I suppose that isn’t relevant if you’re using the automatic optimizations from Google, but again, we don’t advocate that, so assuming that you’re not doing that, just make sure that before you decide that one ad is under performing, or outperforming another ad, that you have statistical significance for that data before pulling the trigger on that.

Anyway, that’s an overview of what’s coming out. Again, we just learned about it very recently ourselves, so we will be releasing more content on these, and as we start getting these uploaded for our clients and start testing them, we’ll start writing more blogs and vlogs explaining maybe some more in depth views of how they look in the editor, some of the advantages, some of the success stories that we’ve had, maybe some examples to try for you. Look out for that, and I will see you guys in my next video blog. Thanks for watching.

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