The whole “business is slow in the summer months” thing doesn’t apply to the Google Advertising team.
The Inside Adwords blog has been busy this week, churning out announcement after announcement about some of the latest improvements made to Google’s ad offerings.
What’s the team cooking up?
In 2013, Google launched an ad unit in Gmail that sat at the top of the inbox and mimicked the look & feel of regular email. They’ve spent the last couple years fine-tuning the experience and this week made the ad type available to everyone.
Now, they’ve opted to shower fewer but higher-quality ads in Gmail, and as with all other ad types, they give users the ability to control which types of ads they see.
This is definitely one for advertisers to capitalize on now while competition is low; it won’t stay low for long.
You might think it’s a way to repurpose your email marketing assets, but we’d actually recommend using this ad unit to test email marketing layouts and CTAs first to see what resonates before pushing a winning version to the valuable inboxes you’ve been granted access to organically.
Google is rolling out structured snippet extensions, a variation of dynamic snippets, which was introduced in March (in which Google pulled in what it felt were the most appropriate values to highlight about your products & services). With structured snippet extensions, you take control over highlighting elements of the products or services you’re advertising.
“From amenities to brands to product types, you’ll now be able to select a predefined ‘Header’ and input a list of customized values that make the most sense for your business. For example, if you’re a hotel brand promoting hotel property, you can now create a structured snippet for “Amenities” and order them accordingly.”
Snippet headers (predefined by Google currently) include Amenities, Brands, Courses, Degree programs (heads up, EDU clients!), Destinations, Featured Hotels, Insurance Coverage, Neighborhoods, Services, Shows, Styles and Types.
We’ll be adding these extensions to client campaigns. They give you an increase in ad space, give you a bump in ad relevancy, help your CTR, and help you highlight important aspects of your offer that you couldn’t perhaps fit in your ad copy.
And though it’s not specific to AdWords, in related advertising / Google news, Google’s Chrome browser began “blocking” Adobe Flash advertisements, pausing animations unless users click on the ads to play them (it doesn’t actually prevent the ad from loading).
Google says the move will speed up web browsing, improve battery life on mobile devices, and keep users secure. Ads running on HTML5 will not experience the same pausing, as it doesn’t take as long to load and doesn’t hinder the user experience like Flash does.
Is this *that* big of a deal? Yes and no. Chrome is the most preferred browser of desktop users, so it will impact how users see and potentially interact with your ads if they’re built in Flash.
On the flip side, hopefully as an advertiser, you’ve heard of and reacted to the demise of Flash and therefore have your creative team building ads in the HTML5 language. It actually isn’t unheard of that folks are still building things in Flash, since Flash based banners are something like 84% of all ad units served to desktop (still!).
For our clients, Google has been converting Flash to HTML5 since earlier this year anyway, so anything we’d upload to Google Display Network isn’t affected.
Facebook, on the other hand, sometimes renders video in Flash, so it could be interesting to see if & how this Chrome blocking will impact the auto-play around video ad units and native videos uploaded to the site.
That’s it for this week’s Google Ad news – now go and have a great holiday weekend to celebrate what an amazing summer this has been!