September 2014 -
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Archive for September, 2014

The Bleeding Edge of AdWords

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in adwords expert

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Google AdWords changes at warp speed and in technology keeping up with the most current thing is often referred to as staying at the leading edge. In the business world this is jokingly referred to as the ‘bleeding edge’ because early adopters often suffer losses being first into the game. As a result of this many businesses take the position of letting others go first so they enter the new area after the chaos has settled down. This strategy has both positive and negative attributes to it.

The Upside of Early Adopters

Waiting to implement a new feature is not a simple decision. As the new feature rolls out the results might be great but they often degrade over time. One of many possible reasons for this could be that the feature works better and the people that jump immediately get that advantage but only until the rest of the market adopts the new feature. While nobody outside of Google can actually prove this we believe we saw this happen with conversion optimization. Early adopters got a big improvement that degraded over a period of time returning to the same performance level as before the great improvement.

The Downside of Early Adopters

On the other side of this is that many times new features have bugs. Google is infamous for its release and iterate development cycle but the reality is that you could also call it release and test. A bug might be to your benefit or not but what gives you an instant improvement might come roaring back when a problem is found and fixed at your expense.

Early Adopters Need to Be Paranoid

Being an early adopter means that you have to keep your eyes open and be very careful about what you think you know. It is common for performance of a feature to change over time so the fact that one setting works for you today does not mean it will continue to perform. We have seen many features over the years that change in performance over time. The bottom line with all of this is that you have to test continually and never be satisfied with a specific outcome.

Test and Repeat

Regardless of where you are on the adopter spectrum you need to continually test and repeat your tests so you can detect when the system shifts under your feet. Note here that my statement was when it shifts not if it shifts because it simply will – never stop testing!

Callout Extensions

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in adwords expert

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Google recently annouced a new type of ad extension called of all things a “Callout” extension. The intent is simple enough to understand by looking at the example they gave in the base article at the Inside AdWords Blog.

Example of ad with callout extensions

In researching this extension we cannot find any reason not to use this feature. We know that any time that you grow the size of the ad your click through rate (CTR) benefits and certainly the types of items that you would include as callouts are proven performers when it comes to CTR and conversion rate.

The specifications call for up to 4 callouts with a length of 25, however common sense tells us that really is not going to happen. Based on the format above we know this line is maxed out at about 70 total characters and the dash used as a delimiter is at least 3 long. So if your callouts are longer, then the max is probably 3 which is probably an incentive to keep it shorter.

While there is no data to support this yet we suspect that like all parts of AdWords, relevancy is going to play in this process so using more than 3 callouts is probably a good idea. In early testing it is clear that when it is loaded with more than 3 that it will go to the extensions it thinks are going to be the strongest. In our first test we included known power words like ‘Free’ and they got the strongest service level. We are a long way from being able to prove this but the stronger call to action words are likely to get better service. Bottom line right now is we are recommending that you use 8-10 callouts and cull that down to 6-8 as you find your strongest performers.

The other issue here is that you cannot control when callouts will appear in your ad because as Google so eloquently put it these are co-triggered extensions. They may or may not be there just like other extensions. It is unlikely that we will see these in the side positions so you have to consider this when writing your ad copy. The ideal callouts are also common in the body of the current ad copy so some consideration of the complexity of duplicate content in top positions or missing call to action item on the side. From our reading of the policy you should not have duplicate content between the ad copy and the callout extensions however if you remove the callout item from the ad it is very likely you will end up with a weaker ad.

The recommendation here is to implement callouts as quickly as possible and think about the potential impact on your other ad copy.