The Role of Text Ads In 2013

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “The Role of Text Ads In 2013.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Fundamentally, why do you believe Google continues to create new ad formats and extensions?

  • Who wants to pay more for the same? Google has to create new ad formats and extensions to grow revenue. Just paying more for the same keywords with standard text ads due to more ad auction competition doesn’t excite CMO’s. – Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)
  • Have to stay fresh and current. People will tire of the same old thing with time. – Brian Gaspar (@BGasparr)
  • IMO They do the same thing we do, test new things to see what sticks. Always looking for higher CTR / CR ad styles. – Kirk Williams (@KECreate)
  • Keep AdWords fresh, retain advertisers, keep customers happy, allow the cream of the crop to be just that to an element. – Anisha Dattani (@AnishaDattani)
  • Growing revenue. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
  • To test which ad formats generate more revenue for them. Same we do for ad testing. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • All of these new formats and extensions tend to be more visual in nature – searchers like shiny objects. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • Have to constantly battle banner blindness – new formats surprise searchers/surfers and force them to pay attention to ads. – Tally Keller (@tallykeller)
  • Google is adjusting to the searchers behavior and they want to make more money. – Brett Stevens (@BrettStevens1)
  • I think Google creates new ad formats and extensions, because they maximize communication with customers. – Jonathan Levey (@jlevey)
  • I would also argue that searchers have become smarter…new formats and extensions try and deal with searcher intent. – Matt Umbro
  • Sooner or later @BingAds will catch up, they innovate to justify advertisers spending more with the hope of them making more. – Brian Gaspar
  • Folding images videos & maps into organic results to build “Universal Search” increases user involvement with all listings. – Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
  • If you had one of the most profitable and amazing ad platforms in the world, wouldn’t you want to keep making it BETTER? – Max Fink (@maxfink_SEM)
  • Personally, I love all of the new formats and extensions. It makes every day exciting and interesting! – Matt Umbro
  • As Advertisers get more saavy, so do their audiences. Also contstantly new ad formats with new devices/platforms/etc. – Gil Hong (@ghong_ssm)
  • If the ad format functionality is useful for consumers it establishes more trust w/ advertisers which leads to more clicks & rev. – Reece O’Neill (@reeceoneill)
  • It’s also how you play the big chess game. It’s how you force the competition off your SERP. – Ira Kates (@IraKates)
  • To fill up more adspace across the Internet…. I.e make more money! – Laura McDonald (@lauramcdonald0)

Q2: Can advertisers succeed in PPC without using any ad extensions? Why or why not?

  • Only if they are really, really niche. – Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
  • I’d always suggest 2 utilise extensions but I think if you’ve got a strong enough brand you’re already ahead of the game. – Anisha Dattani
  • Yes, it’s still some of the most targeted advertising out there…can still have success if done badly BUT if done badly, they are leaving money on the table. – Jeremy Brown
  • Agreed! If there was nothing new to learn, our jobs would be easy, boring and no fun! I like the new formats. – Harris Neifield
  • If they’re display only, then yes. Also depending on the ext, not all advertisers thrive in the top 3 spots. – Gil Hong
  • Sure. There is always display network. – Luke Alley
  • Depends on industry/competition/etc. At this point prob, but the way Google is going with SERPs design”¦ prob not in the future. – Kirk Williams
  • Not if you are an ecomm merchant. – Matt Umbro
  • Succeed as in get an ROI? Yes, Get the best ROI? No. – Alma Smith (@Alma_Smith)
  • It’s a two part answer. Short term starting yes, long term no. Need to innovate to ensure long term YoY success. – Brian Gaspar
  • Sure they can succeed if they have the right product-price-target, but it’s a matter of degree and maximizing ROI. – Max Fink
  • It’s possible, but becoming more difficult. The entire ad environment is really shifting away from traditional text ads. – Cleofe Betancourt (@askppc)
  • Sure – especially if they’re in an industry where all other advertisers are relatively “un-savvy” about extensions. – David Szetela (@Szetela)
  • IMO, ad extensions can only help with PPC because they make ads more useful and relevant to searchers. – Jonathan Levey
  • Can they succeed without extensions? Maybe, but why make life more difficulty? SiteLinks aren’t too hard to make. – Harris Neifield
  • They can succeed, but could be limiting themselves in a big way. – Franco Puetz (@FrancoPuetz)
  • Agreed, straight text ads will always have their place, but the extensions are how you grow and increase exposure. – Matt Umbro
  • Possibly if you have a solid PLA strategy since Product Ads were dropped. Tho not sure why you wouldn’t use Ext! – Kirk Williams
  • I’m always surprised when clients are hesitant to utilize extensions–they are (usually)low risk/high reward options! – Erin Sagin (@erinsagin)
  • Straight text ads are the ppc equivalent of blocking and tackling. it’s hard to win games if you can’t block and tackle. – Harris Neifield
  • As a side note, I now consider ad extensions part of the fundamentals. They are a given in all accounts. – Matt Umbro
  • Probably. I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that extensions led to curiosity clicks, but could never A/B test. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • Yes, I have a $60k a month client that avg po 5 because the CPL is much better there, but not typical for most clients. – Brett Stevens
  • Most def. Optimizing for lower positions that often lack extensions can still drive solid ROI. Exts can be confusing to searcher. – Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
  • I dunno…visibility is increasingly difficult if competitors are using PLA’s and extensions. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
  • Yes, not all advertisers spend enough to obtain the top positions to benefit from using ad extensions. – Laura McDonald

Q3: How should you use PLA performance to determine new Search Network text ad campaigns?

  • Well the obvious one: use the top selling PLA products to create new product-specific campaigns around. – Kirk Williams
  • Use PLAs for keyword research. Make sure you have text ads for best search queries. Also, people bidding PLAs based on product price. Good idea for text ads as well. – Jeremy Brown
  • Assess SQR report to assess search demand for particular products in which to design a text campaign to accompany PLA efforts. – Brian Gaspar
  • Mine SQ reports for new keywords & negatives. 3.2: Products suck/rule in PLA’s? Remove (or add) them to search! – Aaron Levy
  • PLA’s can help with LP’s for text ads. PLA’s send traffic to product pages, their conv rate can help decide if/how to build LP’s. – Harris Neifield
  • Some ecomm goes best to product pages but you don’t know that until you test against LP’s. PLA’s are a natural test. – Harris Neifield
  • Beyond using SQRs to drive kw dev, account structure & negatives, we’ve also started to use it to refine ad & landing page copy. – Jason Lehmbeck (@jasonlehmbeck)

Q4: For ecomm campaigns, should traditional Search Network text ad campaigns be the main focus? Why or why not?

  • Depends. For certain industires, PLAs are not shown as much. Also, some high-volume head terms don’t show PLAs. – Jeremy Brown
  • Yes, I always focus on PLA setup first before running text ad campaigns. – Matt Umbro
  • I’ve found practically this always becomes the case. Only so much Opt to do on PLAs, & depends on products for Display Net. – Kirk Williams
  • Would say remarketing text ads on display should be the main focus (if you have the vol.). Cheap clicks and highly relevant. – Gil Hong
  • Definitely a large focus since this channel is higher up the funnel. – Heather Cooan
  • Diversity = Stability! By utilizing multiple options PLAs Text ads etc you help diversify your risk and potential for success. – Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
  • Ideally, It’d be nice if Google continues to create new ways for PLAs to be Opt as they move ecomm SERPs over more to them. – Kirk Williams
  • You have to focus on optimizing both text and PLA and learning about the interplay between the two. – Jason Lehmbeck
  • Ultimately PLAs tend to be more targeted at lower cost per clicks – show more of an impact quicker. – Matt Umbro
  • Depending on the industry and competition, a combination of search, display & PLAs should be used also depends on objectives and KPIs of activity as to which to use. Visibility, ROI targets etc. – Laura McDonald
  • IMO not the main focus, but it starts there and then needs to be built upon then with PLA’s. – Brian Gaspar

Q5: How have your text ad writing habits changed (if they have) with the new formats that Google allows?

  • I’m getting more creative for body copy since I can cover a ton in extensions. – Heather Cooan
  • Use headlines for CTA’s instead of brand names or keywords. They show enough in other places as it is. – Aaron Levy
  • Branded and NonBranded treated differently, but in general you get more space, so your main adtext has more flexibility. – Max Fink
  • I’ve said it a million times (now a million & 1), but at least 1 ad in every ad group is written to allow for the long headline. – Matt Umbro
  • Definitely trying to include all the possible text format variants (i.e. ending line 1 with a punctuation). – Gil Hong
  • Text ad writing has allowed for more creativity to stand out from the competition, especially with enhanced sitelinks. – Jonathan Levey
  • With these new formats such as Enhanced Sitelinks, focus could be on product value and advantage with incentive following. – Brian Gaspar
  • Also, always use proper casing for your display URLs because they could show in the headline! – Matt Umbro
  • Yes – writing D lines for pos 1 so that they’re pulled up for a longer line. – Sarah Conway (@dothesethings)
  • Still amazed how many ads we see that don’t use punctuation on Line 1. Should be used almost always. – Jeremy Brown
  • In the end it’s still about distinction and relevance. The ad research we is deeper & tactics shift but core principles remain. – Mark Jensen (@Just_Markus)

Q6: How should Display Network text ads be written differently than Search Network text ads (if they should at all)?

  • It’s super important to tweak to the demo of the placement on display. Gotta stand out to interrupt regularly scheduled browsing. – Heather Cooan
  • Currently haven’t looked into best practices, eager to learn! – Gil Hong
  • Have to grab attention on Display. User not actively searching. Words like Free, etc. more important. – Jeremy Brown
    • One reason I’m glad that Google added the huge arrow to text ads on the DN. – Matt Umbro
  • More “BOOM” to them, since you oftentimes have banner blindness working against you. – Cleofe Betancourt
  • As I run Display campaigns I’m trying to start a convo or create a relationship. I need to speak directly to my target audience. – Heather Cooan
  • Room for flexibility with descriptiveness on Display ads. Could use Display more around targeted placements around intent. – Brian Gaspar
  • It’s interuption advertising. We go more sensational w. general ads. Tech sector we get super techy. – Mark Jensen
  • Display ads should be used to educate the consumer on something they might not be readily researching. – Franco Puetz
  • We’ve also seen big wins when testing the ad length. Sometimes super short text ads just soar in display. – Mark Jensen

Q7: What are some tactics you use to write mobile text ads?

  • Experiment with diff mobile-targeted language: “Easy Tablet Ordering!” Etc. – Kirk Williams
  • Short and sweet. – Heather Cooan
    • Exactly, I tend to use 60 characters or under. – Matt Umbro
  • Qualifying ad copy. You probably 1st or 2nd link people see on tiny mobile screen. Make sure you want those clicks! – Jeremy Brown
  • Acknowledge that searchers are using their phone! i love using language like “answers at your fingertips” – Erin Sagin
    • Exclusive mobile is no longer an option, but you can still write mobile specific ads using different display URLs. – Matt Umbro
  • With enhanced campaigns, exclusively mobile is no longer an option, but in bing we test our display URLs. – Franco Puetz
  • We’ve done some fun ad text opt using CTAs on research related queires in mobile to drive video & image viewing / sharing. – Jason Lehmbeck


More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
• Alma Smith (@Alma_Smith)
• Anisha Dattani (@AnishaDattani)
• Brett Stevens (@BrettStevens1)
• Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
• Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
• Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
• Cleofe Betancourt (@askppc)
• David Szetela (@Szetela)
• Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
• Erin Sagin (@erinsagin)
• Franco Puetz (@FrancoPuetz)
• Gil Hong (@ghong_ssm)
• Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• Ira Kates (@IraKates)
• Jason Lehmbeck (@jasonlehmbeck)
• Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
• Jonathan Levey (@jlevey)
• Kirk Williams (@KECreate)
• Laura McDonald (@lauramcdonald0)
• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Mark Jensen (@Just_Markus)
• Max Fink (@maxfink_SEM)
• Reece O’Neill (@reeceoneill)
• Sarah Conway (@dothesethings)
• Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
• Tally Keller (@tallykeller)

The Role of Streamcaps in 2013

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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