Google AdWords: Dynamic & Responsive Search Ads, Ad Suggestions

By: Caitlin Garcia

Is the age of artificial intelligence closer than we think? Over the past few months, Google has slowly been rolling out several new ‘automated’ Google AdWords management features. From auto-applied ad suggestions and extensions to new dynamic ads on the Google Display Network and now responsive search ads, it seems like they are trying to help managers run their programs as successfully and easily as possible. We’ll take a dive into each one of these new Google AdWords pay-per-click features to help you decide if your brand should be taking advantage.

Auto-Applied Ad & Extension Suggestions

Google just officially released their new AdWords Ad Suggestions feature in April. This feature allows Google to develop variations of your existing text ads that may increase performance on your Search Network pay per click campaigns. That sounds great, right? Maybe not.

A number of brands must pass all company-related communication through their Legal teams before the copy can be run, some use trademarked terms that need special approval and others simply prefer control over the way consumers see their message.

You can turn this off, but it must be done at the Account level in the new AdWords interface. If you are interested, but weary at first, all suggestions will show up on your Recommendations page where you can apply or dismiss them. Ad Suggestions are pre-selected as auto-apply, so if you don’t review them within 14 days, they are going live. This also goes for Extensions, so make sure you look at your site links and callouts.

Google AdWords Automated Ad Suggestions

Of course, from Google’s perspective, they are providing free optimization services and helping advertisers save time, but anyone who’s been in the PPC space knows that Google doesn’t always know what works best. They are aiming to focus on ad groups already set to ‘optimize’ their ad rotation based on performance and help advertisers with only 1 variation build out their campaign structure. Our advice? Review them and implement what makes sense. Pay close attention to results and decide what makes the most sense for your brand. If they work, great, allow Google to do some of your heavy lifting.

Responsive Ads on the Google Display Network (GDN)

Though it has only been about a year, many of you may have forgotten or not even known that Google quietly removed the ability for advertisers to create new standard text ads on the Display Network. That may come as a surprise to those of you currently running text ads. That’s because Google essentially grandfathered anything existing into a new responsive ad. Sneaky, right?

The goal of removing text ads was for advertisers to adopt the new responsive ads feature. Google wants ads to match the content, layout and even design of the sites they are shown on ultimately disguising the ad itself and encouraging users to click based on a better experience. Think of it as a play towards native content.

That being said, they didn’t widely or aggressively announce that existing text ads would be automatically entered into this new ad format. This means that the text ads you have living within AdWords aren’t necessarily what users will see live within the Google Display Network. If you have a client with strong legal ramifications, we suggest pausing your text ads and focusing on display versions.

If not, take advantage of (hopefully) increased performance from this new ad structure. Try not to think of text v. display and instead adopt a new mindset of a fully responsive ad based on a user’s journey.

Google AdWords’ Newest Announcement…Responsive Search Ads

While still in Beta, Google has officially announced the release of Responsive ads for search. What does this mean? Potentially more real estate on the search engine results page paired with more control over your brand’s message.

If you’ve tried Dynamic ads on the GDN, then you’re familiar with breaking your ads down into individual pieces – CTA button, text, landing page, design v. an entire ad. Think of responsive ads for search in the same way.

As an advertiser, you will be able to enter multiple headlines and descriptions and Google Adwords will basically act as a multivariate tester. They will start to serve combinations of your headlines and descriptions based on your PPC goals. Not only do you get a ‘free’ testing platform, but Google’s also giving brands the ability to show up to 3 headlines instead of the standard 2, and up to 2 90-character descriptions instead of the current single 80 characters. Imagine all the real estate!

Google AdWords Responsive Search Ads

While in Beta, advertisers can load up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions per ad. Make sure you think through all the potential combination scenarios to plan for your outcome. Some tips – the headlines should work together if needed, but also provide a variable for testing like different product features or offers. Use numerous CTAs in your different descriptions to see what performs the best.

There is an option to pin specific headlines and descriptions to certain parts of the ad for brands that have legal issues or simply want to try responsive ads with an element of control. Contact your Google Rep if you want to get into the Beta. If you’re a current Pico client, chances are you’re already taking advantage!

Wrapping Up

So, what do all these new features have in common? The need for less manual resource behind the scenes in Google AdWords. That doesn’t mean that Account Managers will be replaced by machine learning any time soon. Think of this as an opportunity to free up time and money for larger initiatives, more strategic analysis and more learnings from your campaigns that can integrate into your other efforts. As always, reach out to us if you are looking for a strategic marketing partner // digital marketing agency.

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