Google Updates AdWords Policy on Lending Products

David Graff, Director of Global Product Policy at Google, recently announced that an update is set to go live on July 13, 2016 regarding how AdWords handles lending products. Lending product ads will soon be prohibited by Google, just like counterfeit goods, illegal drugs, guns and hacking services, just to name a few.

“We’re banning ads for payday loans and some related products from our ads systems,” Graff stated within his recent blog post. “We will no longer allow ads for loans where repayment is due within 60 days of the date of issue.”

What exactly is a payday loan? These types of loans are short-term and usually have a due date that revolves around the consumer’s upcoming pay day. Even though these loans are typically for smaller amounts, they come with an extremely high interest rate if the debt isn’t paid in full when it is due.

“A typical two-week payday loan with a $15 per $100 fee equates to an annual percentage rate of almost 400%. By comparison, APRs on credit cards can range from about 12 percent to 30 percent,” according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Graff goes on to say that they are also banning ads for loans that have an annual percentage rate (APR) of 36% or higher. After a lot of research, he said it was shown that these types of loans can result in unaffordable payment plans and massive default rates for users.

“We will be updating our policies globally to reflect that,” Graff said.

Graff said the decision to end their relationship with lending ad products is to better protect users from deceptive products and companies who are offering harmful loans and credit card offers.

“We’ll continue to review the effectiveness of this policy, but our hope is that fewer people will be exposed to misleading or harmful products,” Graff said.

With this upcoming adjustment to the AdWords policy, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to search for payday lenders. Lenders for these types of loans will still be found within Google’s organic search results. This policy adjustment simply means that you will no longer see advertisements for these loan services at the top of the page.

Google Tests New Text Ad Format

Ever since Google did away with right-hand side text ads in February, a new format that allows for a longer display has been in the testing stages. So what will this new format look like and what does it mean for advertisers?

“Google is undergoing a very strategic change to their paid ad layouts,” said Jake Renter, Director of PPC at Intertwine Interactive. “Phase 1 was removing the clutter, which were the ads on the right-hand side. They realized very few consumers (less than 0.50%) actually clicked on those ads. This freed up a lot of real estate.”

One of the new adjustments within this format test are going to be found within the headlines. This new format is testing the waters with extended headlines, which will also include a new 80-character allowance within the description copy.

“We now know Phase 2 is to allow the ads in the top position to take up part of the available real-estate, by increasing their character limits by 50%,” Renter said. “The expected result is an increased Click-Through-Rate (CTR) by upwards of 20%.”

Another adjustment that is being tested is the URL display format. Advertisers will be able to supplement up to two paths or directories to the domain name.

“In my opinion, this was done in part to better blend the paid ads in with organic listings, as the paid ad will now look eerily similar to organic listings,” Renter said. “For instance, Google typically truncates organic headlines at 60 characters, which is the limit of the new paid headlines.”

This is a closed beta, set to begin a rolled out phase beginning May 12. Intertwine Interactive is excited to have all clients accepted into the program and are eager measure the impact.

“We’re anxious to see what is next as 2016 has already had two major paid announcements, and everything always happens in threes,” Renter said.

Google Removes Ads from Right Side of Desktop Search Results

As of Feb. 19, Google will only display ads at the top and bottom of the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). This comes after the announcement that Google will no longer be showing Adwords ads on the right side of the desktop search results.

“This was the biggest announcement and change Google has made to the paid search landscape in over 3+ years, since Google Enhanced campaigns in February of 2013,” Jake Renter, Director of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) at Intertwine Interactive, said.

Renter believes the biggest impact and true reason for the change revolves around Product Listing Ads (PLAs).

“There’s been a drastic shift in the positioning of PLAs. We’ve seen a 6% increase to shopping ads above the paid ads, and a 15% increase in clicks to PLAs above paid ads,” Renter said.

This recent ad adjustment will affect users worldwide, and will make the desktop display appear more like a mobile experience. In August 2015, Google did increase the number of mobile text ads from two to three. shopping ads above the paid ads, and a 15% increase in clicks to PLAs above paid ads,” Renter said.

“I would assume they would not increase again, but you never know,” Renter said.

According to Renter and the research he has conducted since Google’s ad adjustment, some of the most noticeable impacts include:

  • A 17% increase in overall clicks in the top position.
  • A 1% increase to Click-Through Rates (CTR) in top position.
  • A 4% decrease to CTR in other position.
  • A 2.7% increase to Cost-Per-Click (CPC) in top position.
  • A 1.6% increase to CPC in other.

Renter says that he believes Google is leaving the entire right side open to offer more space for shopping ads, especially since PLAs have been proven to greatly enhance the online shopping experience. This enhancement is evident since it has surpassed the text ads click share percentage.

“More than 57% of all paid ‘NonBrand’ clicks occur on a shopping ad,” Renter said.  “That alone is sufficient evidence that consumers have spoken and have made it known they prefer image based ads to get a visual of the exact product they are looking to purchase.”

If you are interested in learning more about what PPC can do for your company, contact Intertwine Interactive today!

Google AdWords Team Offers 24-Hour Tech Support During Work Week

Earlier this month, the Google AdWords team announced that they will offer 24-hour technical support through their English-based social media outlets Monday–Friday (9 a.m.–8 p.m. ET).

Anyone who is in need of assistance can now reach out to the Google support team via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or YouTube by including the hashtag #AskAdWords with their question, or by visiting their AdWords Help channel on YouTube. At a quick glance, it is easy to see on the Google AdWords’ Twitter account that questions are being answered within a few hours by one of their online specialists.GoogleAdwordsTweet-Offering24hrTechSupport

In regards to using Twitter as a form of tech support for Google AdWords, a potential issue is that the specialists only have 140 characters to assist you with your question. However, if the question is in need of a longer reply, direct messaging can correct that issue.

Another challenge for the Twitter support strategy is that people won’t be able to read through responses if the issue could not be solved in 140 characters or less. This is unlike a public forum where interested parties can scan through questions that have already been asked and answered.

To stay on top of the latest information and updates from Google AdWords, make sure to check in on the Google AdWords Community Digest that publishes weekly.

“How-To” Searches on YouTube up 70%

When it comes to searching for how to do something, 91% of smartphone users rely on their devices to find that information. This has resulted in a 70% year-over-year increase in “how-to” searches on YouTube, according to this article published by Google today.

In 2015 alone over 100 million hours of “how-to” content have been viewed on YouTube in North America. The most popular of these content types deal with how to do practical things like tie and tie, how to apply makeup, how to cook recipes, and so on.

The majority of these searches are coming from millennials, with 67% of millennials surveyed agreeing that they can find a YouTube video on anything they want to learn. In fact, nearly one in three millennials say they’ve purchased a product as a result of watching a how-to video.

It’s not just millennials, everyone is increasingly turning to YouTube to gain insight on how to do things, and Google says marketers are not taking full advantage of this opportunity.

“Marketing is still largely planned against brand moments and milestones, and it is anchored to campaign flights and product launches—not personal moments like these.”

Marketing plans are grounded in traditional one-way media, Google says, referring to broadcasts from brands to large audiences.

With the limitations of traditional one-to-many broadcasts, marketers are not able to accurately gauge whether or not a customer actually needs or wants the product being marketed.

When people search for how to do something, they’re already establishing a need. Digital media, such as informational YouTube videos, offers marketers the opportunity to respond to those needs.

Google offers the following advice to marketers on how to better take advantage of these opportunities:

  • Identify the I-want-to-do moments in which consumers have a need and your brand can play a role.
  • Figure out the questions and concerns people have related to the types of products you sell or the types of projects they are used for?
  • Create I-want-to-do content for your website and YouTube channel to serve as resources for them.
  • Look at when how-to searches occur. Are there particular times of day, week, or year when some topics are more popular?
  • Make your videos easy to find by adding descriptive titles, details, and relevant tags to each video.
  • Use measurement solutions, such as Google’s Brand Lift, to determine if your content was seen by your target audience, and whether or not they paid attention to it.
Source: Search Engine Journal

Google AdWords Introduces Dynamic Structured Snippets

Your paid search listings are about to get a slightly new look and feel with the addition of dynamic structured snippets, the Google AdWords team announced.

Building off the Structured Snippets featured introduced last September to organic search, Google is bringing a similar functionality to search ads where an additional line of text will be added to highlight specifics about your products and services.

“Whether it’s a list of shoe brands or the number of nonstop flights to New York City, this automated extension gives your customers a better sense of what to expect on your website before they click on your ad.”

Dynamic structured snippets are currently configured to show for retail, hotel, and flight searches. Additional verticals will be added later this year, Google says. Here’s an example of what one looks like:

 

If this looks like something you’d rather not have on your ads, you will have the option to opt out by filling out a form, but keep in mind they will be a factor in Ad Rank going forward. Google also reminds that automated extensions tend to improve the average performance of an ad.

If you’re on board with dynamic structured snippets, you won’t have to do anything. AdWords will display the snippet automatically using information contained on your site — so in a sense you will have some control over what gets shown. All the more reason to keep the content on your site accurate and up to date.