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Changes to Google ads: what’s new and what’s coming next?

At UWP, we’re always on the lookout for changes to Google ads.

Like us, the beady-eyed among you may recently have noticed a change in the way Google ads are displayed in SERPs.

The ad tag icons have changed colour – from yellow to a rather fetching shade of green.

Changes to Google ads

Google goes green – but why?

Users in many countries began noticing the sneaky colour change in April.

This was Google testing the waters – and not for the first time.

Last month the search engine giant confirmed the change was official, and began rolling out the green ad tags worldwide.

So is this just a summer makeover, or is there more to it than that?

Well, the ad tag is now the same colour as the URL displayed next to it, which the more cynical of you might interpret as an attempt to make it less obvious. We couldn’t possibly comment of course!

It may seem like a subtle change – many users may not even have noticed.

However, even subtle changes can have a profound effect when you consider that UK marketers alone spent £4.36 billion on search advertising in 2015.

Even a tiny increase in CTRs would give Google a shot in the arm to the tune of several million pounds.

But Google claims the change had no impact on users’ ability to distinguish between paid and organic listings in tests.

A spokesperson for Google said: “We regularly test ways to improve the look and feel of our search results page.

“We’ve been experimenting with a green search ad label and have decided to roll it out based on positive feedback from users and advertisers.

“Our goal is to make our results page easy to use, and our labelling clear and prominent.”

Whether it’s a cunning sales ploy or simply a fashion statement, it would appear green ad tags are here to stay.

Changes to Google ads: what else is new?

Green ad tags are just the beginning. Google recently announced a host of new features and updates for AdWords, primarily designed to address the global shift towards mobile.

In their announcement, Google confirmed that more than half of all searches now happen via smartphone.

In light of this statistic it’s no surprise Google is overhauling its ads from a mobile-first perspective. Here’s an overview of some of the biggest upcoming changes to Google ads:

Local search ads will appear on Google Maps

Google revealed the ‘next generation’ of richer, more relevant local search ads, which will appear on the Google Maps app, the desktop and mobile versions and across Google.com.

Changes to Google ads

Image from Google’s Inside AdWords blog

The new ads will feature branded pins and details of promotions directly on the map surface.

Clicking on the pin will expand a customisable business page highlighting features unique to that location, like product offerings and special offers.

New expanded text ads

Back in February Google removed ads from the right-hand side of SERPs to ensure consistency across all devices. Now the ads themselves are set to change.

New expanded text ads will be available to all users by the end of this year and will give advertisers much more room to play with.

Instead of a 25-character headline and two 35-character description lines, you’ll be able to take advantage of two 30-character headlines and an 80-character description line.

This is great news for advertisers – in early testing some users reported increases of up to 20% in CTRs, Google said.

Responsive display ads

Changes to Google ads

Image from Google’s Inside AdWords blog

Google’s new responsive display ads tool will make designing ads a whole lot easier.

All you’ll have to do is give Google a headline, a description, an image and a URL, and Google will create a responsive ad that adapts to the content of the website or app it’s being viewed on.

You won’t have to worry about creating ads for different formats. Google will figure out the best one for you, depending on where the ad is being served.

That’s the theory anyway.

Independent bid adjustments for all devices

Advertisers will soon be able to adjust bids individually for each device type.

Following the release of enhanced campaigns in 2013, advertisers are currently able to set a base bid for desktop (which also includes tablet) and then set a bid adjustment for mobile.

With the coming change, you’ll be able to set a base bid for any device – mobile, desktop or tablet – and adjust the others to your heart’s content. Happy days.

Changes to Google ads: a constantly shifting landscape

The way consumers view web content is constantly evolving, and as advertisers we need to stay on our toes if we want to keep up.

These latest changes to Google ads should help us do that – while improving the experience for consumers at the same time.

If you want to know more about these changes or any other aspect of AdWords, get in touch with us today – we’re always happy to chat.