Do you want to get ahead of the game with your ads this year?
From the 30th June, Google is changing how search campaigns will work.
We will be saying goodbye to Expanded text ads, leaving Responsive search ads to be our sole ad type.
For anyone who hasn’t used responsive ads yet, now is the time to get to grips with them and master how they work for when the change comes.
In fact, why wait for the change to come?
Responsive ads are brilliant for marketers, as they require you to put more thought into the messages you put across, which allows for us to create the most effective messages possible.
They have an ad strength indicator built-in which allows you to strive for that Excellent ad strength with your headlines and descriptions.
We’ve been using them ourselves to help our Search Click Through Rates (CTR’s) increase by a whopping 50% in 2021.
Leading to an average CTR of 10.67% across our clients which was way above the latest Wordstream benchmark of 3.17%.
1. Make it clear what you are offering
Now this one seems like the most obvious thing to cover, but it’s one that we see many businesses fall down on.
When inputting headlines, the first headline should consider the keywords you are targeting, and if possible within the character limitations, briefly explain your offering in relation to the targeting.
Let’s say you’re an online retailer of baby products, if you’re targeting the keyword “baby blankets”, you want to craft a headline that says what you do, and if possible, frame the products to give people a reference and help them reconsider the value of a product or service.
Here we have 3 examples of ad results from this query:
The first listing doesn’t make it immediately clear that they offer baby blankets, only tartan blankets.
The second makes it clear they have baby blankets, but as someone who is unfamiliar with the MORI brand, this doesn’t help with framing their range.
The third again makes it clear that they do baby blankets, but there is no framing there to give me any idea what type of baby blankets John Lewis might stock.
These ads could have been enhanced with a simple bit of framing that would help the potential buyer to understand what kind of products they stock. For example:
- High Quality Baby Blankets
- Personalised Baby Blankets
- Great Value Baby Blankets
- Stunning Baby Blankets
- Handmade Baby Blankets
- Gift Boxed Baby Blankets
By properly segmenting your keywords into separate ad groups, the framing can be better adjusted to match the searchers brief.
So if someone is being more specific in their search, and your service or product fits that description, the headline can make that very clear – increasing the relevancy of that ad and therefore the chances that someone will click on it.
2. Make it clear how customers can do business with you
Another more obvious one, but one that so many fail to make clear in their ad copy. If you are a retailer, can people buy online or not? If you’re B2B, can people see service prices online or can people get a quote? Can they sign up for a free trial online?
3. Make it clear how quickly they can get what they are after.
When people decide they want to buy something, or sign up for a service, they want to know how quickly they are able to get it. Many businesses fail to highlight the speed they are able to do business with their potential customers.
The above ads are good examples of this in action, and gives the searcher a very clear timeframe for getting what they want. Consider adding in headlines such as “Next Day Delivery Available” or “Same Day Appointments” to help make your ads stand out in a competitive marketplace.
4. Highlight how your products or services help people
Highlighting the key benefits of dealing with your business should take up a few of those headline slots. These points should help the potential customer to differentiate your services and products from the competitors. Here you want to really consider why people do business with you.
If possible, you want to be using social proof, or authority bias to power up these messages. If you’re able to include reviews, recommendations or are able to cite that your offering is backed by experts or trusted sources this can add real weight to these messages. See the example below:
By highlighting that these reading lights are recommended by 500+ independent qualified opticians & thousands of happy customers, this really helps to add some weight to their own sales messages. The 5* review ad extension supports this further. The “focus for longer” message is also a good example of highlighting how this product helps their customers.
5. Make it clear who you are
In my first example, we saw 2 brands, MORI and John Lewis & Partners including their brands as headlines. This can have it’s benefits if a brand is established enough to have certain qualities associated with that brand. Taking John Lewis & Partners for example, they are known as a high-end department store that stocks quality products. So If I see an ad from them, and can quickly identify that it’s John Lewis & Partners, I already have some idea of what the range will look like. For those less-established brands, by including your brand name as a headline, this can help to raise awareness for your brand too.
It’s important to include your brand name in a way that will allow your customers to know it’s you, and not another business that either shares the same name, has the same name, or resells your products. So consider presenting your brand in one of the formats below.
Best Prices from [Brand]
Official [Brand] site
6. Make it clear what you want your customers to do, and tell them to do it
We’ve already discussed the importance of making it clear how customers can deal with you in point 2. This recommendation is about considering what you actually want your customers to do from the ad, and telling them how to do it in a clear call to action.
Examples of this include:
View Our New Range Of Toys
Book A Test Drive Today
Compare Over 100 Great Offers
Sign-up Today for a Free Exam
It’s one thing informing them that they can buy online, but if you want to push a particular range or service, having a clear call to action directing them to that will help encourage those who are still in the consideration phase.
7. Highlight what categories, options and selections you offer
Along with highlighting the benefits of your products or services, listing some of the key features also goes a long way to help sell your offering.
Depending on how specific the keyword is that your targeting, this could be the features of your overall offering such as:
100s of Options to Choose From
Supply of Over 50,000 Products
50 Styles in 50 Vibrant Colours
Or this could be made more specific to the qualities of a specific service/product or range, like in the example below.
8. Use cost signalling to prequalify visitors
If you’re selling a premium service or product, then you want to make this clear in your ad copy to avoid wasting money on clicks from people that aren’t necessarily looking for a premium solution. Likewise, if you have a more basic, low-cost product or service, you don’t want to attract people who are looking for the finest version.
This can be more challenging for service providers where the costs will depend on the service level, but some form of price indicator can really help to pre-qualify those visitors.
Examples of cost-signalling include “Low Cost Holiday Provider”, “Book from as low as £199” or “Very Low 0.05% Management Fees”.
It can also be smart to highlight if you have any fees or taxes applicable as well.
9. Highlight any deals or promotions you have available.
Consumers love to think they are getting a deal. So if you have any promotions or offers available, don’t forget to include these in your adtext. Free items, offers and vouchers with a purchase can be a big motivator.
Let’s wrap up
Something to keep in mind when you’re making these improvements is how a responsive search ad works.
A responsive search ad allows you to input up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions that Google will then assemble in an order that would be most optimal to the search.
This does mean that the order you write your headlines in won’t necessarily be the order they appear in.
Whilst this sounds scary, it does this to learn which headlines and descriptions work best for your ads. It allows you to come back and review how the ads are doing and what isn’t performing so well in the ad.
There is a science to how people respond to ads, as talked about here in the Behavioural Biases and increasing the effectiveness of ads.
Google’s AI will help you adapt your ads and learn how customers are responding to your ads.
So whilst the changes coming in June can seem a bit intimidating, it’s important to see how helpful the responsive search ads are for your brand.
Let’s say goodbye to the old expanded text ads,
And hello to the future of search ads.