This is an update to an Elite SEM Point-of-View from last month, and an expansion of several items covered in our announcement back in May of Google’s intent to change the rules for their Text Ads. In the time that’s elapsed since we first reported the coming changes with Expanded Text Ads (ETAs), beta testing of the new program has begun and initial results seem very strong – stronger than Google claimed they would be, and stronger than many in the industry expected.
According to Google, roughly 50% of all ads are supposed to be ETAs. However, with this update still ramping up, the data is showing only around 12-15% ETAs for some clients. It is too early to tell if this represents a significant difference between expectations and reality. This may not be the case for all advertisers, as the data still varies quite a bit from client to client.
When looking at clients who have launched ETAs, CTR has improved for them, as compared to regular text ads, almost across the board. This measured improvement ranged from a solid twenty-two to twenty-seven percent, to as much as three hundred percent, depending on the client. Regardless, the CTR improvements that we’re seeing represent a serious improvement over the twenty percent improvement Google had earlier anticipated.
Conversions are showing mixed results so far, with the inherent challenges of analysis making the attribution of results directly to ETAs difficult. The nature of conversions representing such a small percentage of traffic, coupled with the mixed nature of campaigns between brand and nonbrand, will delay real analysis on conversions for some time to come.
Looking Forward With Google Expanded Text Ads
Currently results are a mixed bag. Because of this, Google is recommending a conservative approach, suggesting that advertisers not make drastic changes during testing.
Once the conversion to ETAs is complete, advertisers will be in a better position to review and analyze data, making it possible to deliver recommendations based on an understanding of what’s truly working and not working under the new format.
Furthermore, once traffic normalizes, advertisers will be able to truly dive in and assess the comparative value of ETAs and regular text ads. By the end of the month (possibly even this week!), all AdWords customers will have access to launch ETAs, and by the fourth quarter, all ads will be ETAs only.
The Final Word on New ETAs
We’re seeing strong results so far, results well beyond what Google initially advertised, and believe that you should definitely launch as soon as you can.
After all, there is an inherent benefit to early adoption itself. You will have more real estate in your ads with ETAs than with regular text ads, so take advantage of it. There’s absolutely no downside to getting started ASAP, and as always, we will continue to update you as the situation develops. For more information in the meantime, check out this press release from our partners at Kenshoo.