This is part of our series of posts that we are putting together about how we approach PPC campaign management for our clients.
Previous PPC Campaign Domination topics:
- Landing page optimization
- Campaign organization
- Google AdWords, quality score & you
- Google AdWords ad extensions – Part 1 – What they are & how they work
This is a follow up to the part 1 cliff hanger, PPC Campaign Domination: Google AdWords Ad Extensions: What They Are & How They Work. I know all of our rabid fans have been losing sleep about the results. In fact, I personally have received dozens and dozens of emails, DM’s and even, yes, snail mail begging and pleading with me to release the results and insights from our client test.
Like any good test, we determined a few questions that needed to be answered before the test started.
Google AdWords Ad Extensions Questions Left to Answer:
Question 1: Can we even do product extensions for our client?
Google sets certain requirements for the landing environment for a product ad extension to be eligible. They require a fixed price to be listed, a secure click-to-buy option and a photo of the product on said landing page. Our client has none of these, but we didn’t let that stop us from trying.
Answer: I guess this is a ‘yes’ with a shazam!
Question 2: Is it possible for Google to show a SiteLinks ad extension in conjunction with a product ad extension?
Answer: An emphatic YES! Now that is what I call Total PPC Campaign Domination.
Question 3: Are SiteLinks only for branded searches?
Answer: No…with a but. Once again, a high quality score is a prerequisite for this ad extension. Meaning every term is game, but to have a high quality score your campaign has to rock. This is usually the case with your own branded terms. Landing page relevancy and CTR will be high with those terms, but creating an excellent landing environment for non branded or category terms can trigger this extension. Just don’t expect to have a SiteLinks ad extension serve for competitor terms or terms with low quality scores.
Question 4: Can we report on whether Google AdWords ad extensions are effective?
Answer: Yes…with a duh. Obviously, Google isn’t going to unveil something in AdWords, which is their bread and butter ($15.7 billion worth of it), without the ability to report on it. These extensions may also be an attempt to increase clicks on paid search results (Google claims relevance) because clicks mean dollars for them and possibly for advertisers too (note: there is also a reporting option for local or map ad extensions).
Our Google AdWords Ad Extension Results:
When designing this test we hypothesized that this would increase click through rate for our Google PPC ads. We also thought that our conversion rate for category level terms would drop due to an increase in traffic and customers getting to the page and not either A.) not seeing what they thought they were going to see, or B.) realizing there is no way to buy the product directly from the manufacturer. Finally, we wondered if Google would catch us, and stop running our product extensions.
Here are the results of our ad extensions test:
Click through rate was 65% better when Google served an ad with an extension.
Overall account conversion still remains over 20%. This is a huge bonus, as we half expected conversion rate to drop significantly. It did drop slightly, but not by 65%, so it is a winner, and winner in paid search language means keeper.
Google did not catch us. However, the caveat is still there because there will be oversight, soon, as unscrupulous advertisers start exploiting this weakness.
Google AdWords Ad Extensions Strategy and Insights:
- Strategy tip 1: Identify high value or high quality score terms in your paid search account, and create campaigns just for them. This is a good tip overall, but it is especially powerful to use with the SiteLinks extension. You will be able to fully fund this campaign while keeping a high ad rank. This means SiteLinks and all of the goodies that come with it such as 140 extra characters of ad copy will help you dominate SERPs.
- Strategy tip 2: Tag your SiteLinks urls using Google’s handy URL builder so you can identify using your analytics whether your paid search visitor arrived via one of your deeper links, or simply clicked the headline.
- Strategy tip 3: Do the best you can to match the product(s) shown in the extension to be on the landing page. Nothing will upset an interwebz user more than going somewhere that doesn’t match their expectations.
- Insight 1: Unexpected results. Of the 27,000+ impressions with the plus box visible, only 138 brave souls dared interact with the PPC ad. This is definitely surprising to me on two fronts. The first being only .50% of our market for this client is curious about the plus box. The other is just the addition of the plus box seems to induce clicks.
- Insight 2: Why is Google doing this (hint: relevance is not the answer)? This is purely conjecture on my part, but my belief is that Google is simply merchandising the properties to get their existing advertisers to use more of their products. Additionally, these types of ad formats are not currently available to advertisers on competing paid search platforms. With the Microsoft-Yahoo Alliance (insert Star Wars Rebel Alliance joke) looming in the very near future, now is the time for Google to further solidify their position as the best and most robust platform for pay-per-click advertising.
- Insight 3: In case you were wondering. Yes, there are product ad extensions for hair extensions.
Testing new and cool technology and techniques is part of why working in this industry is both fascinating and rewarding. Success like this is always great. However, even if this test hadn’t produced positive results, we still would have won in the end because as our previous campaign domination posts indicate, Amplify Interactive is big on testing.We take a measured and methodical approach to our PPC management, and this means testing new toys in our bag of SEM tricks. Finding out what doesn’t work is almost as big of a win as finding out what does work.