Love it or hate, the new Google Ads has taken some getting used to for most advertisers. Not only has the new interface been a learning curve, but everyday practices like using the Keyword Planner are substantially different from before.
On a positive note, there are a few new features that make the Google Ads experience more effective and easier to use. In a nutshell, these new capabilities make aspects of creating and managing ads more enjoyable and seamless. And they’re not difficult to grasp. Below we dive into my three favourite new Google Ads features and how to leverage them.
Streamline A/B Testing with Ad Variations
Any diligent PPC advertiser will always be A/B testing different ad variations. It’s one thing I preach time and time again in my Google Ads course. Previously, this required uploading multiple versions of a given ad in which individual creative elements (i.e. headlines, description copy, etc.) are modified and tested against a control ad. This practice, although cumbersome, helps to determine which ad variations perform best over time.
With the advent of Ad Variations, conducting A/B testing just got a little easier and more intuitive. Under the Ads & Extensions view, when you click the plus symbol to create a new expanded text ad, see the option near the bottom for Ad Variations.
Once you’ve selected the ads you want to test, you can create variations based on the parameters outlined below.
- Invert or swap your headline copy
- Find and replace certain words and phrases in your ad copy
- Update entire text-based elements (i.e. headlines, description text, URL paths)
While these parameters seem simple, they lend to a lot of creative possibilities for A/B testing ad copy. Swapping headlines is probably the easiest and most impactful feature, but using the “find and replace” and “update text” options can be effective ways to try new creative, and without needing to create an entirely new ad.
If you do decide to leverage the new Ad Variations feature, be sure to address the Experiment split section found near the bottom of the third step. The most obvious actions available are to assigning start and end dates for you ads, however the Experiment split is the most important.
According to Google Ads, the Experiment split is the percentage of your campaign budget that’s “allocated to your variation and the percentage of auctions your variation is eligible to participate in.” So if you wish to run an experiment with a significant portion of your budget (which may be the case during a holiday promotion or peak time of year), be sure to adjust your split accordingly.
Stand Out with Promotion Extensions
What was once in beta back in Spring of 2018 is now available to all advertisers. Welcome, Promotion Extensions. This new and interesting extension offers great way to stand out in the search results and it requires no technical expertise or special access.
As the name implies, Promotion Extensions enable advertisers to feature a sale or discount on particular “Item,” which be generalised with “Purchases” or “Orders” as in the example below. The options are simple and interesting to play with, as you can feature monetary or percentage-based discount, and you can use different “Occasions” which will show in the ad.
In the figure below, we’re offering a 25% holiday discount on “Orders” up until Christmas day. Because this business offers a custom package, this alternative works great for small business and even service providers.
No doubt, the search results are fiercely competitive for product keywords. This makes Promotion Extensions particular useful for online retailers and eCommerce sites. Not only are these extensions eye-grabbing, but they can better position a modest online store in a heavily saturated search market.
Start Leveraging Custom Intent Audiences (Display)
If you’re at all familiar with Google Display advertising, then you’re probably aware of how questionably effective it can be. Seeing your beautiful display ads only showing on odd and random placements can be discouraging. While remarketing with the Google Network can be an exception, the addition of Custom Intent Audiences may help get your hopes up.
When setting up a new Display campaign or ad group, see the option near the bottom of the Audiences section to use a “New Custom Intent Audience.” Here you can craft your audience by using a combination of specified URLs and keywords, or you can opt to try one or more of Google’s auto-created custom intent audiences, as shown in the figure below.
When going the auto-created route, Google will use data from your current Google Ads campaigns, website, and even your YouTube channel to determine what you’re promoting. It then cross-references this information with that of its human-centered intelligence to auto-generate new, qualified audiences based on this data.
While the effectiveness of Custom Intent Audiences may vary depending on the nature of your campaign, this form of audience creation further reinforces Google’s transition toward an audience-centric mode of targeting on the Display Network, similar to that of Facebook Ads.