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13 Feb 2017

PPC Changes in 2016

by Joe Fletcher 0

Change is good, right? Google are no strangers when it comes to changes, and AdWords being a lucrative market for them, means they like to change things up a bit. But it seems they weren’t the only ones as Microsoft have been making some improvements to their ad platform in Bing too.

Say Goodbye to the right-hand side Ads

That’s right, one of the early changes Google made in 2016 was to remove the ads that appear on the right-hand side of the SERP. They would switch this up so that 4 ads appear above the organic listings and 3 appear at the bottom. This meant a maximum 7 ads would be showing compared to previously when it could have been up to 11.

This change may have taken many by surprise, but it’s something that has been in the works since 2010. People had reported on this and had seen changes throughout the years, with many users saying in late 2015 and early 2016 they had witnessed these changes.

One big problem that advertisers were worried about was that CPCs may sky rocket. All of a sudden, 11 ads on the first page were up for grabs and now that’s cut down to 7, many users may feel that the first page bids would increase with less space and in theory more competition on the top page.

Realistically, this hasn’t happened. Some areas have seen increases but the majority of keywords are running at consistent CPCs. But overall, the removal of the right-hand side ads or right rail ads has had a positive impact for marketers and users.

Say Hello to Extended Text Ads

So what are Google going to do with all this extra space now? Advertisers are getting extended text ads. From what I can see in research and looking at previous changes, the standard text ad has been the same for 15 years. So, this is a massive change for 2016.

And the extended text ad is opening up a lot of opportunities.

Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 14.11.25

Above is a snapshot of adding a new text ad and its broken down into the following –

Headline 1 – 30 Characters

Headline 2 – 30 Characters

Path – Two 15 Characters

Description – 80 Character Description Line

Comparing this against the old standard ads –

Headline – 25 Character

Description – Two 35 Character Description Line

As you can see from the image above and the table, you have a lot more room to play with when writing ads now.

Google committed the change in 2017, meaning that it will only serve extended text ads moving forward.

Device Bidding Is back

Something a lot people were happy to see is the return of device bidding. For the last couple of years, desktop and mobile bids were tied to each other. A much overdue change that many advertisers have been wanting to see return. But at the same time it makes sense seeing how Google have been influencing users to have a mobile ready site, focus on mobile speed and the mobile user.

Although the change wasn’t as simple as setting individual bids for each device; you had to set a base bid for either mobile, desktop or tablet then you would need to adjust the other devices around the base bid.

An important change which will help shape your ads moving forward, as mobile traffic has now overtaken desktop.

Bing Separates from Yahoo

The New BING network. Bing has taken over powering ads for AOL and stopped its search alliance with Yahoo.

Talking about the seperation, Lynne Kjolso Microsoft General Manager, Global Search Sales and Service has said, “It took us five years to globally roll out the search alliance… and we unwound 90 percent of that in less than six months. ”

The seperation affected many businesses and a lot of advertisers saw a dip in performance, which Bing have admitted. Both parties have said that Bing will be managed by Bing and Yahoo by Yahoo. On top of this Bing employed over 400 sales reps for Bing advertising.

Expect big changes to come from Bing moving forward.

Bing Extended Text Ads

While Google rolled out the extended text ads last year and made them compulsory, Bing are still  catching up again and looking to roll out extended text ads of their own. The Bing ETAs are almost identical to Google’s, making it easier to roll out across both platforms with their integration feature.

Bing Ads Editor On Mac

Keeping with Bing. They have finally have a desktop editor for Macs. The desktop editor is something which Google have offered for a long time now. Working in a similar way to Google’s, the new editor allows users to create, duplicate or make mass changes easily. You can update budgets, moving forward you will be able to change ads to the new extended text ads etc.

Advertise On Google Maps

2016 also saw Google introduce ads in the local pack. Meaning advertisers can now get map listings as paid in the local finder. A smaller change than some of the others, but one that still makes logical sense from Google moving forward.

There were a whole host of other changes throughout the year, but the above are the core changes that happened in 2016 that had an effect on advertisers. Bing are looking like they want to make a breakthrough in 2017 on its advertising platform. And not to forget they acquired LinkedIn in 2016 so we can expect to see something new there.

Lets watch this space!

Joe Fletcher

Search Consultant at Datify
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