Announced at ‘Google Marketing Live’ event, along with a whole heap of important updates to the Google ads platform, was ‘Gallery Ads’. This format aims to bring a more interactive and visually appealing results page. Prabhakar Raghavan, SVP of Google Ads and Commerce had this to say, “By combining search intent with a more interactive visual format, gallery ads make it easier for you to communicate what your brand has to offer”.
Creating a Brand Story
The idea behind these ads is to create a more interactive experience for its users on results pages whilst also giving businesses an opportunity to tell a brand story through stunning visuals on search ads. Different to text ads, these gallery ads allow businesses and advertisers to add up to eight images on an ad in a carousel format however they do run in parallel to your normal text ads and compete in the same auction.
In recent years we’ve seen Google look to keep people on search results pages, be it through featured snippets that provide all the information a user could need, to frequently asked questions and top news and stories.
Gallery ads are therefore just another example of Google creating a more interactive experience, ‘before’ people get onto someone’s site. The downside to this is advertisers are increasingly seeing fewer clicks on ads, but also on organic results.
On the other hand, this new format could further help with telling an effective brand story and drive more engagement and thus increased click through rates if executed effectively. From would we know about platforms like Facebook and Instagram, imagery and videos can be incredibly effective at driving conversions and interactions with your ads. Making this new format something Google wants to capitalise on and potentially to the advantage of advertisers too.
Test and Optimise Gallery Ads
As with any new feature Google sends out, you need to test. These formats will not work for every brand and not every brand should use them. These formats lend themselves towards service based businesses (local and national), such as food, clothing, hotels and gyms for example; any business that could sell a story or stand out through imagery.
In addition to this, you shouldn’t start relying on these formats if they do well. Google has been known to stop supporting ad formats when they feel they’re not getting the return or engagement they wanted. They’re in beta for a reason. So, don’t be caught out if you’ve invested long hours developing and optimising an ad format that in a few months’ time won’t be supported anymore. For example, 30-second unskippable ads. These ad placements are no longer supported even though they were once commonplace and used by advertisers everywhere. From this, optimising for much shorter periods; as is the case now, means potentially having to re-edit video or come up with a completely new concept.
The point of this is to not put all your eggs in one basket.
It’s 1st Position or Nothing at all
With advertisers looking to take advantage of this new format we’re going to likely see these ‘gallery ads’ pop up more and more. However, for those that don’t implement these ads, you may find click through rate dropping on your standard expanded text formats. This is because how much space these ads will take up and how they will dominate SERPs moving forward.
Moreover, there’s going to be an even bigger focus on advertisers aiming for first position. As for the meantime, this format is only going to work on 1st position. And if people don’t want to be left behind, they’re going to have to bid more competitively which will potentially drive up bids (giving Google more money) to reach that optimal placement.
However, as mentioned in a previous blog, Google is removing the first position metric, meaning reaching this position is going to become increasingly obscure. This is when having a dedicated team of PPC experts can be of a real benefit to your business. Allow you to leave the testing and guesswork to us, while you reap the rewards.
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