The first update continues the Google+ movement. With the addition of Google+ Pages, which allows companies to create their own brand specific pages, AdWords has tapped into the opportunity to share the recommendation wealth. When companies create a brand specific page they can now setup a social extension within their AdWords account and hook the two programs together. All +1’s will now be in sync with AdWords. So no matter if someone has +1’d an organic listing or a website page, this recommendation will now be visible next to that companies’ ad.
There is also better +1 reporting as you can now segment by +1 annotations. These annotations are broken out according to “personal” and “basic” +1’s. A personal annotation occurs when a searcher sees an ad that someone from one of his/her circles has +1’d. The basic annotation occurs when a searcher sees a recommended ad, but that +1 did not come from anyone in his/her circles.
The next update is an enhancement to product listing ads, or PLAs. Normally, PLAs show in the top right corner of the search results with a maximum of three showing at a time. AdWords is now also showcasing up to five PLAs vertically within the top ads section. Remember that PLAs aren’t driven by keyword bids, but rather a default ad group bid and if you choose to more granular product targets. Your bid had to take into consideration more competitive products with only three listings. The new format is still competitive, but there are two additional listings in the auction.
At Exclusive we’ve seen great results with PLAs so the announcement that up to five ads will now be showing in the top ads section is exciting.
The third update is a new ad placement as paid ads can now show below the organic listings. According to Google’s testing, ads showing below the organic listings had better click-thru-rates than those to the right. The idea being that scanning the search results page top to bottom better fits the searchers’ flow. If this format looks familiar you are right as it is also used in Yahoo. It is important to note that when bottom ads show side ads do not, which is why the “Top vs. Side” report has been changed to “Top vs. Other.”
Of the three updates I’m most excited about the top ad PLAs. This ad placement will allow advertisers utilizing a shopping feed to further showcase their products in a section that historically gets a much higher click-thru-rate (compared to side ads). I’m also interested to see how impactful bottom ads are. Will we see better click-thru-rates than we see on side ads? Only time will tell.