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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – November 2016

Welcome to the latest monthly issue of our regular newsletter which features news, tips and advice on effective website marketing, with a particular focus on search engine marketing techniques and trends.

This month we look at Google’s extension of the deadline to implement the new Expanded Text Ads in AdWords, from October 26th to January 31st 2017 and its recommended best practices on doing so. We also consider the important issue of mobile site speed and how that can impact the performance of a website in terms of sales and search results.

You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter by month. You can also follow us on Twitter for the latest developments during the month, or follow our Facebook page or Google+ page for updates.

On to this month’s edition…

Expanded Text Ad Implementation Deadline is now January 2017

In a follow up to our original article on Google’s release of Expanded Text Ads in July this year, Google has announced that it’s giving advertisers more time to upgrade the creatives. The original deadline to do this was by October 26, but that’s now been extended to January 31, 2017.

This means starting then, it’ll no longer be possible to create or edit standard text ads and ads will need to be created and edited using the expanded text ads format. Existing standard text ads will continue to serve alongside expanded text ads, though.

Over the last few months, Google has reviewed a lot of text ads data and has found that Expanded Text Ads can deliver great results, particularly for those who have invested in writing and testing new creatives, as the quality of the ads matters. Extra characters don’t solve any performance problems on their own so it’s very important to be thoughtful and compelling with the additional headline and characters, which is what we’ll be analysing during their implementation and we’ll be taking into account these recommendations from Google about the best practices for Expanded Text Ad optimisation:

The key recommendations for the new format ads are:

  • Test multiple versions of Expanded Text Ads
  • Focus testing upon headlines
  • Replicate what works in standard text ads in Expanded Text Ads
  • Consider shorter headlines on brand terms
  • Leave standard text ads running until the new versions are consistently outperforming them
  • Review the pre-existing ads for previous success with longer headlines

We’ll be continuing to test these new format ads over the next few months and if you want to know more about how well written ETAs could improve your online advertising, please contact us now.


The Impact of Mobile Site Speed

The expression ‘speed kills’ is often used about driving, but the same could be said about the load times of mobile websites. Perhaps the outcome is not quite so drastic, but for a business, a slow mobile site can still have a significant impact on results.

As more online users access the web via a mobile device – and particularly smart phones – the importance of having an effective and relevant mobile site is becoming increasingly important. The mobile user will tend to operate in a different way to a desktop user and potentially have different requirements, so usability, ease of use, clarity and speed of process is vital, whether this is from a responsive site or a standalone site designed specifically for the mobile screen.

Google is now able to provide a number of reports on mobile usability and speed, including a mobile site audit for AdWords advertisers (please ask us if you’d like to receive one of these). Included in the report is illustrative data on the impact of mobile page speed, based on various research which has been conducted on the impact for online businesses.

One example of this data is that a 1 second delay in page load speed can increase bounce rate from a site by just over 8%, meaning that users can’t wait for the page to fully load so hit the back button and probably then jump onto another site option, particularly from search results. That 1-second delay can also decrease the number of page views by just under 10%, and more importantly, decrease conversion rates by 3.5%.

From a business perspective, Google has measured that a 2% slower load time for their search results can impact the volume of searches per user by 2% as well. For Amazon, a 100-millisecond faster page load time can result in a 1% increase in revenue, and presumably vice-versa, which is not an insubstantial issue! Also, importantly from a search perspective, Google will look at the page load speed of websites and use that as one of their ranking factors in mobile search results.

There are a number of online tools to help review page load times, including Google’s Page Speed Insights tool, plus you can also review sample load times in Google Analytics, and hopefully the positive impact after changes are made to the site. Another current trend is the move to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which we will cover in a future issue of this newsletter.

If you’d like to know more about mobile page speed issues and review how your site performs, please get in touch.


We hope you’ve found this month’s newsletter useful. As usual, if you have any questions or need help with any of these items, please contact us if you need any more information on the items covered, or our advice on any aspect of your website’s performance.

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