Three Ways Responsive Display Ads Can Increase Productivity and Brand Awareness
by Ron Dod
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Once upon a time, online advertising was a reasonably straightforward practice. However, as the internet has grown in size and complexity, the practice has become increasingly complicated, despite the vast array of metrics that aim to provide a campaign with transparency. Yet, no matter the intricacies of the discipline, digital ads are here to stay.
PPC advertising is a fundamental element for eCommerce retailers to build awareness, earn traffic, generate sales, increase rankings and create a loyal customer base. For that reason, it is essential for merchants to learn premier tactics for dominating PPC advertising.
However, Google recently unveiled a new ad format that is poised to assist advertisers in achieving heightened levels of productivity and brand awareness. Powered by machine learning technologies, Google’s new responsive display ads (not to be confused with the old responsive ads for the Display Network, which these will replace), will save advertisers tons of time while enabling a broad reach for such campaigns.
Here is everything that retailers should know about this advanced ad type, how to set them up, the advantages to their usage and some compelling new features for the ads that were released earlier this year.
What Are Responsive Display Ads (RDAs)?
Responsive display ads are the new default ad format for the Google Display Network. These adverts employ machine learning technology to generate and test a variety of modular ads, ultimately optimizing a campaign by identifying asset combinations that yield the best performance results.
This new type of responsive ad design is a marked improvement over 2016’s responsive ads (which RDAs effectively replaced). While both ad sets touted the capacity to “automatically adjust their size, appearance, and format to fit just about any available ad space,” the new ads enable promoters to upload an array of assets and materials for Google to mix and match to fit various destinations and placements to product the best results.
“Great display ads assist consumers using rich images and useful information. However, showing the most relevant and engaging ads across millions of sites and apps isn’t easy. That’s why we’re rolling out responsive display ads.”
With responsive display ads, advertisers are free to upload as many as 15 different images, five short (30-character) headlines, one long (90-character) headline, five descriptions and five logos. Moreover, advertisers can elect from an assortment of 11 CTAs and choose custom color options that help to keep branding on-point throughout the various ad iterations.
Compare this to the previous incarnation of responsive ads which only accepted a single image, headline, description and logo, and the advancements begin to unblur.
There are other RDA features to be discussed, but we’ll get to those shortly.
With this new ad set, Google has reported that, “on average, advertisers see 10% more conversions at a similar CPA when using multiple headlines, descriptions, and images with responsive display ads (versus a single set of assets).”
To begin, sign into Google Ads, pull out the left-side navigation panel, select Display campaigns and click “Ads & extensions.” Next, click the blue “+” button. Now, click the option for “Responsive display ad.”
From here, select an ad group. At this point, advertisers can choose the URL they wish to drive traffic to, as well as upload their images and logos from several different sources (website, computer, a stock library and other options). Next, promoters can write their headlines, descriptions and business name. Finally, preview the ads and click “Save.”
Once completed, the ad is submitted to the Google approvals process.
With that, let’s explore some of the benefits of employing RDAs.
Advantages of Using Responsive Display Ads
Much like the recently introduced responsive search ads, Google’s responsive display ads leverage the company’s powerful machine learning technology to provide advertisers with a severe edge in the advertising market.
Save Time and Increase Productivity
One of the most apparent benefits of RDA usage is that the automatically-generated modular ads help to save creative and advertising teams tons of time. Not only is the ad creation process extremely intuitive and streamlined but altering campaign components can be a breeze as well. The same cannot be said for image ads. While the former is also easy to upload, switching the ad’s assets can be a cumbersome process.
Because of the nature of the responsive display ad creation process, the manual labor that goes into the generation and management of various campaigns is significantly minimized while Google handles many optimization tactics.
This quick and intuitive process frees up loads of time to dedicate to crafting better headlines and descriptions, or to work on other advertising tasks such as data analyzation and the tweaking of other campaigns. This optimization of time is excellent news for marketers; as increasing automation penetrates the PPC arena, it becomes ever more important for advertisers to craft strategic and innovative campaigns. Formats like RDAs gift teams with the opportunity to flex their creative muscles to a greater degree.
In the age of automation, strategy and creativity will become king. Or, as global head of digital and social marketing at Philips, Blake Cahill, put it:
“Content and creativity is always going to be the kernel at the heart of anything you do. . . Technology and automation just allows everyone to be potentially more targeted and do things at greater scale.”
In addition to more clever and methodical campaigns, the automation inherent in RDAs enables team productivity to reach new heights as less time is spent crafting what are quickly becoming redundant campaigns. RDAs effectively eliminate the commitment to both text and display campaigns; eCommerce merchants promoting their products only require one responsive display ad to surface as a text ad in the SERPs and as an image display ad on relevant web pages.
However, these are not the only benefits afforded by responsive display ads.
A Boost to Brand Awareness
Advertisers tend to run display campaigns as a means of increasing awareness for the company or its products by reaching new consumers.
Since RDAs automatically adjust the size and format of an advert, a brand can easily reach into a variety of new placements across the web and various devices. For instance, a responsive display ad can surface in the desktop SERPs and as a banner in a mobile app.
This ability to spontaneously morph adverts into diverse shapes and sizes means that brands can potentially reach hoards of new consumers without having to create five different ads to do so.
Mind you, this is not mere conjecture. According to Google, “advertisers that combine Google’s machine learning with multiple creatives see up to 15 percent more clicks.”
However, as all advertisers know, with greater reach comes increased expenditures. Therefore, despite the automated nature of RDAs, it is wise to maintain a close eye on placement and performance to control any potential spikes.
Moreover, if image ads are to run alongside RDAs, it is advisable to separate the responsive display ads into their own campaigns as doing so will help maintain greater control and minimize the risks of impacting performance metrics negatively.
Additionally, by enabling advertisers to craft multiple messages for different placements, advertisers will retain greater control over how the public perceives their ads, which leads us to the next benefit in RDA deployment.
More Powerful Messaging
Given that responsive display ads enable advertisers to craft a total of six different headlines (five short and one long), brands can craft fine-tuned messages that resonate with the company’s image no matter where an ad is set to appear. Moreover, since Google’s machine learning technology continually optimizes campaign performance, headlines are continuously selected based on their effectiveness; this process helps marketers to identify which messages most deeply resonate with target audiences at various stages in the funnel.
By consistently producing strong messages at all stages in the buyer’s journey, eCommerce merchants can deliver a robust brand image that reaches more significant numbers of consumers, all while saving time by not having to create and upload new adverts continually.
On its own, this information should be enough to convince retailers to dive into responsive display ads with vigor and zeal. However, Google recently made some additions to RDAs that make the ad set even more powerful and appealing.
While this feature was available to responsive display ad beta users, video assets have now been rolled out to all users. This enhancement is a powerful addition to the ad type as video content will not only enable a potential increase in reach over mere image ads, but video ads will also help to skyrocket engagement.
Not only is video content naturally more engaging than images, but it also provides brands with the freedom to share an increased amount of information about their company and its products or services. That said, ads should be generated based on an audience’s needs, desires and where they reside online. Therefore, it is essential to test video performance before diving headlong into this type of ad set.
RDA combination reports will help advertisers get to the bottom of which ads are performing best and why.
The report will be broken down by images, text, videos and dynamic feeds to help promoters analyze the performance of different asset combinations so that they can decide which pictures, videos, headlines and so forth to continue utilizing in the future and which to discontinue.
The ad scorecard is a straightforward, yet useful new feature. With this RDA addition, advertisers will gain ad creation assistance via a scorecard guidance system that informs creators what steps must be made to generate an “excellent” ad.
The ad scorecard will aid advertisers in figuring out how to improve their ads, thereby producing higher-quality campaigns from the start.
Automation can often be a scary thing for business owners who feel a level of opacity in how their ad budgets are spent; however, with online advertising, if a plan isn’t meeting the intended results, changes are easy to implement.
While we at Visiture highly recommend the deployment of responsive display ads, it is best for businesses to decide if they are a good fit for them or not; after all, there is no one-size-fits-all solution in advertising.
If your brand is unsure if RDAs are an appropriate implementation, our PPC advertising experts can help make an informed decision for what is a profitable path for eCommerce retailers to follow.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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