After eliminating right-sided ads on the desktop search results page, it was inevitable that Google would find some way of using that added space on the SERP. Now we know what that use will be: Additional characters on both headlines and marketing copy in ads. Over at Search Engine Land, one Google employee has written a helpful post about how to put the extra characters to work in your ad campaign.
In this post we want to talk briefly about three things you’ll want to do with this space and one mistake you must avoid as you transition to longer ads.
First, don’t overthink your ad messaging.
The Search Engine Land article actually says something a bit opposite of this when it says to rethink your entire creative approach to Google Ads. In most industries, that’s good advice. But the multifamily industry is unique. Our product is relatively simple to define, it’s geographically constrained, and we only have x number of products to sell.
For those reasons, the rules of successful apartment marketing look a little different:
- You don’t necessarily want to increase your total leads if that means getting tons of bad leads. You have a very defined number of widgets you can sell so doubling your lead count doesn’t necessarily help you.
- Your potential reach on search engines is very limited and ranking on non-branded keywords is going to be very difficult.
- Even if you do have opportunity to somewhat expand your marketing reach, the expansion is going to be marginal rather than exponential because you have a geographically constrained product.
So while many businesses, particularly businesses that can increase sales relatively easily, may want to make more radical changes to their Ads strategy, you probably won’t want to do anything quite that extreme in your Ads campaigns unless those campaigns are already failing spectacularly. Rather, use the added characters to simply make marginal improvements to your ads to help increase quality score and (hopefully) keep cost-per-click down.
Second, don’t neglect other aspects of successful ad design, such as relevant landing pages and helpful ad extensions.
One of the key things to keep in mind here--and the Google employee writing at Search Engine Land made this point too--is that the character increase doesn’t really change the formula for Ads success at all. All the other important things (good landing pages, engaging, relevant copy, useful ad extensions, etc.) are still important. You just now have a few more characters to play with in your headlines and marketing copy.
So if your Ads campaigns are not performing well, simply bumping up the length of the headline and copy isn’t going to fix them. You need to think about how you have set up your landing pages, how you’re using extensions, and so on. Don’t think of this as a major reboot of Ads, in other words. Think of it as a specific modification meant to help advertisers in one specific area.
Third, be patient.
One of the temptations when a major change like this rolls out is to expect the consequences of the change for our campaigns to be as noticeable and significant as the change itself. That is almost never how it works, particularly in the multifamily industry. In industries where a product is harder to understand or complex in some other way, these sorts of changes can make a big difference because they allow the advertising platform to be sophisticated enough to explain the product. This is the situation with a lot of online companies that are selling products meant to solve some relatively novel problem.
But in multifamily that isn’t really our problem. Our product is very simple so changes to Ads, like the one Google recently made, are not going to be earth shattering for us. They’ll simply be examples of small little added efficiencies that can improve our marketing in subtle but significant ways. That’s not nothing, of course. But it also isn’t any sort of seismic, this-changes-everything transformation of your marketing either.
Finally, here’s the big mistake to avoid: Don’t over-react to these changes.
As we’ve been emphasizing throughout this post, the quirks of the multifamily industry mean that this Ads change is about marginal improvements to Ads apartment marketing rather than radical changes. So be patient. Don’t make hasty judgments. Give campaigns time to run before making a decision. Patience is a virtue and one that online marketers often neglect to practice.