News | 24/05/2016

Rich Cards and Expanded Text Ads – The latest changes to the Google Interface

Posted by Christian Ryan

Google has made significant changes to its SERPs (search engine results page) over the last year. In an effort to make the mobile and desktop experience more seamless it recently removed text ads from the right hand side, and the increased presence of Local listings has seriously impacted the presence of Organic results for many searches.

The announcements of Rich Cards and Expanded Text Ads are the latest example of Google significantly changing the way users will see their results in the future. Whilst the two announcements and features aren’t connected they’ll have a similar level of impact on the everyday user and marketer. So what’s the deal?

Expanded Text Ads

Google yesterday (24/05) announced that it would be rolling out Expanded Text Ads (ETA) later this year. This is a huge announcement and one which will change PPC and Adwords management significantly. In their Blog the Google Adwords team has suggested that this is “the biggest change to ad text in 15 years”.

For as long as Google Text ads have been in existence it has followed strict character limits of 25 for the headline, 35 for 2 lines of description, and a display URL (this has changed in format over the last year). Yesterdays announcement means advertisers will now have far more room to play with, two 30-character headlines, one consolidated description of 80 characters and an automatically matched URL.

The removal of text ads from the right hand side of SERPs for desktop in March means there is far more space to work with now, and Expanded Text Ads is going to fill it. The ads will become seamless across device and help further Google’s quest to do just this.

There’s huge potential for advertisers now this premium retail space has become available. With a decline in ROI for many text ad PPC campaigns in the last year, and a subsequent increase in investment for remarketing, display and product listing campaigns over the last year this increased shop window could be a way of revitalising the ad format.

Google’s suggestion that the new format “has seen increases in click through rates of up to 20% compared to current text ads” is certainly going to be welcomed with open arms by most advertisers. The reworking of potentially 1000’s of text ads to accommodate this new format, however, probably not so much.

Rich Cards

Rich Cards are essentially an upgrade of rich snippets. Whilst currently only available for movie and recipe pages, it’s expected this format could be rolled out for many other users in the future – retail could be one of many industries which would benefit from them.

Aesthetically it’s a nice move from Google as it frames information in a far more digestible and visual way, and for website owners and marketers it gives the chance to create engaging and clickable content which will drive more visitors to the website. The image released by Google below highlights just how much more interesting the Rich Card mark up can make some information.

To administer this for your website you’d need to have is Search Console set up (previously Google Webmaster Tools) for your website, but as with Rich Snippets it makes it incredibly easy for you to highlight the relevant information so Google can then format it as per the example above. In addition, there is now a Rich Cards report in Search Console so you can see just how engaging your newly crafted Rich Cards are.

We’re really looking forward to seeing how we can employ this feature for some of our clients and increasing traffic as a result.