Earlier this month, Google announced a variety of new AdWords features at their #StepInsideAdWords event held in Half Moon Bay, CA. During this event, VP of Product Management Jerry Dischler described what he called a “fractured” customer journey that begins and ends with mobile. Dischler described these as “micro-moments.” If you’re alive today, you’re aware of micro-moments, those occasions when you say to yourself “I wonder if…” “I wonder how…” and, of course, “I want to buy…”
In these moments, Dischler said, users are not brand-loyal. And the marketers who respond to their needs with relevant content will win.
In order to help advertisers connect with these users, Google has launched new, mobile-friendly ad formats in several verticals, including automotive, finance, retail and travel. These new mobile-first ad formats are geared towards helping users get the information they need as quickly as possible.
Google has created new ad formats for both manufacturers and dealers. For manufacturers, the ads feature a multi-image carousel designed to provide what Google calls the “showroom experience.” These ads are extremely engaging and feature-rich. When tapped, each image expands to provide more information, and each ad includes options for users to search deeper – to view the official site, explore offers, or to find a local dealer. The dealer link opens to a new page of SERP-style results, and of course, includes its own ads. The dealer-specific ads are locally relevant and include driving directions and click-to-call functionality.
What’s special about these ads – aside from their functionality – is that they very quickly take the user from a general search to an extremely specific destination. (Going from, say, “I wonder what the new Dodge Challenger looks like…” to the showroom floor.)
In a similar vein, Google’s new hotel ads are designed to keep the user engaged in what Google calls its “hotel search experience.” Within these ads, users can view hotel information, including images, pricing and reviews, and can even book a hotel room right from the SERPs with Google’s booking widget. These ads launched first for Hilton, which, Dischler said, saw 45% higher conversion rates over their traditional search ads.
Google has had shopping ads for years, of course, but they have enhanced them with expanded product cards in order to offer a better mobile shopping experience. These expanded cards include reviews, product pricing and product details. By offering users an abundance of information, all within search, these ads are designed to take users seamlessly from search to checkout.
Earlier this year, Google launched Google Compare, a tool for shopping for car insurance, in California. Now, they will expand it to three more states, including Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
In addition, Google Compare will expand to include more products in the financial vertical, including credit cards and mortgages. These ads are geared at giving users easy access to unbiased information, while giving advertisers a seamless platform with which to access these users.
Although these new ad formats are only available in a few niche verticals, they signal a strong commitment by Google to enhance the mobile search experience. Although this won’t be greeted with joy by everyone (particularly content creators who depend on search to drive organic traffic) it is excellent news both for users and for advertisers who have the flexibility and know-how to produce the type of engaging ad content that will seamlessly flow into these formats.