Google Marketing Live is looking like quite an event this year, and one of the biggest announcements that came out of it was that Google Ads are getting a new addition to the family – Gallery Ads. These carousel-like ads are coming to mobile Google SERPs later this year, according to Google Ads and Commerce SVP Prabhakar Raghavan, although only to the top spot on mobile results pages.
Let’s go through the specifications for this new format, and what it will mean for advertisers in New Zealand.
Using the new gallery ad format, advertisers can now create galleries of relevant product images for mobile customers to swipe through. They expand out into a vertical-scrolling gallery if any of the images are tapped, and the headlines are linked to a specified site URL. Raghavan mentioned in Google’s corresponding blog announcement that these were developed to combine search intent with the use of rich creative, in the name of creating a better and more cohesive brand story for users to resonate with. When creating an ad, you are able to:
Google users in the United States saw the first incarnation of this format back in March of 2016, when eligible automobile advertisers could create a kind of “virtual showroom” and let users swipe through the models of cars available. Since then, Google implemented them in beta with other products and services to test their performance, which appears to have yielded a bountiful harvest (if their latest announcement is anything to go by).
“Google’s tests have indicated that image-heavy text ads work well in search results.”Andy Miller, Leader of Search Ads Strategy at Google
There are several key points to this new roll-out that will have an impact on your digital marketing strategy.
First, it’s important to note that these ads are less about driving direct conversions and more about leading customers further down the purchase funnel. Rich creative shown in relative searches is a way of driving positive brand awareness, consideration, and preference, even if potential customers aren’t clicking through to order straight away.
Second, your gallery ads will compete in the same auctions as text ads for the top spot on mobile SERPs (although the desktop rollout is also coming). They run within the same ad groups alongside your normal text ads for search, so they can be thought of as rich text ads. This means that your metadata (the descriptions, headlines, and URL slugs) will have a big impact on how likely they are to win ad auctions, so it’s very important to keep those aspects in focus.
Thirdly, you can be charged for these ads in two possible ways: cost-per-click, or after the customer swipes through three of your gallery images. The first one works exactly the same as a normal text ad, but the second one is only on the basis of your customer wanting to continue through your gallery. Keep in mind that you have to upload at least four images anyway, so your budget will most likely have to adjust (if only slightly) to accommodate users who swipe all the way through.
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