Steven Wyer on Google’s New Ad Initiatives

Google is evolving, says Third Coast Interactive (3Ci)’s Steven Wyer. From the psychology of color to new audience targeting, advertisers should get ready for the holiday season now.

Google users may have noticed a subtle change in the number of colors they see from both desktop and mobile searches this year, says Steven Wyer. Recently, the search engine has begun testing grayscale percentage rates in place of yellow star ratings and has changed text ad labels from yellow to green. According to Steven Wyer, both changes are meant to reduce visual noise, especially for mobile users, who tend to have shorter attention spans than desktop searchers.

Seeing stars…or not

Steven Wyer reports that in July of 2016, digital marketers from a UK foreign exchange provider contacted Search Engine Land after a routine web check of their firm. The results were unexpected – the company’s 4.9 (bright) yellow star rating had been replaced with a greyed-out “94% positive” just under the ad tag, which itself had been recolored from yellow to green, says Steven Wyer. It is interesting to note that SEL’s media reporter Ginny Marvin was unable to duplicate these results. Steven Wyer believes the inconsistent outcomes are due to current testing of Google’s updated text ad format.

The color conundrum

Many wonder why the sudden change from yellow and blue – since ad tags have historically been yellow, like the stars, with URLs the familiar “link blue.” According to Steven Wyer, the answer is remarkably simple: color confuses the eye, especially on a small device like a phone. Since advertisers want their potential customers to remain focused on their text as long as possible, Steven Wyer agrees the desaturation is a good idea.

Text ads expanded

Google announced in May that text ads across all devices were getting a makeover, says Steven Wyer. Ads will soon be allowed additional characters, moving from a 25-35-35 format to a 30-30-80 layout instead. This move will be a huge change for advertisers, and one that Steven Wyer says requires some creative re-strategizing. It will not be enough to simply alter existing text to the new ad style. Google’s own Sundeep Jain stated that beta-testing advertisers with reworked copy are already seeing better results. Steven Wyer believes this news is promising.

It is notable that Google plans to continue to allow old text ads to run. This offers advertisers the very valuable opportunity to test the two ad types against each other. Steven Wyer hopes the new ETAs will prove beneficial to its customers, and their customer’s customers.

Other changes

Steven Wyer asserts that the recent Google changes are not isolated. Google has also moved similar audience targeting into a production environment. This expands targeting efforts to reach users with similar behaviors to current customers. So far, Similar Audiences has been made available only on Gmail and YouTube. User behavior has also prompted Google to reinstate device bidding, which Steven Wyer explains allows advertisers to decide what devices their keywords are targeted to. Other recent modifications to Google’s various marketing tools include the new Customer Match Uploader for Salesforce and RLSA targeting. Steven Wyer points out that the latter has boosted some company’s clicks by up to 20% from past site visitors and existing customers.

About Steven Wyer

Steven Wyer began his journey into the world of internet marketing and SEO as a way to enhance his own online presence. Today, as the CEO of Third Coast Interactive, Steven Wyer oversees a team of more than a dozen net-savvy creatives who share a collective commitment to pushing 3Ci’s customers to the top.


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