If you’re like most major retailers, you may have 100,000+ ads in your AdWords accounts—all of which will need to be rewritten, thanks to Google’s announcement last week. Expanded Text Ads (ETA) will be coming to all advertisers this year and it is the biggest change Google has ever made to its ad format. No official release date has been announced yet, but rumor has it, the new format will start rolling out as early as July, and by September, the old ad format will no longer be allowed.

 

Boost Media shares insights and thought-provoking questions to get you thinking about how to take advantage of this opportunity to improve your own creative landscape.

 

Rethinking retail SEM ads for a mobile-first world

 

If you haven’t done so already, kick off an audit of your current creative landscape. Once you have a clean base to work from, rethink your creative strategy by asking questions around these three concepts:

 

1. Purchase funnel

 

Now, more than ever, retailers are facing rising CPCs and increased competition in paid search. This will be felt more strongly when ETA goes into effect. Fewer advertisers will occupy more space at the top of the search results page, pushing everyone else further down the page.

 

One way to compete is by adding value to customers through improved messaging relevancy across the customer journey. This is now possible as customers increasingly rely on mobile devices, turning to search engines at various phases throughout their purchase journey. Customers want different information and messaging at different stages in the buying process and the brand that can best guide them through that process will have an edge on the competition. What are the distinct phases in your customer’s buying journey and what keywords map to those phases? What messaging and creative would appeal at different parts of the buyer journey?

2. Context

Retailers used to be able to expect people sitting at a desktop computer at home or work when shopping online. The search marketing landscape is now richer and more complex. For example, Google is rolling out enhancements to local and map search ads to serve use cases like customers searching for local shopping information en route to the store.

 

Many retailers have applied a one-size-fits-all approach to writing ads with little to no regard for customer context. It’s time to design creative for context. What are the most common use cases and contexts in which your customers might be conducting searches?

3. Emotional appeal

Retailers used to be be able to compete on the SERP with textually relevant ads living in tightly themed ad groups, even if it meant using a highly templated approach to creative with some variation on, “Get {Product} from {Brand} with free shipping. Shop Now!”

 

How do you differentiate yourself from other retailers when everyone has the same messaging?

 

You don’t.

 

Differentiate your brand with unique ad creative that appeals to customer emotions. With the AdWords character limit increasing to 140 characters, search marketers finally have an opportunity to make a compelling emotional appeal. A great way to connect emotionally is to speak to the benefits of a product rather than the features. What are the benefits of your products? How do you want customers to feel as a result of buying from you?

 

Where to go from here

It’s time to rethink your approach to creative, mapping ads to different aspects of the customer journey, revising your approach by the customer’s context, and rewriting longer text ads that speak to the emotional benefits of buying from your brand. To accomplish this, you will need to figure out how to produce emotionally appealing, contextually relevant, customer journey-conscious ads on a scale you’ve probably never tackled before. If you find this process daunting, don’t worry, Boost Media has a solution to help you get ahead of the competition with the Expanded Text Ads transition.