It seems like people are always going crazy over one thing or another these days. Baseball, the World Cup Soccer Tournament, now we’re gearing up for the start of the football season. People love their sports and their teams – so much so, in fact, that friendly sports rivalries seem to clutter up my Facebook news feed on the daily and friends and co-workers create some of the most elaborate fantasy football setups I’ve ever seen. It’s impressive. I mean, truthfully, people are talking about naming their kids after their favorite football players.

Not a thing wrong with that, mind you, it merely serves as more evidence to back up my claim that the sport du jour (depending what season it is) is a hot opportunity for advertisers. Whether you like a good tailgating party or cheering from the stands, people are passionate about their sports.

We’ll talk a bit about this today, with some upcoming opportunities from Google for small businesses in the San Francisco Bay area (because, as you know, the city is hosting the 2016 Super Bowl in February – and as it’s Super Bowl 50, you can expect a spectacular event). Along with, of course, some other news and updates from your favorite ad networks and thought leaders. Even if you’re not in the San Francisco Bay area, football season is just gearing up so give some thought to how you can tap into the momentum in your ad campaigns.

Ready to roll?

 

Let’s check in with Google…

This week, Google announced new automated extensions for Product Listing Ads (PLAs). These new extensions are displayed automatically alongside your shopping ads with zero additional cost to the advertiser, using existing information you’ve provided in your Merchant Center settings and data feed. That means you’ll automatically display free shipping and price drop information, and in a consistent way for shoppers.

Based on the initial results of testing, Google has found that shoppers actually prefer these automated extensions over promotional text. And, even better, advertisers are getting better click-through rates with automated extensions. So, Google has decided to retire promotional text at the end of September 2015 in favor of the more-effective automated extensions.

But what about other offers you might want to highlight other than free shipping and sale prices? There are still other shopping extensions you can take advantage of, including:

  • Merchant promotions – for sharing discounts and promotional codes
  • Product ratings – for displaying aggregated star ratings and linking to customer reviews
  • Trusted Stores – for showcasing to your customers that you’re trusted by Google as a great place to shop

Read more in this post from the AdWords Blog.

Over at Google and Your Business, Google is getting San Francisco Bay-area businesses online ahead of football’s big game with a special series of “’Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map’ workshops designed especially for the Bay Area businesses we know and love to learn strategies to getting online — and in front of everyone coming to town for the Big Game.”

The 2015 championship game in Phoenix brought about $700 million in economic impact to the region, indicating that it’s worth your effort to get your business on the map before the big event. Just think about the fact that “near me” searches have doubled in the past year alone, and you’ll get an idea of just how valuable it can be to make your business easy to find both online and off. To take advantage of the upcoming workshop series and register for an event near you, hit up this post on the Google and Your Business Blog.

 

Checkin’ in with Bing…

Bing Ads Marketplace Trends is now live, meaning you can fine-tune your advertising campaigns even further with specific metrics like volume trends related to device targeting or ad scheduling, look at location targeting trends, filter cost-per-click (CPC) and click-through-rate (CTR) within each state by industry and sub-industry, and gain other deep insights into market trends that can help you refine your advertising efforts.

Check out this post from the Bing Ads blog for more details on how you can gain a competitive edge with Bing Ads Marketplace Trends.

New Notify Me Automated Rules allow you to create custom campaign alerts. That means you can get an automatic notification for things like campaigns that have spent more than a designated amount in a week, ad groups with a Quality Score that have fallen below a target threshold, and other key metrics that save you hours of time and reduce the need for constant campaign monitoring. More details on the new Notify Me custom campaign alerts here.

If you run health insurance ad campaigns for your own company or clients, this post from Bing offers four ways to fortify your campaigns.

I was talking about the Super Bowl (hey, February really isn’t that far off, you know) earlier in today’s post, so it should come as no big surprise to you that Bing is already talking about the holidays. It’s that time again – time to start thinking about planning your holiday advertising campaigns. And to help you kick off your planning efforts on the right foot, Bing is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, August 26th at 11am PDT: “Holiday zen and the art of planning.” Details on what you’ll learn and how to register in this post.

 

What ‘s happening around the rest of the web?

Amazon text ads are here – but what does that mean for you? PPCHero investigates the latest competition in the PPC world in this post.

Did you know you can create display URLs in bulk? PPCHero reveals how to get it done here.

Facebook has a new click-to-call option, in case you haven’t heard. And in case you’re wondering whether it’s right for your business and how to use it best, 3Q Digital has you covered in this post.

Everyone wants to be more efficient with their PPC efforts. In this post, Clix Marketing reveals the 3 Ds of more efficient PPC.

Want to eliminate click fraud in your account? WordStream reveals four ways to stop it for good in this post. While you’re at it, why not take a stab at some split-testing to fine-tune your landing pages? Get five real-life landing page split-test ideas here.

And, if you want to learn a few nifty tricks you can pull off with ad customizers, read this post, also from WordStream.

Finally, because I can’t wrap up this week without at least one more reference to football, check out this PPC Play Book from PPCHero. It’s from last year, but still chock full of valuable tips for PPC lead generation campaigns. Get it here.

 

Soon, the leaves will be falling and stadiums packed with screaming fans. You don’t have to sell fan gear to get in on the game – be sure to strategize how you’ll take advantage of all the new features and insights from Google AdWords and Bing to capitalize on this year’s football frenzy. Enjoy your weekend, all!