Bidding & Optimization Strategies for the Modern Search Marketer
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I hadn’t seen anything about the new Dynamic Ad Sitelinks before the first reports came out. Therefore, it took me a couple of days to take it all in and think of the consequences, as well as the benefits, of all advertisers getting ad Sitelinks.
My first thought was: “Why has Google made clicks on Dynamic Ad Sitelinks free?”
To me, this reminds me of a retention specialist who mindlessly cuts pricing when their clients cancel. If Google is willing to give away clicks on dynamic ad Sitelinks for free, I honestly don’t have much faith in the value of ad Sitelinks.
Which leads me to my next thought: “Why doesn’t Google put enough value on Dynamic Ad Sitelinks to charge for them?”
To answer this question, I researched how Google chooses which dynamic Sitelinks to show:
“When people are searching on Google to complete a task, like buying a car or planning a trip, they might perform several searches and click multiple search results. Based on this activity, AdWords can determine which pages on your site are highly relevant to their current search. With dynamic sitelinks, we’ll annotate your ads with a link to those pages.” Source: AdWords Help Center
So, when Google says they are dynamic, the Sitelinks are truly dynamic. They will choose the Sitelinks based on what the user has visited on your site before. So far so good, but that opens up some clear questions about the positive impact.
- What happens if the person hasn’t visited your website before?
- Will Google cross-reference data across competitors in the same space?
- Is it even a good idea to show links to what the person has already visited?
Keep in mind, these questions do not challenge the validity of whether the dynamic Sitelinks will help increase CTR on your ads, but instead of how it will affect conversions.
Over the years we have learned if you don’t choose your Sitelinks with care, you can actually hurt your conversion rate. That makes the thought of having Google choosing dynamic Sitelinks for my ads is not something I’m particularly excited about.
What Are the True Intentions Behind Free Dynamic Sitelinks?
Google wants to ensure the best experience for users (at least for the ads part), so they won’t risk poor search result experiences for an immediate profit gain. Google is in for the long-term, and I honestly don’t think they would risk their clear lead-position by earning a couple of extra dollars.
That is why I don’t think we will see a negative impact from dynamic Sitelinks.
Larry Kim reports advertisers, on average, see a 10% increase in CTR after adding Ad Sitelinks. That means giving out free clicks on dynamic Sitelinks is not as much a gift to you as it is a gift to themselves. By providing you with an incentive to not opt out of dynamic, they ensure that most people won’t go through the trouble.
Let’s say that a very generous number of people click Sitelinks at 5%. This means Google still makes the extra 5% in ad clicks versus organic clicks.
The Savvy Advertiser Lose an Edge Against the Competition
Savvy advertisers will, understandably, be slightly annoyed with Google right now.
Compare it to studying for a huge test in college. You spend weeks getting ready for the big exam. You have read, taken mock exams with other students, and overall spent a great deal of time ensuring you would ace the exam.
On the other hand, the majority of your fellow students spent their time partying and generally goofing off. They are nowhere near as ready for this exam as you — and you are looking forward to finishing at the top of your class.
When the day finally arrives you find out that everyone will be handed a booklet with the answers.
Can you imagine the disappointment? You might as well not have studied at all.
The same thing applies to dynamic Sitelinks — albeit on a slightly smaller scale. All the advertisers who have spent time writing Sitelinks will now be likely to have lower returns on this effort.
Which brings me to my next point:
Will Ad Sitelinks CTR Increase Continue To Be 10% If Everyone Has Sitelinks?
As dynamic Sitelinks roll out on all accounts, I am looking forward to a study on whether or not the 10% increase will still be in effect. Take into account that the current 10% CTR increase is measured on ads with Sitelinks versus ads without Sitelinks, so I wonder if the impact will still be as big.
We all know how important it is to make your ads stand out in the SERPs. With everyone getting Sitelinks, the old ads will no longer seem special, and I foresee the CTR effect to be much smaller in the future.
However, I also see the penalty for not having Sitelinks increasing in the future. If you choose to opt-out of ad Sitelinks, you will be more disadvantaged than ever.
While we all sit and ponder these questions, I’m eager to see the results over the next couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see if some of our predictions hold up. What are your thoughts? Please share them in the comments below.
Featured Image: Illustration by White Shark Media. Used with permission.