Here's what's new in the world of paid search advertising...

Google Changes Display of Top Position Ads

Apparently, Google is going to start putting Description Line 1 of a typical PPC ad in the headline of the Top 3 ads positions as long as the line ends with a punctuation mark.  If they roll this out, it's likely that competition for top position ads will grow and it will also affect ad copy strategies.  It is not recommended that you merge the headline and description line as there will be a dash placed between the two in the first line of the ad.

Remember, while it may get more expensive to be in the Top 3 positions if this happens, we still only bid for position if it is advantageous to our overall marketing goals.  As for ad copy, we may be more readily willing to be creative with our headlines since you could now put them in your description text and still have them show up big and blue on the page.

Facebook Debuts User-Generated Ad Option

Facebook has a new ad type called "Sponsored Stories" ads.  Basically, when the conditions are right, Facebook will serve a user comment in place of the ad an advertiser has created.  The conditions of showing the ad are dependent on each user's privacy settings.  If a user leaves a comment about your company, but their settings only have their wall posts showing to friends, then only friends can see their comment in place of the ad in their profile.  What is happening is you are able to pay to have things that users say about your product or service to other people that would be eligible to see it in their Newsfeed anyway.

Using Negative Keyword Lists

Allows you to not have to manage keywords for each of your campaigns individually.  You can compile themed lists of negative keywords that you create and apply them to specific campaigns; saving you the time of having to weed through negatives to copy and paste them to new campaigns.  This allows you to better organize negatives into groups so that you have more control of how you use them.  Also, it helps if things change in your business or on your site and certain keywords that were negatives become positives.

Google Testing Display Ads in Gmail

Gmail is a part of the "Google Display Network" which allows advertisers who use AdWords to show text, image, rich media or video ads on targeted content sites across the web where your target audience hangs out.  Google put a lot of effort into improving the effectiveness of this network in 2010 and it looks like the trend will continue.  Remember, SERPs (search results pages) only account for 5% of Internet pageviews, so learning how the GDN works and making it work for your business is a very wise investment.

Amazon Product Ads

Amazon has entered the PPC marketplace with what they are branding "Product Ads."  It's sort of like a combination of PPC and comparison shopping, since people are looking to purchase anyway.  The categories are initially limited.  Right now there is only Baby, Computers, Consumer Electronics, Health and Personal Care, Home and Garden, Office, Sports and Outdoors, Tools, Home Improvement and Toys. 

Your product ads are discovered in a variety of ways including search, browse and on product detail pages.  Products that only you sell will be viewable by using search and browse.  Products that are similar or the same as an existing product will be targeted to customers looking for products like yours.

January 31, 2011

Mike Fleming specializes in Analytics and Paid Search for Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @SEMFlem. Mike enjoys playing, writing and recording music along with playing basketball to get his workout in. He resides in Canton, Ohio with a girl who threw a snowball at him one day…then married him.

Mike and the team at Pole Position are available to help clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Contact them via their site or by phone at 866-685-3374.


I heard about this too over PPC Blog. It will make an interesting change, also would pull the ads more inline with the normal organic display, and if Google goes one step further and lightens or removes the background colour of the "Sponsored Ads" at the top of the SERPS, then they will be earning more cash for themselves as more people are likely to click on those ads.

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Search Engine Guide > Mike Fleming > PPC Advertiser News - 1/31/11