An introduction to Google Ads Video Ad Sequencing (VAS)

Video Ad Sequencing (VAS) is a recent addition to the Google Ads video campaign types that allows advertisers to, “…tell your product or brand story by showing people a series of videos in the order that you define.” But it is really a lot more.

Video Ad Sequencing can be used to take your target audience on a video journey based upon, to a limited extent, their behavior. By telling a story VAS lets you drive deeper awareness, engagement, and consideration.

Examples of Video Sequencing usage

Let’s say you want to let people know about “Five key elements of your product” and why it makes you better than the competition. With VAS, you can effectively ensure that potential customers see each video, in a set sequence.

We used VAS with one of our clients which had one long-form video that was just too long to capture the short attention span of users on YouTube. So, instead, we split the ad into five short vignettes, each with a quick intro and value-prop within the first five seconds (which is the non-skippable length of a video ad) to ensure our message got out before a user could skip the full 30-second video. We then set up a VAS campaign that would show these ads, in sequence, so that users would see the full story and all of the value that the product could offer.

What’s great about VAS is that you can go beyond a flat sequence and actually vary the content a user sees, depending on how they interact with each video in the sequence. For example, let’s say a user skips your first ad, rather than having them continue through your sequence, you can say, show them an alternate video outside of your sequence. If they skip that too, then you drop them entirely out of the sequence.

Another potential usage of Video Ad Sequencing

Another potential usage of Video Ad Sequencing is rewarding users for watching your content or calling out when they skip your videos. You can show videos to users that skipped your prior videos in sequence, meaning you can show them alternate content such as alternate value propositions, drop them out of the sequence, or even directly address with the audience that they skipped your prior video but you still really think your product is right for them. Alternatively, if a user views your first video, you can put them into a sequence with longer-form content for the second video, effectively creating exclusive content that only those viewers get to see.

Things you must know

The settings allow for you to dictate what content a user sees after they see an ad (impression) without watching, viewed an ad (watch the full video if shorter than 30-seconds or at least 30-seconds if the video is longer), or skipped an ad.

What you end up with is a flow like this

Video Ad Sequencing example on YouTube

 

If you are looking to try out video ad sequencing keep this in mind – you are limited to target CPM or Maximum CPV bidding and you cannot target by content.

This means no specific placements, topics, or keywords (you can exclude them though). You can really only target them by demographics and target audiences. YouTube does not currently allow custom affinity or custom intent audiences so you are stuck with life events or In-Market Audiences. Google recommends testing sequencing alongside brand lift studies, which basically means: “This campaign can spend a lot if you let it.”

Available bid strategies

  • Target CPM (Recommended by Google)
    • With Target CPM, we optimize bids to show your entire sequence campaign to your audience, which can help you get a higher sequence completion rate.
  • Maximum CPV

Ad formats include the following

  •  Skippable in-stream ads
  •  Non-skippable in-stream ads
  •  Bumper ads
  •  A combination of the above

The bid strategy you select also dictates the ad formats you can use

Bidding type                                             Available formats

Target CPM (tCPM)                                  Skippable in-stream ads

Non-skippable in-stream ads

Bumper ads

A combination of the above

Maximum CPV (CPV)                              Skippable in-stream ads

Source: Google

I would also strongly recommend mapping out your sequence before-hand. Every step of a sequence is set as a new ad group in the campaign, so it can get big and messy quite quickly.

It’s also good to know how you want to deal with the different interactions at different steps in the sequence. Just because a user skips one video, doesn’t mean they won’t watch another and get back into sequence. But similarly, if a user skips your video(s), do you really want to keep showing them ads in the sequence they care nothing about? Maybe at that point, you show them a totally unrelated tried-and-true video and then drop them out of the sequence.

My testing with Video Ad Sequencing so far has been limited, but I am very excited about the opportunity to keep working with several of our larger clients on sequencing. It is a really powerful tool that Google has shown can grow brand awareness and consideration.

Next, I’ll have a guide for setting up your first video ad sequence should you still need help.

The post An introduction to Google Ads Video Ad Sequencing (VAS) appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

A visual guide for every Google Ads extension

Sitelinks, the first Google ad extension, was introduced in 2009. They enabled advertisers to expand the total size of their text ads while also providing additional links to the advertiser’s website.

In the ten years that followed these original ad extensions, Google rolled out an additional ten manual and automated extensions and two automated-only extensions.

Manual extensions require that advertisers set them up within Google Ads before they can show up in the actual ad.

Automated extensions require no set up on the advertiser’s part – Google Ads these automatically based on system predictions of performance.

Since ad extensions only appear beneath the main body of the ad at Google’s discretion, there’s no easy way to preview an ad with the extensions included, thus it’s challenging for Google Ads managers and agencies to explain to clients what their actual ad might look like to searchers.

This inspired me to create an in-depth, fully illustrated guide of Google’s ad extensions.

What follows is a summary of this guide which includes samples of the top four ad extensions and how they appear on either mobile or desktop devices. The full guide is available here.

The importance of ad extensions

Google’s data shows that ad extensions increase CTR by as much as 15%, though, in my experience, it can often be much higher than this.

Extensionless ads are smaller and take up less space, so they tend to get fewer clicks.

Importance of Google Ads extensions

The ad on the left is what the ad preview looks like in Google’s desktop ad editor. There’s no easy way to view the ad as it might appear with extensions, as shown on the right. When looking at the ads side-by-side, the ad on the right is larger and contains more information about the business, including the street address and phone number for mobile users.

The top four ad extensions

Not every ad extension is appropriate for every advertiser. Shopping extensions, for example, can only be used to showcase products on ecommerce websites while App extensions are only appropriate for businesses who have a mobile app they want to sell or promote.

However, there are four ad extensions that are appropriate for most businesses and should absolutely be leveraged to add more information to your ads and expand the ad’s overall size. They are:

1. Sitelinks

The original ad extension, sitelinks are a powerful way to add more links to your ads. Each sitelink can contain up to 25 characters in the link text plus a two-line description totaling 140 characters per link. As with most ad extensions, Google selects which sitelinks and how many will appear with each ad and will show two to six sitelinks per ad.

Example of sitelinks Google Ads extension

 

Sitelinks with descriptions included

2. Callout extensions

Callouts are short snippets of text that can be up to 25 characters. They can be used to highlight business selling points and features (for example, “Open 24 Hours”). They appear directly beneath the ad description and above the sitelinks.

Google shows two to six callout extensions per ad, though the specific number of callouts varies based on what Google feels are the most relevant (and likely to get clicked on) callouts.

Example of callout Google Ads extensions

3. Call extensions

Call extensions allow advertisers to append a phone number to an ad without including it in the body of the ad text (in fact, your ad may get rejected if you try to include a phone number directly in the body of the ad). Phone numbers using call extensions are clickable on mobile devices, allowing users to tap on a phone icon to call the business directly (rather than clicking through to a landing page).

Example of call extensions

4. Structured snippets

A structured snippet is basically a list of products, services, or other elements that help define a company’s offerings more clearly to consumers. There are thirteen different types of structured snippets, some of which are only appropriate for specific businesses. For example, “neighborhoods” for local businesses or real estate, and “degree programs” for schools.

The above extensions are easy to create in the Google Ads interface or using the Google Ads Editor, a free desktop tool that allows advertisers to easily create and manage Google Ads accounts offline from a computer.

The complete illustrated guide to Google Ads extensions contains many more visual examples of automated and manual ad extensions (including some of the more obscure extensions). It can help provide some clarity behind how the different extensions look on both mobile and desktop devices.

The post A visual guide for every Google Ads extension appeared first on Search Engine Watch.