Across the many digital advertising platforms that exist, one thing is certain: their interest in further empowering online consumers.

This couldn’t be more true, as many of these platforms have launched new initiatives designed to accomplish just that—be it improvements to ratings/review systems, price comparisons, new ad formats and related resources for advertisers, new platform features, etc.

Here’s a list of some of these changes:

Google Launches New Programs and Ad Formats

Google Introduces Shopping Experience Scorecard Program

Proud to help shoppers discover new brands every day, Google recently boasted that 67% of US shoppers in 2021 agreed that Google helped them find new products, services, and brands—noting how critical it is for advertisers to stand out in consumer moments of inspiration and/or decision, and how their platform is designed to help advertisers accomplish this.

Of the many ways they help advertisers, the most important is helping build trust with consumers. As such, Google is introducing the Shopping Experience Scorecard program, rewarding merchants for good customer experiences and helping merchants build their reputation with potential customers.

The program provides eligible merchants a badge naming them as a Trusted Store, and is based on the merchant’s performance for metrics involving shipping and return services:

  • average delivery time
  • average shipping cost
  • average return window
  • average return cost

Great for competitive advertisers, the badge is also just another example of empowering consumers with additional information that influences their purchase considerations and decisions. Early test results indicate that users are more inclined to click ads belonging to merchants who display the badge, even in instances where the merchants are lesser-known.

The Shopping Experience Scorecard program is planned to roll out across the US in the months ahead, so be on the lookout for it in your Google Merchant account.

[Image courtesy of Google]

Google Releases New Features for Travel and Vehicle Ads

Not stopping with online merchants, Google also launched new features for travel and vehicle sales industries that also further empower consumers.

For travelers, search results now include convenient hotel booking links that allow them to easily review rates and unique offerings, as well as book directly on travel partners’ websites. These ad placements are free hotel booking links, and since their introduction, Google has noted increased engagement across hotels and travel agencies.

More information for brands looking to leverage this technology can be found as follows:

[Image courtesy of Google]

For shoppers looking to purchase their next vehicle, Google announced their new search ad format: vehicle ads

Citing stats that 89% of new car buyers researched their vehicle online, and that 16% of 2021 new car buyers purchased their car online (up from 1% only three years before), Google made the move to help further empower consumers by providing an easy and helpful way for users to search vehicles, see pertinent information (e.g. photos, location, make and model, price, and mileage), refine intent to purchase nearby or have delivered, and to submit lead forms or get dealership contact information.

Again, this is great for consumers but also for advertisers. The results from beta testing noted a +25% average increase in conversions for advertisers who leveraged the ad format alongside their existing search campaigns. In testing the format, the Asbury Automotive Group, not only had a 35% increase in conversions and a 12% increase in conversion value, but their CMO and SVP of Strategy and Innovation, Miran Maric, had this to say, “The results from the pilot far exceeded our expectations. With vehicle ads, we can help customers by bringing them right to the care they’re interested in. This helps us maximize traffic and conversions to vehicle pages and increase efficiency.” Maric isn’t alone… Nathan Sato, Director of Digital Marketing for Ken Garff Automotive Group also shared his thoughts on how the format improved visibility and efficiency, and noted that “[Google’s vehicle ads] drove more store visits than other campaign types.”

[Image courtesy of Google]

Microsoft Ads Releases New Ad Updates

Not to be outdone, Microsoft Ads has launched new features and updates as well that benefit consumers and brands.

Microsoft Vehicle Ad Updates

For example, with search interest in vehicles being at an all-time high, automotive ads are being expanded to new markets and placements—and there are even plans for the near future to include additional financing options (monthly pricing and leasing options), support new vehicle types (e.g. motorcycles and recreational vehicles), and include more vehicle attributes for electric vehicles. You can read more about these new and upcoming features here.

Microsoft Launches Professional Service Ads

Microsoft Ads is also launching their new ad solution Professional Service Ads, helping consumers to make faster decisions between competing professional providers. The pilot is only available in the US and Canada at this time, and is only available for select industries—though, there are plans to expand in the near future. Industries currently served include insurance, real estate, and tax services (but there have been similar announcements for credit card and health insurance advertisers). Professional Service Ads can promote individual advisors or agents (local), an office or branch (regional), or a company profile (national). Even more enticing is that early pilot data shoes they have an increase in conversion rates of about 60% when compared to regular text ads and are significantly less expensive, noting the average cost per acquisition (CPA) decreases about 67% compared to overall performance across campaigns. To learn more about these ads and recommendations for best implementation, you can check out this post.

[Image courtesy of Microsoft Ads]

Microsoft Ads Offers LinkedIn Profile Targeting

Need another reason to advertise on Microsoft Ads? How about the ability to use LinkedIn Profile Targeting! Now you can target audiences using LinkedIn profile information in text ads, dynamic search ads, the Microsoft Audience Network, and Shopping campaigns.

You may be asking yourself, “how does this empower consumers?” Microsoft’s data shows that ads targeting LinkedIn audiences saw up to 16% stronger click-through rates (CTR) than the same ads shown to non-audience targeted users and an up to 64% stronger conversion rate, suggesting that these audiences found the content highly relevant to their interests and easy with which to engage—making it a win-win for both consumers and advertisers.

More information can be found here.

[Image courtesy of Microsoft Ads]

Honorable Mentions

Google and Microsoft Ads aren’t the only ones testing new features that further empower online consumers. Here’s a list of honorable mentions, including links to more information:

TikTok Launches Search Ads (Beta) – empowers consumers with entertaining and/or informative video content related to their search queries for products, services, etc. The format may also serve as a great way for brands to reach consumers with higher degrees of interest and/or purchase intent. Still in beta, the format appears to only be available for selected partners, but is definitely worth keeping top of mind.

[Image courtesy of Search Engine Land]

TikTok Launches New Ads Library – empowers brands with resources and examples of top-performing ads on the platform, helping brands emulate and/or innovate on proven tactics, and encouraging stronger resonance with the consumers who are interested in their products/services.

Meta (Facebook) Shares Insights on Shops, Live Shopping, Drops, and Reels – coined as “social shopping,” these formats and tactics empower consumers with insight into product details, use cases, and social proof—information that helps build trust between brands and consumers, encourages stronger relationships, and drives growth.

The Takeaway

So what’s the biggest takeaway from these ad platforms and their new offerings? Empowering your consumers with information readily available at their fingertips can easily differentiate you from your competitors, is often more cost-effective than not doing so, can lead to stronger relationships between you and your consumers, and encourages stronger performance and growth.

Should you need assistance in leveraging these ad platforms for your needs, navigating new features and enhancements, or optimizing performance of existing efforts, our team is happy to help. Connect with our team for your free consultation to help get the most out of your PPC efforts.