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Expanded Opportunities: 2017 A Year in Search

Dec 21, 2017 by Ty Alyea, Director of Search Marketing Product

2017 has been an exciting year, with a host of new developments this year including, changes in ad optimization strategiesattribution, and keyword matching practices. It has also been an amazing year of growth for Service Direct. In the first eleven months of this year alone, our ads have been seen by prospective customers more than 58,000,000 times – a 15% percent jump over our ad reach in 2016. Moreover, we were able to make the Inc 5000 list of the fastest growing businesses for the second year in a row. Central to this growth has been our ability to be responsive and innovate alongside a changing technological marketplace.

One of the most exciting innovations we've spearheaded this year has been our successful adoption of expanded text ads across our Adwords and Bing advertising platforms. As Google explains, expanded text ads provide a versatile ad format that is designed to behave optimally across a broad range of devices, such as desktops, mobile phones, and tablets. In addition to displaying well across devices, these ads also allow us more room to inform potential internet users about our clients' services.

When Google first announced the advent of expanded ads, the search marketing community quickly regarded the new format as one of the most fundamental changes to search advertising in 15 years. As Pauline Jakober pointed out in 2016, expanded text ads put search marketers in "uncharted territory," requiring updated methods of ad creation and optimization. 

One year after our adoption of this new format, we are happy to say that we have rose to the challenge and thrived. In the Google network alone, expanded text ads have accounted for more than 400,000 of our clicks. Moreover, in comparison with standard Google text ads, our expanded ads have received a 30.8% improvement in click through rate (CTR).

Though the advent of expanded text ads was catalyzed by Adwords, we have found that the new format also had a huge impact on our Bing ad performance. By adopting this ad format, we have been able to launch ads in Bing that have a 30-58% higher CTR. Because increased click through rates also encourage better ad rankings, these improvements have a positive impact on the competitiveness of our ads & help our clients' ads place higher up on their prospective customers’ screens. Taken as a whole, these developments have allowed us to position more competitively, and more affordably, for each advertising dollar we spend for our clients.

In the wake of these innovations, Service Direct aims to continue improving in 2018. To give one example, in the year ahead, we'll be examining the impact of voice search devices on search trends, and analyzing  how trends in verbal searches can help us better display ads in front of internet searchers who are likely to be committed to choosing a service provider soon.

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