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Why Video Ads In Google’s Search Results Are Closer Than Ever


In April of this year, we learned that Google’s TrueView ads (on YouTube) were to blame for Google making less money per ad; the popularity of the video ads was rising amongst users, but the clicks were at a low cost, and that was hindering Google’s ability to monetize them well. (See my column from last month on the opportunity these video ads present.)

But Google may be working on something to solve the problem of better monetizing video ads after all: its search results.

Will Bing Get There First?

Usually, Google is the leader when it comes to digital ad innovation, but let’s not entirely discount Bing Ads. The advertising network recently started testing video ads in the search results, and that’s significant.

Perhaps Bing was building off the success of its “rich ads for search” feature, where some advertisers have seen improved click-through rates and time on site as a result of incorporating video into ads.

Over the summer, there was speculation Google was testing video ads for the Search Network, but there’s not been concrete evidence of it.

For Bing to come out of the gate sooner with a game-changing approach to video ads in search results over Google could be an interesting turn of events.

Google Knows That Video Works

Google has been studying the impact of video for a long time now. In April of this year, it shared that 65 percent of YouTube TrueView campaigns drove a “significant” lift (average 13 percent) in brand interest.

It’s already been experimenting with video in the Universal Search results on the organic side of things for years, and according to a 2015 study from Searchmetrics, video shows up 14 percent of the time in search results; of that, 82 percent of videos are from YouTube.

That same study showed Google Shopping results showed up 44 percent of the time, and let’s not forget the TrueView for shopping features that were introduced in May. This could prime advertisers for killer product videos in Shopping results. In fact, some brands that have tested TrueView for shopping are touting an increase in revenue.

In this article at Digiday, Google opted not to comment explicitly on whether or not it was launching video ads in the search results, but instead said it had played with the format in the past, and that the company didn’t have “anything specific we’re launching right now.” I also reached out to my AdWords rep who, of course, couldn’t comment.

Then This Happened

But then something interesting happened in September. Google announced TrueView campaigns would now be part of the core AdWords interface:

You know how you have to go to a special section within AdWords to create and manage your TrueView video campaigns? And jump back and forth when you want to report and optimize across all your campaigns? And you still can’t take advantage of AdWords bulk tools for your video campaigns? Well, good news, friends: those days are now over. TrueView is joining Search, Display, and Shopping campaigns within the core AdWords interface.

A key development is that Google is changing the format for video targeting. It used to be classified as “targeting groups,” but now it’s simply ad groups. That means video ads have the same campaign structure as others, which positions them well for the Search Network.

Here’s a chart I grabbed a few months ago from an old AdWords help file (that no longer exists), which showed the differences between targeting groups and ad groups, FYI:

targeting-group-ad-group

In the video below by Google, there’s a hint at the end that this isn’t the last of the announcements on video ads: “And the good news doesn’t end with this video. Now that all your campaigns share the same DNA, new features and updates will come faster than ever.”

There are certainly some additional considerations with launching video ads compared to the traditional Search Network or Display Network ads, like budgets for creating great video and starting to think more like a full-fledged creative team; but it can now be more easily integrated and managed with other campaigns, and that’s nice.

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