Google recently unveiled a new toy for us to play with. It is not so much a new product as it is a new feature for Google AdWords.
I´m going to be honest: I´m not a fan of fixing anything if it ain´t broken, but I´m curious enough to want to see it in action before I make any judgement.
When Thomas Alva Edison was asked how many times he had failed before inventing the light bulb, he famously answered: “I didn´t fail. Not even once. I just found 2,000 ways not to make a light bulb; I only needed to find one way to make it work.”
His story has been used as example of how we can learn from our mistakes, and how we can succeed, and even change the world, if we just keep trying. And one of the best modern examples of people who keep trying no matter how many times they discover ways not to do something online (and offline) is Google.
These guys never seem to give up and they come up with new crazy ideas almost every other day. Some, like Android and Google maps, have been true game changers. However, their trash bin is filled to the brim with projects that turned out to be nothing more than a gimmick (think Google Glass).
But the SEO world is always prepared to give Google a chance, no matter how crazy their ideas sound. Why? Well, because we are among the first ones to try to generate money with them, aren´t we?
In principle, I love the idea. I mean, I can imagine a thousand ways to use this for each one of my clients and their brands. Multi-pane memes, food galleries, questions that require swiping to uncover the answer… The possibilities to pique the interest of our audiences are endless.
However, it kind of reminds me of ad banners in the old days, and makes me wonder about audience fatigue when they start feeling these unsolicited images are getting in the way of their search results. Especially because the gallery takes up a good chunk of screen space in mobiles.
On the other hand, I can see where they were aiming with this. I always thought Google´s paid advertising was dull and boring. Don´t get me wrong. They´re incredibly effective at doing what they do, but they all looked the same to me. Google Ads Gallery is an obvious effort to shake things up a bit. And, apparently, they are on the right track. They report a 25% increase in user engagement when compared to standard text ads. That´s a solid win if you ask me.
And it is not like it hasn´t been tried before. Other big players have been riding the gallery wave for a while now. Businesses have been promoting their brand through Instagram and Facebook, taking full advantage of stories and carousels. People just love swiping through their galleries, and businesses have reported big gains when using them to promote their products.
For me, for this new type of campaign to fly, Google needs our help more than ever. If marketers and businesses limit its use to uploading standard images with catchy CTAs, then Ads Gallery is doomed to fail. However, clever campaigns that make users actively look for these ads as part of their search experience, will definitely make it stick.
I also believe that Gallery Ads levels the field for industries that traditionally never benefit from still images. For example, a single picture of your new UI, no matter how awesome it is, might not be as engaging. But a 4-8 pane story of how your app helps solve a problem can go a long way.
Our creative team is already brainstorming, trying to come up with ways to take advantage of this new opportunity window. But we have to warn everyone against plunging into it head first. Google has a terrible, terrible record of dumping projects right after their first anniversary. So, caution is advised.
How does Google Ads Gallery Work?
Good news is that Google Ads Gallery will work as an added feature to your already existing AdWords campaign. You do not have to create a separate campaign for it, or use different settings. This is a great plus since it doesn’t incur in any extra cost or affect the learning curve for marketers and business owners.
Up to now, the gallery shows for the top paid spot in mobile searches. They allow you to swipe along, or just click on them to expand the gallery downwards. The design is slick while keeping simplicity in mind.
You will have the opportunity to upload a minimum of four images, and a maximum of 8. They will let you create up to three headlines, and a tag line for each picture. The headlines will be shown right on top of the gallery and will remain static as you swipe through the images with their corresponding tag lines.
Google has announced two ways they will charge when using the gallery ads. Per-Click, and every time someone swipes through at least 3 of your images. This makes sense as you want users to interact with your content as much as possible, and have a psychological connection to your brand. Interaction greatly increases the chance of that happening.
Bear in mind that the cost is triggered only once. So, if people swipe through all your images and then click, you will only be charged once. Neat, isn´t it?
One caveat, though. Only the bid winner will get a shot at displaying their pictures. Google will only show the gallery of those who make it to the very top of paid results. The rest of the positions will be filled with regular text ads. My feel is that auctions will get a bit more aggressive as those who have a Gallery will push a bit harder hoping to get more users engaged with their new content.
We can´t help but get excited about this new advertisement channel, but bear in mind that Google might just scrape the whole thing in less than one year.
All we can do is wait and see.