Paid Search

Google's Countdown Parameter - Worth Its Salt?

When tasked with a Paid Search campaign for a new product that needs to make a big splash amongst bigger and better known competitors, a lot rides on how compelling your creative is. However, compared to the freedom regular advertising gives you PPC is constrained to only 70 characters making creativity a little harder.

In September 2014, Google released Ad Customisers, a set of parameters that allow ad copy to be updated dynamically in real-time allowing you to personalise your creative. But does this work better than non-customised creative when it comes to selling your product? We decided to put the Dynamic Countdown Creative to the test to see what the results would yield.

This particular function works by automatically refreshing the content to show the number of days remaining on a one-time event, such as an offer, saving you from updating these manually. For example, if you had a product offer ending on August 10 and someone saw the offer on August 8 the ad copy would automatically update the messaging to say how many days were left, which in this case would be ‘2 days’. This time-sensitive call to action shows that time is running out to take advantage of a promotion or new product

We tested this countdown parameter against static ‘pre-order’ creative. As the keyword list would target searchers who are already in the market for the product, it’s safe to assume that they are much further down the purchasing funnel than the general searcher. Therefore, offering up creative that provokes a sense of urgency (i.e. a daily countdown) we presumed would mean it would perform better.

The results of the Countdown Creative vastly surpassed both our expectations and the results for the static copy. In the Generic and Competitor campaigns the click through rate (CTR) was 19.2% higher with the Countdown Creative, but so was the cost per click (CPC). In the Brand campaign, the CTR was 2.92% higher, and the CPC was nearly 6% lower with the Countdown Creative compared to the static creative.

Google’s Quality Score increases with a higher CTR, which then leads to a decrease in CPC’s and was exactly what we saw in the Brand campaign. Even though CPC’s may have gone up on Generic and Competitor campaigns, the increase in CTR also vastly increased and is therefore beneficial in the long run.

Other teams at iProspect have tested this Dynamic Parameter and have also seen an increase in conversation rate (CR) going up by 25.4% in some Generic campaigns. This substantiates the idea that showing a sense of urgency pushes people to convert at a higher rate.

As the results we’ve discussed here are only from a period of 2.5 weeks, it would be beneficial to test this over a longer period of time and on different products to get a higher statistically significant set of data. What these results do suggest, however, is that this type of creative can really help to increase your Click Through Rate and Conversion Rate, which is a very exciting development for the world of paid search.

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