Google’s latest PPC update, smart annotations, increases search page real estate

Posted: Friday 28th February 2014 in Paid Media, Thought Leadership.
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Google's new beta, smart annotations, adds extra information into paid search ads

Further to our report yesterday on a new release for PPC ads from Google, we’ve since gained some further information.

According to Google this is a beta, named smart annotations, and it automatically picks out relevant information from the navigator; so this could be colour or size, etc. and is not limited to just brand names.

This has been provisionally rolled out to 500 users worldwide and will be released more broadly in about 2 months’ time.

One of the key benefits of this development is that the ads contain more detail and therefore take up more of the search page real estate, increasing the impact of your ads and giving an extra edge over competitors’ ads.

As we reported yesterday, provisional results have shown this development to have a positive impact on conversion rate. However as the selection of information from the landing page is an automated process there is no guaranteeing the relevancy of the details carried over into the ad. During the testing phase we’d advise that you keep an eye on your paid search ads and look out for any anomalies.

We’ll be reporting on any further progress with this beta as we discover it, so stay tuned for updates.


Smart annotations update – 3rd April 2014

Last week we looked at the pros and cons of the consumer rating annotations, and we now have more information on the next stage of the smart annotations roll out: previous visit annotations.

Previous visit annotations

This latest addition to ad text is designed to help people find their way back to a website that they’ve visited before. It works by showing a logged-in user the number of times he or she has previously clicked through a Google search result to visit an advertiser’s website, and the time passed since the previous visit. It may also include details on how many times the user has clicked through to the website from search.

Screen shot of previous visit annotations

What qualifies a user for these annotations?

The previous visit annotation will be shown if the user has clicked on two links in their recent Google search activity (organic or paid) that have taken them to the same domain as the visible URL of an ad being shown on the SERP.

Showing previous visit annotations, like any ad extension, also depends on what AdWords calculates will be the highest performing combination of extensions and ad formats.

The benefits

As with all of Google’s smart annotations it’s likely that the previous visit information will improve click through rate when they appear, however results from provisional tests have not yet been shared.

What should you do?

As this is an annotation you don’t have to do anything for these to start to show with your ads. If previous visit annotations don’t make sense for your client you are able to opt out, as with all other smart annotations.

At Summit we haven’t yet observed any previous visit annotations on our clients’ ads, but we’ll provide updates as we notice further changes.

To find out more about Google’s smart annotations please see our our previous blogs, Summit identifies new brand names reference in PPC ads and consumer ratings annotations: are they as exciting as they say?


If you’ve got a question about the changes in Google’s sponsored ad listings we’d be more than happy to answer it. Contact Dave Trolle, Head of Direct Response.