Google Preview Now Extended to PPC Ads & Supports Most Flash Sites
Last fall, Google, on their nonstop new platform tear, launched Instant Previews, letting searchers get a quick look at websites in search results, to help decide if they actually wanted to click on them. Now Google has just announced some major updates:
1) Previews now applies to PPC ads
2) Flash is now supported for most Previews
3) Extended to mobile devices
4) Supports .doc and .ppt files, with a new, playable interface for video results.
Preview for PPC Ads: Starting yesterday, the Instant Preview icon (that now-familiar little magnifying glass) will appear next to ads at Google, so searchers can view the ad’s landing page. So, Previews now not only impacts your organic results and SEO campaigns, but your SEM as well. Google argues that since it lets users take a look at your landing page before they click (and that’s free, one is only charged if they actually click through), businesses should drive “more highly-qualified traffic to their sites.” Hey, maybe it will end up saving dealers money…
This is not an optional new feature for advertisers, or something you can disable – it’s just how it is now. And Google notes it won’t affect your quality score in any way.
Everyone knows having the right, relevant landing pages (linked to the ad’s actual message) is key to high SEM conversions. Well, with Instant Previews for ads, it’s a no-brainer this gets even more critical. (I.e., if you were a searcher and were interested in an ad specifically for some service special or particular vehicle deals/inventory, and previewed a totally irrelevant landing page, how likely would you be to click through?)
Google argues that this news is a “big win for advertisers…because searchers who go on and click are more qualified leads.” It’s a big win IF landing pages that are previewed are super-relevant and likely to convert – and a lose if they’re not.
Preview Supports Flash: When Google rolled out Previews for search results/websites last November, flash-heavy dealer sites took a big, bad hit in the new format. In fact, in the hundreds of dealership searches across Google I’ve performed, I was shocked at how the MAJORITY of dealer websites looked in Preview. MOST dealer sites were affected, and in Preview mode they look like swiss cheese - big patches of horrible black voids and holes.
Well, Google announced yesterday that Flash is now supported for “most previews.” They’ll render a screenshot of the site’s flash component in Preview mode, instead of displaying that sad puzzle-piece icon. But Google “roll-outs” are just that, often frustratingly incomplete and inconsistent. When we did some dealership searches today, there was some improvement for Flash sites, but many dealer sites were still almost completely blank.
• Previews is now integrated with Google Quick Scroll. Users who have Quick Scroll installed (as a Chrome extension or as part of Google Toolbar) can click on a highlighted area within an Instant Preview, and scroll directly to that page section.
• Previews support additional result types, including .doc and .ppt files; and video results have a new, playable interface.
• Consistently check (now and in future, as this rolls out) how your dealership site appears in Preview mode on both a desktop and mobile devices (including Android tablets, iPads, etc.).
• If you have a Flash-heavy site maybe you’ll happily see a big improvement. But if you continue to see the big holes and bad results, talk to your website company/person about taking action to make sure your site puts the best face forward on Google Preview – for desktops and mobile. Google said “most” Flash sites.
• Remember that sharp page copy and striking, simpler page layouts are (intuitively) more appealing and likely to be clicked on. (I.e., larger, easily viewable and readable images on your homepage, with compelling, creative messages (prices, used car inventory, etc.) win in Preview mode.
Preview now offers expanding opportunities for quick exposure of your dealership’s site and PPC ads – on desktops and mobile. Great “preview-able” site content and design – and relevant, actionable landing page content – should drive more traffic.
It’s all about first impressions with Previews…and with the new PPC ad feature you don’t have to pay for them! Only the click-throughs…
Wonder if dealerships are seeing a change in how their site appears in Preview?
Any questions on this – feel free to contact me!
Merla Turner: Director of Dealer Training at eXtéresAUTO (and one of the “Top Rated” Internet Trainers at DrivingSales’ Dealer Satisfaction Awards). She previously served as Internet Director at Dick Hannah Honda in Vancouver, WA.