By Laura Cantora, Multilingual Content Manager at Locaria
It’s no secret that consumers start their holidays online or on mobile. New research shows that for millennials it’s as many as half using their mobile to research and buy their trips away.
It’s why Google felt compelled to launch ‘Destinations’ earlier this year, a feature you may well have experienced, which enables consumers to browse flights, hotels and even attractions within Google’s ecosystem.
Now the search behemoth is introducing a new AdWords format: Extended Text Ads (ETAs). First announced in May, ETAs are set to shake up the world of search. The new format has already started to be rolled out but businesses will be able to keep using the old format, at least until the end of January 2017.
Instead of a single headline and two short description lines, advertisers now have the ability to run two headlines and an extended description. It’s AdWords on steroids, and it becomes the sole format early next year, with advertisers no longer able to update campaigns in the old format.
The 31st January deadline may seem a long way off, yet it’s just over 70 working days away, and for many there’s a lot of work involved.
On the left, Google’s Extended Text Ads; on the right, Google’s Standard Text Ads
Many marketers have already taken advantage of the extra legroom, yet it’s those in the travel industry who are set to be hit hardest by the move. Given the travel industry’s global reach, it has very specific needs for contextually relevant, region specific ads in different languages. It’s a mammoth undertaking to update ads to the new format and many may struggle to get it all done by the deadline.
Some of the larger hoteliers and airlines can be running in excess of 100,000 ads per market. While updating these ads in English is relatively straightforward, thanks to our relatively simple grammar and syntax, local languages in international ads will not be so straightforward, given different genders, cases, plurals, verb tenses, etc. Even in English the ads will need to be updated in bulk before the deadline, so meticulous planning is needed.
The real challenge is for those companies using automation to create their ads with templates. These will need to be re-worked and re-planned taking into account these linguistic nuances, and the new character limitations.
The issue with the automation, is that if the templates are not updated, new ads will continue to be created in the old format. These will be disapproved by the search engine with the consequent loss of coverage in the account which could potentially bring about a reduction of traffic and visibility for the companies.
Likewise, if campaigns are automatically paused, it will not be possible to activate them again, because Google will no longer allow ads in the old format to be added to the account. Therefore, travel businesses need a clear strategy to make the templates as efficient as possible
For example, a travel company would need to consider things like the prepositions and suffixes that go with different country or city names, as in some languages these will change with each name. For instance, in Turkish Istanbul as a destination would need the suffix “-dan”, whereas for Izmir the suffix should be “den”.
If the placeholder is accompanied by nouns like ‘station’ then the gender of these nouns will also affect the final sentence, for example in Spanish, as “station” is feminine the article “la” should be used, but for “airport” it should be “el”.
Nuances like these make it difficult to standardise one template to use across many ad copies, and particular language knowledge as well as an understanding of ad automation is needed to ensure ad quality is maintained and disapprovals minimised.
It’s a mammoth task, but with the right team of linguistic and digital experts, there’s still plenty of time for companies to successfully transition to an ad format that should boost their ad performance even further.