Google AdWords Phone Numbers In Ad Text No Longer Available

According to a recent policy update, if youinclude a phone number in your AdWords ad, you will now need to use the call extensions feature from April onwards.

If you don’t start using this new feature then Google will disapprove your ads.

Google’s official words are:

In the next few weeks, we will no longer allow phone numbers to be used in the ad text of new ads. Advertisers who would still like to promote phone numbers in their AdWords advertising can use the call extensions feature. We’re posting this alert now to provide adequate lead time to make ad changes.

In April 2013, we will begin to disapprove ads that were using phone numbers in their ad text before the March 2013 policy change.

An example of a currently running but will be disallowed in April ad is shown below:

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In addition to this, Google will be removing the $1 charge for using a Google forwarding number on ads that appear on desktop searches, such as this one:

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Google Shopper 3.2 Makes Shopping Quicker And Easier

Google Shopper was first launched in 2010 and was a way of helping shoppers make easier, more informed decisions wherever they are.

3 years on and Google are still making improvements to their systems including usability, new Android and iOS versions. If you are after products but aren’t quite sure what is right for you then Google Shopper 3.2 offers specialised results pages with the most popular results based on your search criterias.

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If you still aren’t sure which product is right for you then you now have the option to use category-specific refinements in order to further specify your search criteria. In the above example you could filter by megapixels, size, manufacturer, price etc as shown below:

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Google Shopping And Mobile Phone Users

I’ll be surprised if you know more than a handful of people, if anyone at all that doesn’t have a mobile phone these days. Of these, I would also take a bet at most of these being capable of connecting to the internet to surf the web, purchase products and do everything in between.

This, of course gives great opportunity for retailers to allow their products to be visible across multiple devices, at anytime and practically anywhere.

The recent Google Enhanced Campaigns have allowed retailers to reach this new breed of customers in the mobile and tablets world and Google has now announced that Product Listing Ads are eligible to appear on smartphones all around the world.

Below is a screenshot from a mobile phone, giving a couple of examples of what a user might see on their phone.
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Amazon and Ebay Competitive Edge

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Amazon and eBay are two of the biggest companies on earth in terms of online sales and millions of businesses use these merchants and the visibility these offer. However, it’s not easy to stand out in the crowd.

It is important then to find a way of standing out. Price refreshing is a technique that has been used by many over the years and it just involves adjusting the price of your products to encourage their systems to update with your product information pushed to the top.

The thing is algorithms are becoming more and more intelligent and now a days things like seller reputations, location and inventory have a higher impact on your product positions in the listings. It is of course still worth trying this out as every little helps.

Google Punishes Interflora

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It was well documented about the ban that Google put on Interflora from its search results, however what was strange was that Google declined to comment on the exact reasons as to why they were banned.

This is strange for Google as they have generally shouted about their penalties on companies publically, ala JCPenney and BuildMyRank to name just two.

What is known is that Interflora was missing even from branded search queries for 11 days.

Google has also recently reiterated their policy on paid links, expanding their definition to include “entire advertorial pages with embedded links that pass PageRank.”

These statements seem connected to the Interflora penalty as several British newspaper sites hosted advertorial pages with dofollow links for the flower company. It is also rumored that Interflora was giving gifts to bloggers in return for links.

What is an Advertorial?

An advertorial is an advertisement in the form of an editorial. Dating back to 1946, advertorials were at the center of controversy long before the Internet.

Print media originally introduced advertorial content as a method for boosting revenues. The ensuing ethical debate tended to center on the issue of disclosure as many felt that readers were mislead into thinking advertorials were unbiased (which they are not). Similar discussions have followed with television’s infamous paid programming format.

Google would like online advertorials to be disclosed to spiders in the form of nofollow links. This logic seems reasonable if one views Google in the same light as the general public – needing protection from overly commercial agendas. But they are not the same. Google is a for-profit corporation and that is a material difference.

The issue becomes more murky when you think of undisclosed product placements in high-profile movies or television programs such as “American Idol”. Watchers of “American Idol” know that a branded cup of Coca-Cola is constantly present on stage. This was obviously the result of Coca-Cola sponsorship, but it wasn’t disclosed in any obvious way to viewers and is generally accepted.

Advertorials Are NOT Content Marketing

Regardless of the ethics or personal opinion of online advertorials, it is critical to recognize that advertorials are not content marketing.

Advertorials are advertisements at their core. They highlight, promote and endorse a product or company, and often contain facts that are severely slanted toward the positive.

Content marketing, by contrast, seeks to enrich, educate and fulfill readers without any particular commercial agenda within the content. This is usually accomplished through information, technical training, current events, humor, controversy, politics, or art.

It’s easy to confuse the motives for engaging in content marketing (which are often commercial) with the act of inappropriately pushing a commercial message within content. This difference is paramount, and is at the heart of the current online advertorial debate.

Google has long maintained that earning links through high-quality, non-commercial, content is the “right” way. Nothing in the recent Interflora penalty or advertorial statement suggests otherwise.

Transitioning To Google Product Listing Ads

GOOGLElogo_RGB-mdFebruary 13th 2013 was Google’s go live date for it’s new paid shopping results system. The system is based on its current Product Listing Ads and is to aid customer experience.

What this means however is that if you have free products listed inside Google then you will never to update your account to run paid campaigns, otherwise you will lose your products from within Google.

If you would like to read Google’s official page about this then please click here.

Thankfully, Google have made this process very easy, if you follow the next steps then you will be just fine:

1. Go to your Merchant Centre and inside you need to create a new AdWords account.

2. Decide on your budgets for spend and maximum CPC costs and set these inside your account.

3. Provide your billing information.

Google currently have promotional credit for a limited time, so it is worth finding out if you are eligible for this and applying.