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17 Mar 2014

Google Engagement Ads: What You Need To Know

google-engagement-ads

At the end of 2013, Google Engagement Ads were released from beta and rolled out to all paid advertisers. These new Display Ad types allow you to reach, captivate and connect with your audience just as typical Display Ads do. The difference lies in the fact that this new type of paid online advertising uses a suite of interactive rich media ad formats that truly allows searchers to engage with your ads. But as an advertiser, what does this mean for you?

What Exactly are Google Engagement Ads?

Below you’ll find the official Engagement Ads video, provided by Google.

At first glance, Engagement Ads begin visually as a traditional Display Ad, however behind this “teaser” image, searchers have the ability to interact with the Display Ad. After hovering over the “teaser” image for two seconds (or if on a mobile device, tapping on the “teaser” image), rich interactive media is loaded either within the ad, or into an expanded canvas. This type of interaction reduces accidental engagements and provides a better experience for searchers. Since someone is now interacting with an ad that is relevant and engaging for them, these ads provide a better value for advertisers.

As mentioned before, there are two Engagement Ad types:

Lightbox Ads

Lightbox ads transform a standard display ad into a large canvas, bringing the landing page experience directly to the ad. There are three main types of lightbox ads; standard lightbox, masthead lightbox, and catalog lightbox. A few things to keep in mind:

  1. Standard lightbox ads, are just that: standard. These lightbox ad types are available in all standard IAB sizes.
  2. Masthead lightbox ads allow you to re-use your existing YouTube homepage creative to extend it’s reach and impact. The expanded unit size for Masthead ads is 900×400.
  3. Catalog lightbox ads allow users to flight through your Google Catalog, see product details and then click to purchase on your website. The expanded unit size for Catalog ads is 900×600. 
A lightbox ad pops up when an ad is clicked. Click the image above to see how this works.

A lightbox ad pops up when an ad is clicked. Click the image above to see how this works.

Hover-to-Play

Hover-to-Play ads bring the full sight, sound, and motion power of a video to a standard medium rectangle unit. The Hover-to-Play ads can either expand out to 300×250 or 336×280.

Hover to play

An example of a hover-to-play ad. Click the photo above to see the actual interactive ad.

The Details

Google Engagement Ads are priced by a Cost Per Engagement pricing model, therefore only causing advertisers to pay once a user has engaged (hovered on the ad for two seconds). In theory, this should help eliminate a decent amount of irrelevant clicks that may otherwise come in through the ad.

Additionally, since pricing is determined by each time a user engages with the ad, then this also affects the other metrics advertisers may use to determine campaign performance. As mentioned before, “clicks” are now “engagements,” CTR is the ad’s “Engagement Rate,” and the average Cost Per Engagement is reported as the “Avg CPC.” As for targeting the Engagement Ads, these ads work in combination with all Display Network targeting methods. For a step-by-step walk through of how to add Engagement Ads to your account, refer to the Adwords Help Center.

There are just a handful of notes to keep in mind when planning out your Engagement Ad campaign:

  • These ads can only be added to an Engagement specific campaign (cannot be combined in a campaign with other Display ads).
  • Also, they only run on Display Network websites that are enabled to show these ads, and are targeted to people with a high-speed internet connection.

Should You Use Them?

As Google says, “Engagement Ads bring together the art of brand building with the science of digital,” However after all is said and done, the most important question remains: “Is this something I should implement as a digital advertiser?” When it comes down to it, the answer to that question depends on what your ultimate goal is, i.e. what is your point of PPC conversion? Are you part of an organization whose conversion point is to drive views to your YouTube channel? Then adding Hover-to-Play ads may be a good way to go. Are you part of an organization that is looking to build a brand and engage customers? Then lightbox ads may be the next step in your marketing plan.

Ultimately, it comes down to one question: “What does an engagement mean to me/my company?”

For the official Google PDF Engagement Ads download, click here.