After testing with select publishers, Google released their own take on the popular Story format late last year known as Google AMP Story ads.
Much like the popular format taking over the traditional feeds of Instagram and Facebook, AMP Story ads feature a series of swipeable images with a call-to-action button that allow you to direct mobile users to your website or store page.
Here’s how the Google Story ads work, how you can get started creating them, and some advice from Tinuiti’s Search experts.
As a marketer, the Holy Grail of any marketing campaign is attribution to a specific tactic, and what justifies each marketing tactic and overall spend is ROI. Finally there is an answer in advertising for both of these illusive, complex data points marketers strive to find to justify marketing spend and strategy. Picture an ad in the spot customers are searching for your type of product or service that also serves as a storefront for the user to make a purchase. Social media already has this in action today, and it’s seeing excellent results in both ROI and engagement.
That’s where the Story Ad comes in. They started with Snapchat and then other social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram. Instead of the traditional standalone ad with one image and message, story ads display a carousel of images and messages to tell a story, encourage the user to engage with multiple touches and data points (like scrolling on social media), and then a call-to-action (CTA) to ask for the sale all within an ad. Let’s take a look at that journey in advertising, shall we?
What Are Google AMP Story Ads?
AMP Story Ads
Snap this, snap that: Marketing success in seconds
It’s been nearly two years since Snapchat rolled out ads for businesses of all sizes. Consumer behavior is changing as there’s a persistent, increasing need for instant gratification married with our mobile device addiction. With users accessing the app an average of 25 times per day and the rise of its popularity over other social media outlets in key demographics, Snapchat has become a key part of many brands’ social media strategy and budget. As brands have adopted the platform, they’re seeing increasing success with ads that include a CTA to purchase in, well, a snap.
And of course, not long after Snapchat released story ads, Facebook and Instagram followed suit and added story ads to their ad format offerings, leading to explosive results in ad revenue in 2018. One thing that is certain from these results: Stories drive engagement and create impactful experiences for consumers when engaging with brands. The ads almost create themselves once you get in the groove of seeing minute-by-minute results and can pivot and adjust content based on engagement in real-time, as needed. The story ads are exactly the personalized, targeted, and relevant ads consumers have wanted for years – and finally there’s a solution to attribute ad activities to purchases and ROI. Sounds like we’re golden finally, right? Well, let’s take this to the next level…
Google Story Ads Are Here
That’s right; Google now has story ads, too. After initial testing in 2018, Google released the story ad format for accelerated mobile page (AMP) for all websites using Google Ad Manager. The full-screen ads are displayed on mobile devices, allowing companies to provide multiple pieces of content to string together an interactive story for viewers as they swipe left and scroll throughout their day. The ‘pages’ of these AMP story ads could be an image or video, and a paywall can be created for frictionless conversion while the user engages with the story.
[Insert example of Google Story Ad]
Google AMP story ads allow for call-to-action (CTA) buttons for mobile users to engage with the story. (Note: Only the CTA is clickable in this ad format, so please keep that in mind when developing story ad creative.) This new format for ads allows Google to diversify ad offerings beyond single-display ads in Google Search, especially relevant as marketers lost the side banner ad option in early 2018.
[Insert example of Google Story Ad showing CTA button]
AMPing Up the Search Engine
The power of utilizing engaging, interactive story ads within the search engine that has become a verb is palpable. Considerations for brand stories to convert users without ever leaving the Google search result rockets the savvy digital marketing department into a corner office, as all digital efforts to feed into SEO and paid advertising on Google fuels the engine beyond listing options for a purchase or service request. The combination of Google + Story Ads creates a space for brands and end users to interact at the start of the sales cycle, taking what story ads do on social media channels up a few notches.
Google Story Ads incorporate a few different types of components for display that require varying types of content. The carousel of content basically includes the cover page, layers of content (image and text) in story pages, and ending with the bookend that includes a CTA, other related resources, and/or share icons for social media sharing. Check AMP Project here for best practices, ad specifications, examples, and other resources and support.
The one thing guaranteed in marketing today is change. Consumers are shaping how we advertise and market products and services by contributing to and engaging with content. Standalone ads have their place still, but the demands of ROI and personalized, engaging content has forced brands to be more strategic in their messaging and content placement.
Contact us for best practices and insights on how to best use Google AMP Story Ads for your brand before the next innovation in ad space releases.