I was doing a search on Google today and saw that the top ad had a mailing list signup directly within the ad, pre-populated with the email address associated with the Google account I was logged into. This is something I hadn’t seen before, and I’m curious about how this will affect engagement. Will users subscribe to a mailing list without even clicking through to the website? Will they click through after signup? Are they more likely to click through now that they’re more invested? What is the cost to the advertiser?
This is about more than just the new mailing list signup extension. The above screenshot shows how the AdWords ads of today are extremely varied in what they display. Just a couple years ago, ads were just ads. Today, we see an ad with a newsletter subscription field, an ad with a phone number extension and an ad with rich snippets showing reviews as well as sitelinks below the ad copy. All three ads show up together for the same search query, but are all quite different in the information being displayed to the user. It’s like blended search results for ads.
All this is very interesting in that it increases the variety of information available to the user, increases flexibility for the advertisers and perhaps more importantly, trains users to expect these types of elements in their search results and ads. It may also even contribute to confusion between the paid and organic search results. Many users already fail to distinguish between the two types of results, and having the ads show elements that are not yet considered typical of ads may further blend the two.