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Top 8 Recent Google Ads Updates You Might Have Missed

Top 8 Recent Google Ads Updates You Might Have Missed

Top 8 Recent Google Ads Updates You Might Have Missed

Let’s face it, nobody likes the feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out). Whether it’s a group project you’re excluded from, or a concert that sells out before you grab your tickets, sadly, FOMO exists in every corner of life.

Don’t let FOMO sneak into your PPC either! We help you stay informed about everything going on in Google Ads, so no updates are missed.

Having said that, here are the latest and greatest Google Ads updates you may have missed in the past month or two:

  • Changes in Keyword Matching Behavior
  • Display campaigns are more automated
  • Data added to the search terms report
  • The elimination of expanded text ads
  • New “About this ad” page
  • A new type of travel advertising
  • New Google Shopping Ads Properties
  • More attribution models for display and YouTube campaigns
  1. Changes in keyword matching behavior

Announcement date: September 23, 2021.

The short version: Google shares improvements to broad match and its new rules for keyword prioritization.

Overall mood: mixed (from neutral to cautious to serious?).

In a September 23 announcement, Google shared that BERT, which helps Google understand the context and intent of search queries, is now being applied to keyword matching in Google Ads. Google says this enables it to change the keyword matching rules for broad and phrase matches.

We’ve covered it all in this article, but here’s the gist of it:

    In the absence of exact match keywords, the same broad and phrase match keywords as the query will now be preferred.

    If you have multiple keyword match types that are related but not identical to your query, Google will make decisions based not only on ad position but also on relevance (thanks BERT).

Here is the graph it provides:

Google says this will allow you to get more qualified traffic with fewer keywords, and there is “no added benefit” to using multiple match types, especially when using broad match and smart bidding.

But many advertisers disagree. Check out our coverage of this change to find out why!

  1. Display campaigns are more automated

Announcement date: September 15, 2021.

Short version: Google merged previously separate Standard Display and Smart Display campaign settings into one process.

Overall mood: A mix of neutral and confused.

Google announced on September 15 that Standard Display and Smart Display campaigns have been combined into one campaign type. That doesn’t mean we can’t run what we know as standard display campaigns or smart display campaigns.

This means that when selecting a campaign type, you will now only see a display option, and then once you select it, you can choose whether it is a Standard Display or Smart Display campaign.

Google also announced that display campaigns will now automatically include optimized targeting, which allows you to drive clicks from people outside of your chosen audience based on your goals (I explain optimized targeting here!)

However, as the screenshot below shows, if you don’t want to use this targeting option, you can opt-out.

For now, existing Standard Display and Smart Display campaigns will continue to run as usual.

With this change, advertisers will add flexibility in the level of creative, targeting, and bidding automation they choose.

In her Search Engine Journal report, Amy Bishop says it makes sense because we now have so much automation in standard display campaigns with settings not much different from Smart.

Many advertisers are confused by this update and feel differently about optimizing targeting. Learn more in the PPC chat discussion about this announcement.

  1. Add data to search terms report

Announcement date: September 9, 2021.

Short version: Google added some new data to the search terms report, but will also remove some data in February 2022.

Overall mood: Exciting for some, not much improved for others.

Google announced on September 9 that it heeded calls from advertisers for more information in search terms reports, which were restricted in September 2020.

The report shows advertisers who queried their ads, starting to show only enough terms to keep the searcher anonymous with at least one click.

Now, advertisers will also be able to see the search terms for which they got impressions (up to a threshold number) – whether they got clicks or not.

In the same announcement, Google shared that in February 2022, it will remove historical (before September 2020) search terms that do not meet the privacy threshold amount. With this, Google can accommodate advertisers while also maintaining privacy among searchers.

We’re here to tell you everything you need to know.

  1. The elimination of expanded text ads

Announcement date: August 31, 2021.

Short version: As of June 2022, you will not be able to create new ETAs.

Overall mood: Not unexpected, but still not ideal.

Expanded text ads (ETAs) have long been the go-to option for search advertisers. We shared in March that Google replaced ETA with Responsive Search Ads (RSA) as the default ad type for standard search campaigns.

Then on August 31st, Google told us that it would cancel the ETA in June 2022. We cover the announcement in more depth here.

This means that RSAs will be the only type of search ads that can be created (other than call ads or dynamic ads). Existing ETAs will still be able to operate indefinitely. However, advertisers will not be able to edit them, only pause or delete them.

Before that, learn seven things about your ETA and RSA, such as:

  • Go crazy creating and testing your ETA.
  • Create an evergreen ETA.
  • Get familiar with RSA.
  • Don’t forget caller ads.
  1. New “About this ad” page

Announcement date: September 22, 2021.

Short version: When you click “Why am I seeing this ad?”, Google publishes the page version of those little boxes you see.

Overall mood: Seems neutral (but let us know if you don’t!).

Google will continue to take privacy and quality assurance measures for consumers. According to its September 22 announcement, users can now see an “About This Ad Page” in the display, video, and Shopping ad placements. From this page, they can click through to see other ads the brand has posted in the past 30 days.

This is to help advertisers show they are credible and to help consumers know that the content they are watching is credible. To accommodate this change, it’s important to always run high-quality and consistent ads.

  1. New “Things To Do” Travel Ads

Announcement date: September 22, 2021.

Short version: Travel brands will have more ways to list their booking options, as well as a new “to-do” ad type that provides more detail.

Overall mood: positive.

Google has been giving travel advertisers tools to boost revenue as businesses slowly recover from the pandemic.

According to its Sept. 22 announcement, when people search for a tourist attraction on Google, they’ll see not only general information about the attraction, but also booking links for tickets and reservations, and ultimately other experiences in the area.

In addition, travel advertisers can now use “to-do” ads, where they have leeway to add information about pricing, pictures, reviews, and more. Google encourages trying this ad because its purpose is to drive discovery and increase bookings.

  1. Google Shopping Holiday Update

Announcement date: August 31, 2021.

Short version: New Shipping, Returns, Veteran-Owned, and Women-Owned Attributes for Shopping Ads.

Overall mood: positive.

In preparation for the 2021 holiday season, Google has released some updates to accommodate growing e-commerce demands. Shopping campaigns will feature new shipping notes, such as “Get by December 24,” and return policy notes, such as “90-day free returns.” as follows:

Also, in addition to their opt-in label for Black-owned businesses, there is now an option for Veteran-owned businesses and businesses to self-identify!

For more helpful tips, learn how to increase your Google Shopping ROI using the preferred bidding structure.

  1. Improved attribution models for YouTube and Display

Announcement date: August 9, 2021.

Short version: Last-click attribution is no longer the only model available for YouTube and Display campaigns.

Overall feeling: helpful.

As we covered in our Google Marketing Live 2021 recap, YouTube and display campaigns have been developing more sophisticated strategies.

This year, value-based bidding is available for both campaign types. In Google’s August 9 announcement, advanced attribution modeling options for these campaigns also just rolled out.

Previously, Display and YouTube Video campaigns defaulted to last-click attribution. Now, the types of attribution models we’ve become familiar with from search campaigns can be applied to these campaign types, including time decay, linear, and even data-driven models, which affect how much credit you get for each conversion you get.

To check how this might affect your visual campaigns, try using the Model Comparison report under the Platform Measurements and Attribution section.

This will show you in real-time how changing your attribution model can positively or negatively impact your performance metrics.

We’ll include announcements about changes to the data-driven attribution model in next month’s roundup. But you can get our full coverage here!

  • Google Ads Update Summary [September 2021]
  • Update broad and phrase match
  • Show more automation
  • Search terms report improvements
  • Sunset at ETA
  • Updated “About this ad” page
  • A new type of travel advertising
  • Google Shopping Ads Properties
  • Improved attribution modeling for Display and YouTube campaigns

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