Google introduces changes and new features to Google Ads at a dizzying rate these days. This is a good thing for marketing performance, but for your average advertiser, it can be pretty hard to keep up! To help keep you up to speed, here are the latest developments and features you from the Google Ads world you should know about:
One of the biggest headaches we face as an agency is trying to control the monthly ad spend on Google Ads campaigns. It seems so simple – “Here’s $5,000, please spend exactly that each month”. But with campaign spend being set at the daily level, and with search volume and auction activity varying so much day to day, it’s easy for those spend targets to start to drift after a few days. Trying to get them back on track by tweaking the daily budgets can be tricky – especially when changes to budgets need to be made mid-month. Thankfully that looks like it’s about to change, with Google set to introduce the ability to set total monthly budgets. This feature has already been rolled out to some accounts in New Zealand, with the rest to follow soon (we hope).
While daily budgets may still be suitable for some types of campaign, we anticipate moving most client campaigns to monthly budgets. This will make spend control far easier and bring Google Ads in line with other ad platforms who already have this feature, like Facebook Ads.
Enhanced CPC is a feature that can be enabled on campaigns using Manual CPC bidding, whereby Google will automatically adjust bids for clicks that seem more or less likely to lead to a sale or conversion on your website.
Google has announced that it’s now retiring Enhanced CPC, which will no longer be available from later this year. This follows their recent retirement of a couple of other bid strategies – Target Search Page Location and Target Outranking Share. Google reasons that Enhanced CPC isn’t widely used by advertisers these days, and where automation is used, people prefer more powerful strategies like Maximise Clicks and Maximise Conversions. As they increasingly try to move advertisers towards automation, streamlining and de-mystifying the available options makes sense. If you’ve been using Enhanced CPC on your campaigns, now would be the time to consider either moving to one of the other automated bid strategies, or adjusting your bids based on dimensions such as Device/Time/Location more frequently.
Back in May, a subtle change was made to the way location targeting works in Google Ads campaigns. The option that was previously “People in your targeted locations” has now become “People in or regularly in your targeted locations”. The idea is to expand the targeting to catch people who regularly commute to or from that target area, rather than just people physically located there at the time of search.
This should be a net positive for most advertisers, ensuring you don't miss out on parts of your target market. But do keep an eye on your User Location report – if you find you’re hitting people in areas in which you definitely don’t want your ads to show, consider specifically excluding those locations from your campaigns.
Mobile search is probably the area where Google makes changes and tests new formats and layouts the most, which isn’t surprising given that mobile search volume eclipsed desktop some years back. One current test which has been spotted by some users online is putting text ads in a carousel, which you the searcher can swipe across to see:
— SEMrush (@semrush) June 20, 2019
We’d imagine that text ads in a carousel like this will have lower click-through rates as it requires further action from the searcher to even see the ads, but this remains to be seen. Google tests many new features each month, but only a few of them actually make the cut to be rolled out globally. Watch this space. If you have a question about any of the above, or just want a fresh pair of eyes on your Google Ads account, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Recovering ex-lawyer James is our operational head and eye for detail. He handles everything from Google Ads and Facebook campaigns to Google Analytics installations, digital strategy and more.
With 13+ years experience in the digital marketing space, James' focus is on creating long-term success for our clients, through a mix of strategy and finely-tuned online campaigns.
When he's not in the office, James can be found running social basketball games with friends, listening obsessively to music, and volunteering at the SPCA Animal Village.