Everything You Need to Know About the Latest Google Ads Updates

Carnegie Higher Ed Sep 30, 2020 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

Blog written by Lindsay Mardirosian and Kayla Barry.

Tech Giant Google is constantly pursuing new endeavors and opening the door for users and advertisers to take advantage and evolve. Whether you’re just getting started with Google Ads or you’re a seasoned pro, it’s important to keep up with the platform’s ever-changing best practices, updates, and technology advances. Here’s what you need to know about the latest round of improvements, from tips on maximizing your optimization score and why it even matters to the latest search terms report updates.

Align your campaigns with the latest Google Ads best practices

First things first: Google Ads provides a robust collection of resources and recommendations for users in marketing and aligning your campaigns with these is crucial. Let’s dive deeper…

How you can use Google Ads recommendations

Google has an entire section in each Ads account dedicated to providing you with recommendations based on your account’s history, settings, and performance trends in an effort to help you improve your campaigns. If you’re ignoring these recommendations within your account, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Reviewing and implementing these recommendations helps improve your account’s optimization score, which is a measure of how well your account is set up to perform. Even dismissing recommendations that aren’t applicable can improve your optimization score and help Google’s algorithm become even smarter over time. It’s important to understand why your optimization score matters. Recommendations range from additional headlines to add to your responsive ads based on performance and new ad extensions to implement based on users’ search histories and preferences to keywords to add based on the search terms report.

Customer match lists using Zapier

Google’s Customer Match allows you to use first-party data in your campaigns to reach a variety of audiences, whether it’s a list of student inquiries, accepted students, or enrolled students—as long as the lists are above Google’s list size minimum of 1,000 matched users

Recently, Google rolled out an update that allows you to utilize Zapier to ensure your customer lists are updated in Google Ads automatically. You no longer need to manually upload, sort, or remove prospects from a list. Instead, Zapier will upload contact details from your CRM, so as long as the information there is updated, you don’t have to lift a finger in Google!

Responsive ad format updates

You’ll notice one of Google’s most recommended features is their responsive ad formats across both PPC and Display. This format allows you to utilize four different descriptions and up to 15 headlines (and a variety of images for the Display format) within a single ad format, displaying different variations to each individual based on predictive modeling of what will resonate best with that prospect. Google recently announced a location insertion feature within responsive search ads that allows you to tailor “ad text to your customers’ locations, regular locations, or locations of interest.” By utilizing this feature, you can customize an ad to a prospect’s location without having to upload multiple versions. This could be beneficial for an online program to show prospects that they can earn their degree from wherever they currently are—especially in our current global climate. 

Advances in Google’s machine learning have helped vastly improve the performance of responsive search ads within our paid search campaigns, and we have better visibility into top-performing ad combinations than ever before. As for recent updates to responsive Display ads, Google rolled out new designs in July that include “new creative layouts, automatically generated video, and more engaging ads.” Some of these designs are catered to e-commerce services and products, but this update serves as a reminder to ensure that you’re using high-quality assets for this ad type.

Looking ahead: Decline in search term visibility

Earlier this month, Google made a substantial change to the search terms report—now omitting terms that don’t generate a significant amount of searches—on the basis of protecting user privacy. At Carnegie Dartlet, we use this report heavily to optimize search campaigns,  identifying keyword opportunities and weeding out any irrelevant terms, which has historically made a huge impact on the quality of our clients’ campaigns and ROI. 

As Google moves forward with removing a notable amount of search terms, advertisers will need to be more diligent than ever to ensure a sufficient amount of keyword research is done prior to launch as well as put a thorough and extensive negative keyword strategy in place. This is something Carnegie Dartlet already does, and we have the unique benefit of access to historical search query data on similar programs across a multitude of accounts to reference. Additionally, we’re looking into other ways to combat this change and further home in on the right audience searching on Google, such as applying in-market or custom intent audiences to paid search campaigns. 

Simplified text ad features

As Google works to concoct new and improved ad types and strategies, it also weeds out betas that haven’t yielded results. Gallery ads—large, swipeable image carousels—will be lapsed to shift advertisers’ focus toward image extensions. These show a static image alongside expanded and responsive text ads, adding appeal as well as monopolizing additional inventory on the Google Search results page to increase the likelihood of users to engage. Get your assets in a row to take advantage of this feature as it rolls out to more and more accounts.

Roll with the changes

These current and upcoming changes all point to one thing—Google continues to replace manual digital marketing practices with new and automated ones. If you can evolve with that trend, then Google Ads will reward your campaigns with strong visibility and, ultimately, return on your investment. Contact us today to learn more about working on Paid Search, Display, Discovery, Gmail, and video campaigns with Carnegie Dartlet.

Never miss an update.