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Google AdWords Trends You Should Be Aware Of

  • Google Ads making use of automation and machine learning
  • New types of ad campaigns introduced
  • Tips for getting the most out of Google Ad trends

Recently Google announced that they would be making a change to the settings for ad rotation with AdWords. Whilst there were previously four settings available, these will now be sliced in half, leaving users with the following 2: 

  • “Optimise”: Prefer best performing ads. 
  • “Do not optimise”: Rotate ads indefinitely.

Users can now also adjust the rotation setting at the ‘ad group’ level instead of the campaign level, giving a little more fine-tuning control. The aptly named ‘do not optimise’ setting will provide standard, even rotation (or ‘old school’ if you please!) whilst the new setting will optimise for clicks in each auction using signals like keyword, search term, device, location and more.

Google suggests (strongly, might we add) that you run at least three ads in an ad group. They’re quoted stating, “The more of your ads our system can choose from, the better the expected ad performance.”

This move brings Google AdWords even more in line with the trend of giving control over to machine learning technology. 

Google Ads has undergone several changes and updates since its inception in 2000. Here are some of the latest Google Ads updates and trends all marketers should know about as we head into 2022.

Pay per click PPC on wooden blocks with graphs


Google Ads Updates & Trends Marketers Shouldn’t Ignore

Automation has changed the digital marketing landscape, and most of the Google Ad trends we’ve witnessed have been associated with automatic equipment or machine learning.

Trend #1: Simplified Keyword Match Types

Match types, which are Google Ads keyword options, have evolved significantly over the past few years.

The five main keyword match types are:

  • Broad match
  • Modified Broad match 
  • Phrase match
  • Exact match
  • Negative match

Over the years, Google Ads has changed how match types behave, introduced synonyms, implied words and queries with similar meaning to the match types it makes available.

However, the online advertising platform developed by Google appears to be moving away from keywords. In early 2021, Google introduced Simplified Match Types to help marketers reach a more specific audience when they display their ads.

To improve pay-per-click (PPC) performance, the new algorithm will simplify the work for advertisers by removing the need to predict each query that a user may search. Instead, Google Ads will consider the relevance of word order and intent by matching the query with broad match keywords.

For example, if a user searches for “travelling to Spain from the UK”, Google will also show results for phrases such as:

  • COVID travel rules for Spain
  • Travelling to Spain during COVID-19
  • Entry requirements for Spain

Google now even shows results for when the direction is reversed, albeit these don’t appear in the first ten results of SERPs.

Trend #2: Death of Third-Party Cookies

Google, Apple and Mozilla will no longer support third-party cookies to respect people’s need for privacy when browsing the online web.

If you’re wondering how this will impact your ad campaigns, the current solution is Federated Learning of Cohorts (or FLoC).

FLoC works by placing large numbers of people with a shared interest into a cohort and showing them relevant ads; this way, the individual’s data is not compromised. However, marketers can still personalise and tailor their ads to match search intent.

Although conversion is expected to decrease due to moving away from third-party ads, FLoC allows companies to run simulations to help them achieve the best results.

Google Chrome is already running the FLoC cohort tests in several countries, including Australia, Canada, the US, and Brazil.

Trend #3: Auto-Applied Recommendations

Google is currently making plans to roll out an Auto-applied Recommendations Control Center globally.

The Auto-applied Recommendations Control Center will serve as a hub that enables marketers to automatically execute Google ads’ suggestions for all the accounts they manage.

You can access the new Auto-applied Recommendations Control Center in the Recommendations tab in Google Ads, where you can either apply, edit or dismiss the new feature.

Google Ads on Mobile


Trend #4: New Types of Ad Campaigns

Google introduced a ton of new and innovative product features and announcements in the past year, including new ad campaigns, including Gallery, Video Action and Discovery Ads, with the latter creating the most hype.

What are Discovery Ads?

After research showed that approximately 59% of consumers found their favourite brands by watching videos, reading through emails or browsing interests on the web, Google announced that it would be expanding the places marketers can display ads.

Marketers who leverage Discovery Ads can showcase their ads in a single image or multiple images via a carousel format such as the discovery feed in email or YouTube.

Automation also plays a crucial role in Discovery Ads. For example, marketers can insert up to five headlines and five descriptions when creating a Discovery Ad. Google will then use machine learning to serve the best combinations of those headlines and descriptions to users.

Although you’ll receive less control over campaign management, advertisers should take advantage of the new algorithm and the opportunity to show more click-worthy ads.

What are Video Action Campaigns?

Video Action Ad campaigns can only be used on YouTube but are a cost-effective way to drive higher conversion rates on the platform.

Google will display these ads on the homepage, video pages and Google video partners. As Google video action campaigns allow you to run one campaign in multiple places, it increases conversion rates by chasing users until it finds the right ones to convert without setting budgets for each inventory source.

If you use video to drive action for your business or you’re looking to scale your campaigns, Video Action Ads may be a practical choice, as you can test out the success of different headlines, descriptions and call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

Video Action Campaigns

According to Google, those who use Video Action Campaigns will receive a 20% increase in conversions per dollar compared to other TrueView alternatives.

Trend #5: New Ad Formats

Besides new ad campaigns, Google has also introduced new ad formats and extensions such as Lead Form and Responsive Ads.

Lead Form Ad Extensions

The Lead Form Ad Extensions is designed to allow marketers to find people interested in their products or services effortlessly with an instant form.

Placing a Lead Form Ad Extension on your ad allows potential customers to submit their information such as name, email and telephone number without visiting a website – effective as it reduces the number of steps needed to provide contact data.

Leads can be easily downloaded and integrated into your contact database or customer relationship management (CRM) system. Lead forms can be used across several ad campaigns, including:

  • Display ads
  • Discovery ads
  • Search ads
  • Video ads

When using this type of extension, you should also consider:

  • Using lead forms alongside automation
  • Providing the appropriate number of fields to collect high-quality data
  • Responding to leads as quickly as possible
  • Including relevant questions that will offer business value

Note that lead forms are only eligible in certain countries, so it won’t be displayed if your ad is served to someone in a country that doesn’t permit lead forms.

Responsive Ads

These types of ads automatically adjust their shape, appearance and format to fit ad space on the user’s device.

Google may choose to display an ad in small text format on one web page and as a large display ad in another to understand which format performs best. Responsive ads are one of the platforms most revolutionary updates due to the flexibility it provides.

Marketers can write up to 15 different headlines and four descriptions, which the software can then arrange in 43,680 various permutations, creating endless testing possibilities!

Additional benefits to this update include:

  • Time-saving
  • Apply to search, display, and video ads
  • Capable of reaching a wider audience due to various size placements
  • Used alongside dynamic remarketing

Trend #6: Image Extensions

Until recently, advertisers could only create text ads with Google Ads, which was relatively outdated compared to Facebook and YouTube.

Last year, Google launched an image extensions programme for search ads, which work in the same way as text-based ads in the sense they are clickable and a cost is charged for each click.

Currently, advertisers can upload up to 20 keyword-related images providing they adhere to the format requirements. Each image must also be manually approved to feature in your campaigns.

Trend #7: Using Search Ads to Drive Leads

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the massive shift to online, more brands have developed their digital operations.

As a result, Google has made it easier for companies to generate leads through search ads through features such as lead form extensions that allow firms to capture data instantly instead of redirecting prospects to website landing pages.

To take advantage of this feature, go into your ad campaign and select the setting option. Once activated, and a person clicks through to your ad and submits their contact information, they can choose to continue to your website or go back to SERPs.

It provides businesses with an innovative way to capture potential customers’ attention. Given that Google is the most popular search engine, it can only create more opportunities for your PPC campaigns. 

Trend #8: iOS 14+ changes

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy changes will affect how your ads show for iOS users, and if you haven’t made changes already, we highly recommend that you act fast.

The new iOS 14+ update stops advertisers from collecting customer data via apps and sharing the information with other companies to track user behaviour across various channels, thus reducing visibility into key metrics that help drive conversions.

Instead, marketers must use ATT, a transparency framework where the user has to choose whether they want to be tracked to receive targeted ads.

Understandably, this is a significant loss for PPC developers, which is why it’s essential to stay on top of updates so that you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

Google advised advertisers to update their version of Google Mobile Ads to 7.64 to help reduce the challenges and gain new features such as SKAdNetwork support.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of the New Google Ad Trends

While some PPC trends might be frustrating, most are designed to make digital marketers work easier and maintain the deliverability of relevant content to users.

Although some changes to Google Ads have been introduced to protect searchers privacy, resulting in some restrictions, advertisers could use them to their advantage by testing each new feature and monitoring the results to help develop an effective campaign.

The changes should also make digital marketers rethink their audience. Do you really understand their needs, pain points, interests?

Take some time to research and create an ideal customer profile, including comprehensive details about their behaviour. Knowing your buyer’s persona and creating valuable content will help ensure that Google displays your ad in front of the most relevant audiences.

With the importance of transparency becoming more important as we head into 2022, you should also consider:

  • Advertising across multiple marketing channels
  • Investing in SEO and Content Marketing tools
  • Expanding your ad platform list

Don’t be afraid to get creative! Although automation is on the rise, artificial intelligence (AI) cannot beat human creativity (at least not yet), so think about how you can create more exciting campaigns that will have a more significant impact on your audience.

Soar Online has written a deep dive into another form of Google Advertising… Google Shopping. Google Shopping depicts a company’s advert as a clear image at the top of a search engine and has accelerated clicks and ROAS for many companies throughout 2021. This trend will no doubt continue throughout 2022. Read our Google Shopping Management tips today to get the latest scoop on boosting your ad performance.

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