Prepare Your Google Ads Account for a Summer of Changes
Google is constantly churning out features and capabilities within their product suite that suit their overarching business objectives. Over recent years, the prioritization of machine-learning within their advertising campaign offerings has yielded numerous new campaign formats and ad types. This internal focus, as well as the gradual fallout of cookie-based tracking, has manifested itself in three key updates that advertisers should have sightline into.
The great responsive search ad migration
It’s been over a year since Google announced responsive search ads as the default text ad type. Starting in July, advertisers will be unable to create or edit expanded text ads, forcing advertisers’ hands into a greater adoption of responsive search ads. This announcement beckons a long-awaited swan song for expanded text ads and their place in search strategies.
Google’s commitment to responsive search ads, which utilize repositories of headlines & descriptions that display algorithmically generated text ad messaging combinations in every auction, fits underneath Google’s broader strategy to make Google Ads more automated and less manual. The output is the same as any text ad in the search engine results page, but the advertising input and algorithm signals that create the final product are different.
Advertisers might feel apprehensive about responsive search ads, given the limitations of messaging control they offer compared to expanded text ads; performance breakdowns of RSAs versus ETAs have left mixed reviews across accounts. However, Google has doubled down on their stance that RSAs will always display the appropriate message. Advertisers should begin ensuring their account has evergreen RSA coverage, or plans to test RSAs, by the time ETAs are sunsetted.
Smart Shopping, local campaigns transition to Performance Max
Performance Max campaigns, Google’s latest goal-based campaign type, will be at the forefront of digital strategies this summer, especially for advertisers currently utilizing Smart Shopping or local campaigns. This campaign type leverages all of Google Ads’ inventory from a single campaign rather than having campaign types siloed by inventory (YouTube, Discovery, local, etc.). Once the campaign goals are established, Google aims to maximize the performance against your campaign goals across all available inventory.
Come July, all current smart shopping and local campaigns will be automatically “upgraded” to Performance Max campaigns. Google will begin rolling out a one-click upgrade tool for the campaigns that require updates in the coming months. Advertisers should reassess their current approach with Smart Shopping and local campaigns, given the significantly limited reporting capabilities offered by Performance Max campaigns compared to the reporting features of the preceding campaign types.
GA4 developments could impact your Google Ads accounts
As Google Analytics accounts begin the transition from their current form into GA4, Google’s newest event-based web-tracking experience, it is important that advertisers stay privy to the connections your Google Ads account might have with any Google Analytics properties, and how the data are currently leveraged within your advertising targeting or measurement.
If your current Google Ads account leverages Google Analytics audiences or important goals into the platform for conversion tracking, consult with your webmasters on the adoption timeline for GA4. While these updates are not as urgent (Universal Analytics won’t be sunsetted until summer 2023), broken connections or missing integrations could naturally translate to depleted audience sizes or improper conversion tracking.
What marketers need to know
Heading into these various deadlines for ad, campaign, and analytics upgrades, lack of awareness about these changes could translate to your campaign performance being on the back foot. By preparing for these updates, advertisers can adopt and compose the necessary strategies that’ll align with Google’s priorities.