Google Ads released a number of updates in September to give advertisers more clarity about ad auctions, performance metrics, and more. This transparency is welcome, especially since the Christmas season is just around the corner.
The updates include:
- More visibility in the search terms report.
- Changes to keyword options and broad match keywords.
- “Video campaigns” with Connected TV.
- New budget reports.
Search terms report
Google Ads announced in September 2020 that fewer searches would appear in the search terms report for privacy reasons. I checked five accounts and assessed the impact. In three of these accounts, after the change, over 30% of the traffic came from hidden search terms. Less than 6% of clicks were previously from hidden terms.
The change didn’t help the advertisers. Without queries that drive traffic and conversions, advertisers cannot identify new negative and positive keywords. The result is more irrelevant traffic and wasted expense.
A year later, Google restored the visibility of the search term report without presumably violating its privacy standards. Google will backdate the search term data for queries from February 1, 2021. However, it is important that query data before September 1, 2020 that does not comply with Google’s data protection standards are removed by February 1, 2022. Therefore export the search term data that you want to keep beforehand.
Keyword match types
Google continues to focus on search intent and predictability when using keyword match types. Advertisers who bid on exactly matching keywords (i.e. identical to a search query) see these impressions. This behavior now applies to phrases and broadly matched keywords. Suppose someone is looking for “pizzerias near me”. Before the update, the broadly matching keywords of an advertiser “pizza restaurants” and “pizza restaurants near me” could both be switched. Now “Pizzeria near me” is preferred because it is identical to the search term.
The change does not require any action from advertisers. Keywords should already be in ad groups that are thematically provided with variations of the root term. For example, a Pizza Restaurants ad group contains the following relevant keywords:
- “Pizza restaurants”
- “Pizza restaurants near me”
- “Pizzerias nearby.”
Your ad text should address “pizza restaurants”. Google now assigns the keyword closest to the search query.
Connected TV is the latest advertising trend. Advertisers can create video ads that serve on CTV platforms like Roku, Chromecast, and Xbox. CTV gives advertisers another medium and more inventory.
Video campaigns are shown on YouTube and through Google’s video partners. YouTube is now expanding these campaigns to include CTVs. This type of campaign uses skippable in-stream and video discovery ad formats. The former is the most common and appears before, during, or after videos. The ad will run for at least 5 seconds, after which the viewer can skip the ad.
Promotional campaign ads can now appear when users watch YouTube or YouTube TV on their television.
Below is an example of an ad from Lusha, a B2B data provider. Users can click “Skip Ad”, “Try Lusha” (the blue call-to-action box), or view the entire ad.
Google’s method of calculating monthly budgets and forecasts can be confusing. Google can spend up to twice your daily budget if it predicts that your ads will get more clicks and conversions. Google’s new visual report shows an advertiser’s total spend limit and Google’s forecast for actual, accumulated monthly spend.
The Google Ads user interface has a column for “Budget”. Hovering your mouse over the budget amount in each campaign will generate the option to view the new report. The following example is a budget report for a campaign with an average daily budget of $ 500.
The report is helpful. It shows my monthly spending limit, Google’s forecast of my actual spending, and my current costs. It also shows my actual daily expenses and daily spending limits. The report updates automatically when advertisers change their budgets.
Nothing in the report is new. The visual representation of the information is new. If you know the forecast monthly expenses, you can allocate the budget to all campaigns.