I will admit that some of the changes outlined here do not affect most advertisers. I will also admit that Google’s message of “Deliver relevant ad experiences to the right people at the right moments—all while being respectful of their privacy preferences” is not a terrible way to look at Google Ads, please use your own judgement as to whether or not these are “improvements” and if they work for your business. Where applicable, I will mention the changes that are clearly designed to mirror what Facebook provides their advertisers, with the key difference of Google’s direct (and sometimes scary) access to search data. Some of these changes are not new for online marketing experts, but they are new to most business owners.
Image Extensions (The New Gallery Ads)
Gallery Ads help advertisers to combine images and copy to serve prospects their offering on the search network. Gallery ads were in a carousel format and allow consumers to swipe through your images. Google is now replacing the Gallery Ads and rolling out image extensions in Beta to chosen advertisers. Images will show up in search results for that advertiser. More details to follow.
Google is implementing machine learning across all of its platforms, and the most prominent is smart bidding. Smart bidding uses machine learning to optimize your bids for conversions or conversion value. Automated bidding in Google Ads include Target CPA, Target ROAS, Maximize Conversions, and Enhanced CPC.
You Tube Bumper Ads
You Tube (along with Netflix) is the entertainment star of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bumper ads are 6 second ads that pre roll a video on You Tube. As valuable as these ads can be, many small to medium sized businesses do not have the resources to create professional bumper ads. In the somewhat rare case that a business does have video content, it’s typically in the form of a couple one- or two-minute pieces.
Google has introduced tools to make advertising on Google easier for all businesses. One of these tools, the bumper machine, can turn any video shorter than 90 seconds into a collection of YouTube-ready bumper ads.
Custom Affinity + Custom intent = Custom Audiences
Google is unwilling to allow Facebook to be the leading audience targeting advertising platform. Google has merged custom affinity audiences and custom intent audiences to create custom audiences. Custom audiences merge those who have an interest in the subject at hand with those who have a commercial interest (meaning those who have searched for the service and related keywords). Machine learning has allowed Google to provide the targeting available from the direct information on search data to allow advertisers to more closely target prospects.
Audience Expansion Tool
Facebook has had the lookalike audience tool for some time. Google has now introduced the audience expansion tool that will enable advertisers to grow the number of relevant consumers who see your ads.
Local Search Ads
Google Local Search Ads allow advertisers to put in location extensions to allow those in your local area to easily find or find and call your business. These ads are designed to bring in more store visits and phone calls to your brick and mortar location. The ads appear across search, display, maps, and You Tube and are relatively easy to set up requiring only ad copy, some images, and location data. Google Ads machine learning optimizes ad delivery across its properties.
Ok, these are just a few of the changes to Google Ads and related platforms in recent months. I have purposely chosen those changes that apply to small and medium sized businesses. For those of us lucky enough to be up and running, this type of information can be key to continuing in business. For those of you who will be reopening, hopefully soon, this can be key information in rebuilding foot traffic and call volume for your business.