Recent and Upcoming Changes to Google Ads [2021 – 2022]

Google is constantly updating their services in order to provide users the most streamlined and effective tools possible. Advertising sophistication is constantly improving as automation and machine learning make search capabilities increasingly more exact and expansive. Moving into 2022, there are a few changes to Google Ads of which users and digital marketers should be aware.

Keyword Matching Behavior

In September of 2021, Google announced improvements to broad match and new rules for prioritizing keywords. These changes are part of an effort to help users maintain control over which keywords match to a search, reduce account complexity by improving control over where traffic goes, and allow users to attract high-performing traffic with fewer keywords. Google’s bidirectional encoder representations from transformers (BERT) algorithm technology is now being applied to keyword matching behavior. This makes it more predictable and precise for broad match. Broad and phrase match identical to the query are preferred in absence of exact match keywords. Google will decide what to show based on relevancy as well as ad rank if you have multiple match types for keywords relevant to a query but not identical.

Expanded Text Ads

As of June 2022, expanded text ads (ETAs) will be fully replaced by responsive search ads (RSAs) as the default ad type for standard search campaigns. RSAs will be the only search ad type outside of dynamic ads that are at the ready-to-implement. Existing ETAs can run indefinitely. However, advertisers won’t be able to edit them. They will still be able to pause or remove them. Users will be able to create 15 adaptive headlines and 4 descriptions based on relevant messages associated with their businesses. Over time, Google Ads will learn which ads perform best. Users will be able to access useful metrics, such as top performing headlines, descriptions, and combinations of the two.

With 15% of search queries per day being new, automation is going to be critical in keeping pace with these trends. Automation does mean somewhat reduced control over ad copy, but Google expects that RSAs will “help you compete in a wider variety of relevant auctions” and “drive incremental conversions with fewer ads.” A study conducted by Search Engine Land found that RSAs outperform ETAs based on an analysis of 5,600 Google Ads accounts.

Google recommends the following parameters for your RSAs:

  • 2 expanded text ads with one RSA per ad group
  • Some form of solution, service, or highlighted USP, which drive up conversion rates
  • Multiple headlines and descriptions of varying lengths and with unique copy to aid Google’s machine learning and ad performance

Google Shopping

For the 2021 holiday season, Google has implemented updates to accommodate increased ecommerce demands. New shipping annotations are now available for shopping campaigns. This makes it easier for customers to find products sourced from specific areas, groups and/or demographics. For example, a customer might be looking to support small businesses or black-, woman-, LGBTQ-, or veteran-owned businesses. Users can also search based on qualities such as cruelty-free production. This gives an advantage to organizations that identify with these groups or participate in ethical sourcing. You can now register these details with Google so that they can show your products to people who are interested in these business identity attributes. It also makes it easier to search based on delivery date, free returns, and free shipping. This is key, since 73% of consumers say they are more likely to decide to buy an item if the shipping is free, 88% consider free return “important” or “very important,” and 45% expect a maximum delivery window of 2 days.

Google Shopping search for mascara         Google Shopping results for a search for mascara

1st-Party Cookies

Google is currently transitioning from 3rd to 1st-party cookies and will continue to do so into 2022. They announced this updated in their Google Marketing Livestream in May of 2021. This is part of an effort to improve user privacy and data tracking.

1st-party cookies are created by the domain. For example, a user might be shopping on an eCommerce website and might add a few items to their cart. They may then click out of the website and return to it a few days later. The items will still be in the cart, and the website will be recommending certain products to the user based on the initial items that were added and viewed.

3rd-party cookies are non-domain created. If a user is shopping online and leaves the website to visit others, they will be seeing ads from the first website. The website can continue to “follow” the user as they browse other websites, which is known as retargeting.

Google believe 1st-party cookies are part of creating a “privacy-safe, ad funded internet.” They assert that this will enhance business-customer relations, allow organizations to obtain proper consent for data collection, and improve privacy overall.

Google Ads API

Application programming interface (API) allows developers to create and use applications that interact with their account details on Google Ads. APIs help advertisers manage large Google Ads campaigns. AdWords API is set to sunset in April 2022 to make way for the updated Google Ads API. Users who established accounts prior to April of 2021 will need to upgrade, while newer developers automatically have access. Call only ads, which only appear on mobile devices, will be replaced by call ads. Call ads appear on all devices that can make phone calls. Feed-based DSA page feeds and dynamic remarketing will be replaced by asst-based equivalents for ads for flights, jobs, hotels, real estate, and travel-related services. There are webinars and other resource materials available for developers who are getting started with the new Google Ads API. Google Ads API includes faster rollouts of new features and updates for tools like asset management, recommendations, and new ad types. It also includes improvements to the Keyword Planner, change history, billing, and more features to manage campaign and increase productivity.

Contact Us

If you are interested in expanding your digital marketing reach via Google Ads, contact Dragonfly Digital Marketing. We can help you establish and maintain goal-oriented digital ads campaigns with proven results. Contact us today to get started.

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