The 10 Latest Google Ads Updates: What You Should Know (AND Do)
At this point, we know that resisting Google Ads updates is a bit like...
But that doesn't mean we can't gather 'em up into no-nonsense roundups with the essential facts and tips! Read on to learn what you really need to know about the latest Google Ads updates, including:
- Conversion goals
- Deal features for Shopping
- New budget report
- Infinite scroll on mobile
- New OCI helper tool
- Enhanced conversions out of beta
- FLoC testing pushed back
- Upgraded ad extensions
- Performance Max campaigns out of beta
- Engaged-view conversions for video Display ads
Read on to get facts for your FAQs.
1. New conversion goals
- Date: November 1
- TLDR: Conversion goals group conversion actions together to enable bidding optimization at the campaign or account level.
On November 1, Google announced the rollout of conversion goals. With this new feature, Google will automatically group similar conversion actions together into categories of actions (such as Purchases or Submit lead forms) most meaningful to your business. You can then optimize for conversion goals by defining which conversion actions within that goal should be used for bidding.
There are three goals:
- Standard goals: The ones Google automatically creates out of your conversion actions, for which you can choose to optimize bidding in any campaign.
- Account-default goals: Any of the standard goals you tell Google to include and optimize for in every new campaign by default.
- Custom goals: Goals made up of primary and secondary conversion actions. The primary action is the one you’ll use for bidding.
You can view data for conversion goals by going to Tools > Measurement > Conversions. Your existing conversion, conversion optimization, and bidding strategies will not be changed. But terminology is changing:
The action we suggest: Do a bit of a conversion action audit and think about which conversion actions you want your bidding to focus on and which conversion goals you might want to set as account defaults. Also, fix your conversion tracking hang-ups so you can get the most out of this new feature.
2. New features for deal badges in Shopping
- Date: October 28
- TLDR: Your product listings with a deal badge can now appear in a Deals feed, plus improved reporting for these listings.
When running Google shopping campaigns, merchants can apply for a “promotion,” “sale,” or “price drop” badge to their product listing if it meets qualifying conditions. Google announced in July 2021 that these deal-badged listings would now be more visible with a “see deals related to your search” prompt in the Shopping tab.
Then, on October 28, Google announced that now (and as promised), there is a designated deals feed, always accessible in the Shopping tab and which will also appear in regular Search for relevant queries (like “black friday deals”).
Note that the deals feed also appears on mobile.
This feed will show recommended deals for that user, based on their query and browsing behaviour as well as the attractiveness of the offer and discount
In addition, Google has made improvements to the Merchant Center to show which of your products qualify for a deals badge, as well as performance data for deal badged products broke out separately
Separate reporting for deal-badged products is now available. (Image source)
The action we suggest: Test out a price drop, discount, or promotion now to get familiar with the new functionality and reporting so you can be successful throughout Black Friday and the holidays. Consider implementing a priority bidding structure to maximize your ROAS.
3. New Google Ads budget report
- Date: September 30
- TLDR: You now have more insight into how Google spends your budget each day and month.
When you set your daily average budget for a Google Ads campaign, you are telling Google to spend your budget in such a way that averages out to that amount over the course of a month. This means it can spend up to twice your daily average budget on any given day if it means more clicks and conversions, and then counteract that by spending less on days when traffic or conversions are lower.
This is helpful in maximizing your budget, but advertisers have had limited insight into the fluctuations in their daily average ad spend. Google’s new budget report, announced on September 30, solves this. With this report, you can view past and future data.
In the cumulative monthly spend section, you can see how much you've spent so far, how much you're projected to spend, and your monthly spending limit. You're also able to edit the budget number at the top to see how this might impact your performance.
In the daily spend section, you can see how much of your daily spending limit you’ve spent on any given day. In both graphs, you can hover over the data to see numbers for an individual day.
The action we suggest: Head to one of your campaigns and pull up the report. Take a look at previous months to get a feel for how it visualizes the story. For this month's report, play around with different average daily budgets to see how it can help you plan accordingly. Also, check out our Google Ads budget guide.
4. The mobile SERP now uses infinite scroll
- Date: October 14
- TLDR: Infinite scroll feature on mobile does NOT impact Ad Rank, DOES change text ad distribution, and COULD impact your metrics.
On October 14, Google announced that the SERP on mobile will now automatically load the next three pages of results as you scroll so you don’t have to tap “See more.” As a result, fewer text ads will show at the bottom of the SERP and text ads can now appear at the top of the second page and onward.
Does this impact Ad Rank? No. The way Ad Rank is calculated will not change and will be recalculated for each SERP—meaning your ad could show on more than one SERP for the same query.
Will this impact ad performance? Potentially. Your prominence metrics like the top and absolute top impression share might change. Google says this may increase impressions in your Search, Shopping, and Local campaigns, thereby lowering your CTR, but that clicks, conversions, average CPC and average CPA shouldn’t be impacted.
Note that there is no change for Shopping and Local ad appearance and that this is for US-English queries only. Google plans to make this available for additional countries and languages next year.
The action we suggest: Keep an eye on your PPC metrics and review these seven smarter ways to approach mobile search ads.
5. New offline conversions import (OCI) helper tool
- Date: September 28
- TLDR: This self-service tool helps you to view and analyze your offline conversion data in Google Ads.
We all know that your first-party data is becoming the MVP as third-party cookies will be going away—it’s privacy-compliant and your most accurate data. But not all of your first-party data is collected on your website.
On September 28, Google launched the OCI helper tool so you can import and analyze your offline first-party conversion data (like calls) to Google Ads. This way you can integrate this behaviour into your entire lead-to-sale customer journey and use that data to find similar high-quality leads.
The tool is a self-service platform that businesses can use to import offline conversions as well as implement conversion values. There is first a questionnaire to identify the right implementation steps for your business (depending on your CRM, sales cycle, and more).
Then it will ask you to fill four roles:
- Project Manager: assigns the rest of the roles and communicates between them.
- Digital Marketing Manager: with standard access to Google Ads.
- Website Developer: with admin access to your website’s source code.
- CRM Manager: with admin access to your CRM.
You can assign up to four people per roll, and you can assign multiple rolls to one person. Once the OCI tool has this information, it will put together a customized implementation plan with a progress dashboard and assign out tasks for each role accordingly.
Action we suggest: Give it a spin! And on a similar note, learn how to import all your cost data into Google Analytics here.
6. Enhanced conversions are now available to all
- Date: September 30
- TLDR: All advertisers can now use this solution for accurate and yet also privacy-first conversion tracking.
On September 30, Google announced that enhanced conversions, introduced in the May 2021 Google Marketing Live Stream, are now available in beta for all eligible advertisers. Here's why it matters:
Let’s say a user clicks on a Google ad on their laptop, goes to your website, but doesn’t convert; but then later returns to your site through organic search on mobile and converts. Third-party cookies, which track individuals, across the web, across devices, allow you to see this path from paid ad to organic search to conversion. Without them, the organic visit would be treated as a new user and new visit, not tied to the ad, and the advertiser would falsely believe that their ad did not play a role in the conversion.
With enhanced conversions, you take the first-party data you collect on users from the conversion actions on your website (name, address, phone, email, etc.) and send it back to Google. Google will then match this first-party information to its first-party information (Google user accounts) so it can connect a user’s behaviour on your website to their behaviour with your ads on Google properties, regardless of device.
The result is the third-party cookie benefit of cross-device conversion tracking, without the third-party cookies. And the privacy piece comes in because the transmitted data is hashed and will be aggregated and anonymized in your reporting.
There are three ways to set up enhanced conversions:
- Manually with Google Tag Manager
- Manually with the Google sitewide tagging
- With API
The action we suggest: Start ramping up your first-party data collection and get more familiar with this feature at Google’s help page for enhanced conversions.
7. FLoC testing pushed out to Q1 2022
- Date: October 1
- TLDR: The removal of third-party cookies could be delayed once again.
As we know, Google will be removing third-party cookies at some point in 2022. Since this has a massive impact on advertisers, it is coming up with new features (like enhanced conversions, mentioned above) and technologies to help advertisers accurately report on and effectively target their ads. Not only does this help advertisers, but in general, consumers prefer to get ads served to them that are relevant.
One of those technologies is Google FLoC. No action is needed, but this could mean that the death of the third-party cookie could be prolonged.
The action we suggest: Make sure you understand what FLoC means for advertisers and that you have the Google Ads tag on your site.
8. Upgraded ad extensions
- Date: October 26:
- TLDR: Upgraded ad extensions (old features taken away, new ones added) will replace existing ad extensions by next year.
On October 26, Google announced that it has rolled out upgraded ad extensions. These extensions will have more features like the ability to pause but will exclude some existing ad extension features, including:
- Device preference for mobile.
- Call extension start and end time.
- App extension ad schedules.
- Price and structure snippet start/end time and ad schedule.
Upgraded extensions will eventually replace the current (soon to be legacy) extensions, but this will be over the course of the year. You can create upgraded extensions in the meantime (via the API or Editor), but note that reporting will be a little wonky. You will only be able to see the combined legacy and upgraded extension data in the summary view.
Eventually, the summary and table views will show the same data, but after August 2022, you will no longer be able to view legacy extension data.
The action we suggest: If you use the API or Editor, try creating an upgraded extension now. Or if you're not familiar with extensions, check out our Google Ads extensions cheat sheet—which we'll be sure to update accordingly!
9. Performance Max campaigns are now widely available
- Date: November 2
- TLDR: Performance Max campaigns are now available to all; Smart Shopping and Local campaigns will upgrade to PM in 2022.
On November 2, Google announced that Performance Max campaigns, released in beta in October 2020, are now available to all advertisers worldwide. With this automated campaign type, you provide Google with images, videos, logos, and headlines, and Google will mix and match those assets into ads that can run across Search, Display, Discover, Maps, Gmail, and YouTube.
With this campaign type, automation optimizes your budget and bids across channels and you can see the performance in the Insights page and Combinations report. Google also shared that Smart Shopping and Local campaigns will both upgrade to Performance Max in 2022.
The action we suggest: E-commerce and local businesses, get familiar with Performance Max campaigns now since Smart Shopping and Local ads will eventually get moved into this campaign type.
10. Engaged-view conversions now available for video Display ads
- Date: September 27
- TLDR: I mean, it's three sentences:
Google announced on September 27 that engaged-view conversions (EVCs), which have been available for TrueView skippable in-stream ads, Local and App campaigns, are now also available for video Display campaigns.
EVCs, introduced in 2020 as a more robust non-click metric than view-through conversions, are conversions that occur on your site within a particular time frame after someone views your video ad for 10 seconds.
The action we suggest: Check out these seven video ad ideas and brush up on your Display ad design principles to get those engaged views going!