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Google Ads Updates You Need to Know

Vivian Phung
Written By
Vivian Phung
Published On
Jun 27, 2022
User on laptop with Google homepage opened.

As the digital marketing landscape continues to evolve, large advertising platforms are forced to think of ways to pivot and provide effective solutions. Tech giants like Google are constantly thinking of product updates and had a few interesting announcements during their annual Marketing Live conference. This includes some products sunsetting, privacy-safe updates, and an emphasis on retail and shopping features. 

Let’s take a deeper look into some ads-focused offerings and updates set to roll out by the end of 2022, as well as the next steps!

Say Goodbye to Expanded Text Ads

The most pressing update is expanded text ads (ETAs) sunsetting starting June 30, 2022. While you won’t be able to create new ETAs or edit existing ones, legacy ads are eligible to run. As Google continues to push for more automation, there are still a few ways to publish ads in a pre-determined order.

Say you want a certain headline or description to appear exactly as you input it – similar to how you’d execute ETAs – all you need to do is pin them in the first, second or third position:

 screenshot of pinning options in Google Ads

Soon, advertisers will start to lean more on the algorithm to determine the best-performing combination, but can still leverage ways to maintain some control over ad copy.

Performance Max

The New Smart Shopping and Local Campaign

Performance Max was made available to all advertisers in 2021 and was introduced as an all-in-one solution for maximum inventory exposure. Ads are eligible to show across all Google channels including Search, YouTube, Display, Discover, GMail, and Apps. As a result, Smart Shopping will automatically be replaced with Performance Max from July through September, and Local campaigns will be replaced from August through September.

Once phased out, advertisers will no longer be able to create the two campaign types. It’s recommended to give Performance Max campaigns with online conversion goals 2-3 days to optimize, and campaigns with offline-only conversion goals 3-4 weeks. 

Campaign Type Updates

According to Google, advertisers using Performance Max campaigns saw an average increase of 13% in total conversions at a similar cost per action. While Performance Max has shown great results, one caveat was the lack of transparency in conversion data. For example, there’s limited visibility on which platforms or asset combinations performed the best, and which search terms converted. 

It seems like the product team has been listening to our feedback, because at the Google Marketing Live 2022, they announced the following updates rolling out worldwide this year:

  • More experimentation tools, like A/B tests
  • Optimizing for in-store sales, in addition to store visits and local actions
  • New insights and explanations, including attribution, audience and auction insights
  • Optimization score and recommendations

Privacy-Safe Marketing

Enhanced Conversions

This feature improves the accuracy of your conversion data by supplementing existing tags with hashed first-party data from your website. This includes email addresses and other customer information collected in a privacy-safe way. With third-party cookies being phased out, Google recommends implementing this to improve bidding optimization and measurement accuracy. This can be set up through Google Tag Manager, the global site tag, or the Google Ads API.

Customer Match Made Easier

With privacy and first-party data at the forefront, Google has made it easier to leverage customer lists. Beginning Q2 2022, campaigns using Smart Bidding and/or Optimized Targeting will automatically use existing Customer Match lists to enhance performance for your goals. Prior to this, lists had to be manually applied to the desired campaign.

However, this will not change your targeting settings. For example, if your campaign uses Optimized Targeting, ads will be shown to those most likely to convert. Likewise, if you’re specifically restricting targeting with Customer Lists, your settings will remain the same. Google’s machine learning algorithm will determine which lists are helpful to your campaign’s performance and continuously optimize application.

Out With Universal Analytics, In With GA4

While Universal Analytics (UA) will be available until July 1, 2023, Google recommends making the switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) as soon as possible. After that, UA will stop processing new hits but advertisers can still access historical data for at least 6 months.

The new Analytics is designed to adapt to a cookieless future by leveraging AI, machine learning, and event-based data. This platform offers cross-platform tracking, customer journey data, and other advanced analyses. While it may be a steep learning curve, we’re looking forward to diving deeper into the data!

New Retail and Shopping Features

Attention-grabbing ads are key to successful campaigns. During the Google Marketing Live conference, they announced new features to enhance users’ shopping experiences and allow advertisers to reach more people.

Mobile-First Layouts for Responsive Display Ads

Later this year, Google will introduce mobile-first layouts to showcase brands on a full-screen portrait ad inventory. Based on your product feed, advertisers will also be able to create scrollable ads and videos for a more engaging shopping experience. 

full-screen mobile responsive display ads preview.

Video Ads for YouTube Shorts & Discover

According to Hootsuite, 22% of YouTube users are accessing the site via mobile devices. As a result, Google has introduced advertising in the YouTube Shorts inventory. These full-screen experiences allow for a more shoppable experience, similar to the mobile-first responsive display ads. In addition, Google is introducing video ads to Discover with the objective to blend in with organic content.

Preview of YouTube shorts ads on the left and Discover video ads on the right
Preview of YouTube shorts ads on the left and Discover video ads on the right

It’s no secret that video is king and Google seems to be embracing this in their extended ad offerings.

That rounds up the most important Google Ads updates so far in 2022! While this isn’t an extensive list, we made sure to include time-sensitive action items and changes our team at The Influence Agency is keeping an eye out for. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are looking for industry-leading Google Ads management, contact our specialists today!

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