This article was updated in January 2023
Repeatedly keeping up with Google’s many ad changes can often be perceived as a cumbersome, nearly impossible task. It’s understandable to feel intimidated with experts in the industry always reminding you that if you’re using the same tactics, even from only 2 years ago, you’re losing out on some major opportunities.
Bloom has decided to make your life just a little easier by summing up the major updates and best practices required to smooth sail through your 2023 Google Ads strategy.
1. Performance Max Campaigns
Automation is among us now more than ever, and Performance Max Campaigns officially play a major role. Since April 2022, PMCs replaced Smart Shopping and Local campaigns.
In a singular campaign, Performance Max campaigns can deliver ads on every Google property via the complete automation of targeting and delivery based on data provided by the advertiser.
As Google is getting better at machine learning, this shift is considered an upgrade to advertisers due to its soon-to-be one-click tool feature, allowing brands to choose which campaigns to upgrade, whether it be a few or all of them.
If, however, by July 2022, your brand didn’t upgrade to Performance Max Campaigns, Google made the switch for you automatically. But do not fret! Performance Max campaigns was built off of existing Smart Shopping and Local campaigns, meaning that many of your existing settings will remain the same.
Specifically, what upgrades are included in the PMC shift? Well, coupled with new automation insights, there will be a new ad inventory available which will be implemented across all of Google’s YouTube, Search and Discovery networks.
Testing Out Performance Max
All advertisers can create their own Performance Max Campaigns.
How to start testing:
- Include new creatives to your asset groups: Google will then be able to offer relevant ad formats and greater access to ad inventory.
- Add audience signals to point out the likelihood to convert: Google will be able optimize campaigns faster and find more customers quicker.
- Align your budget and bid strategy: If your target CPA and budget are on two extremes, your campaign will have a disconnect and lower your chances of launching a performing campaign.
2. Auto-Apply Recommendations
With the many performance tools at your disposal, auto-apply recommendations are an absolute must when improving your campaigns.
When you activate Auto-Apply Recommendations, Google will automatically update your campaigns with relevant new features, keywords, extensions, optimized bidding improvements and more to increase its effectiveness.
Auto-apply recommendations are especially useful for their focus on relevancy. Hence you may notice certain recommendations applied more frequently than others and even some that may never apply.
Applying a certain subset of automatic recommendations not only benefits your global account performance while saving you time, but it does so while keeping your budget as is.
Still, you’ll want to regularly check the ‘Recommendation’ page to ensure your budget isn’t limiting your performance as it taps into a great deal of your account’s historical data in order to give you a better idea of how each recommendation might improve performance.
Pro-tip: Google knows which recommendations are qualified to your needs on a daily basis.
3. Responsive Search Ads
As of June 2022, Google seized complete support of expanded text ads, and replaced them with responsive search ads.
Responsive search ads allow you to create an ad that discloses more relevant messages. After having entered multiple headlines and descriptions whilst creating RSAs, Google will eventually test different combinations, learn to narrowly match your ad’s content with potential customers’ search terms, and ultimately deliver the best performing ads for your campaign.
Why the Change
- Simplifies the creation of RSAs
- Facilitates manipulation of Google’s automated tools
- Adapts the right messages to the right queries more quickly
- Increases conversions with less time spent on ads at the same budget
- Frees time to concentrate more on strategic business initiatives
What the Change Means
Even if after the deadline advertisers can no longer create or edit expanded text ads, those that are still active will continue to yield results and allow performance tracking, pausing, and resuming.
Pro-tip: Conduct at least one responsive search ad in every ad group in your Search campaigns.
4. Dynamic Search Ads
If you’re an advertiser with an extensively-developed or large inventory website, such as an e-commerce store, dynamic search ads are your new best friend.
What Are Dynamic Search Ads?
DSAs use your currently published content to generate engaging headlines and landing pages, fill in the gaps of your keyword based campaigns, and ultimately target near-converting customers who are already searching for your exact product.
Dynamic search ads are often said to be an advertiser’s favored tool as it addresses many of the concerns in conventional text campaigns by leveraging a site’s content rather than manually recreating an ad based on what you recently just posted.
A ‘For Instance”
All that’s left to do is for you to write a creative description!
Pro-tip: The most important signal in your ad’s headline is the HTML title of your landing page.
5. Broad Match Keywords
You may have noticed when searching on Google, that the results presented don’t necessarily contain the exact keyword terms as those you used in your search. Yet they’re essentially synonyms to what you initially inputted, are they not? That’s because the results that popped up were from brands who knew how to effectively benefit from broad match keywords.
By letting Google work its default match type magic, you can:
- Attract more visitors to your website
- Spend less time building keyword lists
- Focus bidding and spending on keywords that work
- Close the gap, covering all possible business-relevant searches
- Identify new Keywords
A ‘For Instance”
|Broad Match Keyword||Ads may show on searches for|
|How to cook turkey||Plan your best Thanksgiving dinner yet|
|How to cook turkey||Follow this protein-based meal plan|
|How to cook turkey||How to prevent your turkey from getting dry|
|How to cook turkey||What foods best compliment turkey|
Results won’t necessarily show up in the same order for one person, let alone show up at all for another. As mentioned, Google seeks relevance. Hence it’ll base its matches according to:
- A user’s recent history
- The content of the landing page
- The other keywords that may help direct the user’s objective
Learn how to leverage broad match keywords with Smart Bidding below (Best Practice 7).
6. Shifting to Single Theme Ad Groups
About Single Theme Ad Groups
A single theme ad group (or STAG) is an ad group that ties its keywords back to one single theme.
With Google’s redefinition of close variants (match searches that are similar but not identical to the targeted keyword), STAGs recently became the more effective method of categorizing keywords.
From SKAGs to STAGs
Single keyword ad groups (or SKAGs) were replaced by STAGS as budgets under the former could easily be misplaced, thus misplacing all ads toward one stand alone campaign. The result of this mix up led to the unnecessary use of SKAGs as they no longer answered the need to cover specific typos or plural versions, especially since the introduction of implied matches.
Rather than spending valuable time researching keywords to exactly match targeted phrases, Google proposed opting for STAGS to instead organize ad groups by theme rather than syntax.
Pro-tip: All ad groups must include three to five similar keywords that tie back to one singular theme.
The major benefit of STAGs pertains to the improved distribution of your budget which will in turn give the opportunity for ad groups to gain a higher volume of data, therefore acquiring ample learnings and driving better performance.
7. Smart Bidding
With established business and campaign goals, automated bidding strategies can turn to one of their subsets, one that uses machine learning to optimize for conversion or conversion value at every auction – Smart Bidding.
Examples of Smart Bidding strategies include:
- Maximize conversion value
- Target ROAS
- Target CPA
Combining Smart Bidding with Broad Match Keywords
When using Smart Bidding, there is no incremental gain to having keywords repeated in different match types. You would need a very exhaustive list of keywords to ensure the same reach as a single broad keyword.
Combining Smart Bidding and Broad keywords is one of the most effective ways to serve your ads on the most relevant queries for your business.
We hope that this article has provided deeper insights into what to include in your Google Ads strategy in 2023. In our experience, utilizing and adapting to these practices has borne fruit to all types of businesses, from e-commerce to B2B.
Need help launching these tactics? Reach out to our experts here.
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