Digital marketing in itself is a broad term and consists of several elements. The world of Paid Ads (Google Ads) plays a significant role and if your business hasn’t yet tapped into its potential, 2019 is the year to start.

As many of you might know, one ‘human year’ is a lifetime in the digital world. Advances in technology, more upgrades and new algorithms occur regularly which means we need to learn fast and adapt accordingly. There’s no more hiding from technology and the sooner companies realise the importance of Google Ads, the sooner they will find success. Provided, of course, they know what they’re doing or partner with a digital marketing agency with PPC expertise.

In 2018 we saw many changes in the digital world including the rebrand from Google AdWords to Google Ads. That was only the beginning as there were many changes and innovations that followed. In this article we’ll briefly touch on a few but first, a quick recap on what Google Ads really is.

What Is Google Ads?

For those who don’t already know, Google AdWords is essentially a marketplace for companies that pay (bid) to rank their website at the top of search results, based on good keywords. Google Adwords works as an auction where brands bid money for clicks but the highest bid doesn’t always win. In fact, Google looks at the bid amount and quality factor to create the best user experience. It’s the same principle as creating the best possible online content where quality ads plus a good bid can yield incredible results.

Going back a few years, the auction process was simpler as businesses could bid on almost any keyword they wanted. These auctions didn’t factor in the relevance between the search term (what a visitor types into search engines) and what a company was advertising. A certain metric, called Quality Score, changed all of that. It combines several factors to effectively determine how ‘good’ an offer is for a visitor’s online search.

While Google AdWords may be relatively straightforward, it’s certainly not easy to master. It takes some time to learn all the ins-and-outs and even when you think you know everything, you probably don’t. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) requires patience and smart bidding on well-researched keywords. Without these, many companies will fail. Find out more about how to use PPC in your marketing efforts in this article, ‘PPC Advertising: Blog Series’.

Changes To Google Ads In 2018

As businesses shift their focus toward 2019, reflecting on how Google Ads changed in 2018 could be hugely beneficial. While some changes had more impact than others, here are our top five.

Google Ads New User Interface

In addition to rebranding Google Adwords to Google Ads, they also launched a new user interface for account management. Some of the new features include an Audience Manager, Recommendations Engine, Custom Dashboards and Predefined Reports among others. It also features additional extension options such as automated A-B testing for ad variations and much more. The end goal of the new Google Ads user interface was to simplify the entire account management process while making it more efficient for advertisers. Here is a broad overview of the new look user interface courtesy of Search Engine Land.

Smart Goals With Machine Learning

Google Smart Goals is a new way of using machine learning to quickly identify which site visits are most likely to convert. It does so through collecting and using data from loads of sites that share information anonymously. A specific formula therein helps optimise Google Ad campaigns to the fullest. They essentially measure the most engaged web visits and then automatically turn them into Goals.

This helps advertisers prioritise their campaign efforts even if brands don’t have conversion or e-commerce tracking capabilities. Some of these Smart Goals include Location, Device and Browser, Pages Per Session, and Session Duration. This is great for advertisers as this new method of optimisation incorporates more automation to measure value more accurately.

The “Average Position” Metric Misconception

It’s important for brands to have a good understanding of where their Google ads appear on search results pages. Brands continue to ask the same question, “Does my business rank prominently for the search results that truly matter?”

Knowing if ads show more (or less) frequently at the top can really help determine changes in clickthrough rate. The percentage of qualified top impressions could also help decide whether to increase bids and quality or not.

When it comes to the “average position” of Google ads, there has been some misconception. ‘Average position’ indicates the order in which ads appear compared to others in the ad auction and not their actual page position. A simple example is an ad appearing in position “1” which, in theory, means your ad should display above everyone else’s. However, even if you are in position “1”, your ads could appear lower down as organic search results appear first.

Thanks to Google’s new metrics, you can now have a much better understanding where your ads are truly showing. Here is a breakdown of the new metrics courtesy of Google:

  • (Absolute Top) % – the percent of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
  • (Top) % – the percent of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.
  • Search (Absolute Top) IS – the impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
  • Search (Top) IS – the impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.

Advanced Exact Match

Also toward the end of 2018, Google introduced a new form of exact match in September. Thanks to the latest in machine learning, exact match will now consider the intent of the query. Previously, exact match was limited to only what the searcher used. While it included spelling errors, reordered words and differences in spaces, brands can now target users with closer variants. It now takes into account variations of the keyword that share the same meaning, implied words, same intent and paraphrases.

Google believes that the key component here is that the meaning and intent of the query will match the keyword. Brands no longer have to rely on exact words as the only trigger to display their ads. This also enables them to spend less time creating longwinded keyword lists up front. They can use the additional time to mine search term reports for new and negative keywords when the ad campaign has gained traction.

Promotion Extensions

Early in 2018, Google gave advertisers the option to show sales and special offers directly from the ad. Promotion extensions appear below your ad with up to two lines of text available to include details of the promotion. It show additional information in an easy to read format which helps special offers stand out. Potential customers can now identify great deals even before they click on the ad. This can include anything from discounted offers and coupon codes to displaying the special price of the product.

Promotion extensions are incredibly useful in terms of holidays or special events. Take a look at some of the benefits of using promotion extensions.

  • Easy to update with a selection of pre-populated occasions. This means you don’t have to create new text ads to keep them updated for seasonal sales and special offers
  • Edit promotion extensions without resetting the performance statistics so you won’t lose any data
  • Simply choose whether you prefer to show your promotion extensions on mobile devices
  • It allows for flexible scheduling so you can choose to show your promotion extensions within the date of the occasion. You can also specify dates, days of the week or times that you want promotion extensions to show

Change is good as it provides opportunities for brands to use new methods to reach and engage with their users. Looking at these updates individually or as a whole, Google Ads can make a huge difference to your business in 2019.

What do you think about the new and improved Google Ads for 2019? Please get in touch if you need help with your ad campaign as we specialise in SEO, PPC, social media management and Marketing Automation among others.

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