What’s New In PPC: February 2023 PPC Updates

Welcome back, this month at Anicca we are brining you the latest PPC updates from January and February 2023. We are here to keep you up-to-date and ahead of the curve in all things search, shopping, display and video.

Google Ads Updates

  • Google applies updates to auto apply recommendation for removing redundant keywords
  • Google Ads launches Performance Max experiments for all advertisers
  • Google Ads launches brand negative keywords for Performance Max campaigns
  • Google Ads launches video creation within Performance Max campaign builder

Microsoft (Bing) Ads Updates

  • Microsoft ads sunsets expanded text ads
  • Microsoft announces the removal of audience network bid adjustments

Google Ads updates auto apply recommendations for removing redundant keywords (Jan 2023)

Auto apply recommendations in Google Ads are toted as a way to streamline account optimisations. In recent months Google has continued to shift the focus of these into consolidating account structures. The latest is a change to how Google sees and takes action upon what it believes are redundant keywords.

Whilst Google is suggesting this is an improvement to the previous automation, advertisers are not sharing the same view. Previously Goolge would suggest removing keywords that were redundant across the same ad group, destintation, bid strategy and match type.

So what is changing? Google will now remove redunant keywords across different match types. For example if you had ‘ladies shoes’ on phrase match and ‘women’s shoes’ on broad match, then Google would suggest removing the phrase match variation.

What does it mean for you

If you haven’t already we would recommend disabling the auto-apply recommendation to avoid any keywords you want to target directly getting removed. Google will still make the suggestions but it will just mean that you can manually apply any you feel are appropriate.

To disable this you need to go into recommendations > auto-apply > maintain your ads, uncheck remove redundant keywords and save. Whilst there it is also worth reviewing the other auto-apply suggestions as well.

Remove redundant keywords

Google Ads launches Performance Max experiments for all advertisers (Jan 2023)

Experiments for Performance Max campaigns have been in Beta for a little while, but Google has now announced the release of these for all advertisers. The experiments allow you to test the uplift achieved through Performance Max or to run a split test between Performance Max and standard shopping campaigns.

Performance max experiments

What it means for you

You can now use this feature to test changes before applying them live to the campaigns.

The Performance Max uplift experiement allows you to test and measure the uplift and incremental benefit of using the campaigns alongside search, video, discovery and display. The experiment works by splitting users into a control and test group, with only users in the test group being delivered ads through Performance Max. If you are already using Performance Max campaigns, keep in mind it would mean that the ads will only run on 50% of the eligible traffic for Performance Max during the experiment duration.

Google Ads launches brand negative keywords for Performance Max campaigns (Feb 2023)

Google have announced advertisers will now be able to add brand negatives to their Performance Max campaigns. This follows feedback from advertisers around brand safety and brand bidding. The update will allow advertisers to steer how Performance Max campaigns appear for searches on search and shopping.

The exclusions will be applied at campain level and give a level of control back to advertisers. Advertisers will be able to use this new feature to prevent the campaigns from appearing for both their own brand searches as well as selecting from a list of other brands to exclude. If there is a missing term you will be able to request additions to the list from Google. The brand exclusions will help to block traffic from most brand misspellings as well.

The feature has not yet released across all accounts, but keep and eye out.

Brand exclusions UI showing a list of athletic footwear brands that an advertiser can exclude

Where you do make exclusions to brand terms in these Performance Max campaigns, you can then create custom search and shopping campaigns just for these brand searches if you still want to appear but want to maintain control over the ads delivered and the cost of those ads.

Google Ads launches video creation within Performance Max campaign builder (Feb 2023)

Previously advertisers were able to create new video assets through the asset library in Tools & Settings in Google Ads. To help advertisers speed up this process and create new videos with more ease, Google is introducing video creator directly within the campaign builder for Performance Max.

You can use this feature to edit existing videos, add subtitles or create new videos from templates.

pmax video creation

Microsoft ads sunsets expanded text ads (Jan 2023)

Microsoft Ads has followed in the footsteps of Google in sunsetting the old expanded text ads format. From 1st February you will now only be able to create and/or edit responsive search ads. If you weren’t yet using responsive search ads Microsoft started the process in January to auto-upgrade existing expanded text ads to responsive search ads. If this sounds like your account you will want to go in and review these auto-upgraded ads to ensure they adhere to your business needs and branding.

Microsoft announces the removal of audience network bid adjustments (Feb 2023)

Microsoft announced in February that they will be retiring the functionality for adding bid adjustments to the Microsoft audience network. Moving forward Microsoft will use smart bidding, coupled with the campaign objective selected to determine which networks to show your ads on. Microsoft have defended the move by saying that users that have seen ads on both networks visit an advertisers website 2.6x more and convert 6.6x more (Microsoft Ads, Feb 2023) this is when compared to just search exposure.

Microsoft said the update will be available to all advertisers from 21st February.


Keep an eye out for our monthly updates across PPC, social and Search (SEO). If you’d like to discuss your digital marketing strategy and needs then get in touch.


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