Welcome back, this month at Anicca I’m bringing you the latest Google Ads updates from March 2023. I am here to keep you up-to-date and ahead of the curve in all things search, shopping, display and video.
Google Ads Updates
- Google has rolled out business names, favicons and sponsored labels on desktop devices
- Simplified audience building in Google Ads with GA4
- Google is testing new user interface designs for Google Ads
- New features for Discovery campaigns
- Updates to conversion imports from GA4
- Google officially launches ad transparency for all verified advertisers
- Google announces AI-powered search ads generation
Google Ads has rolled out business names, favicons and sponsored labels on desktop devices (March 2023)
Following the release on mobile devices in late 2022, Google has announced the rollout of business names, favicon logos and sponsored labels on desktop devices. This rollout enhances the listings on the desktop and will gradually become available to all advertisers over the coming months.
If they are available within your account and you have not yet implemented them it is worth doing so as they make ads look more authentic and add a trust factor for consumers in seeing a logo rather than a blue or grey globe. You can see in the example below how it emphasises the first ad that is utilising the features in comparison to the second ad which is not.
Simplified audience building with GA4 (March 2023)
Google has announced an update to audience building within Google Ads that is powered by GA4. The new feature allows advertisers to access the GA4 audience builder directly within the Google Ads interface. This update will help to simplify audience creation for advertisers.
In order to make use of this feature you will first need to ensure you have a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) property set up correctly. Secondly, you will need to ensure you have set up a link between your Google Ads and GA4 account. GA4 is now crucial for all businesses currently using Universal Analytics as these old properties will stop collecting and processing data from July 2023, so if you haven’t yet upgraded time is of the essence.
The feature is due to roll out over the coming months so keep a close eye on your accounts.
Google tests new user interface designs for Google Ads (March 2023)
When logging into your Google Ads account you may start to notice some subtle (and some not-so-subtle) changes. Google is testing some user interface changes to improve the platform’s usability. Google has indicated all features will remain intact, and the updates are purely design-focused. The top changes that Google have announced are:
- Navigation updates, testing between single-level and two-level menu structure
- Reorganised interface to a structure based on goals, campaigns, tools and settings
- Google is refreshing the look to brighten the interface
They are currently experimenting with these changes on a subset of selected accounts, with rollouts expected later in the year.
New features for Discovery campaigns (March 2023)
Google has announced the launch of new ad layouts for their discovery ads. Discovery ads, as their name suggests are designed for brand and product discovery as users browse content. Discovery ads, unlike display ads, are contained within Google-owned properties. The ads are designed to be visual and engaging and the latest releases are built on this basis.
The first announcement is the launch of product feed ads, which will allow advertisers to connect their shopping feed to the campaign and deliver dynamic product ads. With these ad formats, advertisers can show different products to users based on their interests and intent, and these can be paired with short text and lifestyle images to drive further engagement.
This has also led to improved reporting with a release announced for product-level reporting so that individual product performance can be tracked.
Updates to conversion imports from GA4 (March 2023)
When using conversion imports from Universal Analytics these would have traditionally been imported on a cross-channel last-click model. Once in the Google Ads account, only then would the ad account attribution model be taken into account. This meant that the conversion would have been imported if the last click before the conversion was not Google Ads in Google Analytics. What this meant was that upper funnel conversions were often not imported back into the account, and therefore weren’t included in optimisations.
With this latest update, conversions imported from GA4 will now import in full, even if Google Ads was not the last non-direct click. This will mean better platform attribution and measurement for campaigns. Campaigns should start to see improved attribution for upper funnel conversions when using a data-driven attribution model.
Overall, we recommend implementing and using the Google Ads conversion tag, as with this you can implement enhanced conversion tracking to get a more comprehensive conversion view. We also recommend beginning the migration to server-side tracking for a more robust tracking setup. However, this is an improved step if you are using a Google Analytics import.
Google officially launches ad transparency for all verified advertisers (March 2023)
In 2022 Google started rolling out ad transparency which enables visibility of ads that companies are running on search, display and video. This is a particularly useful feature to gain insight into the ads your competitors are running. Until now this was only visible for some advertisers, and you could only access this when an ad appeared through My Ad Centre, which popped up when you clicked the little 3 dots next to the ad you were seeing.
The new Ads Transparency Centre is aimed at providing visibility to users on the ads they see online. However, for advertisers, it doubles as a catalogue of your competitors’ ads. Ads will be visible for all companies that have completed advertiser verification. The advertiser verification program began rolling out in 2020 and is a global initiative that requires businesses when requested to verify information about their business.
The Ads Transparency Centre will show you:
- Past and current ads from businesses
- The regions in which these ads were live
- The last date the ad was active
- The format of the ad (text, image or video)
The new tool will be available for all users soon.
Google announces AI-powered search ads generation (March 2023)
Google has announced a new tool to generate search ads, which will be powered by AI. This new tool will allow Google to generate new ad variations in response to a user search. The ad text generated will be based on content found on the advertiser’s landing page. The idea behind this new release is the continued strive by Google for responsive search ads to display the most relevant copy to users based on their search and also context.
Automatically-created assets are now available as an open Beta in English.
Some things to keep in mind with the AI-generated ad assets:
- Google will take these into account when determining ad strength. Ad strength is Google’s indicator of how relevant it sees the ad in relation to the keywords in the ad group and the searches likely to be triggered.
- The automatically-created assets will be powered by assets provided by the advertiser such as the keywords and landing pages
- Any asset that is created that you are not entirely happy with can be removed
With the new release, you can turn this on and off in the campaign settings. Whilst Google AI has come a long way, it is important if you do leave this feature active to keep it under review. You will also want to ensure the assets created are in line with your branding and tone of voice.
Keep an eye out for our monthly updates across PPC, social and Search (SEO). If you’d like to know more and discuss your PPC strategy then book a consultation with our Head of Paid Media [email protected].
If you’d like to discuss your overall digital marketing strategy and needs then get in touch.