Google Ads updates you may have missed in Q2 2021

The ad ecosystem changes constantly, and new opportunities for Google Ads users arise all the time. Staying on top of the latest developments can be a daunting task, but we’re here to help.

We’re incredibly proud to introduce a new series here at Gaasly, covering the latest developments across everything to do with Google Ads. Our search engine marketing experts sift through new features, enhancements and everything else that can affect ad performance and present it in an easily digestible format.

It’s fair to say that Google knows a thing or two about advertising across its network. It’s always happy to share insight into what even SEM experts could do better.

You’re looking for a global agency to grow your brand internationally and manage your online advertising? At Gaasly we are an International Digital marketing agency – we work with native marketing experts from all the European markets. Feel free to contact us.

Google confirms global launch of video experiments

Split testing has long been a crucial component of any advertising strategy. Google constantly seeks to refine experimentation opportunities across its network.

The feature itself has been around for several years in selected markets. However, Google confirmed in early April that video experiments are now available to all. Those who are yet to try out this functionality can get off to a flying start with Google’s video experiment guide.

Boost efficiency with automatic recommendation implementation

It’s fair to say that Google knows a thing or two about advertising across its network. It’s always happy to share insight into what even SEM experts could do better.

Most people appreciate the recommendations, but finding the time to implement them is a different matter. Now, Google Ads users can opt to apply recommendations automatically. One company quoted in Google’s announcement noted that automatic acceptance freed up between two and three hours of marketing time each week while revenues rose.

Google Ads Insights page goes global

Some companies and advertisers have a small selection of products and like to stick with them. Other business models rely on capitalising on trends as quickly as possible. There are few better tools for this than the Insights page.

The page was initially launched in November 2020 in selected markets. Now, advertisers across the globe can take advantage of trends tailored to individual businesses and their advertising habits.

An update to Google Tag Manager

One of the most significant developments in the online advertising world is the increased adoption of privacy features. As a result, cookies, for so long a critical tool in the advertising toolkit, are on the verge of becoming obsolete.

Fortunately, Google relies heavily on advertising. The team constantly works on new ways to make ads work and ensure that tracking them is a breeze.

The Google Ads team announced updates to the Google Tag Manager and the global site tag in mid-April. This tweak involves placing a same-site cookie on an advertiser’s domains. In turn, it ensures that they can track which ad resulted in a successful conversion.

Dynamic exclusion lists

One of the biggest potential PR disasters your business can face is finding your ads displayed alongside questionable content. Unfortunately, some of the most prominent players in online advertising have been drawn into stories where they had no more involvement than general ad placement.

Google is alert to this and launched dynamic exclusion lists in April. Clients now have more options through the standard advertiser controls page.

Advertisers have long prevented their ads from showing up on particular websites or even entire topics. However, the latest upgrade means that the onus is no longer solely on the account owner to keep their blocklists up to date. Instead, it is now possible to collaborate with others or utilise lists from a trusted third party to dictate where your ads can and cannot be shown.

A QoL update to smart bidding

Novices and SEM experts alike use smart bidding to ensure their ad budgets go as far as possible.

This update represents a relatively minor change. Anyone already happy with their smart bidding can continue to operate as usual, at least for now.

However, there are new options for those who want to leave some of the work to the algorithm. Specifically, you could bundle Target CPA with maximising conversions and Target ROAS with maximising conversion value.

The Ads team plans to review this setup later this year. Google has stated that anyone using older formats will be automatically alerted before switching to the new strategies.

Smart bidding was addressed once again in May, with a selection of new features. These tweaks enable ad managers to make seasonal adjustments while also providing additional recommendations across each type of smart bidding strategy. In addition, the team also added performance simulation support for target impression share campaigns – something previously only available for click-based and conversion bidding strategies.

Tackling Apple’s App tracking transparency (ATT) policies

If you own an Apple device, one significant change won’t have escaped your attention. In April, there was a period where it felt like every app wanted to know whether you were happy to allow it to continue tracking ads across apps.

Google warned of reduced reach and lower clickthrough rates as a result. However, they have provided several tips on minimising the impact of the change. They have also implemented new features such as the updates to Google Tag Manager outlined above.

Tweaks to customer match lists

Customer match is one of the hidden gems of Google Ads, although any dedicated SEM agency will undoubtedly have explored the possibilities of such close interaction with customers.

Thanks to the latest updates, the Ads interface will look at how much each list is available for real-time use. It will also make recommendations to keep your list fresh and compelling.

Online Ads for offline sales

The Google Marketing Livestream took place towards the end of May. One of the biggest takeaways was the deployment of new local advertising opportunities for store-based businesses.

Much of the focus rested on Google Maps, with three new developments. They enable advertisers to appear in auto ads when users search for a service, show up in a non-distracting manner when they appear on a route, and display when a user searches for a similar business nearby. Read more on those new features here.

If you’ve tried to buy a PlayStation 5 any time in the past few months, you’ll also appreciate an increase in ‘in stock’ as a search term. Google Ads unveiled a new feature on the same live-stream whereby advertisers can display whether an item is immediately available as part of their local inventory ads.

Increased information in travel ads

People were increasingly keen to get away in Q2 for apparent reasons. Google Ads responded to surging demand with a trio of new features for travel advertisers.

These additions include displaying holiday rentals in hotel results, hotel booking extensions on text ads and commissions per stay, cutting costs for cancelled bookings.

A minor tweak to ad pods

Ad pods launched in 2018 and saw YouTube serving two ads in a row. Until Q2 this year, those ads consisted of bumpers and skippable longer ads. However, Google confirmed at the end of June that non-skippable in-stream ads would soon be available as part of pods.

That wraps up what has been a busy quarter in the world of advertising with Google. That’s why we’ve elected to bring together all the highlights in one easily digestible format! Our ads team will be keeping a close eye on developments in the third quarter and will once again bring you all the latest newsworthy events in due course.

If you’d like to speak to our ads team about your individual needs or take your online advertising to the next level, be sure to get in touch!