Google Ads trends now and in the future
Google Ads is never a finished and is constantly updated. You will have to take this into account when you are using it. It is a platform that continues to develop and if you really want to excel at Google Ads, you will have to prepare for what is to come.
Automation within Google Ads 🤖
Automation is the trend we are seeing more and more with Google Ads lately. This will certainly not stop soon, and it is expected that Google Ads will add more and more new smart functions. This changes the focus more to the quality of the advertisements. In some cases, however, it is frustrating that you do not have complete control over your bids and do not have full insight into your campaigns anymore.
• Smart campaigns:
Google introduced smart campaigns in 2019. AdWords Express was a thing before, but you had to manage this from another platform. This has also been optimized a lot and the Google algorithm works much better than before. It is designed for small businesses that want to use Google Ads in an automated and minimalistic way. You don't have to learn how the entire system works and you don't have to outsource anything with a smart campaign.
At least that is the idea.
You need to link this to your Google my business profile.
Google my business pins on Google Maps are displayed more when you have a smart campaign running. Since September 2020, you have the advantage that your pin on the map is extra promoted when you use a smart campaign. You can also fully use your smart campaign to get more visitors to your physical store.
Google has also added keyword themes so that you have a little more control over what is happening within your smart search campaign. This way, a user gets a better feeling when entering a smart campaign.
• Smart shopping campaigns:
There are also smart shopping campaigns, they were added to Google Ads at the end of 2018. Nowadays this is even automatically selected when you create a new shopping campaign. Smart shopping is a shopping campaign that works completely on its own. So, all you must do is submit a feed to Google Merchant Center and link it to your smart shopping campaign. Then, you set your budget and an automatic bidding strategy with optionally a target ROAS. Your campaign will do the rest!
The big disadvantage of this is that you cannot view the search terms. So, you cannot see where your ads were found, and you cannot exclude anything in a smart shopping campaign. This is something where many marketers are not happy about. In A / B tests where it is tested whether smart shopping campaigns work better than normal shopping campaigns often various results appear. For a lot of people, it still gives a better feeling to keep it under control yourself with a standard campaign.
However, the algorithm continues to improve and there will undoubtedly come a time when these smart shopping campaigns will become the standard.
• Smart Display campaigns:
In April 2018, Google added Smart Display campaigns to Google Ads. Smart Display campaigns work the same as smart shopping campaigns. You set a budget and you set up a bidding strategy (Target CPA, Target ROAS or Maximize conversions).
Then you create one or more display ads, and the campaign does the rest for you. However, you can exclude certain target groups here, such as remarketing lists.
• Smart bidding:
Smart bidding is the automation of bids within Google Ads. In the past, you had to manage manual bids for all campaigns. You had to bid on keywords yourself or decide how much you paid per click. Today, Google continues to recommend you apply automatic bidding strategies to your campaigns. This is machine learning from Google.
Google's AI system automatically optimizes for conversions with smart bidding. The different smart bidding strategies available within Google Ads are:
Target CPA: CPA stands for costs per acquisition and you can set this per campaign. Google will try to stick to it so that your cost per conversion does not exceed the desired CPA.
Target ROAS: You can set a ROAS percentage and Google tries to make sure you reach the return on ad spend you want.
Maximize conversions: You can increase your conversion rate by letting Google use your budget to get as many conversions as possible.
The big disadvantage of these bidding strategies is that they use historical data and if this is not available then they will not work properly (immediately). So, it is still smart to start with manual strategies and later convert them into automatic strategies if you want to use them.
Smart bidding saves a lot of time from manually optimizing each ad campaign and helps advertisers improve ad performance over time.
It will undoubtedly become more and more the standard in the future and will increasingly supplant the manual bidding system. The biggest advantage is that advertisers have more time for other things such as improving and creating advertisements and creatives.
New forms of Google Ads advertisements
Google is constantly releasing new forms of advertising. In this way, it remains a challenge to constantly keep up and create converting ads. For example, look at the following ads:
• Responsive Search Ads:
The newest form of search ads within Google Ads are the responsive search ads introduced in 2018 and further expanded on July 15, 2020. Responsive Search Ads are composed of up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. The machine learning from Google (again automations) ensures that the best combinations are made. An optional countdown timer and location insertion has now also been added.
This way, Google is testing what works best for you. You can then convert the best ones into regular text ads and continue experimenting with your responsive ads. Or you only run responsive ads, which of course is also possible.
• Responsive Display Ads:
On July 15, 2020, the responsive display ads added in 2018 were given a makeover. It's a great way in addition to the standard display banners to make your display ads quick and easy.
These ads also use machine learning and make different combinations of different headlines, descriptions, videos, and images. These ads are looking better and better and are a good addition to your Google Ads strategy.
View examples of the new responsive display ads here:
• Showcase shopping ads:
Showcase shopping ads are the latest version of shopping ads. They are intended for orienting shoppers who do not yet know what they want. This is because not just one product is shown, but several. So, you see a showcase of a collection instead of individual products. This is a nice option when you have a big budget. This is however certainly not a replacement for your normal shopping ads.
• Call Ads:
Call ads are ads with which you can have someone calling you directly. Since April 2020, an optional addition has also been added so that someone can also visit the website.
• Discovery Ads:
Discovery campaigns are the newest form of Google campaigns and have just recently been rolled out to all accounts from April 2020. This concerns advertisements that are shown within Google, YouTube, and Gmail.
The ads look a little bit like shopping ads with an image, a headline, and a description. However, it is different from a shopping ad because it does not have to be associated with a product. It is more like a Facebook ad.
See examples of Discovery Ads here:
Google Ads audiences
The use of target groups is also being expanded at Google Ads. Where in the past you had to mainly target on keywords, you now have a large choice with target groups to target:
• In-market target groups
• Affinity audiences
• Similar target groups
• Custom intent audiences
• Life events
• Remarketing lists
The Google Ads overview page and recommendations
The Google Ads overview page consists of recommendations for your Google Ads account. A few things have changed on July 7, 2020. You can now start new campaigns from here already out of Google's recommendations. This again shows that everything is made much easier for you and that Google wants to take more and more control into its own hands.
The Partner program for marketing agencies is being adjusted.
Google will adjust the partner program. From 2021, Google partners need to:
1. Follow Google's optimization score recommendations.
2. Have a minimum Google Ads spend in the past 90 days of $ 20,000 or more.
3. At least 50% of users within the company must have updated Google Ads certifications for Search, Display, Video, and Shopping.
So, number 1 basically means that Google forces everyone to stick to their recommendations. This means that a lot more smart campaigns and automatic bidding strategies will be used.
Manual CPC will likely disappear eventually
The chances of this happening after all developments are so great that we think it will eventually happen. The fully manual CPC will then disappear first. There is also the option "enhanced CPC" from which the box is already checked when you click on this bidding strategy. When creating a new campaign, it is even automatically set to either Target CPA or maximize conversions nowadays.
Enhanced CPC is a sort of semi-automated strategy because Google does not stick to your maximum bids. Google bids higher when the chances of conversions are higher. This version of manual bidding will likely be available for longer.
Search terms are becoming less and less visible and may disappear
Google says on their website about the Google search term report that:
“Starting September 2020, the search terms report only includes terms that a significant number of users searched for, even if a term received a click. You may now see fewer terms in your report.”
This means that you have less insight into how people end up seeing your ads. This is a disaster for advertisers who fully manage their own campaigns and do not use smart shopping campaigns. It is crucial to be able to see how you are found so that you can exclude certain search terms.
Whether the search terms changes will stop here is the question. Google does everything in small steps because they cannot turn everything around at once. On the other hand, it is a bit clearer now because there is less information to analyze.
Keep an eye on voice search 🗣️
Voice search is growing not as fast as previously thought, but it is still growing. The fact is that everything is becoming more and more mobile and voice search is mainly used on mobile. So, optimize more for mobile and check more how things look like on your phone.
The best way to optimize for voice search is to use long-tail keywords. These are keywords that consist of a phrase or a phrase. So, do not always use one word as a keyword, but use sentences. It is especially smart to use questions. When someone searches for something via voice search, this is usually also in question form.
Keep up to date with the developments of Google Ads and keep in mind that you will have to change the focus of your work in the future. You will have to start thinking more strategically and create good content.
Changes at Google are inevitable, and you will have to be smart about this. Prepare and know what is to come. Stay creative in creating your marketing materials and use Google Ads the way it works best for your business.
Ultimately, certain options are made easier or will be removed, but new ones always come in their place. This remains a platform that is never "finished" in the eyes of Google, and that is for the better. Ultimately, we will have to rely more and more on Google's machine learning and automation.
In fact, you are never done optimizing your Google Ads campaigns yourself as well.