Latest Google Ads Changes
Advertisers should be very happy about the open competition between Google and Facebook since it encourages both companies to up their game. Even though Google probably has the edge right now (since it’s no secret that Facebook itself is struggling and heavily dependent on Instagram), Facebook is still putting up enough of a fight to encourage Google to stay on point as has been demonstrated by the latest changes to Google Ads. Here is a quick summary of what you need to know.
Google is actually making it easier to opt out of personalized adverts
It’s hard to see this move as anything other than a way to placate regulators and it’s equally hard to see Google making this update without a fight if they seriously thought it would have a significant, negative impact on their business. In reality, however, the fact that Google account holders have long had the option to opt out of receiving personalized adverts, so it’s probably safe to assume that anyone who is vehemently opposed to them will either already have opted out of them or be using some other platform. Most users, however, are likely to be realistic about the fact that they are going to see adverts of some sort, because that’s what pays for the free services they enjoy, so they might as well be relevant ones.
Adwords is now Google Ads
This may not sound like much to write home about, but actually, this small change really encapsulates the way Google has grown from being a text-based search engine, to a multi-faceted company, which still (mainly) revolves around its original purpose of helping people to find what they want. Even though old-school text-based adverts are likely to be Google’s core income stream for quite some time to come, Google can now offer a whole lot more than that, for example, displaying adverts in maps, via YouTube or through apps and it will doubtless be on the look out to develop even more ways to connect advertisers with potential customers.
YouTube introduces lead ads
Lead ads are adverts which capture user data within the platform on which the advert is displayed rather than directing the user to another website for them to enter the relevant details. In other words, they remove the “click here to access” bit, which can be a step too far for social media users, especially those on mobile. Lead ads have been a huge success on Facebook and there is every reason to assume that they will be at least as big a success on YouTube. In fact, lead ads could do even better on YouTube than they have done on Facebook for the simple reason that YouTube is a thriving social media platform with a massive installed base of creators and users. Facebook, by contrast, is openly struggling and the jewel in its crown, Instagram, has only recently started to push into longer-form video with Instagram TV, which, so far, has not shown any sign of becoming a serious competitor to YouTube. In this context, it’s worth noting that YouTube has a clear monetization process for creators, whereas IGTV is still working on developing monetization. If IGTV can provide a compelling monetization option, it may tempt some creators to start to produce video for its platform, but even if it does, the creators may continue to produce content for YouTube, thus somewhat negating the benefit to IGTV.
Adverts become responsive
If Google can get this right, this could be one of the most exciting innovations in advertising there has ever been. Put simply, advertisers will stop creating adverts as complete entities and instead provide Google with samples of text on which it can draw. Google’s artificial intelligence will then build the actual advert for you and, over time, will come to learn what sort of adverts work best with whom and ensure that your advert is always customized to the needs of the user to whom it is shown.
Smart campaigns for small businesses
While big brands may have big marketing budgets and big marketing departments staffed with marketing experts, there are lots and lots of small businesses out there, whose small marketing budgets could still combine into major profits for Google. These small companies are likely to have little to no in-house marketing expertise and to lack the budget to employ marketing agencies to fill that gap. Step forward Google with Smart Campaigns, a very light-touch, user-friendly platform, which helps to get these tiny companies moving forward and building their business one conversion at a time. Possibly the neatest feature of Smart Campaigns is that it will be able to optimize landing pages on the fly, thereby tackling what could otherwise be a major headache for small business owners with limited IT knowledge and limited funds for IT support. Similarly to responsive adverts, Google will use machine learning to identify the key information from your advert and create a landing page which reflects this. It will also provide companies with conversion tracking and reporting. This could be a major win for small businesses.
The need for speed becomes even more important
Google introduced the quality score way back in 2005 and has regularly updated its criteria to reflect developments in the internet and its usage. Over recent years, speed has become an increasingly important factor and its importance has just been upgraded even further. There is now a Mobile Landing Page Speed Score column on the Landing Pages section within Google Ads and this tool factors potential ad performance into account when calculating its scores (which are on a scale of 1 to 10). If you were still in any doubt about the importance of either speed or mobile, then this should be a clear sign of just how seriously Google is taking both.
Google Analytics now supports cross-device reporting
There are already methods for advertisers to see which devices are being used to access content, so the functionality itself is far from groundbreaking. On the other hand, it is indisputably convenient to have this information displayed within Google Analytics itself.
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