Here's what changed in Google Ads in 2022
The world of paid ads is big, and when it comes to search engine advertising, Google is the tool of choice for many. What's new here since 2022?
Google Ads are more than just text ads that appear in Google's search engine. The potential extends over many different formats, the Google advertising network with some platforms and many possibilities of control from. In the past year, a lot has changed here for marketers - let's take a look at that now.
Performance Max Campaigns
Performance Max campaigns (PerfMax) are a new Google Ads campaign type introduced in late 2021 that has caused some changes to traditional campaign types in 2022. PerfMax is designed to allow marketers to access the entire Google Ads inventory (YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail and Maps) in a single campaign and are intended to complement search campaigns. The combination of PerfMax with other campaign types is intended to help reach more potential customers, across all channels. Bids can be optimized in real time with Smart Bidding to achieve better results across channels. This campaign type could dominate paid ad types in Google in the future. If you want to learn more about the topic, feel free to check out our article on it.
Rating: In general, changes are usually a step forward, but we also observe the development towards increasing automation critically. After all, if you decide to place ads on Google Ads, you want to use your budget wisely, so it's good that you can still manually influence some of Google's automated decisions.
New functions for PerfMax
For this new campaign type, Google has introduced new features as of 12/07/2022 to help achieve better ROI.
More recommendations to improve results
This is possible with the help of the Optimization Factor: since July 2022, it is available without restrictions for PerfMax campaigns and helps to see where a campaign still has potential for optimization.
New adjusting screws for more automation
These new set screws include the ability to make seasonal adjustments to adjust the bidding strategy for campaigns for maximum performance to take into account expected changes in conversion rates due to future events such as sellouts or promotions. They are especially useful for short time periods & events that last 1-7 days. There are also advanced settings options for geographic targeting.
More understandable performance analytics
Last year, Google introduced explanations to PerfMax to help better identify performance fluctuations and more easily diagnose problems.
Rating: That Performance Max campaigns are Google's new hobbyhorse and should remain so is quite evident. Performance can be maximized through this type of campaign - so the name is not a misnomer. The less available control options for advertisers should not be disregarded. Performance Max campaigns allow much less insight than normal search campaigns, so our tip is to set the target groups for PerfMax campaigns sensibly.
Our secret tip: Do not use brand keywords in the PerfMax campaign, because you usually get your own brand keyword at a very favorable CPC and if you use it in PerfMax campaigns, then the CPC can be higher for brand keywords. Therefore, despite automation, always check everything critically and thoroughly what Google suggests.
Smart Display became Standard Display
A display campaign primarily presents users with visually appealing content that is delivered anywhere on the Google Display Network. Here, there was also the form of the Smart Display Campaign, which offered the ability to serve ads in almost any format on the Google Display Network, reaching users at every stage of the buying cycle.
The benefits? Easy to create, automatic optimizations, automated bid settings optimize performance including remarketing. Smart display is a thing of the past - only the standard display campaign still exists. However, this has the automation of the smart campaign form integrated and in addition to the advantages of the smart variant, desired automation levels for bids, creatives and target groups can also be used.
Rating: Overall, the changes are minimal and creating a display campaign remains very intuitive to implement.
Smart Shopping drops
The "Smart Shopping" campaign in Google Ads is a combination of a regular shopping campaign and a display remarketing campaign. They promote products and businesses across networks, are easy to optimize and just as easy to integrate. This campaign type disappeared from the scene last year. Since July 2022, Smart Shopping campaigns that still existed were automatically converted into Performance Max campaigns. Google promises an increase in conversion value of up to 12% by converting to the new campaign format.
Rating: We definitely look back at Smart Shopping campaigns a bit wistfully, as a PerfMax campaign does not only contain Shopping ads, but also other channels. A Smart Shopping campaign had many advantages and we would have loved to continue using it. If you want to use a PerfMax campaign as a Smart Shopping campaign, you can do that by uploading only the product feed and leaving the other parts (images, descriptions, titles) empty, but then the campaign is unfortunately not rated well by Google, so the possibility of a Smart Shopping campaign is unfortunately gone.
Local campaigns fall away
This type of campaign from Google Ads was used to advertise physical locations of businesses (retail outlets or similar) and capture the customer in the digital world so that they become a potential buyer in the "offline" world. This was done by advertising across all major platforms, such as the Google search network, Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail and the Google display network.
This campaign form is a thing of the past - its successor: Performance Max.
Until the end of July 2022, users of this campaign format had time to independently convert local campaigns to Performance Max campaigns. Since 01.08.22, the campaign type now no longer exists and still existing local campaigns are automatically converted to PerfMax.
Rating: The local ads are well convertible in the PerfMax campaigns, so the elimination of the separate local campaigns is not a big deal (in our opinion, of course).
Responsive search ads
Something has also changed in the world of text ads as of June 30, 2022: extended text ads (ETA) can no longer be created or edited. They will still be delivered, can still be paused and then resumed.
The replacement? The Responsive Search Ad (RSA).
Responsive search ads are flexible ads that can be adjusted to fit the width of the screen. They offer the option of multiple ad titles and lines of text that rotate and are automatically played out in the most relevant combination. RSAs have been around for a while and now they are completely replacing ETAs. With an RSA, 15 titles and 4 descriptions can be stored.
Rating: Here, too, opinions differ as to whether it is good or bad. The fact is, since extended text ads can no longer be edited, they have to be paused or removed sooner or later if they no longer achieve the performance that is desired or if the content of the ad is to be adjusted. The advantage of RSA is clearly the time saved, because creating, analyzing and testing different ad texts against each other is now faster.
The disadvantage? In terms of branding, pinning the company name, for example, can ensure that it always appears first. We like to use the pin function so that the ads are also played out in a meaningful combination and not, for example, with 3 call-to-actions in a row. What's the downside to this, however, is that Google doesn't want you to pin anything, and as a result, ad effectiveness is rated a maximum of "Good" instead of "Very Good" if you do it anyway.
Ad extensions become assets
In Google Ads campaigns, there are various forms of ad extensions that can make the particular ad more attractive and optimize its placement when played out. A change by Google may have surprised one or two people, but it is not of the highest relevance in terms of design: Ad extensions have been renamed assets in 2022 and the menu has changed visually. In addition, in 2022 almost all advertisers got the option of an image extension. Then, at the end of 2022, the logo and company name were also added as extensions for large companies, but not all advertisers have this new asset at this point.
Rating: The mere renaming here does not affect the daily work in performance marketing, so the new term is neither an improvement nor a deterioration. We remain neutral here. On the other hand, we very much welcome the new extensions/assets, because those who are well informed and use new assets early have a temporary advantage over the competition, which may use the assets later.
Introduction of custom columns
Anyone who places ads with Google Ads also evaluates them and makes changes on a regular basis. When displaying performance data, custom columns can also be created and added since last year. For example, the CTR per device (mobile vs. desktop) can now be viewed and evaluated.
User-defined columns have led to more flexibility and allow additional measurement values and thus optimization possibilities. The display is possible in table function and measured values can be calculated for different time periods and then compared.
Google Ads itself has also introduced three new columns at the end of 2022, which of course we do not want to leave unmentioned:
Through the new "Results" column, the number of conversions achieved with primary conversion actions for each standard target action in an account is displayed.
The new "Result Value" column shows the calculated conversion values achieved with primary conversion actions for each default target action in an account.
The Conversion Target Action column contains the target actions that have been set at the campaign level. These target intentions are critical to review performance from time to time and make changes for increase.
Rating: The evaluation options of Google Ads are now so detailed that you can often get the data you need very well from there already, without having to take an extra look at Google Analytics. So we are a fan of the custom columns!
YouTube ads now with voiceover
In the world of video ads on Google Ads, there are now new voiceover features, as video content is also highly significant in videos and marketers can now better generate attention. According to Google, the voiceover is roughly equivalent to the quality of human speech and has been optimized specifically for advertising. There is a choice of 7 different voices. The tool can be found in the asset library: Simply enter your own script, select the desired voice and overlay the corresponding video with voiceover.
Rating: Towards the end of 2022, the voiceover trend will also start on other platforms. On TikTok, a corresponding filter has been enjoying popularity for quite some time, towards the end of 2022 it was used for entertainment in a variety of ways, and even at the beginning of 2023, the option is still being incorporated into many videos.
This possibility is an opportunity, especially for small companies, to also benefit from the potential of video content in the ads area. Speaking directly in front of the camera is a hurdle for many or even scares them, so videos can also be used wonderfully for advertising purposes without a main character and there is no need to do without audio content. Clearly: thumbs up!
Google doesn't stand still when it comes to search engine ads options, and so a few more changes came out over the course of 2022: a podcast package is available in Google Ads, music mood packages are meant to adapt to the mood of the target audience, and templates for seasonal video ads were made available. There were also some innovations on the technical side: The advanced conversions feature came out of beta in 2022 and has since helped capture conversions more accurately. For us as an agency, it's important to stay on top of announcements and changes so that we can continue to give the best to all clients and get the most performance out of every campaign and budget. That's why we continue to provide news from the world of Google.
More articles on other topics as always available in our blog.