Google is constantly striving to improve the user experience, both that of the searcher using Google to find answers and the advertiser using Google to find customers. Accordingly, in 2017, there were numerous changes to AdWords. Google has implemented new features to help advertisers target consumers. They’ve also added new settings for ads and changed the AdWords interface.
Changes to the Audience Features
Google implemented several important changes to audience features recently. This is important because audience targeting can ensure you are going beyond just keyword targeting to connect with your target audience.
Customer Match—AKA, Targeting previous customers based on CRM data—saw an increase in match rates when Google rolled out new fields. Now you can go beyond matching email addresses to match names, phone numbers, locations and other data. If you haven’t updated your Customer Match files in a while, get that done so you can reach even more customers in 2018.
In addition to Customer Match improvements, search advertising got a useful audience update with Similar Audiences now available as an option on search. When combined with Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs), Similar Audiences can help expand your reach to potential customers similar to those you already have.
Expanding ‘Mute This Ad’
According to Google, “Millions of people use Mute this Ad on a daily basis, and in 2017, we received more than 5 billion pieces of feedback telling us that you mute ads that aren’t relevant.”
Google’s “Mute This Ad” feature was changed in two important ways. The tool is now compatible across devices; if you mute an ad on your desktop, you’ll also be exempt from seeing it on your phone (provided you’re browsing while logged in to the same profile). You’ll also see that the “Mute” function is now available in more places; Google claims they are “expanding this control to work across more apps and websites that partner with Google to show ads.”
Managing budgets can be difficult, yet Google has made it even harder to manage your budget run rates. In the past, you could give Google a daily budget and, on any given day, they might spend up to 30 percent more than your budget, but they would not spend more than your daily budget times 30.4 (the average number of days in a month) over the course of the month.
That changed in 2017 when Google announced that they could spend up to twice your daily budget on any given day. While Google will still not spend more than your budget in a calendar month, the ability for Google to spend your entire monthly budget in only two weeks was met with a lot of protest from advertisers who carefully manage their budget run rates. Google did not back down.
This change means you need to be more cognizant of budgeting strategies in 2018 to ensure that you have the budget available for your best times of the month.
Match Type Changes
The other big controversial change was how exact match works. Your exact match keywords are no longer “exact” match—they can match words in multiple orders or even with additional words added to the query.
As a result, we now have semantic vs. syntactic match types instead. Exact Match is now a semantic match type, rather than a syntactic match type. While this change can expand the queries that your keywords will match to, you have no idea what these are while doing your keyword research, meaning the overall setup of accounts hisn’t impacted by this change. But in 2018, it’s important for you to be aware of Google’s new definition of “exact”.
If you use extensions, you probably know that one of the most prominent of the next extensions is the promotion extension. With the promotion extension, you can show short-term promotions for a holiday or any date range you determine, such as to coincide with a sale at your store or website.
This extension shows across both mobile and desktop devices and helps to prominently show promotions along with your ad.