New Google updates are here once again and it is going to be a long yet interesting ride for marketers in 2024!
Compared to the beginning of 2023, Google ads have come a long way and there are plenty of new features to look forward to. We said goodbye to a few of them but with Google’s dynamic nature, this change isn’t something unexpected.
What performed well in the past year might not yield similar results in the future. So buckle up and let’s discuss the latest Google Ads updates one by one!
Table of Content
- Addition of Search Themes to Performance Max
- Say Goodbye to Third-third-party Cookies
- Exclude Negative Keywords for Improved Relevancy
- Reach the Listener Audience With Audio Ads
- Vehicle Ads are Now Upgraded to Performance Max
- Leaving Multicall Waterfalls Behind for Real-time Bidding
- Use Broad Keywords and Brand Restrictions to Your Advantage
- Automatically Created Assets for Creative Help
- Gen Z Music Lineup to Relate With 18-24-Year-Olds
- Video View Campaigns Launched Across the Globe
1. Addition of Search Themes to Performance Max
You can now combine the power of AI and human touch to reach more people in the target audience group. Before deep delving into new Google updates, let’s first understand a little more about Performance Max and how it can help you.
Google Performance Max is a type of PPC Ad Campaign that utilizes the power of Machine Learning to reach more people across different channels like YouTube, Discover, Maps, Gmail, Search, and Display. Unlike product listings or search results, PMax isn’t limited to any single asset and can include text, videos, feeds, and images. Here, Google’s AI takes multiple inputs related to budget and bidding, language, location, and ad scheduling to display the ad to people who might be interested in it.
Search Themes is a new beta that helps you fill gaps by adding extra information regarding specific topics or categories. You can add a maximum of 25 themes that will help compensate for any missing data due to:
- Incomplete or outdated landing pages
- Exploration of new markets
- Lack of any previous campaign performance data
2. Say Goodbye to Third Party Cookies
Lately, users have been actively voicing their opinions against data breaches and Google is finally ready to pay heed to these concerns. Starting in 2024, you can expect Chrome’s third-party cookie support to be disabled for 1% of users worldwide.
That’s just the initial warning phase though! By Q3 2024, Google is planning to entirely scrape off third-party cookies. Considering that advertisers are heavily dependent on third-party cookie tracking, this will be a huge change for the digital ad sector.
To soften the blow, Google has launched Privacy Sandbox. To describe it briefly, it is a way to limit covert tracking. It helps store a user’s data on their browser and categorizes them based on interest groups. This grouping-specific data can later be used by marketers to reach their target audience.
3. Exclude Negative Keywords for Improved Relevancy
When a user enters a particular phrase in the Google search bar, they get served with ads related to those keywords. However, this mix-and-match isn’t always reliable.
For example, if you’re running an ad for ‘blue shoes,’ you might not want to reach an audience searching for ‘running shoes blue’ or ‘navy blue designer shoes.’ Here, ‘running’ and ‘designer’ can be considered negative keywords for your brand’s campaign.
To ensure your ad spend isn’t wasted on irrelevant searches, Google now lets you exclude a list of terms accordingly.
Instead of manually specifying negative keywords for every campaign, you can simply add them to your account. This will ensure that all future campaigns from this particular account don’t get any traffic from selected keywords, which will ultimately improve click-through and conversion rates.
4. Reach the Listener Audience With Audio Ads
YouTube today isn’t just limited to watching videos. You can also listen to other audio content pieces like music or podcasts while on the move. To establish brand awareness among the listener audience and boost user engagement, Google allows you to run audio ads.
These ads are shown to people who follow a certain behavior which might categorize them as a listener to the Google algorithm. For example: using a Google Nest smart speaker to listen to content on YouTube. Audio ads go live on Google Ads and Display & Video 360.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure the effectiveness of audio ads:
- Since visuals aren’t taking center stage for audio ads, ensure to use high-quality sound instead.
- When adding voiceover, keep the tone of voice consistent. Usually, it is advised to add about 40 words in a 15-second ad.
- Add a clear Call-to-Action (CTA) to help listeners take the next step.
5. Vehicle Ads are Now Upgraded to Performance Max
Did you know that 79% of new car buyers are heading to search engines before making a purchase decision? Google initially launched vehicle ads to help auto advertisers upload their entire inventory online, with crucial information bits like model, price, mileage, miles, and the vehicle image.
The good news here is that according to new Google updates, Vehicle ads are now being upgraded to Performance Max. What it means is that advertisers can reach conversion goals with a broad range of audiences and improved bidding signals. Here are a few considerable benefits of shifting to PMax campaigns over Smart Shopping:
- With PMax, vehicle ads can now be shown across various channels like YouTube, Display, Discover, and Gmail.
- Auto advertisers can seamlessly drive both online (leads) and offline conversions (dealership store visits).
- Performance Max shows advanced insights including recent data about search and audience trends.
6. Leaving Multicall Waterfalls Behind for Real-time Bidding
As per the latest Google ads updates, the multicall waterfall mediation system will no longer work for completing the ad request process. By January 2024, Google is preparing to implement real-time bidding (RTB), where you can buy and sell ad inventories instantly on a per-impression basis.
On the other hand, the waterfall model is all about predefined CPM rates and the past performance of an ad network. Whenever a new request is initiated to the network, it can move up or down the list on the basis of set criteria.
Even though this method ran well for almost 10 years, it had a few drawbacks. Here, an ad network couldn’t respond to a high-paying request if it was already ranked below other competitors. In contrast, the RTB method offers more fairness and efficiency, where all buyers get a chance to bid on the same inventory.
7. Use Broad Keywords and Brand Restrictions to Your Advantage
Broad match keywords in Google ads are incredibly helpful in terms of reaching new people. This match type provides the highest reach by providing results related to any of the terms from the specified keyword.
For example, if your keyword is formal shoes, your ad will still show for queries like:
- Buy discounted formal shoes
- Formal shoes style
- Black shoes for formal occasions
- Work shoes
And plenty of other phrases related to the exact keyword. But this isn’t always helpful or relevant! In this case, you lose ad spend unnecessarily. According to Google Ads latest updates, you can improve search relevancy by implementing brand control.
As per this feature, the ad will only show results that include your brand’s name. This saves you from coming across any non-brand query that might not contribute positively to your ad campaign.
8. Automatically Created Assets for Creative Help
Writing headlines and descriptions repeatedly can undoubtedly lead to creative fatigue. As per new Google updates, marketers can now fight it using Automatically Created Assets (ACA). This feature allows you to automatically generate headlines, descriptions, and images for RSAs by using Machine Learning.
It studies user behavior and ad context to generate relevant content that might help improve your campaign’s performance. Initial opinions regarding ACAs are currently quite mixed. While some advertisers seem excited to try out the new feature, the rest of them are still skeptical and unwilling to leave their brand’s entire messaging up to AI.
9. Gen Z Music Lineup to Relate With 18-24-Year-Olds
Marketing to Gen Z is complicated! They consume a lot of content, are terminally online, and are hard to get on the same page with. It means that advertisers need to amplify their promotion tactics and grab Gen Z’s attention with music.
The Gen Z Music Lineup identifies trending music by checking which particular portions are listened to on repeat across different channels like audio, videos, and YouTube shorts. Based on this data, it identifies trending songs and clubs them together. Advertisers can then pay to get their ad campaign inserted in the lineup.
10. Video View Campaigns Launched Across the Globe
There’s no better way to tell your brand’s story than by creating impactful visuals. Google ads updates bring forward the concept of Video View Campaigns (VVC) to help advertisers maximize views within a fixed budget.
VVC is a format amalgamation where in-stream, in-feed, and short ads are combined. As such, your brand’s creative assets are spread across different engagement points to reach a broader set of audience.
For a real-life example, consider the promotion of the movie “Bones and All” by Warner Brothers Korea. With the usage of Video View Campaigns, the studio noticed a cost reduction of 36% and a view hike of 33%.
To get detailed information about the YouTube shorts algorithm, head to How YouTube shorts algorithm works in 2023.
Well, 2024 looks like a jam-packed year for new Google updates and trends! Needless to say, marketers need to stay on their toes and watch out for any upcoming features that can alter their advertising strategies.
Quickly recapping, we know that Google is bringing a new beta called search themes to PMax and enabling Automatically Created Assets (ASAs) for AI-generated content. Additionally, we are expecting Google ads to move to Real-time Bidding (RTB) and upgrade vehicle ads to PMax.
Hopefully, these Google Ads latest updates will supercharge your marketing campaigns and improve user engagement and ROI. For more information regarding upcoming trends, stay tuned!
By Siddharth Dwivedi
Siddharth built two bootstrapped companies from the ground up: Vaizle and XOR Labs. He’s personally managed over Rs 100cr in ad budget across eCommerce, D2C, ed-tech, and health-tech segments. Apart from being a full-time marketer, he loves taking on the challenges of finance and operations. When not staring at his laptop, you’ll find him reading books or playing football on weekends.