April 2020 Updates to Paid Media Platforms

In this monthly post, we bring you the latest from all of the major platforms.

Google Ads

What: Google Shopping to incorporate free product listings — rolling out now.

Details: The Google Shopping tab will now feature primarily free listings. The main SERP in addition to a select few top and bottom of page results will remain paid.

Impact: While a significant number of paid clicks will continue, this is a major shift from Google. Overall, this appears to be a tactic to compete with Amazon by offering an update that is likely to be well received by sellers and buyers. From a long term perspective, this is likely to put an increased emphasis on SEO and feed optimization. A portion of shopping placements will no longer be dictated by Google Ads bids, budgets, or account structure.

What: Google removing monthly campaign budget option

Details: Back in September 2019, Google began offering the option to set campaign-level budgets over the duration of a month. This created longer-term flexibility for advertisers that previously utilized daily set budgets to reach set monthly goals.

Impact: The update was well-received among the PPC community. Despite that, Google’s data seems to indicate it never truly took off. Ultimately the option was optimal for fixed-budget advertisers only. Accounts utilizing this feature have likely seen a notification of budget migration to the daily setting within April.

What: Google extends the timeline for migration from API v1 to v2 due to coronavirus pandemic

Details: Due to COVID-19, Google is delaying the retirement of API v1. That date is now July 29, 2020.

Impact: The extended timeline should support businesses adjusting to the complexities of today’s marketplace.

What: Google postpones planned updates to Partners program originally scheduled for the end of June 2020

Details: In February, Google announced the Partner program would receive an overhaul. Among those changes includes a baseline agency/account Optiscore, a set number (50% of all eligible emails) certified, and an increase in certifications per user. The deadline for conforming to each of these items has been pushed until 2021.

Impact: Google continues its trend of delaying major deadlines in the wake of COVID-19 complexities. This is welcomed news to many in the PPC community who already desired additional time to ensure they retained Premier Partner status.

What: Google clarifies ad credits for small businesses eligibility

Details: The platform previously announced $340 million in Google Ads credits for SMBs. Via the help page linked above, restrictions have been detailed. Advertisers will need to have recorded spend for 10 out of 12 months in 2019 and in one of January or February of 2020.

Impact: Many industries have been gutted by the impact of the pandemic. Although it will take much more than Google Ads credits to rebuild, it is an appreciated step. Credits will become available starting in late May and can be utilized through December 31st, 2020.

What: Google will employ an identity verification program to all advertisers 

Details: Advertisers will be required to provide business incorporation documents, personal identification, and other information.

Impact: Previously, this same information was required for all political advertisers. The extension indicates a commitment on Google’s part to weed out ill-intentioned advertisers and increase transparency for their users.

What: Google introduces call ads with an optional website link

Details: Call ads now include an optional “Visit website” link.

Impact: Google’s pivot provides a degree of flexibility for advertisers that prefer call leads, but have other useful assets/paths for their audience to navigate.

Microsoft Advertising

What: Microsoft Ads introduces multi-account Google imports

Details: Advertisers are likely familiar with Microsoft Ad’s import/sync options with Google Ads. The process is now streamlined for users looking to mirror changes across multiple accounts within a single run.

Impact: Multi-account import will save time for advertisers working simultaneously on a given set of accounts.

What: Microsoft Ads offers conversion goal options

Details: For conversion goals, Microsoft Ads now allows to “include in conversions” and “enable view through conversions”.

Impact: Advertisers gain needed flexibility with tracking specific conversion tactics.

What: Improve campaign experiments on Microsoft ads with cookie-based split option

Details: When setting up an experiment, you’ll now select between two options: search-based and cookie-based. Search-based experiments indicate that users can see ads from both sources of the experiment if they search multiple times. Cookie-based (new) users will see ads from only the original campaign or the experiment, not both.

Impact: Cookie-based experiments have the potential to offer more accurate data.

Quora Ads

What: Quora Ads updates Ads Manager

Details: With an updated Ads Manager, Quora continues its run as one of the most active ad platforms when it comes to functionality and targeting upgrades.

Impact: Quora states that the new Ads Manager contains “improvements to the design of Ads Manager with the goal of making it easier to navigate and manage your campaigns”. The enhancement provides evidence of Quora’s growth and staying power in the digital marketing space.

Did we miss any major monthly updates? Not covering a certain platform close enough? Feel free to let me know on Twitter @Will_Larcom

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