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Track how PPC performance changed when specific COVID-19 events took place

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We’re in uncharted territory with COVID-19 and its impact on lives, the economy and our PPC campaigns. I don’t have a medical degree, I’m not a scientist, a first responder, or someone whose job takes them to the front-lines of the situation so I am grateful for everything they are doing.

With my skills as a PPC expert, the best I can offer is to help people get clarity so they can make the best possible decisions in uncertain situations.

At Google, one of the core tenets of innovation was to share all information. The idea is simple: if you give smart people all information relevant to a situation, they will generally all work towards the same solution to solve the problem.

I’d like to do my part in helping advertisers get all the information in the form of a Google Ads script that overlays government actions related to the pandemic on Google Ads performance metrics.

The idea is to help you see if certain events, like store closures, the start of shelter in place, the closing of schools, or the introduction of social distancing correlates in any way with drop-offs or spikes in performance.

The script generates a spreadsheet of Google Ads performance data with markers for important COVID-19 events, like school closings, shelter-in-place orders, etc. 

The time frame for which we have data for government action may be too short to see many meaningful patterns but I think the script has value because your boss or your client may ask you how COVID-19 is impacting their ads and this script can save you a couple of hours doing the work of manually compiling that data.

We’ve also heard feedback from our users at Optmyzr that this visualization has helped them because they serve customers in many locations and it’s challenging to stay on top of what is happening in all the different places where your customers may be advertising.

For this script, we are using a dataset from Kaggle with global government actions. It may not be complete or always up-to-date but it seemed like the best source for the data.

Installing the script is very simple. Just add it as a new script in your Google Ads account, add your email address to get notified when a new report is done, and schedule it to run once per day.

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Install the script in Google Ads by overwriting all the sample code of a new script. Then preview the script to get the URL of the report. Screenshot from Google.com

The script grabs geo-segmented account data for the past 30 days and adds it to a Google Sheet.

The spreadsheet is filled with raw geo performance data from Google Ads and any associated government actions on that date in that region.

Then you can filter that data for the geo-location you want to see and the included chart will be updated automatically with just the metrics for that region and overlaid with just the government actions in that same region.

To get a better chart, filter the data for the regions you care most about.

For the US, the data is most relevant at the state level. Internationally, the data is best at the country level.

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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