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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


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



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.

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.

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.


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

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