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May 2020 Updates to Paid Media Platforms



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

Google Ads

What: Hotel ads product updates

Details: Google is piloting a commissions (per stay) program allowing Hotel ads partners to pay a commission only if a customer follows through with their stay, automatically adjusting bids to maximize booking value. In the next few weeks, expect the rollout of a “Free Cancellation” filter for users searching for hotels. It will highlight which hotel rates are refundable when users are looking to book.

Impact: Google is looking to minimize risk while helping advertisers drive future bookings. This update, and subsequent expected ones, show Google’s effort to keep its platform addressing pressing marketplace demands.

What: Google to sunset Gallery Ads Beta

Details: Gallery Ads — which were introduced last year –will be retired. Image extensions, the remaining image beta, will receive additional testing focus moving forward.

Impact: Imagery remains a long-standing experiment with the platform. Gallery Ads, which require setting up a whole new ad format, offered a relatively high barrier of entry for select advertisers to test. Multiple image-based iterations have been introduced, retired, and even brought back again. This is yet another chapter in what likely will remain an on-going story.

What: Google provides additional resources for managing campaigns through COVID-19

Details: A single destination housing all product updates, business considerations, and additional resources for campaign optimization during the pandemic.

Impact: From industry reports to business grants, Google has been actively reacting to the complexities within the current marketplace. They have now provided a centralized location compiling all internal resources associated with COVID-19.

Facebook Ads

What: Expanded brand safety controls

Details: Facebook is expanding the availability of tools tested with limited advertisers. These include publisher whitelists for Audience Network, content whitelists, delivery reports, and live stream exclusions. The tools can be found in the Brand Safety Controls Interface.

Impact: Many advertisers opted out of Facebook Audience network in the past due to limited transparency and/or inability to restrict certain content that could be considered risky in regards to brand safety. The expanded update gives advertisers significantly increased control, potentially opening up additional efficient inventory.


What: Introducing Facebook Shops

Details: Per the release linked — “Facebook Shops is a mobile-first shopping experience where businesses can easily create an online store on Facebook and Instagram for free. Shops let you choose which of your items you want to feature, merchandise with product collections, and tell your brand story with customizable fonts and colors. In Facebook Shops, you’ll be able to connect with customers through WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct to answer questions, offer support, and more.”

Impact: At this juncture, it is unclear to what extent Facebook Advertising would utilize Facebook Shops. In general, this is an important trend to watch across the industry. Much like recent Google Shopping updates, this development seeks to maximize user value by keeping them onsite. Chances are this one of many updates and tests that Facebook will implement to expand the footprint and capabilities of its social platform.

General Note

While May’s updates were relatively light giving advertisers a chance to “catch their breath” during a complex business period, April was chock full of changes.  Read last month’s edition, April 2020 Updates to Paid Media Platforms.

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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