Posts

As announced last August, Google is set to stop allowing advertisers to create, edit, or start running expanded text ads across the search engine’s ad network starting June 30, 2022.

Though expanded text ads have been a popular way to make your ads stand out and increase click-through rates, the company says it plans to replace the ad format with responsive search ads.

The goal, according to Google, is to simplify running ads while using automation to improve ad performance. 

According to the announcement, advertisers who have already made the switch from expanded text ads to responsive search ads saw an average 7% increase in their conversions.

Why Google Is Switching To Responsive Search Ads

Things are shifting all the time online, including the ways we are searching. According to Google, at least 15% of all search queries are never-before-seen searches. With responsive search ads, Google is trying to help brands keep up to date with these ever-changing trends and to always be where their audience is.

How To Prepare

For the time being, existing expanded text ads will be largely unaffected by the change. Though they cannot be edited, existing ads in this format will continue to run as normal. However, no new expanded text ads can be created.

To help you prepare for the upcoming change, Google recommends taking these steps:

  • Repurpose high-performing text ad content into responsive search ads and focus on improving ad strength.
  • Apply changes suggested in the account’s Recommendations
  • Pin headlines and other copy in specific positions to ensure they always show.
  • Use variations to test different ad versions.
  • Review assets in cross-campaign reporting based on performance to identify the most effective messaging.
  • Evaluate incremental growth in impressions, clicks and conversions at the ad group and campaign levels.

For more information, you can read the full announcement here.

As part of its big Google Marketing Live event this week, the search engine announced a big makeover is coming to some shopping ads in the near future.

Initially limited to apparel-related shopping results, Google is revamping both online ads and organic listings to be more visually exciting and drive more engagement.

You can get a  preview of what to expect below:

Swipeable Google Shopping Ads

The revamp brings shopping ads more in-line with the more visual organic listings which have been rolling out since last year.

Google is accomplishing this using Search or Performance Max ad campaigns, though the images or graphics must be provided by advertisers.

As the company described the makeover:

“These will be clearly labeled as ads and will be eligible to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page. We’re also rolling out new ways to showcase multiple product images within Shopping ads in the U.S., along with information such as product descriptions, reviews, and product availability, with no further action required of advertisers.”

Though it is unclear when this revamp will be rolled out, advertisers should be excited by the more stylish and engaging presentation when it arrives.

At TMO, we always prioritize being able to track marketing efforts and make actionable strategies to improve on what works. This is why we have always loved online ads like that Google provides, they offer detailed information on almost any type of ads you run. There’s just been one glaring exception – video ads.

Google Ad Manager has struggled to deliver deep or informative analytics for video ads since their launch on the platform. Thankfully, this is finally changing with the announcement of several new tools and data for video advertising.

New Tools For Measuring Video Ad Performance

Programmatic Video Health Tools

With the new Programmatic Video Health Tools feature, Google will deliver actionable opportunities for improvement immediately upon logging into your account.

This is done by assessing your video performance and measuring key metrics such as viewability, impressions, and revenue.

Additionally, Google is introducing another insights card for what it is calling Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) errors.

In this card, you’ll find broad details about the number of errors in your video inventory and what may be causing these errors.

Real-Time Reporting

Since problems with your ads can literally cost you, it is important to quickly spot issues and resolve them – especially when videos might involve live streams. 

To help with this, Google has introduced real-time video reporting to show detailed performance data in under 2 minutes. 

Additionally, the new YouTube ads delivery tool will include information on the delivery of YouTube Video Ads

Google is giving users more significant power than ever to control what ads they see. As announced at the annual I/O Summit conference (and reported by Greg Finn), this will be done by launching a new and improved My Ad Center feature that aims to make ads more transparent and relevant for consumers.

In the new My Ad Center, users will be able to find information about who paid for a specific ad and why they were targeted to see it. Additionally, users will be able to select which brands or topics they would like to receive ads for and specify the level of personalization they are comfortable with from ads.

At the time of the announcement, the My Ad Center feature is limited to only Google Search, YouTube, and Google Discover. This means users are still largely unable to dictate what type of ads they might see in other areas of Google or through the Google Display Network, though there are rumors that similar tools are coming to manage ads being shown via the display network.

Select Your Favorite Topics and Brands

Probably the most significant new introduction in the Google My Ad Center is the ability to dictate what topics or brands you are most interested in seeing ads about. 

Of course, users may still see ads or topics not listed in this tool if Google believes it is relevant to them. Still, this gives you significant influence by directly telling the search engine what you want to see.

More Transparent Advertising

Beyond controlling the ads you see, My Ad Center also aims to give you more information about the ads being shown by expanding the previously introduced “about this ad” section. 

Here, you will find details about who paid for an ad (using Advertiser Identity Verification) and information about why Google included you in the targeting for this ad.

Ad Personalization Settings

Personalization has become increasingly common in ads over the last few years, with advertisers using details like age, relationship status, education level, and more to create, personalize, and target ads.

Now, users can opt out of this by limiting any or all details used to personalize ads.

In this section, you can also limit or allow sensitive ad topics such as gambling, alcohol, or weight loss to be shown to you.

Lastly, My Ad Center gives users control over what data sources are used to personalize ads and where (for example, allowing personalized Google Search results or YouTube recommendations). 


The new My Ad Center feature is expected to launch soon, though an exact date is unavailable.

Google is introducing new vehicle ads specifically for car dealerships to reduce the gap between online car sales and in-person dealerships. 

While car sales have traditionally been something largely done in person, many dealerships have seen big shifts towards online sales over the past two years. Not only did Google’s data show that 89% of car buyers research their vehicle online, but 16% also did their entire purchase online in 2021.

What Are Google Vehicle Ads?

With the new ads, dealerships can now highlight cars for sale nearby in relevant searches. The ads include a few important details about the car, including the location, make and model, price, and dealership name. 

If tapped or clicked, the ads then take users to the dealer’s website for more information about the vehicle. From there, they can get more information to come to make a purchase in-person or to order online (if your dealership provides that service). 

How To Gain Access to Google Vehicle Ads

As a new test, vehicle ads are only available to auto dealerships in America.

The ad format is also not automatically shown within ad accounts. To gain access, you or a representative for your company must contact Google. 

Once given access, you will need to upload your inventory through Google Merchant Center and connect your vehicle inventory feed to your Google Business Profile. 

What Vehicles Are Allowed

Currently, only commercial auto dealerships are eligible to run vehicle ads. Private or individual sellers are not eligible. 

Google also has several restrictions on what vehicles are allowed. At the moment, only non-commercial passenger vehicles are eligible in vehicle ads. 

Restricted vehicles include:

  • Recreational vehicles
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Farm vehicles
  • Buses
  • 2-wheelers
  • Trains
  • Boats
  • Airplanes
  • Any outdoor utility vehicles

In early testing, Google says it saw an average increase of 25% in conversions for auto dealerships, along with more qualified leads and increased awareness of accompanying text ads.

As Google Ads continues to release constant new features, upgrades, revamps, and other updates seemingly every day, brands can often get stuck in “reaction” mode – finding out the latest updates and revamping their plans and strategies in response.

It is obviously important to stay up to date with what Google Ads is doing – otherwise, your advertising strategies may become less effective and start costing you more than they are bringing in. At the same time, when you focus too much on the constant stream of updates coming from the company, it leaves very little room for long-term strategies. 

Thankfully, Google Ads Vice President, Jerry Dischler, recently gave all of us a glimpse into the company’s roadmap for 2022 by detailing three top priorities for the company this year: automation, measurement, and privacy.

In a blog post, Dischler explained how Google Ads is using these three priorities to shape its product and provided a clearer view of what businesses can expect from the ad platform moving forward. 

While the three priorities themselves may not be particularly surprising, it is Dischler’s explanation of how the company sees these tenets which provide the most insight into what Google Ads will look like in the future and how brands can start preparing for upcoming changes today.

Automation Is The Norm

As the internet seemingly moves faster and faster each day, brands are relying heavily on automation to keep their online advertising agile and efficient.

Dischler says he has seen this not just in the data from companies across the platform, but also in speaking personally to advertisers around the world:

“In meeting with many advertisers, I’ve heard how readiness, speed and agility have been critical for managing complexity and driving growth in these uncertain times. That’s why advertisers are turning to automation more than ever before. In fact, over 80% of Google advertisers are now using automated bidding to free up time and improve ad performance.”

To ensure these automated tools remain competitive, Google is focusing on improving automation within Performance Max and Discovery campaigns.

While the company is likely to continue introducing automation into other areas of Google Ads as well, the company is emphasizing these two campaign types because they offer a number of specific benefits:

  • Easier Ad Management
  • Cross-Channel Reach
  • Improvements in Incremental Conversions
  • Lower Cost Per Action (Cost Per Click)

Measurement In A New Era of User Privacy

Data measurement has always been a key benefit of online advertising, making it possible to not only target your ads based on collected user data but to also track the success of your campaigns in real-time. 

Recently, though, this has been severely complicated by a wave of new privacy protection measures led by Apple’s iOS14 update. Since the release of this update, Apple users have to opt-in to sharing their data with sites and advertising platforms, rather than allowing their information to be collected by default. 

As this approach to user privacy continues to spread, with Google set to introduce their own versions of these tools soon, the company says it is also working on new solutions which will allow brands to properly measure the value of their marketing efforts.

These solutions include:

  • Enhanced Conversions
  • Consent mode
  • Conversion Modeling
  • Data-Driven Attribution
  • Focus on First-Party Data and Privacy-Safe APIs.

Changes To Privacy Guidelines

While Google wants to ensure advertisers can track their ad performance and measure the value of their online advertising efforts, the company also wants to be more transparent about its data collection methods and give users more control over their personal information. 

To do this, the company has made broad changes to its privacy guidelines, including a significant update to its Privacy Playbook. These changes reframe Google’s approach to better balance the needs of both advertisers and users by highlighting three specific goals for the future:

  • Building direct relationships with customers
  • Keeping data accurate and actionable
  • Keep your ads relevant

Be Ready For The Future of Google Ads

If you want to be ready for the changes coming to Google Ads in 2022, Dischler makes it clear. Brands need to go back to the drawing board.

Instead of focusing on creating great ads one at a time, successful brands are looking to automation to keep their ads as relevant as possible, using direct customer connections to keep their advertising data accurate, and redoubling their commitments to protect their users’ privacy.

Google Ads is testing including small favicons next to links in ads shown on search results.

Over the weekend, some users noticed that ads for food delivery service UberEats were including a small icon of a pizza slice when they appear in search results. 

Google Ads Testing Favicons With UberEats

This was particularly notable because the icon looks like a typical emoji for pizza when emojis are “invalided or unsupported characters” according to Google Ads policies.

Thankfully, Ginny Marvin, Google Ads’ product liaison, has clarified that the icon is actually a favicon – a small visual icon associated with a URL. These icons already appear on many search results, as well as within many browsers when visiting a website.

Marvin went on to confirm that the company is testing using these icons in ads on search results to make advertisers more identifiable:

Currently, the test appears to be limited to a very small number of advertisers on a small number of search results for some users. Still, the immediate interest in these ad favicons across social media likely reinforces that these icons not only make it easier to recognize advertisers. They make ads more attention-grabbing for users.

Google has released an unofficial new tool to help save advertisers from being suspended for violating its new Three Strikes policy for policy violations. 

The tool, which comes in the form of a short python script, helps identify and remove ads that violate the terms and conditions for advertising.

How The Three Strikes Policy Works

As announced in July 2021, Google is now using a “Three Strikes” policy to suspend or ban repeat violators.

After the first violation of any type, the advertiser is given a warning. After that, they are allowed three strikes for each kind of violation.

If an advertiser account receives all three strikes, they are then suspended unless they win an appeal through the company.

As the announcement described the system:

“To help ensure a safe and positive experience for users, Google requires advertisers to comply with Google Ads policies.

“As a part of the Google Ads enforcement system, Google will begin issuing strikes to advertisers, which will be accompanied by email notifications and in-account notifications to encourage compliance and deter repeat violations of our policies.”

Google’s Bowling Tool To Remove Disapproved Ads

This week, the company’s developer blog announced a new tool called “bowling” that is designed to assist advertisers in spotting and removing any problematic ads. 

The announcement described the tool’s purpose by saying:

“…Bowling is a mitigation tool allowing clients to act and remove disapproved ads before risking account suspension.

“The tool audits (and offers the option to delete) disapproved ads that may lead eventually to account suspension in perpetuity.”

Despite being announced on the developer blog, however, the python script includes a disclaimer explicitly stating it is not an official product.

As the disclaimer says:

“This is not an officially supported Google product. Copyright 2021 Google LLC. This solution, including any related sample code or data, is made available on an “as is,” “as available,” and “with all faults” basis, solely for illustrative purposes, and without warranty or representation of any kind. This solution is experimental, unsupported and provided solely for your convenience.”

Between virtual schooling, social media, and video streaming platforms, kids are more online than ever. Though children are growing up using the internet from their earliest ages, however, most evidence suggests they are more at risk for being targeted through advertising and other forms of online marketing. Now, Google is taking action to protect them.

In one recent study from SafeAtLast, upwards of 75% of children are willing to share personal information in exchange for goods or services. This obviously raises concerns about the long-term implications of gathering data from and targeting ads towards children.

As a result, Google is changing its policies regarding minors online, including removing ad targeting for those under 18 and allowing underage individuals to request for any images of them to be removed from search results. 

These are all the latest changes:

Allowing Minors To Remove Images From Google Search

“Children are at particular risk when it comes to controlling their imagery on the internet. In the coming weeks, we’ll introduce a new policy that enables anyone under the age of 18, or their parent or guardian, to request the removal of their images from Google Image results,” explains Mindy Brooks, product and UX director for kids and families at Google.

The search engine is unable to go further in removing the images from the internet entirely, but it can certainly make it more difficult to find those images. 

Changing Default Settings For Minors

Google is making underage users’ information more private by default across its multiple platforms. That includes changing the default upload mode on YouTube to private for users under 18 and automatically enabling SafeSearch for minors on Google Search. 

Location History Is Disabled

By default, Google had already turned off location history for users between 13 and 17. Now, it has gone further by making it entirely disabled. On one hand, this may lead to less relevant search results, but also prevents excessive tracking of children through Google. 

Removing Ad Targeting For Minors 

In the upcoming months, Google Ads says it will be “expanding safeguards to prevent age-sensitive ad categories from being shown to teens, and we will block ad targeting based on the age, gender, or interests of people under 18.”

New Tools For Parents

Lastly, the company is introducing a number of new tools and features for parents across its entire product line. For example, the company is introducing Digital Wellbeing tools within the Google Home app, allowing parents to manage their children’s use of smart assistants. On YouTube, the company is also turning on ‘take a break’ and bedtime reminders by default, while turning off autoplay.

For more on Google’s latest efforts to protect the private data of children across its services and platforms, check out the full blog post here.

Starting earlier this week, Google Ads has implemented new rules for advertisers promoting cryptocurrency or cryptocurrency-related services across its platform. 

Under the new rules, only those registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) as a money services business and with at least one state or federal entity, or with a state or federally chartered bank can run ads. Additionally, crypto advertisers must have completed the most recent verification process on Google.

With the massive explosion in interest around Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and other cryptocurrencies, Google Ads has also seen an increase in fraudulent ads or outright scams using its advertising service. 

Requirements for Cryptocurrency-Related Ads

If a cryptocurrency exchange or wallet service wishes to advertise on Google Ads, they must be registered with FinCEN as a Money Services Business and with at least one state as a money transmitter. The only exception to this is those registered with a federal or state-chartered bank.

Advertisers must also go through the latest Cryptocurrency Exchanges and Wallets verification process on Google.  

Lastly, cryptocurrency advertisers must comply with all legal requirements and are expected to follow Google Ads guidelines and policies. 

Other Restrictions

Along with these new restrictions, cryptocurrency advertisers should be aware of the already established rules for crypto-related ads. For example, advertisers cannot promote pages or sites which aggregate or compare issues of cryptocurrencies. Advertisers are also forbidden from advertising initial coin offerings.

For more information, check out Google’s latest advertising guidelines for cryptocurrencies and other financial services.