9 most important PPC changes you need to know about in 2019

As the dust starts to settle following last week's Google Marketing Live event in San Francisco, Factory takes a closer look at the key Google Ads discussion points, Digital Marketing enhancements and PPC changes.

9 most important PPC changes you need to know about in 2019 1

Google Marketing Live provides Google with a platform to launch and discuss new marketing innovations that we can expect in the coming year and beyond. It is all about shaping the future of digital and Google's marketing platforms play a key part in how we will interact with businesses in both the short and long term.

This year, Google had a simple message for all - Be Responsible, Be There and Be Useful.

Previous announcements at last year's event included new ad formats such as Smart campaigns and the ever powerful Responsive Search Ads. We have also seen the emergence of Showcase Shopping Ads and the awesome results that our clients have from these.

So, what new PPC changes can Factory and our clients start to become excited about?

1. It's time to Discover Discovery!

Number 1 on the list for us are the PPC changes coming to Google's Discover application. This is something we are really excited about here at Factory and are already envisaging the benefits our clients could potentially gain from this feature.

Google Discover is a Google app that so many of us use without even thinking about it. "Google Discover" became the new name of the "Google Feed" in 2018. With over 800 million users of the Discover Feed app each month, there is a huge opportunity for all kinds of businesses to have a presence and to connect with existing and potential customers.

The main purpose of this application? To connect users with information and news that is highly likely to be of interest to them based on the online user journeys they have taken recently. This could include topics of interest, sports teams, geographic locations and more.

Imagine, the power of marketing to your target audience within a feed based marketing platform that is focused on showing people news, articles and videos that are already of interest to them - this is the exciting part! Google are looking to launch Google Discover Ads by the end of this year, so now is the time to start plotting this into your digital marketing strategies. Success will likely happen for those businesses who "hit the ground running".

Ad campaigns running through a news feed sounds a bit like Facebook Ads, right? You'd be kind of correct in that thought, but imagine Facebook Ads with some cool extras like YouTube and Gmail Ads thrown into the mix! That's right, Google Discover Ads will serve across the Google Discover app, YouTube and Gmail - the exposure available through this innovation will be one of the most powerful Google Ads advancements we've seen for some time.

Couple the carousel ad formats, serving platforms and available targeting with powerful AI machine learning and Google Discover Ads could be a real winner for many businesses across the globe.

2. Want more out of Google Search Ads? The answer could be here this year!

The next exciting feature of the PPC changes are Gallery Ads. Following on from the exciting Google Discover Ads news, Google is also looking to fully launch Gallery Ads across the Search Network.

"What are Gallery Ads" you ask? This cool new ad type will combine the power of Google Search with engaging image ads. Gallery Ads will basically be a carousel image format that will be positioned at the top of the Google Search results page. In testing, Gallery Ads increased interaction rates by up to 25%.

So, what will these ads look like and what is the specification we can expect? An immersive image carousel of between 4 & 8 images, each image can carry a 70-character tagline and the use of up to 3 headlines that will be great for CTA experiments.

This gives advertisers the opportunity to gain more valuable touch points on a customer's online journey. With Discover Ads covering the Google Discover app, YouTube and Gmail; Gallery Ads bring an additional layer to the table. Gallery Ads will prompt more highly valuable clicks with the use of image ads that will be served at the precise moment when potential customers are searching online.

3. Removing more shopping friction

As Google Partners who are specialists in Google Shopping, we love to research and try out new features that can benefit our clients. One area that always carries significant focus for us is the removal of shopping friction.

Alongside optimising the finer details of the Google Merchant Centre, there are so many other factors than can lead to the success or failure of your Google Merchant Centre Account.

Google are stepping forward to shorten the customer journey for those prospects to become your eCommerce customers. Online shoppers will soon be able to view a Shoppable Image search result ad and then buy directly through that ad without even visiting the advertiser's website. However, the option will remain available for users to go through to the website and browse further.

Shortening the customer journey is one of the key rules in reducing eCommerce friction. When questioning why Google are doing this, there is one answer that springs to mind - reducing customer drop off.

4. Expand the showcase!

Hot on the heels of increasing the features of Shoppable Image Ads, Google are also expanding the reach of their Showcase Shopping Ads. Google are clearly using their latest run of marketing enhancements to increase the level of visual marketing options available to advertisers.

Showcase Shopping Ads are a highly engaging and inspiring ad format. This format was launched in 2017 and gives us the chance to help people discover & explore a business' brand and the product range in one ad. The format presents people with an array of options related to their search to inspire them and provide the information they require to make a buying decision.

This powerful ad format is now growing to cover more advertising platforms. We are going to witness a number of improvements in the coming months that will see Showcase Shopping Ads become a bigger player in the eCommerce marketing strategy. With the introduction of ads being served within Google Image search results, Google Discover search results AND YouTube, the future of Google Shopping is very exciting to us here at Factory!

Always think about what cool new features can benefit your account when you create shopping campaigns and don't just stick to the norm.

5. Smart bidding is getting smarter!

Smart bidding might not be everybody's cup of tea, but it definitely holds a place in digital marketing. Smart bidding has had mixed results for advertisers - some have benefited greatly from this model, others have lost out. So, what next for Smart bidding?

Machine learning is here to stay and will only improve over time. With more patterns being utilised by Google's machines, advertisers are presented with the opportunity of, not only targeting people based on their perceived interests and intent, but also with the tools to have bids increased or decreased based on the potential for a conversion.

We've already seen the launch of smart bidding features such as Target CPA, Maximise Conversions, Target ROAS and Enhanced CPC, however - the list is becoming larger and potentially more relevant to many businesses.

Google will be launching smart bidding for 3 new areas of focus:

1. Seasonality Adjustments bring a chance to optimise bids during sales and events and then return to business as usual after the promotion has ended.

2. Campaign level conversion goals provide advertisers with the tools to optimise all bids within a campaign for one particular goal such as increasing store visits.

3. Conversion action sets, the last of the 3, allow the optimisation of several campaigns at the same time to focus on a set group of conversion actions.

Machine learning is and likely always will be, a work in progress. With many advertisers continuing to be wary about losing some power to the Google systems, the features and capabilities continue to grow. This can lead to only one thing, smart budding becoming more attractive to many advertisers - but just how much are we willing to use it?

The human brain is unparalleled in building marketing strategies and tweaking accounts based on data and consumer behaviour, but would it be stupid to ignore some of the possibilities of machine learning in advertising? I'll leave that for you to decide.

6. Now is the time to customise!

A key discussion point on the PPC changes at Google Marketing Live 2019 was audience targeting. Those of us who love a bit of customisation with our targeting will already have dabbled and benefited from custom affinity and customer intent audiences. Google broke the news that the customs are being coupled together!

Next station stop, "Custom Audiences" - the new combined term that will replace both "Custom Affinity" and "Custom Intent". The new amalgamation of custom audiences brings Google's audience targeting closer to that of Facebook, with one juicy little extra - Google search data!

7. Expand the customisation

So, you've created foolproof custom audiences that are really working for your advertising campaign goals, but you're struggling to find a way to expand on the targeting in the right way. The answer could be just around the corner in the form of the Audience Expansion Tool.

The Audience Expansion Tool brings the capability to expand on your custom audiences by reaching those who look and behave like the targeted people within your custom audience groups.

This means you can expand your reach further beyond the requirements of your custom audience targeting by rolling out ads to individuals who might not fully fall into your requirements, but who would find your ads relevant to their needs. This could include people who are at varying stages of the purchase funnel, one time purchasers or perhaps people who have moved away from using a particular product but are now thinking of coming back (Google will see the triggers based on their online activity).

For those of you who are familiar with Facebook's Lookalike Audiences, you will likely already know and understand the marketing power this tool can bring.

8. Introducing the Bumper Machine!

YouTube is a commanding platform when it comes to serving inspiring and creative ads. One of the most successful formats are the YouTube Bumper Ads and these little 6 second ads will soon be made available to all!

According to data that Google collated last year on a global scale - Three 6 second Bumper Ads carry more advertiser value that one 30 second ad.

Think of a 6 second Bumper Ad as being a highly concentrated cordial - the flavour is much more powerful in small doses before it gets watered down.

Wouldn't you love the opportunity to grab the attention of people for 6 seconds as opposed to trying to keep their attention for a watered down 30 seconds or more?

That being said, there aren't many businesses out there who can create a professional, snappy and highly engaging 6 second ad... until now! Google are launching the "Bumper Machine"!

The Bumper Machine will sit within the Google Ads interface and provide the capability to convert any 90 second or less video into a collection of YouTube Bumper Ads. This tool will be rolled out later in 2019 and is expected to come with a selection of basic editing tools to give the opportunity to add those finishing touches to the end products.

9. Promote the bricks and mortar

The majority of consumer buying journeys still end with a purchase that takes place in a physical store. With that in mind, Google are increasing the potential to pull people into the doors of your bricks and mortar stores.

Google will be rolling out "Local Campaigns" to increase physical store footfall. Local Campaigns were BETA tested with a small group of advertisers and saw a median incremental uplift in ROAS of 5x!! Sounds good? Here is what Local Campaigns are all about:

This format will take on a semi-automated model where the promotion of a physical store can be done across Google Search, Display, YouTube and Maps! This will be available to all advertisers and will follow a similar process to responsive ads.

Google will serve your ads across each platform with information such as store location, ad copy and images. The campaign itself will require a budget and a bid - The Google Ads interface takes care of the rest - which platform to serve the ads across to increase footfall etc...

What Next?

Digital marketing is a constantly evolving medium and new features and formats will always appear. As this marketing beast continues to grow additional arms and legs, the task at hand is always to weed out the PPC changes that will add value to our clients from the ones that have potentially been launched just to make a headline or two.

The job can be massive - It all starts with setting up a Google Ads campaign, but what campaigns type? Do I run Discovery Ads and which landing page layout is going to work best? Or, should I focus on paid social as well as Google pay per click?

Machine learning is getting better all the time, so it is always worth considering utilising some of this power, providing everything is still being optimised by a human who understands a business' goals 100%.

Here at Factory, we love to dig into the finer details of each feature and format available to our clients and will only ever implement new PPC campaigns where we see a clear benefit to the accounts we manage. Some features are not for every business and you could lose a lot of money by simply implementing new features without doing any research beforehand.

9 most important PPC changes you need to know about in 2019 2

The above is just a very small snapshot of each new feature. To fully comment on each of them I would need to write an article at least twice the length of this one on each of the 9 features, let's be honest, nobody is going to read that.

The above is just a very small snapshot of each new feature - to fully comment on each of them I would need to write an article twice the length of this one on each of the 9 features - Let's be honest, nobody is going to read that.

The volume of information available and the number of PPC changes that happen each day is why digital marketing is always best left to the professionals. Working with an agency means you have someone by your side who has the expertise and knowledge to understand and hit your marketing goals. We work alongside you and get to understand what you want to achieve.

I stated in steps to PPC marketing success that I would not imagine someone would fit a gas oven after simply watching a "how to" video or reading an article, so please don't lose your business' hard-earned money by trying digital marketing for yourself.

I have echoed this here because I honestly believe that a huge proportion of digital marketing spend is wasted purely due to accounts that haven't been set up correctly or where the user just doesn't have the time to commit to optimising the account on a regular basis.

We manage ads on a daily basis, so don't be afraid to reach out and talk to our PPC Agency in Manchester us about your digital marketing needs - We're just straight talking, honest, friendly humans who like results.

Written By Ben Tennant Last Updated 10th April 2019 
Ben Tennant is a former Googler and an authority on Pay Per Click. He has developed and implemented campaigns for small business up to blue chip FTSE 100 companies.

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