Adapting to Google Ads and PPC campaign updates

5 Key Google Ads Updates of 2023: Revamp Your Digital Strategy

Jaime Escott - 6 Min read

Adapting to Google Ads and PPC campaign updates

Do you want to remain current on all Google Ads updates for 2023? As the digital advertising landscape changes, algorithm shifts, and best practices can become increasingly complicated. Nonetheless, staying informed is crucial if you want your digital strategy to stay ahead of the curve. This is why we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the most significant Google Ads updates in 2023. From groundbreaking audience targeting techniques to powerful smart bidding campaigns, continue reading for a breakdown of each critical update that could redefine your online advertising experience in 2023.

Changes To Audience Testing

In just under a month, Google Ads will have stopped the Similar Audience feature, previously used for targeting and reporting in digital advertising campaigns. With the phasing out of cookies and a heightened focus on privacy, Google will now emphasize creating cohorts of users based on their shared interests rather than individual-level tracking. In response to the series of data-privacy issues in digital advertising, Google is piloting the FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) system to help ensure user privacy while allowing advertisers to target their ideal audiences effectively. While this change may require marketers to adapt their approach and invest time in developing new targeting tactics, it could also lead to the discovery of more efficient and cost-effective ways to reach desired audiences.

In place of similar segments, various campaign types will offer alternative solutions to help you leverage your first-party data, reach the right audience, and improve campaign performance. Google Ads now encourages advertisers to shift focus toward less restricted targeting methods that rely on machine learning, such as optimized targeting, audience expansion, and Smart Bidding; these alternative strategies help to optimize ad exposure and improve bids and placements, thus delivering better results. As advertisers make data-based decisions by harnessing AI-driven tools provided by Google Ads, they can expect an overall enhancement in their campaign performance and efficiency.

Ad Formats Being Replaced

Google Ads announced its decision to stop the usage of expanded text ads and smart shopping campaigns back in 2022, despite their popularity among many businesses. However, they didn’t leave you hanging, instead opting for responsive search ads and performance max campaigns instead.

Responsive search ads have replaced expanded text ads as the default choice for Google Search ads, effectively leaving expanded text ads in the past. These responsive ads utilize machine learning to automatically mix and match multiple headlines and descriptions, creating numerous ad combinations to optimize ad performance. Google’s algorithms will identify the most relevant ad combination for each user’s query, providing a customized and dynamic experience for users by rotating headlines and descriptions to match their individual search query. However, to ensure your ads achieve their full potential, we suggest monitoring the headline performance and pinning your most effective headlines to help eliminate less successful options from your ad campaigns.

The recent update in Google Ads has introduced the Updated Performance Max campaign, which is set to streamline and enhance marketing efforts by replacing both Local campaigns and Smart Shopping campaigns. This innovative approach aims to simplify the advertising process while delivering optimal results by consolidating the aspects of these two previously separated strategies. As a result, businesses can expect better performance and ease of management through this unified campaign system, maximizing their return on investment in digital advertising.

Latest Updates To Discovery Ads:

Discovery ads have introduced new improvements to help brands stand out, including sparking audience interest with product feeds, turning data into results with product-level reporting and data-driven attribution, and measuring incremental impact using Conversion Lift experiments. Product feeds have expanded its availability to all advertisers, so everyone can utilize the variety of layouts to showcase their products to relevant audiences, improving relevance and customer interaction. Additionally, the updated reporting capabilities allow advertisers to track their performance, optimize their campaigns based on attributed data, and measure the combined impact of Discovery ads and Video action campaigns. Starting in Q2, Discovery advertisers can gain clearer insight into their campaign success within Google’s network using data-driven attribution (DDA). This method allocates conversion credits based on ad interactions and uses account data to identify high-impact campaigns for business goals. These improvements aim to help brands capture audiences during crucial moments in their purchasing journey.

Changes to first click, linear, time decay, and position-based attributions

Data-driven attribution has become the default model in Google Ads and Google Analytics 4, offering more flexibility than rules-based models in adapting to consumer journeys. Utilizing Google AI, it assesses the impact of each touchpoint on conversions and enhances performance when combined with auto bidding. Now, it is the most-used attribution model for automated bidding in Google Ads, leading to a decline in rules-based models usage and effectiveness.

For this reason, they will be phasing out first click, linear, time decay, and position-based attribution models starting July 2023. Starting June 2023, Google Ads will remove first click, linear, time decay, and position-based attribution models for conversion actions not already using them. From September 2023, remaining conversion actions will switch to data-driven attribution, with the last click model as an alternative. These rules-based models will be removed from Google Ads reporting.

Performance Max:

Performance Max is an automated, all-in-one campaign type for Google Ads, combining text and creative assets for goal-based advertising. As mentioned, it replaces Local campaigns and Smart Shopping campaigns, with a self-upgrading tool available since September 2022. Google Ads is automatically migrating the remaining campaigns to Performance Max throughout 2023. Since its initial launch, many questions have been raised about the new features that are available with more still to roll out. 

The Google Analytics Performance Max update offers a range of new features designed to enhance your advertising experience. By combining AI-powered Search and Performance Max, you can maximize conversions across all of Google’s advertising channels, including Search. Add account-level negative keywords to maintain brand suitability and exclude unwanted traffic, while the upcoming campaign-level brand exclusions allow you to control which brands your campaign matches. Page feeds will help refine your results with URL expansion features, while experiments let you compare Performance Max campaigns to your current campaign mix for better conversion value. The video creation tool, previously found only in the asset library, is now integrated into the Performance Max campaign workflow, allowing for easy asset creation. Additionally, asset group reporting will be available soon, providing various performance metrics at the group level. Lastly, budget pacing insights will offer opportunities to optimize budget and performance by giving detailed projections of campaign spend and conversion rates along with customized recommendations for better budget utilization.

Navigating the ever-evolving landscape of Google Ads and PPC campaigns can be challenging, especially paired with the challenges posed by economic shifts, but the recent changes and new features offer exciting opportunities for success in 2023. By staying adaptable and utilizing the strategies provided, one can remain competitive in this dynamic digital marketing space. As we anticipate further changes by Google, it’s essential to continually learn, adapt, and evolve to ensure continued growth and flourish in the world of PPC.