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Date posted

14 Mar 2023

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What can we learn from Google’s Search Ads Week?

Advertising via search ads is evolving along with the way people search for information. Powerful technologies are emerging to enhance how businesses buy and optimise their advertising. Following our own blog highlighting key Google Ads features for 2023, Google’s Search Ads Week took place earlier this month  and showcased some of its latest innovative AI-driven solutions to the changing digital landscape, with exclusive content, how-to articles, and interviews with global marketing professionals. 

In this blog, we break down five of the key takeaways from Search Ads Week 2023:

1. Automation is key to uncovering new opportunities for business growth

Modern user journeys are more complex than ever, often spanning multiple days, platforms and devices. By utilising automated strategies powered by machine learning, brands are able to connect with potential customers wherever they are in their journey. Google’s automation is designed to allow marketers to spend less time managing ads, budgets and keywords on a granular level, and more time planning strategy and coming up with innovative new ideas.

Google aims to reassure that automation is nothing to be scared of; the algorithms work to support the goals and objectives of the business instead of controlling the strategy within a ‘black box’. Data is key when it comes to machine learning, and the more you feed through automated systems, the more stable and consistent your results will be.

2. Making the switch to a broad match keyword strategy will increase conversions

Broad match keywords utilise all available signals to determine what the user wants and how best to deliver your ad to them in a way that exact and phrase match cannot. This includes other keywords in the ad group, a user’s previous searches and location, and landing page experience. When combined with Smart bidding, broad match uses AI-driven machine learning to make decisions to improve the performance of your ads.

Based on internal Google data (2021), there’s the potential to generate 35% more conversions by switching from exact match to broad match when used with a target Cost Per Acquisition. 

Nevertheless, there is still a place for exact and phrase match keywords, such as in competitor campaigns where you may have specific budgets for specific terms, or if you are limited by industry regulations (such as in the finance or medical sector).

3. Optimising for ROI will unlock the potential of value-based bidding

Value-based bidding is considered the ideal for well-optimised Search campaigns. It may require a few steps to get there but ultimately Maximise Conversion Value bidding strategies are designed to make the most of your budget to bring in high-value customers within your goals and targets.

According to Google, “on average, advertisers who use value bidding and switch from a target CPA to a target return on ad spend bid strategy achieve a 14% higher conversion value, with a similar return on ad spend.”

When used together in an account, automated tools such as Smart bidding for ROI and broad match act as ‘multipliers’ to improve performance, with results stabilising as the account collects more data. 

4. There are two exciting new tools for Search advertisers

To support advertisers in their journey towards automation, Google has rolled out two new AI-powered features focusing on stronger creative and better performance.

Automatically created assets can be enabled at campaign-level, and will generate headlines and descriptions for your responsive search ads based on your landing page and the ad’s unique context. This was made available to all advertisers in English as an open beta on February 27th.

If your goal is to connect with new customers, Google’s new customer acquisition goal for Search will use your first party data and Smart bidding strategy to optimise campaigns to introduce new users to your brand. Advertisers will have the choice to upweight bids for new customers, or only bid for new customers, giving flexibility based on your business goal.

5. The Search experience is becoming more visual and intuitive

The online search for information has moved on from simple text towards a more immersive experience. Tools such as voice-to-text and Google Lens acknowledge that people use multiple inputs and senses to look for information, and Search continues to become a more visual space. 

Shopping is becoming more ‘browsable’, inspired by physical window shopping and product displays, with more prominent imagery and a wider range of products. Merchants will be able to take advantage of machine learning to automate their product photography and create interactive 3D scans of objects that can be used in your Shopping feed. 

Alongside this, Search has introduced new landscape image extension aspect ratios on mobile devices, making it easier for Search ads to be more eye-catching. Users will also be able to message brands directly through Search ads using the new Business Messages tool. 

Staying updated with Google’s latest features

The Search landscape is changing at pace and keeping abreast of new features is key. Google has made dozens of video Q&As, articles and how-tos available on demand from Search Ads week which can be found on the Search Ads website.

We have also explored the AI landscape from an SEO perspective here.