15 Biggest Google Ads Updates You Need To Know About [2023]

Sam Jacobs

Sam Jacobs
Paid Search Director

12 min read

12th October 2023

Navigating the digital ad space is like riding a wave; thrilling yet filled with challenges. Google Ads, a key player, often changes its game with its new updates every now and then.

This article lists Google Ads’ 15 latest big updates, helps you understand them, and shows how they can make your ad campaigns even better.

Key Changes From Google Ads In 2023

1. Expanded Text Ads Have Now Been Sunset

Google retired Expanded Text Ads on June 30, 2022, making Responsive Search Ads the new standard for Google Search ads. Advertisers should now focus on utilising Responsive Search Ads to optimise their ad campaigns and reach their target audiences effectively.

This change signifies Google’s shift towards leveraging machine learning to automate and optimise ad campaigns, which could potentially save advertisers time and yield better results.

2. As Have Smart Shopping Campaigns

Smart Shopping Campaigns have transitioned to Performance Max Campaigns, providing advertisers with a more streamlined and comprehensive solution for managing their campaigns across multiple Google platforms.

With Performance Max, advertisers can now utilize a broader set of Google’s ad inventory, including Search, Display, YouTube, and more. This transition is aimed at improving ad performance and providing advertisers with better tools and analytics to optimise their campaigns effectively.

3. And Similar Audiences Are No Longer Supported by Google Ads

Starting August 1, 2023, Google Ads discontinued the support for Similar Audiences, impacting businesses that utilized this feature for targeting their ads. This change requires advertisers to adapt their strategies and potentially leverage other targeting options available within Google Ads.

Despite the discontinuation, it’s essential to note that Google continually updates its advertising platform to enhance the user experience and provide better targeting and analytics tools for advertisers.

4. Universal Analytics Has been Switched to GA4

The transition from Universal Analytics to GA4 began in April 2023 and was completed by July 1, 2023, for free users and October 1, 2023, for paid users. This update required advertisers to migrate their conversions and audiences to GA4 to continue leveraging Google’s analytics for optimising their ad campaigns.

The switch to GA4 allows for better integration with Google Ads and provides more robust analytics and audience management capabilities, which could potentially improve ad performance and ROI.

5. Business Name and Logo Extensions Are Implemented

Google introduced Business Name and Logo Extensions to enhance brand visibility within ads. Before implementing these extensions, advertisers must verify their business on Google Ads, following which they can either use Google-provided business information assets or upload their own.

These extensions not only enhance brand recognition but also significantly contribute to a business’s digital marketing strategy by appearing in organic search results, driving more traffic to their website, and ensuring that the business name and logo are prominently displayed in Google Ads campaigns.

6. Performance Max Changes and Updates

Google’s Performance Max received some noteworthy updates. The new features are mainly aimed at optimising results based on conversion goals across different channels, focusing on high-ROI conversion opportunities.

The New Customer Acquisition Goal is notable, allowing advertisers to prioritize new customers either by bidding more for them or focusing optimizations solely on them. This feature was expanded from Smart Shopping campaigns to broader advertiser goals within Performance Max.

Another significant feature is the Insights Page which provides actionable insights into how ad assets resonate with different customer segments. It also includes diagnostic insights to identify and resolve setup issues preventing ad display. 

7. Data-Driven Attribution Becomes Default

Data-driven attribution (DDA) has become the new default attribution model in Google Ads, replacing the previous models like first click, linear, time decay, and position-based models. DDA offers more flexibility as it’s able to adapt better to consumer journeys compared to the rules-based models previously in use.

The adoption of DDA is a move towards leveraging machine learning to provide a more accurate understanding of how different touchpoints contribute to conversions, which is critical for optimising ad performance and understanding customer behaviour.

8. New Google Ads Campaign Types Are Being Added

Two new campaign types, Video View Campaigns, and Demand Generation Campaigns, are being introduced to cater to specific advertising needs. Video View Campaigns are designed to optimise view count and enhance campaign performance across various ad formats like skippable in-stream ads, in-feed ads, and YouTube Shorts. They aim to help advertisers connect more effectively with their audiences on YouTube.

On the other hand, Demand Generation Campaigns leverage AI to engage and drive consumer action across YouTube, Discover, and Gmail placements. They shift the focus from leveraging lead form assets to simply driving traffic to the site.

9. New Features For Discovery Ads

Google’s March 2023 update introduced new layouts for Discovery Ads, enabling richer ad creation. A significant feature is the launch of product feed ads, allowing advertisers to dynamically display products based on user interests and intent.

Pairing these with short text and lifestyle images can drive further engagement. The update also includes product-level reporting, enhancing performance tracking for individual products.

10. New Audio Advertisements For Youtube

YouTube’s venture into audio ads, especially 30-second audio ads, caters to the growing podcast audience on the platform. Initially introduced in beta in 2020, these ads are now globally available, offering a new avenue for advertisers to reach audiences in a listening-first state, extending reach beyond visual content. They can be used for promotional purposes or to generate revenue, serving as a new monetization strategy for YouTube channels.

11. New Text-To-Speech Feature in Google Video Ads

In 2023, Google launched a series of updates to its video ad content, aiming to provide more convenience for advertisers. With the update, advertisers can now add voiceovers to their existing YouTube video ads without additional editing. The addition of voiceovers has been shown to increase ad recall by 25% and decrease the cost per lifted user by 50% compared to the original advertisements.

12. New Google Ads Transparency Centre

The new Google Ads Transparency Centre is an innovative platform that serves as a vast repository for all ads by verified advertisers. With just a few clicks, you can explore the mystery behind any ad, gaining access to crucial information. This includes the complete ad history of the advertiser, regions where their ads were showcased, and the format of the ads.

Through this centre, users can search by advertiser or website, and apply filters for topics, time, and country to refine their search. Once an advertiser is selected, a feed of their ads will be displayed with an option to select for more details.

13. Transparent Competitor Advertising Insights

Back in 2021, Google revealed its plans to broaden its advertiser verification program, aiming to provide more ad transparency both on and off the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). A part of this initiative is the introduction of Advertiser Pages, which is a feature allowing users to view all the ads an advertiser has run over the past 30 days.

14. Expand Smart Bidding Campaigns Using Broad Match Keywords

Broad Match Keywords paired with Smart Bidding is a recommended strategy by Google to enhance campaign performance. This combination leverages machine learning technology and automation in Google’s Smart Bidding to consider hundreds of signals that manual bidding might miss. As a result, it can potentially increase the desired conversions for advertisers.

However, the utilisation of Broad Match can sometimes deviate significantly from the original targeting. Hence, it’s crucial to perform search term cleansing and employ a lot of negative keywords to maintain the relevance and performance of the campaigns.

15. Increase In Cost Per Lead

2023 witnessed an increase in the Cost Per Lead (CPL) across 91% of all industries. This trend indicates that acquiring leads through search ads has become costlier. The increase in CPL is attributed to several factors including a drop in conversion rates and heightened competition in the online advertising space.

This rise in CPL, despite being a challenge, underscores the increasing competition and demand for online ad space. Therefore, advertisers need to strategize effectively to maintain a good Return on Investment (ROI) in their advertising campaigns.

How Do You Track And Manage The Google Ad Updates?

Staying updated with Google Ads changes is key to online success. These updates, from broad match push to new ad features, shape your advertising strategy. It might seem tricky to keep up, but with the right approach, you can turn these updates to your advantage.

A good way to stay ahead is by having a Google Ads specialist by your side. They can help decode the complex updates and guide your campaigns in the right direction. With their help, you can navigate through the changes and ensure your ads continue to perform well.

Our expert team is always here to assist you with Google Ads. Whether you have questions about recent updates or need help starting with your campaigns, we’ve got your back. Together, we’ll make sure your marketing efforts are adaptable to the ever-evolving Google Ads landscape.

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