Google AdWords saw many changes in 2018. In this webinar, pay-per-click expert Brad Geddes, the course adviser for Simplilearn’s digital marketing curriculum, co-founder of the award-winning company AdAlysis and author of Advanced Google AdWords, covers these and many other changes that were made throughout the year. We will also share statistics on how some of these changes are performing so that you can understand how to take advantage of them.
Watch the full video webinar or just keep reading for Geddes’ take, in his own words.
Changes to Google AdWords
There have been a lot of changes this year, but the one that may be hardest to adopt is saying “Google Ads.” I opened my first pay-per-click (PPC) account when they launched in 2002, and I’ve been saying “Google AdWords” for so long that saying and writing “Google Ads” is going to be one of the hardest updates to overcome.
More Rules and Regulations
In many ways, 2018 might be known as the year that rules and regulations and politics and legislation came to online advertising. While there had been some here and there, the year started with, “Hey, if you’re a rehab clinic, you’re done; you’re off of Google Ads and a lot of places.” And soon after that, we had GDPR [the EU General Data Protection Regulation]. I think everyone remembers their inbox being filled constantly with resubscribe or GDPR reminders or whatnot. Still to this day, only about half the companies are in GDPR compliance.
Then there are political ad changes and laws that come out of Facebook and Google about what can happen. Rehab clinics kind of came back if they’re certified, and then tech support went offline. So in many ways, 2018 is going to be known for, “Oh my clients are gone from Google Ads.” We didn’t know when they were coming back, because Google didn’t know either, and then it was, “Oh, they’re back! We should go call them up and reset them as clients.” And, “Oh the next set is gone.” And this happened across a lot of industries.
In the next few years, we’re going to see more and more regulations happen. About 30 or 40 years ago the governments were talking about passing legislation for how hard alcohol—Smirnoff vodka and so forth—could advertise.
And those in the industry said, “That’s a terrible idea,” and they came together and regulated themselves. And at that point in time there weren’t that many players who were really large national or international brands, and with the fragmentation that exists across the world in brands these days—there are just so many small brands and startups and so forth—that’s probably not going to happen. Forty years ago or so they sort of escaped the political laws coming down; that’s probably not going to happen now. So 2018 has seen some laws introduced, and in 2019 we’ll see some adopted. Your lawyers may be more involved in your paid search accounts than they ever have been before.
With the new interface come more recommendations than most people even know how to deal with. Google Ads has a lot; Bing Ads has a lot; we have a lot. And these are going to become important. At this point in time, from a user standpoint, there are pretty much three camps of users. One doesn’t trust the machine, never looks at the ads and would never even notice they are there. That’s the first tab that you see atop your account. The second group blindly accepts them, like, “Google said I should do this; I will just click the accept button.” And the third group is much more logical, saying, “I think that’s going to work.” And they aren’t really sure, but they at least use some logic for it.
The problem with all three of those camps is that it does not think about your tolerance of mistakes from the machine—because there’s not just one machine-learning algorithm. Every single one of these has a different algorithm; there are hundreds of these running. Some are better than others, and your threshold is different. So, for instance, let’s say that you’re setting bids manually and you’ve got 10,000 keywords, and this is taking a few hours a week, and it’s really annoying. It’s just a lot of extra work. So you turn on CPA bidding, and if you could see every single bid set, the machine is probably wrong 30 percent of the time. That’s an estimated number, but in aggregate your CPA is 5 or 10 percent higher, you can adjust the target it’s working for, you get it to an acceptable number, and it’s getting volume—you don’t have to touch bids any more; you’re okay with that error rate.
We look at things like “similar” lists. Well, “similar” lists could be wrong 90 percent of the time. You make a “similar” list, you apply it, your relative CTR is low but it’s getting conversions for you. Now even though it’s wrong a lot of the time, and you can just see it from your CTRs and conversion rates, the CPCs are so low and the CPA is okay, you’re fine with that huge error rate. Now let’s think of your brand ad. Google serves it once in the incorrect format—they truncate your brand message, they put it on a website that is not appropriate to your brand—and you’re upset from one impression, right? Big difference in tolerance levels.
So what we need to start doing right with all these recognitions, because we’re just going to see more of these, is starting to say, “Well first, what are our account goals?” It’s a CPA, it’s an expansion, it’s top of the funnel, it’s bottom of the funnel, whatever. “Which one of these works for what we’re currently trying to accomplish? Then how do we measure its effectiveness? Should it be a campaign experiment? Should it be something we add and just watch the costs from it?” And then what you’ll start to build up over time is, “Hey, we’ve done 15 recommendations with new keywords, and only three have done well.” You’re going to have a lower tolerance and play with that less, because you know that’s not working for you.
And yet if you see on the other hand, “Whenever it suggests these negative keywords, they seem to be working,” you’re going to have a faster reaction to it. And so what we’re going to have to really learn over the next year for all these things that came out this year is how to properly use, evaluate and ignore when necessary all these recommendations.
One of the biggest changes happened earlier in the year. Google yet again introduced a new ad format: responsive ads. You create up to eight different headlines, you can create a few different description lines, and then Google will mix and match them and show ads that are best for consumers. When this started, it sounded like this was a great way to find new ad formats, but it turns out it hasn’t quite worked out that way.
When RSAs were first launched, they were not heavily adopted whatsoever, but we had some of these ads that occasionally got a third headline shown. So Google finally said, “Let’s add a third headline to the expanded text ads.” Another big change for ads from Google. And some people were adding them, some weren’t, some were trying to test the difference, but the problem was there are no stats that will show you how often headline twos and headline threes compete. So we thought, “How often do headline threes even show?” There’s no way to get this from ETAs. So we took a huge amount of responsive ads and said, “How often is a responsive ad getting an impression when three ad lines display?” For most accounts, it was roughly one time that three headlines were displayed for every 115 impressions. And the majority of those are actually on search partners, not on Google, so at the moment, if you haven’t made all these RSAs and third headlines, it’s really not a big deal.
While these were introduced in 2018, it would not be surprising to see Google make an ad display change—sometime probably at the end of Q1 or beginning of Q2; that’s purely a guess—to show third lines more often. And then it will be important to go and edit your ads and create some third lines. At the moment, it’s really not a big deal.
Now again, with our RSAs, a lot of people were just throwing in headlines and descriptions and saying, “What will happen? We’ll throw a bunch of junk in here; what’s the output?” But people think really closely about ETAs because that is what is going to be displayed. So we looked at a whole lot of accounts and said, “Let’s compare the data when an ad group has an ETA that’s only two headlines—so the third headline is not considered here—and it’s got an RSA in it, and compare ETA versus RSA data.” And this is just one account, but the overall theme was true for about 90 percent of accounts we looked at, where the responsive search ads were lower CTR, lower conversion rates and lower CPAs than the expanded text ads.
Google introduced automated ads in 2017; they will automatically create ads on your behalf. And almost all those lines came from the websites; in many cases, they actually got better CTRs in regular ads, and in almost every case they were worse conversion rates. And RSAs have that same sort of thing where occasionally they beat in CTR but rarely in conversion rates.
Google has a lot of really good machine-learning algorithms. Some of their biddings is top-notch. But when it comes to the creative side, the ad side, machines just do not know how to render ads for humans. Our machines don’t have empathy; they don’t think about persuasion. They work purely in a numbers game. And so far, our responsive on display works quite well; responsive on the search just has not quite figured out how to display things and test things correctly yet.
Changes to Exact Match
Now one of the huge changes: changes to exact match. Exact match has become sort of a close semantic match. We’ve done webinars in the past on semantics versus syntactic matching, where semantics is attempting to match the words themselves and the intent of the words, and syntactic is matching the characters used—which is phrase match. When Google showed their example of working with a backpacking publisher—and I’m a big camper—we thought it was terrible. For their keyword, Google was like, “Someone searches for ‘Yosemite camping,’ we could show Yosemite National Park’s camping”—that’s acceptable. Yosemite campground—terrible. And campsites in Yosemite. And the reason this kind of was so upsetting was that Yosemite National Park, if you’re a camper, is full of bears, and national parks have very specific rules about Leave No Trace policies, how you have to hang food if you’re in the wild because of bears, where you can camp, campfires and so forth.
So the publishers would take things like Yosemite camping and talk about, “Here’s what you need to know to even camp in the national park, where a campground is a very very specific small subset of that keyword. And so Google’s basically saying, “Here’s a keyword, and we’re going to match it with all of these similar queries.” It created a lot of problems for people.
1. Trademark search and admark search. They’re actually different things. One of the worst things is forms of a trademark. That’s done by someone who may hire a lawyer to fill trademark forms from across different countries. Whereas trademark forms—you flip the words—is if someone wants to do it themselves and is not going to hire a lawyer. One is a commercial query, and one is not a commercial query. Big difference.
2. City names plus “two-for-one tickets.” The word “tickets” implies that you need to get a ticket, usually to go attend an event, such as a play. Most searches of “[city name] two for one” actually involve places that do two-for-one dinners and no tickets are involved. So a lot of ticket sales companies are having a lot of problems with some of these keywords and trying to add lots and lots of negative keywords.
And where it really gets messy is when the words mean the same thing but they’re used by different regions. So “car rental” is how you do a search when you want to rent a car in the U.S. “Car hire” is how it’s done in Europe.
Google considers “hire” and “rental” the same word, so it messes up what ad groups can show.
Please see the video for a chart that demonstrates search examples and their conversion rates.
Google allows only four million negative keywords in an account. That sounds like a big number until you have one campaign with, say, 3,000 ad groups, and each ad group needs 20 negative keywords. That suddenly is already 60,000 negative keywords. A campaign can’t have more than 10,000 in it, so you couldn’t even structure it that way, and that’s where this gets really ugly—because of the negative-keyword limits.
So look at your close-variant queries closely. Some companies have seen no problems. Their CPAs get a little more volume, they can handle the bidding. It’s when certain words are added or removed and Google considers them the same; that’s when it’s really messy.
Google considers things like “sales,” “deals” and “packages” almost the exact same query these days. Maybe you have something like “rim and tire deals,” where you might be saying, “If you buy these rims and these tires together, we’ll put it on sale for you,” or you have “rim and tire packages,” which means, “These are the rims that go with these cars; we’re just going to make this group for you, but you’re paying full price.” So one is you selling items at a discount, and one is you selling items at full price. Google considers these the same right now.
So now you need one ad group that is doing a negative and one doing a positive. It is sort of messy, and this is where you want to really watch these exact-match close variants closely. Make a pivot table that looks at your conversion rate’s average sale value and so forth for the exact match words and the exact-match close variants, which means it matches to your keyword but was not the keyword. See if there’s a big difference. If there is, investigate. If there’s not, enjoy the additional volume. That’s really sort of the first step to how this looks.
A lot of people loved AdSenseForMobileApps.com. Essentially if you added this as a negative placement, you would never show on mobile apps. Google removed this ability two or three months ago and instead, if you’re advertising on Mobile Display Network, you now need to go in and choose every single app store category individually. And if an app is not in a category, you could still get impressions, and then you need to go and make that app a negative. So if you’re doing Mobile Display Network and you are sort of relying on AdSenseForMobileApps.com to keep you off of apps, you need to go take a close look at your placements for your mobile display impressions to see how they’re doing.
One thing was really strange. Google put this change into place, and we of course for our site went through and made all these negative categories and all this stuff that should have kept us off of mobile apps. And then we were getting some weird impressions. In looking into analytics, we were getting impressions from mobile apps on Android devices identified as computers. We’re not a big advertiser at AdAlysis; we spend a fair amount, but we’re not spending $100,000 a month or anything. And we’re getting 100 or 150 clicks a month from desktop Android mobile app devices, which is a really strange thing, and so there’s probably a bit more to this being removed than Google’s letting on, such as potentially some devices being—and they’re not Chromebooks, if that’s what you’re thinking; Chromebooks has its own operating system—there are some other mobile devices that are Android.
Smarter Shopping Campaigns
Some stuff got smarter in 2018, including shopping campaigns. “Smarter” is Google’s word, not always ours. You can now use target ROAS bidding and automate your shopping campaign bids. Now ROAS bidding has been around for I think it’s three years now, but the first two or two and a half years it was out, it was terrible.
Starting earlier in 2018, if you were doing at least 100 sales a month in a campaign, whether it was shopping or even just text ads, it suddenly started doing well. So if you tried out ROAS bidding a year or two ago and it just didn’t do well for you, and you’ve got campaigns where you’re e-commerce, you’re tracking ROAS, that are doing about 100 sales or more a month, it’s worth doing other experiments.
It’s December and we’re in the midst of retail season; don’t do it this month. Wait until January before you run this experiment. No e-commerce company should be running experiments right now until about January 6, when retail season sort of finalizes. But a lot of different campaign types became eligible for new bidding types, and a lot of them are automated, which is great.
Changes to Mobile
For the past eight years or so, all the predictions were, “Next year is the year of the mobile device,” and each year it would not be true. In 2017 mobile finally eclipsed desktop in total search volume. Now that does not mean downstream clicks; it means search volume, which is an important distinction. If you search for “weather,” you’re just looking at the weather on your phone; you’re not clicking anything, but you did a search. But Acquisio—a big bid management reporting platform—put together a look across all their e-commerce clients to see what is mobile really doing from an e-commerce perspective. And mobile made up about 60 percent of their clicks, 59 percent of their spend and 66 percent of conversions.
The conversions was a surprising one. The reason why it’s making up so many conversions is that in-store visits almost always end up on the mobile device. So if someone searches for you and walks in your store, that usually gets credited back to the mobile device, not the desktop, because the desktop doesn’t have a GPS and you don’t bring your desktop with you when you go out shopping. When you take in-store visits away as a conversion type, then for most people mobile is making up about 35 to 40 percent of the conversions.
So there is an important distinction if you have physical stores when you look at your mobile conversion rates, because the roll-offs looks smaller because of course most people aren’t pushing in-store sales back to the Google Ads account to coordinate with that search. You’ve got to be a large retail partner to be able to do that. But overall, mobile CPA is higher than desktop. So if you’re e-commerce and you have a small budget, you’re primarily going to focus on a desktop for most countries. Then if you eclipse that, you’ll branch more and more into mobile devices.
Vertical Video Ad Format Created
Mobile makes up a lot of our changes these days, and vertical video is the new one. It turns out people don’t like to watch video on their phones in high-def widescreen. They watch video vertically. I have a couple of really nice TV screens, and video looks great horizontally. Why anyone would want to squish it all and look at it vertically is beyond me, but most video on YouTube is actually watched vertically, not horizontally. Google couldn’t monetize those, because all their ad formats were horizontal, so they finally made a vertical ad format, and promoted videos can now be vertical. This is all based on smartphones—if you make vertical ads, they’re not going to show on on desktops for the most part. These are surely going to be mobile devices.
But this makes a conundrum for the smaller advertiser doing video because now you want a horizontal and a vertical format, which creates double the work, and video can be expensive to produce when you start doing really high-quality stuff. So if you’re doing video primarily on desktops, you’re going to stick to the mostly horizontal formats. If you’re doing a lot of video purely on phones, then you’re probably going to do more vertical-based. If you have a pretty decent budget, then you’re going to start doing video in both formats, but that’s the new conundrum these days, whether to shoot it in a nice HDR or 4K and then cut it down for each, or whether you shoot it in both to begin with. Next year we’re probably going to see some more standardized rules coming out and possibly even some automation taking HDR horizontal videos and turning them into vertical ones automatically.
New UI — Like It or Not
Google has said they’re keeping the new user interface (UI); if you make a new account, the old one’s gone. So, like the new UI or not, this is what we’re working with today, and it comes with several new features.
With the new UI, we have some new columns to look at. If you go to landing pages, you can see your mobile speed score and your mobile-friendly click score. This is not CTR; this is the clicks you received on a mobile device.
What percentage of those went to a mobile-friendly page, and if you happen to be using AMP for landing pages, you can also see your valid AMP click rates.
This is useful data when you’re looking at the quality score and you see low or even average landing page experience. Because sometimes if you’re across devices, you don’t really know if that’s a mobile problem, a desktop problem or a website problem. Is it everything or just a single device? So then you say, “Let’s go drill into the ad groups; we’ve got these keywords that are not doing well from a landing page experience. And let’s look at our mobile-friendly CTR, our mobile-friendly click rate and our mobile speed scores.” If they’re super high, then it’s probably just an overall issue with relevancy on the page if people are jumping off the page pretty quickly. If they’re low, that’s saying this page isn’t rendering well on mobile or it’s just slow, so increasing speed would make a difference.
Average Position Moved, Has New Items
Average position is no longer an attribute in Google; it’s actually under competitive metrics, and Google introduced two new items. One is impression—absolute top and impression percentage top. So when you think of a Google search page, you’ve usually got ads and then organic results and then ads again, or you have ads—the one box, the seven-pack, whatever the special feature is for that particular page—then your organics and your ads again. So for an average position, usually if you’re top four, then you’re in the top. If you’re five-plus, you’re in the bottom. But it wasn’t an absolute. Sometimes Google just puts two ads at the top and two at the bottom. They change it based upon how commercial in nature the query is.
Tese new metrics show your absolute top impression rate. This means you were in position one. Impression top is the percentage of times you were shown above the organics. You could be in one, two, three or four in the organics. So you’re not really seeing, “Were we impression top 80 percent in position four or position two?” It’s not getting to that level of detail. But Google is pushing more to these types of metrics, and they’re trying to sort of depreciate average position, which is now considered a competitive metric, as opposed to one of your standard attributes you look at by keyword, ad campaign and whatnot. So hopefully average position doesn’t go away, because it’s a very useful metric.
With big changes like that, Google of course knows they can’t do it overnight, especially when this change happened right before retail season. This is one they’ve got to get people used to looking at these numbers. They’re not super used still. That’ll probably change over the next six to eight months, because most people are pretty used to this, putting in average position and then looking at what the data is as opposed to, “What’s my impression top?
My impression absolute top? So that means for 2.23 percent of the time, our ads were still showing above the organics but we’re not in position one, and we have to do the math of impression top versus absolute top.”
So these are little things to think about when it comes to how are you managing positions. Do you care about position purely as CPA and use these as more competitive metrics? But we’ll probably see a lot written about it and some more data from Google about how to really work with these as opposed to the position over the next few months.
Google Grants: Harder to Manage
Through Google Grants accounts, Google essentially gives nonprofits free money. It’s a fantastic program if you’re a nonprofit; you can get $1,000, $2,000, $10,000 to $40,000 a month for your nonprofit. But again, from Google’s side they also just add more people in the auction, which pushes up some bid prices. But Google made them harder to manage. They put some pretty solid rules in place in January. Most of these rules went into effect the first week of January 2018. You have to maintain a 5 percent CTR. If you miss it for two consecutive months, your Grants account is suspended. You also can’t buy branded terms you don’t own—that’s an okay one. And keywords must have quality scores of three or higher.
It looks like Grants accounts will see more tweaking and some more rules probably next summer, but Grants became a little bit harder to manage.
Keyword Planner Gets New Features
Some things were just good upgrades. The keyword planner got a whole lot of new features, and these are the ones that you generally don’t notice, because you go to the keyword planner, there’s a new column added and you’re like, “Oh great, it’s there.” You go again and there’s a new column there, and suddenly over six months you don’t really notice, but it’s gone through quite an evolution. And that’s what really happened in 2018; the keyword planner tool got the ability to quickly chart out by geographies and devices – that came with the new UI. If you’ve got your Google search console account linked to your Google Ads account, you can see organic impressions share while doing keyword research. And then you can see your organic average position.
So if you’re doing keyword research to try to fill in gaps where you don’t have good keyword coverage on the organic side, you can add those columns and now just look at those columns directly in your keyword research tool.
So then you could do, like, “Let’s filter by only keywords that have at least 500 impressions a month and then let’s sort descending organic impression share, and we want to focus on the ones that have good volume, that we actually don’t have organic coverage for.”
So Google made it way easier to do a lot of your organic and ad keyword coverage planning in one place, which was a really nice change. It was sort of subtle throughout the years. They made some of these changes, but it’s much easier to work with your organic and your paid search teams simultaneously using the keyword planner to plan it, and even then use the paid organic report to see the results within your Google ads, so the two teams can more collaborate on, “What does keyword coverage look like? When we’re in both, we’re actually getting more total clicks” or, “Here we’re on both and we’re not, so let’s cut something out. Here are our coverage gaps our content team is working on, so let’s cover them with ads for now and what share we don’t have.”
If you haven’t worked closely with paid search and organic together, the new keyword planner plus the paid and organic reports really tie a lot of things together: “Where do we have coverage? What does it look like? Where did we miss coverage, and what does it look like?” They can do some better coordination.
Goodbye, Display Planner
One of my absolute favorite tools got sunsetted. When display planner first came out several years ago, it would show you things like the demographic data of any website out there—really useful. And then we would get into, “We’re going to do some topic targeting, but only when these sites meet this kind of criteria.” The display planner was great for this, and Google knew it was going to be sunsetted. It never appeared in the new UI, and so as the old UI was phased out, display planner kind of went with it. So you’re going to end up using more third-party tools for the moment while planning out display campaigns. And then as we move more and more audiences, some of this isn’t fully necessary since you’re defining the audience. But important changes were happening, and this one got lost in that.
Email Forwarding and SMS Translation Added
Let’s move on to the message extension—SMS. Someone could see your ad, put in a message, have it go to a phone, or whatnot automatically. This caused all kinds of problems, because if you’re a big company, you didn’t know whose phone number to pick. If you’re a big company and you had a really good chat software, it would do an SMS integration if your developers could figure it out—which sometimes worked and sometimes did not work.
So the small companies really adopted this. If you’re a plumber, it was fantastic because you’ve got a few trucks, you’re the owner, and a message comes to you, you just kick it off. While small companies love this, large ones just couldn’t adopt it, so Google added the ability to do email forwarding. If a user sends an SMS, you get an email. If you reply to that email, Google translates it back into SMS to send back to the user. So you can still have a conversation with the user without actually using your phone. And then the SMS just comes up as the Google Ads talking back and forth to the user for you.
Unknown Data Shrinks
For audiences, unknown data continues to shrink. This is not a new feature, but in 2018 we have seen that some accounts are under 5 percent unknown. Our unknown in Germany, one of the most private-centric countries out there, is now under 8 percent. What this means, though, is that creating ads for female versus male, 18-year-olds versus 60-year-olds, parents versus nonparents, based on how your audience behaves and where you see those differences—it should be a viable strategy for most people, because enough of their users are known that they’re not creating, say, a male bucket, a female bucket and a massive unknown bucket. Now it really is, “Our unknowns are pretty big, and we may keep a generic message for the unknown, but that’s actually the minority of users now.”
As unknown shrinks, that in itself isn’t news. But what it should be signaling to you is that all these other features that rely on that data are now much more viable to use. In fact, income targeting is now in several countries. Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the U.S. all have demographic targeting now. This is huge. This is income-level targeting. Usually you’ll see in certain businesses that as income level goes up, conversion rate goes up. For other businesses it’s the opposite. Then sometimes it truly is random, which means you would ignore it in that case. but if you have a user base that’s made up of either affluent or nonaffluent users, for the most part then income targeting is super useful to take a look at. You’re probably not going to create ads based upon this, but it’s fantastic for bid modifiers.
Changes to Google Ads: Most Important Takeaways
What to Know
- Match-type changes. Exact match changed. Looking at your close-variant exact matches for potential negative keywords is really important.
- AdsenseForMobileApps.com was retired. You need to really watch carefully your mobile app data.
- ETAs versus RSAs. If you’ve got a good project to launch sometime next year that’s, “Let’s really get into our RSAs” or, “Let’s move a third headline to the ETAs,” great. It’s a good project to launch. But it’s not a huge deal yet.
Things You Should Be Checking
- Demographic data. What’s your unknown?
- Recommendations. Those are going to be a huge part of next year. You don’t have to accept them, but you should be checking what’s being recommended to you.
- Mobile friendliness. A lot of accounts are still not mobile-friendly.
Things to Think About
- Automated video
- Mobile video ads—vertical versus horizontal
- How you would do organization with the match-type changes. You may not need to, but should you, something to consider before you jump into organization is that it can take quite a while.
- More automation. When is it good and when is it bad? I looked at four accounts and said, “What if they would have automated their negative keywords?” And 70 percent of their top hundred words and every one of their brand terms would have been a negative keyword within 18 months, due to a seasonal change, a broken tracking link, whatever. So negative keywords should probably not be automated. That’s a human’s job to say yes or no.
Q. There’s a new thing called Google Sheets integration. What are some ways that you can put this to work?
A. A lot of the Google Sheets integration I believe is with scripts. I’m an API user. Scripts fail at large data amounts, so I’m not a huge script user personally, because they can’t handle millions of keywords. But we’ve seen people do things like automatically creating reports into Google Sheets.
Another common one is, let’s say that you have inventory that comes in and out of stock. If you can get your CRM system to write what’s in and out of stock into a Google Sheet, you can use a script and translate that to Adwords—what should be paused or unpaused from an ad group standpoint. That’s going to be more common to do for businesses like used-car dealerships, whose inventories are constantly changing. You’ve been able to write to Google Sheets for a long time. What you haven’t been able to do quite as easily is read and go back and forth multiple times. But I don’t use scripts enough to have a lot of huge ideas on that.
Q. What is the new bid-type target impression share, and how can we use it?
A. Target impression share says, “My goal is for this campaign to get to impression share of X,” and you’re defining X. On your performance-based words, you watch CPAs and stuff, don’t use it. But when you’re interested in things like top-of-the-funnel keywords that you’re not truly measuring conversions on, and you want to have good awareness for them, the impression share bidding is really useful. If you’re doing conquest campaigns—you’ve got a set of keywords you’re really fighting a competitor over—then you may do impression share off those. And they’re actually pretty common for competitor campaigns—to say, “These are all our competitors. We know we can’t beat them since their brand name is in position one, so let’s just get a 40 percent impression share on them.” It’s used that way a lot. But it’s really going to be more awareness, conquest stuff, and it’s not going to be a super useful one when it comes to your performance-based words.
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