The latest Google AdWords (and other PPC) updates – September 2017

It’s me again with another monthly PPC update. And yes, there are dog pictures.

You are reading: The latest Google AdWords (and other PPC) updates – September 2017

Hello again, and welcome to the next installment of my monthly round-up of Google AdWords updates.

As per the last post, these updates are sent to the team at Browser Media each week internally, and they close with a selection of excellent dog pictures. If you make it to the end, you will be greeted by the ‘top dogs’ of the month, as voted for by the team. Most importantly, I am trusting you not to just scroll to the end for a quick fix of great doggo pictures.

I’ve also chucked in some bonus PPC news from other platforms, so you’d better appreciate the effort.

1. AdWords ‘Flexible Budget’ flip out

Ok, so this was actually announced on October 4th, meaning it slipped into the PPC update for the team on Friday. But it seems like it might be kind of a biggie.

Google has stated that the daily budget set on campaigns may be exceeded by double on some days in order to ‘help you reach your advertising goals’.

This announcement has irked a lot of PPC bods, including myself, as there are a lot of unanswered questions about how this could affect campaigns.

Tweets via

There is no clarity around whether it is best to reduce daily budgets by half [monthly budget/30.4 days/50%] to prevent overspending, in the first half of the month to prevent budget from being almost exhausted within the first 15 days, there is no information about how AdWords will judge when to double budget based on time of day/hour of day bid adjustments and also no confirmation which ‘goals’ it is going to help you reach – if it’s conversions, I’m down, if it’s clicks… not so much!

Watch this space for more on this update over the next few weeks. For now, Search Engine Land has written a great piece on the topic, and if you want to try and understand more about it and how it may affect you, here is the announcement from Google.

2. New sexy AdWords custom dashboards

I’m still not a huge fan of the new AdWords interface as it uses non-descript icons in the place of actual words plus everything has been moved around A LOT. But anyway, custom dashboards! Woo! Yay!


This feature is set to roll out in the next few weeks. And given the above, a custom dashboard that monitors daily spend may be a pretty good idea :)

3. (More) new Merchant Centre tools

In the run-up to the busiest shopping season of the year, the Merchant Centre has been rolling out new updates to help advertisers gain more control over their feeds.

The first update comes in the form of ‘supplemental feeds’. In a nutshell, this feature allows advertisers to add or override product data with snazzy stuff like custom labels (ooh) or promotion IDs (ahh) in your primary feed.

The second change is a corker for advertisers that want ads to show in lots of different countries with a single multi-country feed. The countries need to use the same language for this to work, but simply add them to your primary feed and hey presto, your prices will automatically show in the correct currency of the user.

4. Ring-a-ling-a-ding: Call-only ad extensions are here

If your campaigns drive a lot of conversions via call-only ads, boy howdy are you in for a treat.

For the first time EVER, you can show ad extensions with call-only ads to promote more relevant information about your products and services, like this:


You can choose from location extensions, callout extensions and structured snippets to make your ad stand out and take up a whole load of screen.

5. Study on how much people definitely watch YouTube ads by Google

Google has conducted a study into online vs TV ads and guess what it found out?

“Latest research with Ipsos suggests people are 3x more likely to pay attention to online video ads vs. television ads. And within online video, people pay nearly 2x more attention to video ads on YouTube than they do on other social media.”

Takeaway from the study: BUY OUR LOVELY YOUTUBE ADS NOW.

6. AdWords Editor 12.1, baby

Two new updates to version 12.1 of AdWords Editor are ready to rock your world, (if that’s the kind of thing that floats your boat).

The first is Expanded Dynamic Search ads, which is pretty dandy, and they have also provided better offline editing for Shopping campaigns with the addition of Shopping showcase ads. More on these changes over here.


Because there *are* other paid search options…

7. Cor blimey Bing has been a busy bee this month

I’m assuming that this audience does use Bing Ads, but because let’s be honest, we all spend the big bucks on Google, I’m going to smoosh all of the Bing Ads updates I can find into one point, mostly because Google implemented these features yonks ago, so, yawn.

  • Bing Ads will soon let all advertisers upload offline conversion imports to capture the impact of ads on offline sales – zing!
  • Ad Extension Scheduling now available in Bing Editor – wahoo!
  • New URL tracking parameters – yeeee!
  • You can now add account-level ad extensions – gasp!
  • Dynamic Search Ads have landed – bonk!

8. Facebook in hot water over Russian ads

As part of the ongoing Trump/Russia investigation, Facebook has been scrutinised after it was discovered that a Russian ad agency spent A LOT of Rubles that focused on ‘divisive social and political messages’ during the run-up to the US election.

Facebook says up to 10m people saw ads bought by the Russian agency. Yikes.

9. Facebook tries to tackle racist targeting and bans certain content from carrying ads

After criticism for the whole Russia hoo-hah, Facebook found themselves in trouble again after some absolute jerks targeted ads at even bigger jerks with“Jew hater” as their educational field of study and “NaziParty” as their employer. This resulted in them making the decision to remove four targeting options – employers, schools, fields of study and job titles. This only applies to new campaigns, though.

Facebook then set about manually reviewing 5,000 ad-targeting terms before re-enabling them in the wake of this.

In addition to this, Facebook has listed 9 categories of content ineligible to feature ads, which include:

Misappropriation of children’s characters: “Content that depicts family entertainment characters engaging in violent, sexualized, or otherwise inappropriate behavior, including videos positioned in a comedic or satirical manner. For example, situations where characters sustain serious personal injury, are involved in vile or shocking acts, or involved in behavior such as smoking or drinking.”

Tragedy and conflict: “Content that focuses on real world tragedies, including but not limited to depictions of death, casualties, physical injuries, even if the intention is to promote awareness or education. For example, situations like natural disasters, crime, self-harm, medical conditions and terminal illnesses.”

Debated social issues: “Content that is incendiary, inflammatory, demeaning or disparages people, groups, or causes is not eligible for ads. Content that features or promotes attacks on people or groups is generally not eligible for ads, even if in the context of news or awareness purposes.”

Violent content: “Content that is depicting threats or acts of violence against people or animals, where this is the focal point and is not presented with additional context. Examples include content featuring fights, gore, beatings of either animals or people, or excessively graphic violence in the course of video gameplay.”

Adult content: “Content where the focal point is nudity or adult content, including depictions of people in explicit or suggestive positions, or activities that are overly suggestive or sexually provocative.”

Prohibited activity: “Content that depicts, constitutes, facilitates, or promotes the sale or use of illegal or illicit products, services or activities. Examples include content that features coordinated criminal activity, drug use, or vandalism.”

Explicit content: “Content that depicts overly graphic images, blood, open wounds, bodily fluids, surgeries, medical procedures, or gore that is intended to shock or scare.”

Drugs or alcohol use: “Content depicting or promoting the excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking, or drug use.”

10. Instagram grabbing more social media ad marketshare

The platform has continued to absolutely smash it, and as of September, now has 2 million monthly advertisers. This is double what it had just six months ago. Wowsers.

11. Snapchat introduces Sponsored 3D World Lenses

With Snapchat losing an insane amount of ad revenue to Instagram (see above), they needed something fun, young, and cutting edge to reel advertisers back in.
Sponsored 3D World Lenses might be it. I mean, probably not, but you can’t blame them for trying.


It sounds absolutely bonkers and the Bladerunner example looks totally pony in my opinion. Maybe I’m too old.

Check it out for yourself here.

And finally…

I came back from holiday last week and I am not embracing autumn at all. It’s cold and windy and it makes me puffed out trying to ride my bike. I disapprove. These dogs seem to be into it, though.

And here are the other winners from this month…


p.s. I really like pictures of funny dogs, so feel free to Tweet them to me @VikingWagon (or to get in touch if you have any questions or comments on these updates too, I guess).

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