Paid search updates – February & March 2018

CUTE DOG PHOTOS! Now I’ve got your attention, it’s time for a paid search news update. There are also pictures of dogs.

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Hello fellow humans. It’s time for the sort-of-monthly but actually more like bi-monthly round up of Google AdWords updates, with a dash of paid search news from other platforms chucked in for good measure.

You can reward yourself with the pictures of dogs *only* after reading this whole post. No peeking.

1. Cross-platform targeting – from Google searches to YouTube

Through the power of ‘custom intent audiences’, advertisers can now reach people on YouTube who recently searched for your products or services on Google.

Here’s how it works:

  • A car dealership has a video ad promoting new Vauxhall models
  • The dealership uploads the video ad, and creates a keyword list for the video campaign
  • A user searches for ‘new car offers’, ‘new Vauxhall Corsa for sale’, ‘offers on new Vauxhall Corsa’ on Google
  • Later, when visiting YouTube, the user is shown the dealership’s video ad promoting the latest Vauxhall Corsa
  • Even if the user doesn’t convert straight away (after all, a new car is a big purchase), they are now aware of the dealership’s brand, and knows that they stock the model they have been researching

This feature should be appearing in AdWords any time now.

According to Google:

“Custom intent audiences are likely to drive the best results when paired with TrueView for action, our direct response video ad format expanding to global availability later this month. These video ads allow you to customize a call-to-action to drive the outcome that’s most important to your business, like leads or referrals. We automatically optimize these campaigns with Target CPA bidding for the most efficient results possible.”

2. Woah there, Suggestion Boy!

Can’t be bothered to write variations of your ad copy? Well, now Google AdWords will do it for you, for free.

Keep an eye on the Recommendations page (previously known as Opportunities) in AdWords, as up to 50 ad suggestions per week could end up plopping into your account after 14 days, unless you proactively apply, edit, or dismiss them beforehand.

It’s worth noting that if you have a well-structured account with at least a couple of ad variations in each ad group that you may not see this happen often, if at all.

I’m pretty intrigued to see what they come up with!

3. Finally – a new AdWords feature that is actually useful

As you may already know, I’m not a huge fan of the new AdWords interface, but I am gradually coming to terms with the fact I’m going to be forced into using it very soon.

One new feature that is handy dandy is ‘Notes’ – a simple way of annotating when changes to the account were made, or external factors that may have impacted performance occur.

paid search updates - adwords notes

Beats slogging your way through the Change History report, eh?

4. OK, two new features that are actually useful

In the new AdWords interface, you can now see past variations of ads. Pretty handy if you spot a tiny typo but don’t want to lose all that sweet, delicious data.

You can check out the ‘Version History’ feature now if you have already abandoned the old AdWords.

5. What you chatting about?

The Message Extension, which allows users to hit up an advertiser text stylee has been around for a while now, but reporting has been limited. But all this is changing; here is what you’ll now be able to measure:

  • Chat rate – how often users start a conversation (“Chats”) after seeing a message extension (“Message impressions”)
  • Chat start time – a timestamp for when a user sends a message to initiate a conversation. This can be useful for helping to schedule when message extensions should appear for the best results
  • Messages –  the total number of messages exchanged between you and a user within a single chat. This insight can be used to evaluate which campaigns are driving the longest or most in-depth conversations compared to the average


Because there *are* other paid search options…

6. Couple of wee little Bing Ad updates

Price extensions are now available on mobile in the US, and will be coming to the UK soon.

Bing Ads Editor now allows advertisers to associate account-level ad extensions across campaigns, starting with Callout extensions.

7. Facebook cutting back on targeting

Still reeling from the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook seems to be taking steps to addressing issues with user privacy.

The first targeting method to be dropped was the option to reach users based on their sexual/relationship preference.

The second, and more significant change, will see Facebook remove all third party targeting data. This change is not only due to recent revelations about third party access to user data, but also due to GDPR – new EU legislation that gives users more control over how their data is used.

There is a great run down of what this might mean for advertisers over on Marketing Land.

8. Pinterest continues rollout of Shopping Ads

Following success with a handful of brands during beta testing, Pinterest is rolling out Shopping Ads to more businesses.

The case study results are pretty impressive, so if you are a brand with good looking products, and a product feed, you can complete this form for more information.

9. Q&A site Quora provides more support for advertisers

Ah, Quora. The place where some of the smartest people, and dumbest people on the internet like to hang out.

Two new features for advertisers on the platform are now available:

10. Waze to go

Community-based traffic and navigation app, Waze, has added new local ads to the platform that could be an excellent option for businesses that want to boost passing trade.

Drivers approaching the location of a business are shown ads with directions, with three different formats being available.

ppc updates - waze_ad_formats

And finally… it’s time for doggos.

The last update featured Eggnog (below), who has now been rehomed. Then I got sad thinking about all the other dogs that need homes.

eggnog the magnificent

So without further ado, here are some puppers that caught my eye recently:

All dog images from

If you can rehome a dog, or if you or someone you know can, check out these beauties all looking for a family.

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