It’s vital to spend your hard-earned digital marketing budget on channels that bring you the best ROI. That’s why knowing the latest Google Ads updates is key.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Reasons to invest in Google Ads
  • How the paid search platform works
  • The latest Google Ads updates
  • Expert tips for leveraging the platform successfully

No April Fool’s joking here: The best place to launch your digital marketing efforts is where your campaign attracts a massive audience.

According to a 2021 report, Google led the list of the most popular search engines, commanding more than 88% of the American market share. 

Paid advertisements often come hyperlinked at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). Sure, you can work to rank organically for a given search term through SEO strategies — and you should. 

But not only can Google Ads get you higher up in search results more quickly via pay-per-click (PPC) ads, but it can also help you stay competitive in your industry. 

The benefits of Google Ads

You probably know how Google Ads works: It shows your online advertisement to prospective customers who may be interested in your business. 

You place bids on keywords and search terms and secure the top slots of SERPs if you win.

As part of a PPC marketing strategy, you choose the maximum bid amount you wish to pay for each click on your ad. Your placement improves with your bid amount.

Since its inception in 2000 as Google AdWords, Google Ads has undergone many iterations and changes. Here are a few of the latest Google Ads updates that marketers should know about in 2022.

neon google logo in the dark

Google Trends allows you to view the topics people are searching online, as well as trending topics and trends over time. (Image: Unsplash)

1.  Privacy-minded updates

Privacy has been a hot topic for marketers in the past few years. That’s thanks in part to changes like Apple’s latest iOS update and Google’s Topic’s API, which they introduced to replace the soon-to-be sunset third-party cookies. 

With third-party tracking cookies on their way out, enhanced conversion aims to use consented (opt-in) and first-party data to fill in users’ insight gaps, particularly across multiple devices.

Pro tip: Google will be shutting down Universal Analytics (the version before Google Analytics 4) in July 2023, reportedly due to its inability to deliver insights across platforms. Universal Analytics 360 will process data for an additional three months, ending in October 2023.  

2.  Changes to phrase match and broad match modifier

In early 2021, Google announced that it was “making it easier to reach the right customers on Search” through updates to its phrase match and broad match modifier keyword types. 

Now, “broad match modifier” traffic instead falls under the “phrase match” umbrella.

The search engine notes that these changes won’t impact exact match, broad match, and negative keyword match types. They also recommend only using exact, phrase, or broad match when adding new keywords moving forward. 

3.  The smart-bidding process

Google’s smart bidding aims to make marketing more manageable. The advertiser provides Google Ads with a budget, and Google algorithms get the best conversion value out of it. The intention is to maximize the total ROI of the campaigns.

Google algorithms find the opportunities that you might never spot, even if it’s promoting a low-priced product on your list. This approach is excellent for well-funded PPC campaigns that are already converting at a high rate.

Google’s new smart bidding features aim to help marketers better manage bid strategies and drive more performance, according to experts

The new features also include top signals for target ROAS and max conversions, new opportunities on the Recommendations page, target impression share simulators, and manager account level seasonality adjustments.

Pro tip: Automation is great, but keep in mind that a “set it and forget it” mindset can only take you so far. The most effective paid search campaigns involve consistent analyzing, testing, and optimizing that can only come from experienced digital marketing pros.

one piece swimsuit on google trends

A look at the Google Trends results for “one-piece swimsuit” over a 90-day period. (Image: Google Trends)

4.  Google Trends for a dynamic environment

The digital marketing landscape changes rapidly and often, which can affect your business. Google Trends is a fascinating feature that allows you to view the topics people are searching online, as well as trending topics, trends over time, and more.

Need more help with your Google Ads campaigns? That’s what we’re here for.

Google Trends can provide insights into what is popular with your audience, so you can modify your marketing efforts to match their expectations. If they’re searching for a business that offers home delivery, for instance, you can consider adding this service or something similar, like a curbside pickup option.

5.  Driving more leads via search ads

With the rise of mobile shopping or m-commerce and more brands moving their operations online than ever before because of the pandemic, the vast majority of shopping happens online.

With that in mind, Google has made it easier for businesses to capture leads through their search ads. Rather than sending users to a landing page, you can serve up a lead form as soon as someone taps the headline of your ad.

To activate this feature, simply go into your campaign and select the setting option. Once the form is submitted, the person can then decide if they want to head to your site or go back to the search engine results page (SERP). 

Pro tip: Search Engine Roundtable regularly catalogs the most recent Google algorithm updates. So far in 2022, they’ve highlighted updates on page experience update for desktop, product reviews, and more.

6. Enhanced holiday updates

During the last holiday season, many businesses were able to benefit from a range of e-commerce updates.

Google added the ability to highlight things like fulfillment options and return policies for customers to see right on the SERP. You can also have products appear in free listings that you can easily use by syncing your Shopify, WooCommerce, or GoDaddy store right to Google.

Plus, brands can now use their YouTube videos as a virtual storefront and connect easier with local customers. Social Media Today suggests keeping your Google Business Profile updated to sync properly with these new features.  

7. Destination requirement updates

To make it easier for advertisers to understand why they receive disapproval messages on their ads, Google has made some changes to their policy language and notifications.

There are three relevant disapproval messages subject to changes:

  • “Insufficient original content,” which covers web addresses with “coming soon” or “under construction” notifications
  • “Destination not accessible,” for addresses the target audience can’t reach based on their location and other limitations
  • “Destination not working,” which will appear if your address is “HTTP” or returns an error
google ads mobile app dark mode

You can use dark mode in the Google Ads app for a more comfortable, low-light visual experience. (Image: Google Ads Help)

8. Updates to the Google Ads app

There have been some exciting recent additions made to the Google Ads app. Specifically, the Google Ads mobile app for both Android and iOS offer three new features:

  • More detailed performance insights – They’ve added more context and explanations for insights to illuminate the influences behind each metric. Advertisers can now see better performance insights to get a deeper understanding of how searchers are reacting to campaigns and view how changes affect performance.
  • Advanced real-time search trends – There’s a new search trends report that will be kept updated to reflect real-time changes in search trends and consumer interests. You can click on search trends relevant to your business to get further details about what exactly users were looking for. Common queries and specific terms will give you an idea of what they hope to find. Then, you can modify your ads to better reach them.
  • In-app campaign creation – Now, you can create entire search ad campaigns right from your phone. In the Google Ads mobile app, simply touch the “+” sign in the bottom right to add a new campaign. From there, the app will walk you through the typical campaign settings like ad type and location. After your campaign is set up, you’ll be able to manage it right from your phone as well.

The takeaway

Google processes about 40,000 searches per second, making it a prime marketing ground for paid ads. 

The beauty (and sometimes frustration) of Google Ads is that it keeps on evolving. It also gives you new and innovative ways to capture the attention of searchers. 

Considering the authority of the search engine, staying on top of the latest Google Ads updates can only mean good things for your PPC program.

This article has been updated and was originally published in May 2020.

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