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The Mysterious Decline of Google Ad Grants

Ad Grants – what on earth is going on?!

Google Ad Grants are one of the best assets a charity can have in its arsenal. They allow charitable organisations and non-profits to run paid search campaigns free from media spend, and are often used to promote information, petitions, campaigns, and fundraising.

Yes, they have restrictions -which have dampened their impact in some key areas- but they are vital to many charities, big and small.

We know all about Google Ad Grants; we are one of a handful of Google Certified Partners (for running Google Ad Grants) and we regularly work on over 30 every month. Having visuals on all those accounts allows us to identify and investigate trends when we see them.

… And we’ve started to see a substantial change.


Why we’re writing this blog

School holidays always have a profound impact on search; dwell time suddenly disappears for a large audience, and users focus more on quick, action-based behaviour such as buying tickets, recipes, and activity ideas. The sort of searches typically not related to Ad Grants.

So coming into Easter, we communicated to clients: “Expect a drop, but we expect it to pick up after the holidays.”

And sure enough, we did see the drop:

Clicks year-on-year from Google Ad Grants

Clicks from Ad Grants year-on-year.


Except, we didn’t see the bounce back. In fact, Ad Grants clicks continued to decline from there…

Some accounts did return to pre-Easter levels, but enough didn’t. Enough continued declining to cause us to have a look into why that might be. And what we found were three likely isolated events all contributing to this trend.


Investigating the data

Ad Grant trends are hard to judge for a number of reasons:

  • Google occasionally gives out an increased Grant budget to organisations who meet certain criteria.
  • Account changes, such as moving priority or brand campaigns to a separate Paid account, have a significant impact on traffic.
  • New priorities or focuses to align with new organisational strategies.
  • New agency taking on and optimising more effectively.

As a result, you need to review the data from a few angles before you can accurately identify a trend or change in behaviour (whether user or platform).

However, we can see a significant change in data since mid-April which indicates this change in behaviour (platform side).

Specific points of interest for Google Ads in recent years have been:

  • Christmas 2021 and 2022 (increase spend granted).
  • Removal of Modified Broad Match (the ‘secretive’ fourth match type).
  • Google pushing Performance Max campaigns.
  • Google’s changes to Broad match (2023).

If we line these up with the graphs, we start to understand a bit more:

Google Broad match keyword impressions 2021-2023


So there is correlation with some of these updates. Most notably:

  • Broad match
  • Removal of modified broad match

Both have a significant impact on the way in which the keywords we bid on are matched to users’ searches. So we wondered, if we examine the keywords in the account and how well they are performing based on their relevance to the actual searches, do we gain more insight?

Now, helpfully, here this aligning keywords with actual searches is called the ‘search term match type’, and uses the same three match types as our ‘keyword match types’.

They are different things, trust me:

Google match types explained
Source: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/7478529?hl=en-GB


Google ad grant clicks 2021-2023

You can see that from August 2021 to March 2023, when our keywords have exactly matched the user’s search, we’ve seen very little decline. However, when we didn’t match the search closely, and relied on matching ‘broadly’ to the search term, our clicks had declined by around 100k/month.

Google broad match clicks 2021-2023

If we compare the two ‘match types’ metrics side-by-side we can see a similar decline, but over a longer period.

The direct correlation between the two graphs is that although those were broad match keywords (left, in blue), commonly they were matching exactly what the user was searching. This is interesting because a decline here, without any substantial changes in an account, is either a drop in searches or a change in the frequency of ads showing.

Impressions for different Google keyword match types 2023

Impressions for different Google keyword match types 2021-2023

Another place where we are seeing the sharpest drop-offs is on keywords for which the website isn’t organically ranking highly – or at all. As Google puts increasing emphasis behind ad strength and landing page experience, this trend will likely only magnify, as landing pages that don’t align with keywords get increasingly penalised and aligned with organic results.


Potential causes:

Broad search and other match type updates.

The most obvious likely cause has been that change in broad match, which we cover in our blog here: https://upriseup.co.uk/blog/how-google-ads-match-types-are-changing/#summary

It’s a reasonable shift which has more widely reaching changes, but the following couple of changes will likely have the most substantial impact on Ad Grants:


Google Ads (through broad match) will now not enter another keyword (from the same account) into the auction if a keyword matches the search exactly.

This could have a sizeable impact in Ad Grants as they typically contain more keywords than Paid accounts, which means there’s greater chance that multiple keywords are entered into an auction.

It could be the case that a keyword was actually outperforming the exact searched term previously, because it had a better ad rank.

how google auction has changed for ad grants

In this example scenario, going forward only the ‘Donate to Colon Cancer’ keyword would be carried forward to the auction, and its ad rank is not good enough for page 1 – which results in the account receiving fewer impressions (and thus fewer clicks) for this search term.



Broad match was typically the widest matching match type. Now, it will still match to a wider array of terms compared to the other match types. But this will now only be in relation to trying to achieve more conversions. This means that broad keywords that aren’t generating many conversions and are using a conversion-focused bid strategy will start seeing considerable volatility in their bidding, as the machine learning tries to optimise both the search terms it matches to and its bids to maximise conversions.


There’s far more going on with the broad match changes, so I do recommend reading the blog – it’s a great read. (Yes, I also wrote that one…)


Results page updates

2023 has also brought some substantial changes to the results page. Whilst you wouldn’t make an immediate connection between SEO updates and the performance of Ad Grants, they are intrinsically linked because they share the same ‘space’.

There was a core algorithm update that coincided with the start of the volatility (March 2023), but the most aligned update is the April Review Update, which necessitates a focus on promoting quality content to users. The interesting part about this update is that it moved the review algorithm out of a focus purely on product, and more onto content and services.

The alignment here for the Ad Grants is that we saw health and cancer organisations hit harder than other organisations, which could potentially increase the likelihood of a no-ads results page for more informational, health-based searches.

Impressions for different keyword match types 2021-2023

Cancer charity search term matches dropping since the April update.


Connected to this update is the relationship that Google has with the NHS and US-based health organisations. As covered in our blog on E-E-A-T, Google has been increasingly likely to favour NHS and US-based organisations on organic results for health information searches. Again, if we combine this with a potential move away from showing ads for those searches, we would expect to see a reduction in impressions (which we are indeed seeing).

All of these results page updates hit Ad Grants harder than Paid accounts, as Grants are penalised by Google Ads against paying advertisers. This means that when Google Search builds its results page, the chances of an Ad Grant ad appearing appear to have been lowered.



Google Ad Grants have always faced considerable challenges. This is just one more on the pile.

We’re definitely seeing a reduced ‘place’ for Ad Grants in Google search – one which will have a larger impact on some organisations than others. However, there is still a place. 

Content has always been key to an Ad Grant’s success, and those who have been impacted most are the ones who boast the least content, or who are utilising keywords that, whilst relevant, don’t have a focused landing page.

So as we move forward, my three takeaways are:

  1. Ensure you have enough relevant content on your website. Think of your Ad Grant as an extension of your website’s SEO. For a keyword to perform well, it needs to have a relevant and aligned landing page.
  2. Embrace the new Broad Keyword Match Type. It’s here, and Google are only going to increase its use and prominence. Also ensure you minimise (or better yet, eradicate) phrase and exact match conflicts.
  3. Ensure you utilise conversions in your account. They don’t always have to be transactional, and can be engagement-focused, but all effective bid strategies start with conversions.

Finally, for all business priority objectives we recommend testing running a Paid account. Paid accounts have not been as affected by the new changes and are not restricted by the Google Ad Grant rules.

I hope this has been helpful and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

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    How Google Ads Match Types Are Changing

    Broadly go where no man has gone before!

    Google Ads has changed the way that broad match types work, and for some reason no one is really talking about it!

    Google search is changing. Google says it’s all for the good, and you’ll get more conversions for less money. But what does it all mean, how has it changed, how can you navigate all the jargon? And what even is a keyword anymore!

    Looking for the TL;DR version – click here.


    1. What is a keyword?

    In paid search (also commonly referred to as Google Ads), a keyword is a specific word or group of words for which an advertiser wants to show their ad when a user searches them. A search term is the actual wording used by the user when searching on Google.

    However, as an advertiser, you will not be able to cover every possible variation of way in which a user could search for you, your service, or your product. 

    Match types are therefore used by advertisers to allow Google Ads some flexibility in its ability to match a keyword to a match type. An exact match means the keyword and search term need to be the same (ish). Phrase match allows for the order of words to move around and some words to change, as long as it doesn’t change the basic meaning of the keyword. And broad… well broad means you give Google the keys and you let it drive off into the sun.

    …at least, it used to.


    2. What we know

    How have broad keywords been used to date?

    Most experienced advertisers have always been averse to using broad match keywords; they regularly resulted in budget being squandered on irrelevant searches and the keywords underperforming against match types you had control over.

    • If you wanted to spend your budget, you could use broad.
    • If you wanted to achieve your targets, you didn’t.
    • Additionally, in the charity sector, broad could be seen as too risky, given the limited control.

    But things have changed – quite considerably.


    3. How broad match is changing

    In March of this year, a Think with Google blog dropped to limited noise. It covered two engineers who had been using AI and Large Language Models to improve Google Ads.

    The article details the overall history of broad match but specifically highlights three developments we need to be aware of:

    • The use of Large Language Models helps broad search understand the importance that the order of words in a search can have. A to B is very different from B to A when it comes to user intent.
    • Prioritising the keywords’ relevancy first, before considering ad rank.
    • Utilising multilingual search.

    The most interesting development here is the prioritisation of relevancy over ad rank in auctions. This development means that Google may put in a keyword with a lower ad quality, if it believes it’s the most relevant keyword you have. It also means that if you have the keyword which matches the user’s exact search (no matter the match type), that keyword is the only one put forward, regardless of the potential ad rank performance.

    Without oversight on your keywords and their impact on your accounts, this change could be significant. If you have similar keywords within an account, you will likely see a change in usage among those keywords – with a reduction in impressions for some of your better keywords as their usage is limited by weaker keywords.

    how google keyword auction works


    4. Further developments

    Google Ads has also produced a weightier documentation called Unlock the Power of Search.

    (It’s a good read!)

    It has a lot going on, and more than its fair share of hyperbole and salesy talk, but I’ve picked out some of the key points:


    Auction change (keyword matches)

    The auction process now starts with relevancy to determine what keywords to even put forward for the auction. This also means Google will only put forward keywords from what it determines to be the most relevant ad group, to the user’s search. This means that even keywords which are relevant, and have a better ad quality might be blocked from entering the auction by a ‘more relevant’ ad group.

    Google signals are introduced

    Broad match is now the only match type to make use of all the available ‘signals’. It uses these signals to understand both the intent of the user and to gain a deeper understanding of the keywords’ meaning. These signals include but are not limited to: previous search history, time of day, location, and user search habits.

    Keyword grouping

    The combined context of the keywords in an ad group is now a factor. For example, if you added a more generic keyword into an ad group, Google would understand the context of that keyword and apply relevancy, based on the other keywords within that ad group.

    For example:

    If you added ‘rose’ as a keyword into an ad group which contained broad keywords around wine, Google Ads alleges that it would understand that the context of this keyword is wine and not the flower, the colour, or the name – and would therefore only show that keyword against users searching for wine.

    Focus more on ad strength

    In an interesting move, and one which will certainly be met with scepticism by a few people, Google recommends you to view Ad Strength metrics when looking for optimisation tweaks, and reiterates that Quality Score is meant only as a diagnostic tool.

    However, Google’s own support pages still indicate that Ad Strength, too, is just a diagnostic tool.


    And finally, the subtle language change that could be nothing but is probably everything

    Google makes many references to Keyword Themes within the documentation. Keyword Themes had previously only been referenced in Google Smart Campaigns, where the user provides the relevant themes (such as ‘online bereavement’ or ‘breast cancer symptoms’). The Smart Campaign will then match to searches it believes are relevant to that theme and will help you achieve your conversion targets (typically CPA).

    5. What we can do about it

    Review match types

    This is a substantial shift in direction for Google Ads, which has

     spent a considerable amount of time in recent years making each match type broader and broader!

    With the introduction of smart bidding, Google Ads now treats the same keyword equally across match types (assuming ads and landing pages the same). This means that if you are splitting out match types, you will actually just be splitting out your data up to threefold – and thereby limiting learnings and optimisation potential. Google tells you to simply remove different match types and just run with broad, nut if you have a strongly performing account with good account history, our recommendation would be to test this process over time.

    The last thing you want is to make a sudden, drastic change and lose all the benefit of historical performance.


    Review your keywords

    Your keywords should be grouped into similarly themed ad groups already. But it’s now even more important (if using broad match) to ensure there is limited crossover in keywords (and their associated search terms) between these ad groups. Being tight on keywords used here will help you keep control of which ad shows in those searches – and where users get sent.

    Remember – if a keyword exists that matches the user’s search exactly, Google Ads will use the matched keyword and not (necessarily) the best keyword.



    If you, like many of our clients, have account structures meticulously crafted over many years, then you don’t want to be making substantial changes on an impulse. You start by testing on some lower risk campaigns, assess the keyword structure within, and then utilise Google Ads Experiments to see the impact of this new AI-driven approach.


    6. What we’ve seen

    We’ve not seen a huge change in our Paid accounts – especially the ones with good account history and prolonged performance.

    However, we are seeing Google Ad Grants being affected. We discuss this in more detail in a separate blog, but we are seeing a substantial change in Google Ad Grant performance, though this is due in part to some additional factors.

    The biggest impact here lies in health-based searches, where there isn’t as strong a focus on conversions.


    7. What’s the future of broad match?

    Google trials new broad campaign type

    Google has recently introduced a new campaign type to select accounts whereby, during account creation, you can opt to remove keyword match types in their entirety. This means that any keywords applied to the campaign will be broad match, with no alternative option. Whilst this is a beta test, ultimately this is likely the first step in removing the ‘keyword management’ element of Google Ads. We’ve already been removed from bid management, and it seems that match types are the next component to go.

    The death of keywords

    Myself and Dan have often prophesied about the inevitable demise of keywords with Google Ads. The fact that, in this article, Google Ads are talking about keyword themes as much as individual keywords is a strong indication that this is coming.

    This is certainly a deliberate use of language and is likely the first step in moving to this ‘keyword-less’ model. We’re already well on the way to the removal of match types, with Google suggesting that only in specific circumstances should you be using Exact and Phrase matches:

    Content is king

    There I said it. In a Paid Search blog! But it is true. As we lose more and more control over the keywords (and their matched search terms) that we want to bid on, our skills as paid search experts will come increasingly from the ad copy we write, as well as our ability to optimise landing pages.

    That involves ensuring the content is aligned to the ad copy and the paid search keywords (or theme, once keywords go), but equally that the content also represents a good user journey and user experience.

    We should also look at testing the copy – can we manipulate the search terms our ads match to by implementing new keywords in the copy? Or by changing the hierarchy of those keywords in the copy? There are abundant possibilities for new testing!



    To summarise:

    • Match types are all but confirmed to be on the way out, with Google making it clear that (in its best practice) you should only use exact or phrase in specific cases.
    • Keywords now match for relevancy first and if a keyword matches the search exactly, that is the only keyword to be put forward.
    • Keywords themselves are likely on the way out, with Google set to pursue a ‘keyword theme’ model instead of individual keywords.
    • The ad and its landing page become even more important- and the main places you (as an advertiser) can make an impact.


    Those are some enormous changes; there really is nothing like digital media to keep us on our toes.

    On a personal level I’ve been screaming into the void about some agencies’ ill-formed use of broad matches over the years. To feel that those agencies are now potentially on the front foot through negligence is a very bitter pill to swallow.

    However, it’s an exciting challenge. We’ve just gone through (still going through) the death of our beloved Universal Analytics, so it makes sense that we now prepare ourselves for the inevitable death of the keyword.

    To discuss the demise of keywords, and how we can best manage this new approach, why not contact us for a chat.


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      Chatbots, Generative AI and the Future of Advertising

      AI and the future of paid media - lead blog image

      Do Chatbots Dream of Effective Ad Copy?

      Welcome to our blog, where we explore the realm of generative AI and its potential impact on Google Search Advertising. In this article, we dive into the exciting possibilities that arise when charities embrace this innovative technology to enhance their advertising efforts.

      Say Hello to Generative AI

      Generative AI, a field of artificial intelligence focused on creating content, offers a wealth of opportunities for charities looking to engage with their target audience in a unique and compelling way. By leveraging the power of generative AI in Google Search Advertising, charities can create dynamic and personalized ad experiences that resonate with potential supporters.

      Imagine an ad campaign where every impression is accompanied by a custom-generated message, tailored to the individual user’s interests and preferences. Through generative AI, charities can craft highly relevant and persuasive ad copy that captures attention, inspires action, and drives engagement.

      How do I know this works? Well, I didn’t write that introduction for starters.

      Generative AI is probably the fastest moving and most exciting technology in the digital space at the moment. Whilst that may sound like a big claim, I truly believe it. It’s revolutionising the world of content creation, with the capability to generate the content like the above from fairly simple prompts.

      We’re also going to play a little game in this blog. Sprinkled throughout this blog are going to be batches of commentary generated (using ChatGPT) from prompts I give the software. See if you can work out where they are. For any of you who have somehow avoided the mass amounts of discussion about chatbots, generative AI, and the seismic shifts that these technologies are making in the online world, let me give you a quick primer.

      Can a Machine Talk like a Human?

      This question lies at the heart of AI development. The idea has been around for about as long as the concept of AI, and as early as the 1960’s programs that we would now call chatbots were being created (you can try chatting to ELIZA, a programme written in the 1960’s). However, in the last few years, advances in technologies such as neural networks and natural language processing have allowed generative AI to explode in complexity.

      ChatGPT is currently the frontrunner in this field, but others, such as Google’s Bard, are beginning to have significant time put into them. The reason for this is that these systems are very effective at delivering information to a user in a conversational way. This is a potential goldmine for search engines. With Bing already implementing ChatGPT into its new Bing experience and Google announcing a similar change in the near future with project Magi, you can see that the digital gold rush is well and truly on!


      Using Chatbots and Generative AI for Ads

      Why does all of this matter to us search advertisers? Well, we can take advantage of the generative AI built in to chatbots to do some pretty interesting things, which can help us enhance and refine account optimisations and management. This includes:

      • Using chatbots for keyword research
      • Using chatbots to generate ad copy
      • Conducting competitor analysis
      • Optimisation recommendations for campaign landing pages
      • Ad extension support

      Chatbots and Keyword Research

      Chatbots can assist you in keyword research for Google Ads accounts. Just have a conversation with it, share details about your charity, and ask for keyword suggestions. It can generate relevant keywords, provide insights on variations or trends, and help you refine your keyword strategy.

      For example, you could ask, “What are some keywords related to our charity’s mission?” It’s like having a virtual brainstorming session to uncover new keyword ideas and optimize your Google Ads campaigns effectively. Let’s give it a go!

      For this blog, we are going to imagine we are working on the Google Ads account of a charity named Mobility UK, which aims to support those with low mobility around the UK (this charity doesn’t exist, but it will work well for this example).

      Here’s the prompt:

      “Our Charity is called Mobility UK. Our mission is to ensure that all people, young or old, are free to move despite of illness, old age or disability. We provide people with the tools and support to enhance their mobility and allow them to live independent lives. What are some keywords related to our charities mission? Provide your answer in the form of a bullet point list.”

      And here is ChatGPT’s response:

      ChatGPT output for keyword research for the hypothetical charity, Mobility UK.

      Those keywords look pretty good to me! These could also work great as Ad Groups, allowing you to use each as a topic to generate new keywords around, for example:

      “What are some keywords we could use in a google ad group around Accessible Transportation? Provide your answer in a bullet point list with a pirate accent”

      ChatGPT output for keywords relating to the hypothetical charity Mobility UK written with a pirate accent.

      The pirate accent is optional.

      You can repeat this process of picking a keyword and asking for more keywords around that topic as much as you like. Do bear in mind though, if you go too far down the chain the system may start producing some strange results. If you start to see these, it’s a sign that you are at the limit of the Chatbot’s knowledge on the topic.

      So, we can generate keyword ideas, but what about the ads?


      Chatbots and Ad Copy

      Chatbots can assist advertisers in generating copy for Google Ads by providing creative ideas and suggestions. Through interactive conversations, advertisers can discuss their goals, target audience, and key messaging with chatbots. Based on this input, the system can offer alternative phrasings, highlight unique selling points, or propose compelling call-to-action statements.

      Let’s try the prompt: “Write an ad for Mobility UK for the keyword “Disability Inclusion”

      Here’s what we get back:

      ChatGPT output for a prompt asking it to 'write an ad for Mobility UK for the keyword 'Disability inclusion'".

      The copy itself is good, but this isn’t going to fit to a Google Ad. Lets try refining our prompt:

      “Write an ad for Google Search for the keyword “Disability Inclusion” with 2 headlines and 2 descriptions. Each headline can be 30 characters including spaces maximum, and each description can be 90 characters including spaces”

      ChatGPT output for an ad copy request, including parameters such as number of headlines, descriptions and character limits.

      These don’t look too bad! But when we take a closer look, there are some issues. The big one is that headline 2 is 1 character over the limit, at 31 characters, including spaces. Is the AI gaining sentience, and deciding to go over the limit? Let’s ask it:

      “Headline 2 is 31 characters long, are you beginning to gain free will and decided to write the headline longer than the limit?”

      ChatGPT output when asked if it has gained sentience by not adhering to the character limit set out in the previous prompt. This output demonstrates a limitation of AI in adhering to clear instructions.That’s the same headline. It’s not self-aware, it’s just really stupid…

      This is a known issue with Generative AI at the moment. It seems to find it very hard to stick to exact character limits. The best options we have found to work around this is to ask the system to generate 10-15 headlines and cut the ones that end up above the character limit.

      You can also give it existing ad copy to suggest alternates to:

      “Can you suggest 3 headlines, of 30 characters or less including spaces, that you would suggest testing against the headline “Mobility For All””

      ChatGPT alternative headlines to test against keyword 'mobility for all'.

      These are even all within the character limit!


      Chatbots and Competitor Analysis

      So, who are we going to be putting these AI generated ads up against? Who better to ask than the AI:

      “What are the biggest UK competitors to Mobility UK? Present your answer in a list, with the website and why they are a great company”

      ChatGPT output listing competitor websites for the hypothetical charity Mobility UK, including unique selling points for each company and why they are considered great.

      These all look quite relevant! You might think that the query around why the companies are great is a comedic touch, but it’s a good way to have the AI summarise it’s best guess at that company’s USP’s.

      So we’ve covered the keywords, structure, ads and competitors. Surely there’s not much else that an AI can do for us, right?


      Landing Page Optimisation

      Landing page optimization involves enhancing the performance and effectiveness of your landing pages to achieve better conversion rates and user engagement, whether it’s improving the layout, content, call-to-action, or overall user experience.

      Let’s see if the chatbot can help us here. Unfortunately Mobility UK doesn’t have a website to test this, on account of being made up, but we can try it for Uprise Up’s own site

      “What changes can be made to improve the conversion rate performance of this page: https://upriseup.co.uk/paid-media/google-ad-grant/ for google ads”

      ChatGPT output when asked to optimise the Google Ad Grants service page on the Uprise Up website

      This is a lot of information! Some of these points are generic, and show up every time, but they are still all good suggestions for improving a page, It’s even given some specific call to action suggestions to test. But surely that’s everything chatbots can help us with. Surely there’s no further extension of this support, right?


      Ad Extension Support

      Ad extensions can be a time-consuming task in large accounts. Let’s see if ChatGPT can help us with this for the same ad grant page we looked at in the previous example.

      “Can you produce a set of Sitelink extensions for the same page, making sure the pages come from the same site”

      ChatGPT output when requested to produce a set of Sitelink extensions for the same page in the previous example.

      Once again, we’re likely to not get usable descriptions here, but the pages it suggested are all relevant, and are going to save us time over working them out ourselves.

      What about callouts? No Problem

      “Create 5 callouts for the page, no more than 20 characters each. For each, write a line that rhymes with the callout”

      ChatGPT outputs when requested to create rhyming page callouts.

      I don’t think AI will be putting poets out of a job any time soon. Terrible rhymes aside, the callouts here are relevant, and would be a good baseline to start your account with.


      Limitations of AI in Advertising

      You might think that the pirate accents or the poems were purely for fun. However,  they show quite clearly that there are limitations on what these systems can currently give us. Pirate accents are easy, but poetry? Poetry it finds very hard. In a similar way, there are elements of Google Ads that the AI finds very difficult to manage.

      We’ve already seen character limits be a difficult aspect of ad copy creation, but something we haven’t touched on is how these generative AI systems sometimes have a loose understanding of the truth. There’s even a disclaimer on the ChatGPT console about this:

      “Free Research Preview. ChatGPT may produce inaccurate information about people, places, or facts.”

      This is potentially very dangerous, especially in the charity sector where the topics being discussed are often delicate and false information could be very damaging. Similarly, in keyword research, we’ve found certain prompts where the AI has provided completely irrelevant search terms. This varies client to client and means that you should check every keyword list generated by these systems.

      Final Thoughts on AI and the Future of Advertising

      AI may not be ready to take over the world, but its getting pretty close to taking over marketing. Even in the process of writing this blog, Google announced a raft of new generative AI implementations into multiple marketing channels. These systems are still simply tools, however, and like any tool requires skill to operate well. Like it or not, as marketers it is going to be important to learn how to use these tools to adapt to the new world we are rapidly approaching.

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        New DV360 Fee: 2% fee on all UK Served Ads

        The exterior of a Google building with trees and grass in the foreground - DV360 2% fee blog lead image

        Google Introduces 2% Fee on DV360 Ads Served in the UK

        Google announced earlier this month that additional fees will now be added for Display Video 360 (DV360) ads serving in specific countries. More specifically, a ‘Digital Service Tax’ (DST) 2% surcharge will be added for ads served in the UK.

        If you’re unfamiliar, Digital Service Tax was actually introduced by the government (back in April 2020) designed to tax on the revenues of search engines, social media services and online marketplaces. Disappointingly at the time, but somewhat unsurprisingly, Google simply passed this cost onto their customers.

        You might be asking “did Google not already do this back in 2020?!”, and you would be correct.

        However, this was only added onto the Google Ads platform initially. We discussed this in detail at the time and raised questions about whether Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing) and Social Networks would follow suit. Fortunately this did not happen.

        Yet, what most people hadn’t considered at the time, was whether this would be rolled out to alternative advertising products from Google’s Marketing Platform. Like DV360…

        Our advice remains the same as before. Costs within the DV360 platform will remain the same, and the fee will be added on top. This therefore needs to be factored in when planning budgets. Furthermore, if your total campaign budget remains the same, this does mean media spend on the platform will need to reduce, which means the possibility of reduced traffic and conversions as a result. 

        If you have any questions about this new DV360 fee and how it may impact you, you can email us at hello@upriseup.co.uk or send us a tweet @upriseUPSEM.

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          Google’s Performance Max Campaigns: The Need to Knows

          Robot hand holding up a tablet with a lightbulb, representing machine learning in Performance Max campaigns

          Performance Max or Mad Max?

          Recently, there has been a concerted effort by Google to move Paid Media advertisers towards more automated solutions, from bidding strategies to responsive search ads. One element of this automated push is the Performance Max campaign type. Google claims that this campaign is the crowning achievement of automation; it’s able to perform complex advertising tasks with minimal input and produce strong results for advertisers. We therefore want to give you the inside scoop on what a Performance Max campaign is, how it works, and share our initial impressions are after testing them ourselves.


          What is a Performance Max campaign?

          Performance Max campaigns are essentially a merging of many of the different “smart” campaigns that previously existed in the Google Ads system. It allows an advertiser to combine search, display, video and shopping in a single campaign, which will utilise those channels to try and maximise results. Depending on the creative you supply to the campaign some of these channels may not be used (video requires video creative for example).

          Additionally, many of the smart campaigns previously mentioned, such as smart shopping and smart video, no longer exist. The only way to advertise on these channels in an automated manner is through Performance Max.


          How Does a Performance Max Campaign Work?

          Asset groups are at the core of performance max campaigns. These are assets that you supply to the campaign to use in advertising. This includes text, such as headlines and descriptions, images, videos and product feeds.

          Table of asset groups for performance max campaigns

          These are then mixed and matched to create the ads used by the campaign. For example, an image might be combined with a headline and a call to action to create a display ad.

          Very recently, internal documents from Google suggested that they were testing using generative AI to change your submitted asset groups based on audience signals. This is very new tech, and likely won’t be implemented for months, if at all, but keep a close eye on this. If it does get implemented, it may mean that your asset groups become more of a suggestion than a rule.

          In addition to asset groups, you can add targeting options such as audiences to the campaign. You cannot manually set bid adjustments on these audiences, but any audiences added will be used by the campaign to optimise performance.

          Once your campaign is live, rather than seeing results broken down to individual keywords or ads, you will be viewing the insight page:

          Screengrab of the performance max campaign insights page

          These insights will change depending on the data of your specific campaign, but they will always be broken into aggregated buckets, such as the search term report above. Don’t expect to be drilling into the data in the same fashion as you would in a manual campaign.

          It’s important to note that advertisers cannot manually bid using Performance Max campaigns – you must use one of the available automated bidding strategies. The amount of granular data and targeting options available to you will be less than a manually ran campaign (for example, you will not have as much search term data as you would from a manual paid search campaign).


          Our First Impressions

          From our tests, Performance Max campaigns had a rocky start. Initially, results didn’t seem to be able to compete with manually managed campaigns. However, as is often the case with new Google Ads features, after around a year of development the system appears to have improved significantly. Now, they have reached the point where a well-managed performance max campaign can at least equal manual control, whilst saving on the need to do granular management.

          On the surface, Performance Max campaigns inhabit a strange spot in the Google Ecosystem, requiring large amounts of preparation to set up, but low amounts of time to manage. However, we found that significant changes needed to be made before any of our campaigns were performing similarly to manual campaigns. Do not treat these as a set and forget solution to marketing, they still need optimisation on a manual level.

          We also found that Performance Max campaigns don’t necessarily suit all advertisers and may only fit best for certain scenarios. So, let’s dive in to who these campaigns are for, and some strategies to maximise their effectiveness.


          Who Are Performance Max Campaigns For?

          The first key requirement for running a Performance Max campaign is that you must be an advertiser wanting to run ads over multiple channels. Although you can run a Performance Max campaign through a single channel, we have found that performance is never as good as manually running a single channel campaign.

          Performance Max campaigns also require enough data to optimise it’s algorithm, like any machine learning solution. We wouldn’t recommend Performance Max campaigns for advertisers with a tight, minimal budget, as you won’t be able to provide the data necessary to feed the algorithm to achieve effective learning. Once again, manual campaigns would be the better option for you.

          If you are an advertiser willing to run over multiple channels and are happy to push a reasonable amount of spend through your campaign, you’re ready to go! Let’s move on to how to make these campaigns shine.


          Tips for Successful Performance Max Campaigns


          A Well Fed Algorithm is a Happy Algorithm

          The single most important factor in Performance Max success is ensuring that you are giving the algorithm as much data as you possibly can. This starts with asset groups.

          Making sure you are adding as many assets here as possible is a vital step in ensuring performance. The more assets added to the campaign, the more variations of ads the campaign will be able to test, and the more optimised the ads will become.

          Similarly, the more targeting options you can give to the algorithm, the better it will be at targeting the most relevant users. Things like locations and audience definitions should be included, even if you’re not looking to target those segments specifically. If the Performance Max campaign sees that users from these segments convert more readily, it will target them, but if they do not it will ignore them. The important thing is to give the campaign this lever to pull.


          Organisation Still Matters

          Although a Performance Max campaign says it can run all your activity through one campaign, that doesn’t mean you should let it. We’ve found that performance Max campaigns have a tendency to just focus on the top performing products or audience segments in its targeting, often completely ignoring others. This is fine if those other options are not performing well, but often they were performing just fine.

          The solution to this is to operate using multiple Performance Max campaigns, splitting out your targeting and ensuring that you are not condensing your spend into a few sets of targeting options.

          This also helps with tailoring creative. You only have a certain number of creatives you can add per campaign. Often you won’t have a one size fits all creative for your ads. Splitting your campaigns up can also allow you to tailor images and text in a similar way to ad groups in manual campaigns.


          Take Advantage of the Insights Tab

          The insight tab is the one window you get into the inner workings of your Performance Max campaign, and it’s critical to monitor it if you want to maximise your performance. Early on in a campaign’s life, this can be a great way to identify issues with the types of targeting the campaign is doing, whether that is audience segments, search terms or creative combinations. You should be able to nip these in the bud before they become a big issue.

          Later on, the insights tab can show you any changes in the targeting, as the campaign reacts to shifts in the environment, or to new assets being added. Make sure to check in on this tab every few weeks, it will often have new information to show you.


          Final Thoughts

          Performance Max campaigns are, at least at the moment, not for everyone. They require a level of investment, both in media spend and in creative creation, that some users may not be able to supply. However, for the users who can support such an investment, they appear to be a viable alternative to traditional campaigns when managed well.

          We’re still not fully comfortable with many of our normal optimisation tools being taken from us, but it is difficult to ignore that this seems to be the future of Google’s advertising efforts. Optimisation is shifting from directly improving performance to improving the data fed in to machine learning, which will end up with more conversions at the other end. Whether or not Performance Max is the final form of this sort of system is yet to be seen, but it is worth at least testing if they can work for you, because it very well might be.


          Want to Experiment with Performance Max Campaigns?

          Are you interested in trying out Performance Max campaigns for your charity? We’d love to help you! Send us a message on our contact page or email hello@upriseup.co.uk and we can have a chat about whether Performance Max campaigns are right for you, and how you can get the most out of them.

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            ‘I call it Experiment 626!’ How to Set Up Google Ads Experiments

            Google Ads Experiments Blog Lead Image

            How to use Google Ads Experiments

            Adjusting and optimising your campaigns is key to getting the most out of Google Ads, but what if you’re not sure whether a change will be in your best interests or not? In Paid Media, you always want to ensure you are getting the most benefit out of your Ad spend. This is where Google Ads Experiments comes in. At Uprise Up, we’re always looking to continuously improve the accounts we work on and as a data driven agency, experiments allow us to learn directly from the data produced by these.

            What are Google Ads experiments?

            Experiments are a way to test a change that you’re not certain about in your Google Ads account. Whatever change you are debating, experiments are a way to test your theories without taking any major risks. For charities in particular, this is ideal in keeping costs down and not needing to spend any more than necessary in ensuring your campaigns are running the best they can. Experiments can also be used in either Google Ad Grant or paid accounts, meaning that charities only running Ad Grant activity can also benefit from these.

            This change could be from a range of areas, such as:

            • A change in bid strategy
            • Using pinning in your responsive search ads
            • Changes in your ad copy
            • Using dynamic keyword/location insertion headlines .
            • Using dynamic search ads
            • Different landing pages
            • Pausing/adding ad groups
            • Different keyword lists
            • Applying negative ad targets
            • Audience or locational targeting

            Google Ads uses A/B testing, also referred to as split testing, that allows multiple variants to run simultaneously to show which performs better. This uses a ‘control’ campaign (A) against a ‘variation’ campaign (B) to see what, if any, difference in performance arises between the two campaigns. All you need to start an experiment is an existing campaign and an idea of what it is you’d like to test.

            Before you start: Experiment limitations

            It’s worth noting that there are some limitations to which campaigns are allowed to use experiments. There are only a few restrictions but it’s important to be aware of them before you start, otherwise Google might not inform you until you’ve already put in most of the work in setting one up.

            Restrictions include:

            • Campaigns in a shared budget. Removing the campaign from the budget while the experiment is carried out is a route around this, but no experiment can be run if a shared budget is still attached.
            • Campaigns that include ‘Text Ads’, even if they’ve been removed. This is referring solely to the old style of ad referred to as ‘Text Ads’, rather than ‘Expanded Text Ads’ the latter of these function in experiments just fine. What’s unusual here is that this restriction applies even if the ads have been ‘removed’ from the account, so if these are in a campaign even in this state, you won’t be able to run an experiment.
            • Custom experiments are not available for App of Shopping campaigns. Experiments are only available for Search, Display, Video and Hotel Ads campaigns.
            • Only one experiment for a campaign at a time. However, you can schedule up to five experiments for a single campaign.


            How to set up Google Ads Experiments

            Let’s run through an example. You’re running a campaign focused on recruitment and volunteering and you want more application-based conversions for a campaign, but you’re not sure what effect a bid strategy change might have on your campaign. You decide to set up an experiment to test this and have directly comparable data between your original campaign and your variation.

            Here’s the set-up process:

            Creating a custom experiment - how to set up Google Ads Experiments

            First of all, select the ‘Experiments’ tab in the left navigation bar, while on the ‘All campaigns’ view as shown above. From here, we’ll make a custom experiment, allowing us to test as much or little as we like.

            Select the campaign you want to make into an experiment in Google Ads

            Next, choose the campaign you want to make an experiment for and name it something clear and to the point, such as stating the purpose of the experiment.

            Changing the settings for Google Ads Experiments

            Now, you can make your changes. Go into the campaign settings and change the bid strategy over to our desired option, just the same as you would to make any changes outside of an experiment.

            Setting a Google Ads Experiment live

            Then you can simply set it live! While you can choose the metrics you’re most interested in to see more directly in your results, you’ll still get a range of metrics to view once your experiment is running. Additionally, if you have a larger campaign or limited budget and only want to test this change on a smaller level, here you can set just how much budget you want to split between the base campaign and the experiment.

            Generally speaking, these experiments do need some time to learn, so we’d usually suggest running an experiment for at least 4 weeks, otherwise this simply won’t give enough time to see the effects of any changes, although this can depend on just how much data is coming through.

            It’s also important to note that while you can extend the duration of the experiment once it’s begun or choose to end it early, you can’t reenable an experiment once it’s ended, so always double check that you’ve given the experiment enough time to test your changes effectively.

            Another feature that’s incredibly useful here is Enable Sync. For most experiments, this allows us to continue optimising across both the control and experiment campaigns as we go, such as adding new keywords or adjusting copy. A case where you might not use this is in an experiment where copy is being tested, as you might not want any further tweaks in your copy to pull across to the experiment.

            Monitor performance in Google Ads

            As the experiment is running and learning, you’ll want to monitor performance. We would recommend regularly popping back into the experiments tab throughout the duration of the experiment, where you can easily take a look at the performance of your experiment compared to the base campaign.

            Summary data interface for Google Ads Experiments

            The summary, as shown above, will highlight whichever metrics you decided to look at earlier and will also display a range of metrics to compare. This can be customised in the same way as you’d customise columns within the regular campaigns view.

            You can also make any alterations to your experiment here (although we’d recommend keeping an experiment the same from start to finish), apply the experiment early or end the experiment early if you’d like to. Once the experiment is over, you can use this summary to get a clear idea of your results and then decide whether or not to apply your changes to the base campaign.
            And that’s all there is to it! Experiments are a great and adaptable way to safely test your ideas out and directly see just how your changes might affect a campaign.

            Need some support?

            Do you want some support setting up your Google Ads and running experiments? Or would you just like to talk about your paid media in general? We’d love to hear from you! Check out our contact us page or email us at hello@upriseup.co.uk, or simply send us a message through our contact page.

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              The Best and Worst of Google Ads Automation Options in 2022.

              Automation is an unavoidable word in modern Google Ads management. From something as small as site links to entire campaigns, Google is now giving us more ways than ever before to let them handle parts of our digital marketing.

              But anyone that has any experience in Google Ads will tell you that automation can often be a minefield, and blindly using it won’t guarantee the best results. Sometimes it feels like Google’s interest in automation is largely centered around taking control of campaigns, rather than necessarily what is going to work best for advertisers.

              Here are some of our favourite and least favoured automated features currently available in the Google Ads suite.

              We’ve also included some easy-to-implement tips to get the most out of them.


              An Honourable Mention – Responsive Search Ads.


              Our data shows responsive search ads are now working just as well as expanded text ads across our accounts


              Why are Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) an ‘honourable’ mention? For the very reason that this blog is about automation you can intentionally choose not to use. Since Google has recently switched RSA’s to being the only ad format you are able to create, this ad type isn’t applicable.

              I will say, however, that had this blog been written two months ago RSAs would have sat firmly in the favourites for us.

              At worst they performed equally well as the older expanded text ads, and they saved you valuable time over writing 5 – 10 different ad variations. The only downside is that their initial setup can take longer, and that ad readability can be an issue if you don’t make proper use of the pinning feature.

              We have a blog outlining how to successfully use RSAs if you’d like more information on this topic.


              The Favourites.


              Automated Bidding Strategies.



              We find maximise conversions particularly useful, often taking advantage of the target CPA (cost per acquisition) feature to further target the bidding.

              Automated bidding strategies were one of the first big steps toward automatic management Google made and therefore have had the longest time to be refined and improved. Although having a shaky start at the beginning (including a rather embarrassing introduction to the Google Ad Grant scheme) they have since become a mainstay of almost all our strategies.

              For those unaware, an automated bidding strategy takes control of the keyword level bidding, (usually accomplished by setting a maximum you are willing to spend per click) and optimises towards a particular goal you set. There are many different bidding strategies, which differ depending on what the strategy is optimising towards.

              These bidding strategies, particularly the conversion-focused ones, such as ‘maximising conversions’ and ‘target ROAS’ (Return on Ad Spend), have shown results at least equal to, if not better than manually editing the bids, (so long as there is sufficient data for Google to utilise). For a start these strategies get to use data that we as users simply cannot see to inform bidding, but they also can make adjustments at a user-to-user level, something that we simply would never have the time to do.


              Dynamic Search Campaigns.


              A useful trick is adding all pages currently advertised to their own ad group. That way, you can easily see when a search term not covered by the keywords in that ad group gets picked up by Dynamic Search Ads.


              A Dynamic Search Campaign (DSC), also known as Dynamic Search Ads, is Google’s fully automated approach to search advertising. You simply give the campaign a list of pages on your site, and Google will do the rest, matching pages to searches, generating ad copy, and posting the ad. This can save a lot of time, and potentially highlight unexpected sources of traffic.

              To be clear, a DSC is only favourable when used in the right way, and mostly for Google Ad Grant accounts. This should not be the entirety of your ad activity, and an account purely running off DSCs is never going to do as well as an account with more tightly targeted ads.

              However, there are several very useful ways to use a DSC.

              The first is that it can be a fantastic keyword research tool. Google will only match your ads to searches it thinks are relevant to a page, and so running through the search terms of a DSC can give you new areas of searches to target with keywords. Just remember to add them as negative keywords in the DSC after you do.

              The second use is as an extended SEO resource. DSCs operate in a very similar fashion to organic search, with Google matching your site pages to searches based on the content within each page. This can both highlight pages where the content is not well optimised to the keywords it’s supposed to target, and can also highlight pages that are well optimised. Which may be worth adding as new ad groups themselves.

              We’ve recently written a blog about the best ways to utilise these ads in Google Ad Grants, you can read it here.


              The Recommendations Page (Part 1).


              The recommendations around improving RSA’s can be very useful, with the recommended assets often being able to be added with only minor alterations.


              I’ve split the recommendations page into two parts here, for reasons that will become apparent soon. The recommendations page is where Google will suggest improvements to your Google Ads account.

              From improving ad copy, and increasing budgets, to changing bid strategies, a whole host of options will pop up on this page.

              There are some hidden gems on this page that can make managing an account both quicker and easier. In particular, the ad copy improvement notifications are great. A list of the lowest performance ads in the account, which you can click on to immediately begin editing the ad in question. Running through this once every few weeks is a time-worthy investment and can make Click Through Rate (CTR) improvements across the whole account.

              Similarly, the recommendations pane can highlight where important, but not vital, elements of campaigns haven’t been implemented, like ad extension types. Sometimes there is a reason (call extensions are only useful if you wish to receive calls, for example). But often these will have been overlooked simply because they are not a necessary part of campaign or ad group creation. It would be very difficult to spot this without the recommendations tab highlighting it.

              Unfortunately, the recommendations tab does also have it’s problems…


              The Least Favourites.

              The Recommendations Page (Part 2).

              For every useful thing the recommendations page does, there is another that is either pointless, or sometimes actively harmful to the account. It’s almost like these issues arise from the fact that Google wants you to spend more money on their platform.



              Implementing this recommendation would require a 33% increase in the budget of this account and reduce the cost per conversion by around 15%. Not exactly a brilliant recommendation

              From increasing your budgets and switching your keywords to broad match to utilising different bidding strategies, Google has shown a willingness to make risky recommendations if it is going to up your monthly spend.

              A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself “Will this change result in me spending more on the platform?” when looking at recommendations. If the answer is yes, be a lot more sceptical about whether the recommendation is actually going to help you.

              Often these changes come with a big increase in the “optimisation score” of the account. Do not be alarmed, the score is entirely arbitrary, and has no impact on the performance of your campaign. If you don’t think a change is needed, don’t make it. It’s as simple as that.


              Keyword Recommendations.

              For an advertising platform that has run for over 20 years using keyword-based targeting, at times it feels like Google has no concept of what makes a good keyword. In the last few years, the keyword planner has at least started to become credible as a research tool with some new data added and a better connection between the keywords you give it and the recommended keywords.

              the recommendations tab (which pops up next to the manual input of keywords) is still pretty questionable.

              Only ever recommending broad match searches (which are broader than they ever have been), and often recommending keywords that are vaguely related to the company, let alone the specific page you are attempting to advertise. Worst of all, the recommendations do not consider your other ad groups or campaigns and can often lead to heavy overlap between your different ad groups. This option can too often turn into a trap for the unaware rather than being a useful time saver.

              We would recommend actively avoiding this feature. Despite all the great tech advances in the last few decades, you still know what type of traffic you want to visit your pages, and you’ll do a better job of defining them than Google does here.


              Performance Max Campaigns.

              A performance max campaign (PMC) is what you get when you take a dynamic search campaign and turn the complexity up to 11. Where a DSC only operates as search ads, a performance max campaign will run across everything (Search, YouTube, Discover, Display, Maps and Gmail to be precise).

              These are a relatively new form of automation, covering a huge swathe of advertising in a single campaign, with only minor levers for you to pull to control and impact the performance.

              Our issue with the campaign type is not the concept or even the results often associated with this campaign type, but rather the concerning trend of it absorbing other, more targeted solutions.

              It was announced recently that smart shopping campaigns (the equivalent of a DSC for shopping ads) would be canned, and all smart shopping campaigns would become Performance Max Campaigns.

              We almost always object to the removal of options within Google Ads, and this is another example of that. We hope it will end here, but the idea that all automated campaign options will one day become a flavour of performance max, which requires more setup and contains less feedback data, is concerning.

              Final thoughts.

              So there you have it, the best and worst of what Google Ads automation has to offer in our opinion.

              One final note is that no automated system, no matter how good, will succeed without three things, time, volume of data, and effective goal tracking. If you do not have all three of these elements, do not be surprised if your automated systems act out, or sometimes do not work at all.

              Automation is not going away any time soon. In fact, it is becoming more and more integral to the way Google Ads work. We are increasingly seeing automated options becoming more available, and some options (like RSA’s) are becoming mandatory. Therefore, it is all the more important that you get to grips with these elements yourself, and decide which ones to lean on, and which to avoid.

              If you’d like any help with setting up your ad campaigns, feel free to contact us or drop us an email.


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                Dynamic Search Ads – A Powerful Tool For Google Ad Grants

                laptop on standby resting on desk at Uprise Up office.

                Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) are similar to standard search ads but instead of defining keywords, they are created automatically, based on the contents of your website or business product feed; and use this to match users’ search queries to your site. 

                They’re also different from regular text ads due to the ad headline being dynamically created by Google rather than manually inputted. 

                We’d usually prefer more manual control in ads, breaking campaigns into careful granular ad groups.

                However, Google Ad Grants are often focused on informational campaigns, where a significant amount of website content needs to be promoted. As these campaigns aren’t often directly revenue-driven, there might be limited time and resources that can be allocated to them. Here automation can be invaluable.


                Why they’re a great tool for Google Ad Grants

                For charities that are running the Google Ad Grant scheme, and may not be fully utilising their available budget, need new keyword ideas, or have frequent content being published but limited time to set up new ads, RSAs can be a great tool.

                Below we delve into this in more detail and explore the good (and not so) bad of these often unnoticed bad boys.

                The benefits of DSAs:

                • They’re time savers

                Dynamic Search Ads are predominantly created through automated systems, which requires less time to be spent on generating new ads. 

                It’s worth noting because of the less focused nature of DSAs (and the fact that higher priority traffic campaigns will likely already be set up in the account) they’re likely to not generate as strong results in return.  However, they can still be a valuable tool for creating additional traction to awareness-focused content. 

                • Creation is easier 

                With this type of ad campaign, less manual input is required due to the way headlines are dynamically created based on the product or service being matched to the search query. 

                Meaning there is less manual input required making creation a whole lot easier. 


                • They can help identify keyword and content gaps

                DSAs can be a strong tool for filling in keyword gaps and identifying search terms that you’re not already targeting. 

                Usually, gaps can occur by having an unintentional keyword blind spot.

                Regularly reviewing your Dynamic Search Ad campaign, allows you to be able to easily identify these loopholes and find new keywords that your content is being matched for that aren’t already targeting intentionally. 

                You can then bank these keywords and integrate them in campaigns elsewhere which will allow you to better optimise them. 

                Similarly, it can help uncover content gaps in your account, allowing you to then set up new ads based on popular landing pages that haven’t previously been promoted in the account.


                They can help budgets to be fully utilised

                The Google Ad Grant enables non-profits to spend up to $10,000 each month, or $330 per day but it may not always be possible to spend this. For example, if your account is relatively new, or you have been struggling with new keyword ideas (as above). DSAs can help make the most of any unused spend and therefore generate additional traffic and conversions.


                When DSAs are perhaps less favourable:

                Budget is limited and you want tighter control over performance

                As we briefly touched on above, Dynamic Search Ads may not be a great fit for all digital marketing strategies. Particularly in cases where budgets are tighter and you want more control over your account.

                If you have very clear conversion-based goals, we would always advise opting for the traditional ad set-up approach first, in order to get the best performance for your priority pages. 

                Limited control over messaging 

                The dynamic headline element of this kind of ad campaign is a great benefit but it can also present challenges due to reducing the control you have on targeting and messaging. 

                As the dynamic feature relies on the search systems understanding the content and matching this with the user’s search, it can result in displaying information from your website that isn’t as relevant perhaps as a different page or area of the site for that particular search query.

                The pre-defined descriptions also may not be as tailored to the ad as you would like.


                Extra considerations to be mindful of when using DSAs

                We’ve been using Dynamic Search Ad campaigns on behalf of our charity clients for some time now and here’s what we’ve learned along the way:

                • Breaking down ad group targeting into different sections of a site, to see how each performs individually will allow you to gather effective learnings more easily. Particularly in areas like new keywords to target or the performance of landing pages. 

                DSAs can be highly beneficial here, as they can allow you to quickly (by automatically generating ads) leverage any new content coming out.


                •  As well as being able to target specific sections of your site, you can also remove areas of your site for targeting using ‘Negative Dynamic Targets’. This gives you an extra level of control when using DSA campaigns. An example of this would be  promoting the careers section of your site is not a priority.


                •  We would advise keeping a close eye on your Negative Keywords, as a measure to prevent cannibalising traffic from the same keywords in other campaigns. Sometimes existing keywords in your account could be matched to a page on your site that you’re not already using. We often see this with brand keywords. 


                • It’s really important to frequently monitor the search terms reports, but as a safety net, we would suggest setting up a Negative Keyword list for all of your priority terms and applying it to your DSA.


                • A final tip: we often use the targeting option of using landing pages from your standard ‘ad groups’ as a good way of finding new, relevant keywords for ads and campaigns that are already running.


                If you’d like to find out more about how to get to grips with Dynamic Search Ads, or would like some assistance with your Google Ad Grant, drop us a line at hello@upriseup.co.uk or fill out our contact form.

                If you found this blog to be useful, subscribe to our newsletter where we often delve into how charities can maximise their digital media.  

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                  Noteworthy paid media developments in April and May 2022

                  Staying on top of new digital tools, the latest channel updates, and user demands can be overwhelming, we know. Which is why we’ve assessed the latest paid media developments during April and May and put our heads together to evaluate what this means for the paid media landscape. 

                  Have your pad and pen ready (definitely worth taking note of), below our team of digital media specialists, share what the latest developments are and what this means for digital marketers. 


                  New Custom Columns in Google Ads
                  Google recently announced some major updates to custom columns in Google Ads. The biggest change is the inclusion of functions. These operate much like functions in spreadsheets such as excel, and allow for a whole host of new uses for custom columns not possible before.

                  Alongside this change, Google has also added the ability to reference custom columns within formulas, allowing for custom columns to work off of each other. This is useful with the new options functions have unlocked. We are also now able to pull text elements like campaign or ad group name into the columns. 

                  These changes are very welcome, custom columns have until recently been mostly used to segment-specific conversions into a column for optimisation purposes. The options available for calculation within the columns were just not complete enough to allow for many more use cases. With these changes, however, there are many more situations where custom columns could be useful in optimising an account.

                  Reference: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/12041700?hl=en  

                  Dan Biggs, Paid Media Consultant 


                  New Cookie Choices for Google in Europe

                  Google announced last month that they’ll be rolling out new cookie banners in Europe to anyone visiting Search or YouTube while signed out or in Incognito Mode. The update will give these users the additional option to ‘Reject All’ cookies:


                  The update began with a roll out across France and will soon be introduced across the rest of the European Economic Area. 

                  This is a big change for Google, moving away from a design made to make it difficult for users to opt out of cookies. With a continued commitment to “building privacy-preserving tools”, Google believes they can protect people’s private data while also giving businesses the tools they need to thrive in their digital environment. One thing’s for certain, it will be interesting to find out how this is all going to work.

                  Matt Hekkink, Paid Media Analyst 


                  Upgrades to Google Ads Extensions 

                  Starting this month, Google made some significant adjustments to ad extensions and upgraded all extension types (excluding image and location extensions).

                  So, what’s the difference? Well, it means there’s now a distinction between “extensions (upgraded)” and “extensions” for the new and existing extensions, making it clear which extensions are legacy and which will have the new features, allowing you to retain your historic data.

                  The new features include some very beneficial changes such as the ability to pause extensions, rather than outright removing them, and a “trickle-down” system for the different hierarchies of extensions.

                  This means that where previously higher-level extensions were limited by existing extensions at an ad group or campaign level, with the upgraded extensions all extensions can serve despite existing ones. For example, an Ad Group with existing sitelinks can now pull sitelinks from the Campaign or Account levels where they were previously restricted to just the Ad Group level extensions.


                  These features are definitely a big improvement but it’ll definitely be worth checking that your high-level extensions match with all of your ads just to be safe.

                  Ross Stratford, Paid Media Assistant


                  Updates to Google’s 3 strike system 

                  A new three strike disapproval rule is being implemented for google ads in June 2022 after being trialled in September 2021. The strike system will be for the following policies in particular: Enabling dishonest behaviour, Unapproved substances, Guns, gun parts and related products, Explosives, Other Weapons and Tobacco. A ‘strike’ will be added to your account if a policy is repeatedly broken. 

                  First Disapproval

                  The first stage will just be a warning and will result in a normal ad disapproval. Google wants to be fair and make sure that everyone is aware of the policy rules before they start blocking accounts. 

                  Strike One

                  The first strike will come if google deems policy to have been broken again within 90 days of the first warning disapproval, in this case there will be a full account block for three days in which no ads will be able to run. After three days the account will be enabled again but the offending ads will remain disapproved until they comply with policy.

                  Strike Two

                  The second strike is much like strike one but the whole account will be blocked for seven days, rather than three,  if google deems policy to have been broken again within 90 days of strike one.

                  Strike Three

                  The third strike is another violation within 90 days of strike two. This will result in the full suspension of your account and google doesn’t specify if there is any timeframe in which you will be allowed access to the account again.

                  You may appeal strikes but your ads won’t be able to show until either the block has been lifted and the appeal accepted or the temporary block time is over, you have fixed all policy violations in the account and completed an acknowledgement form. 

                  Whilst this may not affect many accounts it’s worth considering the reasons disapprovals may occur, we often have surprising disapprovals due to some content linked to the landing page we are promoting rather than the ads themselves, as there is now more at stake we recommend everyone keeping their eyes out for disapprovals and brushing up on the policies!

                  Reference: https://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/10922738?hl=en-GB 

                  Brogan Carroll, Paid Media Analyst


                  Meta have updated their Facebook Ad’s Manager Objectives

                  Meta have started rolling out changes to their Objectives in Ads Manager, or at least how their Objectives are named and grouped together. 

                  Prior to the change, there were 3 broad categories of Awareness, Consideration and Conversions, with then 12 sub-category Objectives across these e.g. Reach, Traffic, Catalogue Sales etc. With the changes, Meta have now consolidated this to 6 core Objectives, which they say are “grouped together based on their expected business outcome”. It’s important to clarify that:

                  • Objective names will change but you can still perform the same functions and access the features you’re familiar with.
                  • Campaigns created before the update will remain with the previous Objectives, so there is no need to change these manually.  

                  We think the most significant change to be aware of, is to how conversion-optimised campaigns are now set-up, as there are multiple ways to ultimately reach the same outcome. For example, you can optimise for website conversions under either of these 3 Objectives: Engagement, Leads, Sales, but will need to specify the correct ‘Conversion Location’ for each.  


                  Engagement Objective: 

                  Leads Objective:


                  More details on the changes can be found here.

                  Will Rhodes, Paid Media Manager 


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                    How to successfully run responsive search ads (RSAs)

                    Not long ago Google announced the end of an era for expanded text ads. As of June 30th 2022, you will no longer be able to create or edit expanded text ads. 

                    The announcement surfaced last year and here at Uprise Up, we’ve been preparing our client’s accounts ever since. Introducing responsive search ads (RSAs) into each of our ad groups ahead of June 30th. To help you also get ahead and be fully prepared for the change, we’ve jotted down our top tips in this blog for running successful responsive search ads. 

                    First things first, what are responsive search ads?

                    Responsive search ads (RSAs) are another step in the direction towards automation from Google. Expanded text ads (ETAs) had a set of 3 headlines and 2 descriptions that are shown statically, whereas RSAs allow us to select up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. Google then automatically tests the different combinations of these headlines and descriptions to give the user the ‘best’ performing combinations. 

                    Ok, so what are the potential benefits of RSAs?

                    • Improved performance. According to Google, advertisers that add RSAs to their ad groups achieve up to 10% more clicks and conversions. From our experience, we’ve also seen RSAs often out-perform existing ETAs when added into our accounts. 
                    • Increase ad relevance and reach. More headlines and descriptions mean Google can serve more relevant combinations to the user. With more keywords in your ad copy, you’ll be entered into more auctions for relevant searches. 
                    • They’re a time saver. Instead of needing to set up multiple variations of ETAs to test and learn, you only need the one responsive search ad which will test the combinations automatically.

                    One thing to note is that while Google’s auto suggestions can often be useful, they are equally often not so useful. We’d advise taking a cautious approach when applying these.

                    So, on the flip side, what are the potential downsides to RSAs?

                    • Less control. Your ability to specify how an ad is formatted and reads overall is limited, due to the nature of the machine learning testing various combinations. This may lead to headlines appearing together which don’t necessarily work well or make sense to a user, or for your brand.
                    • Reduced learnings. You cannot see as easily which headlines and descriptions have the best CTR and conversion rate, and therefore might work well outside of Paid Search.
                    • Can actually take more time to select headlines and descriptions that work well together, but are unique enough, while also assessing whether to make use of the pinning feature (discussed below) can actually be more time-consuming than creating a standard ETA.
                    • Beware of auto-suggestions. Google will be missing important context, so not all suggestions will be relevant.


                    How to Run Responsive Search Ads Successfully

                    Top tip time:

                    • Include keywords in your headlines. To reach those good and excellent ad strengths you’ll need to make sure you have headlines relevant to your keywords. You can also use dynamic keyword insertions to insert your keyword into headlines, from experience this will help to optimise your ad strength. 
                    • Include unique headlines. To give Google the variation it needs to test and optimise your RSA, you’ll need to keep your headlines unique. Try using a variety of calls to action and offers to improve headline uniqueness. 
                    • Have a combination of short and long headlines. ‘Long’ headlines being within the 30 character cap.
                    • Use all the headline and description fields available. If you can aim to fill out all 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, at a minimum include 10 headlines. 
                    • Pay attention to ‘ad strength’. Google will offer you suggestions to improve the ad strength of your RSAs. You’ll want to get the ad strength up to at least “Good” but ideally aiming for “Excellent”.


                    To pin or not to pin, that is the question.

                    Responsive search ads are far from perfect, we’ll still quite often see Google pair similar headlines together as the highest serving combination (e.g. two branded headlines rather than a branded headline and a CTA). There’s definitely still questions to be answered. 

                    Our biggest one is around the pinning feature. When setting up your RSA, you have the option to pin a headline or description so that they only appear in a certain position. While this sounds great (especially for controlling brand messaging), the ad strength of the ad is very much affected by the use of pinning. A lower ad strength may impact your achievable impressions share and your CPC, and may result in lower impressions/clicks as a result.

                    With that in mind, you may be wondering: 

                    • What is the actual impact of a lower ad strength on the total impressions?
                    • Does this impact outweigh the benefits of improved brand messaging?
                    • How do we best use pins to balance this impact?

                    Fortunately, we have sought-out to find the answers!


                    What we’re testing

                    We’ve set up an experiment to test the pinning feature specifically. We’re running A/B experiments to test RSAs with no pinning, fully pinned, and a balance of pinning. 

                    Specifically one thing we’re testing, is how the number of pins effects ad strength. For example will pinning 4-5 headlines in a single headline position still allow for a stronger ad strength compared to 1-2? 

                    We’ll also be testing the impact of losing an ‘excellent’ ad strength in favour of pinning, looking at the effects on impression share against conversions. 


                    We’ll be running this test over the next few months and look forward to sharing the results once they’re in.

                    Here’s some examples of the types of variations we’re testing:







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                      Google Introduces 2% Fee on all Ads Served in the UK

                      Google 2% fee on all ads served in the UK

                      Google Introduces 2% Fee on all Ads Served in the UK

                      Starting on Tuesday, Google have been emailing Google Ads users about the introduction of extra fees for ads served in the UK (NB: a few other territories are affected too, but we’ll be focusing on the UK).

                      The help page clearly states that this is in direct response to the government’s newly introduced Digital Services Tax and will result in an extra 2% charge on top of any ad spend within the UK. This will start to take affect from November 1st 2020.

                      This tax was aimed at the largest organisations, so it is disappointing (if not somewhat inevitable) that Google have decided to pass this cost directly onto their customers. Amazon have similarly passed this cost on recently, though that goes beyond just advertising. It will be interesting to see Microsoft’s response, as if they are able to not follow Google’s lead, advertising on Bing will become more attractive.

                      So far, there has been no news from any Social Networks about any changes, but it will be something else to keep an eye on over the coming months.

                      Advertisers will need to carefully budget for the end of 2020 and beyond. Costs within the Google Ads platform will remain the same, as the fee is added on top. This does create an added complication when calculating budget and so we advice thinking about this sooner rather than later.


                      If you have any questions about how this new fee will affect you, we’re happy to help. Please do email us at hello@upriseup.co.uk, send us a tweet @upriseUPSEM or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to have a chat and find out how we can support you.

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                        Big Hype, Big TV and Big Disappointment: Google Marketing Live

                        Google Marketing Live

                        Google Marketing Live Event : PPC’s Reactions


                        On Tuesday, Google live-streamed their Google Marketing Live event, which highlights their developments and innovations for the next 12 months on their paid platforms. Expectations were high, and Google were ramping up their marketing about it.

                        Maybe expectations where set too high, as in the end we all felt a bit underwhelmed. There wasn’t a lot of innovation or any sizeable developments delivered. In fact, what was a ‘announced’ in most cases was already known or was something which had already been in beta. If you have any questions on topics mentioned in the live event or about Google’s paid platforms in general, don’t hesitate to contact us.

                        Below I’ve detailed my takeaway from the event, and I’ve caught up with Alex and Will from our Paid Media team on their thoughts!


                        For me, I was expecting more in general. I know there’s been sizeable developments recently with the introduction of the new UI and the rebrand – but there was nothing really ground-breaking occurring here.

                        I’m interested by the developments in Google Marketing Platform, especially Display and Video 360.

                        As we start to get involved in more and more omni-channel campaigns, having a hub to co-ordinate between agencies, clients and even inter-agency departments sounds like a nice direction to take.

                        The highlight is the introduction of cross device and remarketing reporting within Google Analytics. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do with this level of reporting and how we can then apply this to our campaigns.

                        Finally, I’m disappointed by the direction they’re taking with the new responsive ads. It feels like another unnecessary squeeze on the organic space and feels like a tick boxing exercise to force users to use a more ‘machine learning’ by Google.

                        Ben, Account Director


                        I also caught up with our Account Manager, Alex on his thoughts on the event:

                        As usual these things are disappointing overall, with a lot of waffle without really explaining how these new developments actually work. We’re not in any way sure how useful anything announced will be to our clients – we’ll have to wait for more details to be able to comment further.

                        There was a focus on automation (as there has been recently), but Google just say that they will be better options for advertisers without actually explaining anything in detail.

                        I was disappointed there was no mention of Data Studio, as it is a product with a lot of clear potential and one that we use enthusiastically. We even received an email teasing this last week which makes it extra disappointing.

                        Alex, Account Manager


                        Finally, we spoke to Will on his thoughts:

                        I think the responsive search ads do have the potential to be quite useful and are an obvious move for Google, towards providing more machine learning capabilities. They allow advertisers to provide up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, and then tests multiple variations of your ad for you, to work out the best combination, per search query.  They also have the ability to display up to three headlines and two 90-character descriptions, which is 90% more text overall!

                        Google say that these will not only save time, but also improve ad performance, by providing more opportunities to show relevant messages to customers. We know that taking up more real-estate on a page can greatly increase CTR, so it will be interesting to see how effective they actually are.

                        It does raise further questions over the future of SEO, with paid ads taking up more and more space, and organic results being pushed further down. Moreover, there are also questions over how this will affect PPC; with more organisations turning to paid ads, and less room to get in a top-of-the-page position, surely cost-per-clicks will rise too?

                        Will, Digital Marketing Executive


                        For a full rundown of the event you can still watch the live on demand here: https://blog.google/products/ads/live-stream-2018/; as well as reading their blog on the releases here: https://blog.google/technology/ads/machine-learning-hands-advertisers/

                        It would be great to hear your thoughts and opinions! Tweet us @upriseUPSEM or send us an email at hello@upriseup.co.uk.


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                          Tips For The New AdWords User Interface (UI)

                          New AdWords Interface

                          Getting Used to the New AdWords UI


                          As we all know, change is awful and should never happen. However, Google are dragging us kicking and screaming into the new AdWords UI and no matter how much we protest the future of paid search is here to stay.

                          Here are a few things to take note of amidst the transition.


                          Promotion Extensions

                          This has been a welcome addition – no more using up valuable ad text characters for your promotion, it will now appear below the ad next to an eye-catching price tag icon.


                          AdWords Promotion Extension Example


                          As in the image above you can apply a general promotion, or you can have a special occasion promotion as follows:


                          AdWords Promotion Extension Occasions


                          The promotion can be either a percentage discount or a monetary discount in a variety of currencies.

                          Promotions wouldn’t exist if they didn’t work, and promotion extensions are already proving to work very well, with delighted digital marketers reporting dramatically increased CTR.



                          Praise be to shortcuts in general – rewiring your brain to use them always takes some time but before long you’ll be jumping around the new interface while your mouse sits neglected.


                          Google AdWords Keyboard Shortcuts


                          Google will test and trial new hot keys over time and we expect this to be ramped up in the coming months!


                          Dimensions rides off into the sunset…

                          …As Predefined Reports takes its place. Most of the dimensions are still here but others have moved or been done away with entirely (the Search Terms dimension for example was a little redundant).

                          One that has moved is Call Details – it now has its own columns.


                          AdWords Call Details


                          Being the superstar that it is, Devices now has a whole tab just for itself.


                          Google AdWords Devices Tab


                          Time is still included in the Predefined Reports but there is a new Ad Schedule tab which offers an easier-to-digest breakdown of day to day results.



                          Landing Page Mobile Assessment

                          We’ve all come across web pages that are the opposite of mobile friendly. High bounce rates and low conversions are a given, and they lower the quality score of otherwise brilliant keywords.

                          In comes the new Landing Page tab to point them out to you, showing a ‘Mobile-friendly Click Rate’ next to each page, helping you to isolate problem areas. Considering most searches now happen via mobile these problem areas have a bigger impact than some might think.


                          Google AdWords Landing Page Tab
                          (Image courtesy of adwords.googleblog.com)


                          The Overview

                          Probably the most obvious change is the Overview. It’s colourful and bombastic, but is it useful?
                          Yep. At least parts of it. You can now compare more than two metrics in the graph at the top, which is nice.


                          Google AdWords Overview Graph


                          There are also a few helpful modules such as Biggest Changes:


                          Google AdWords Biggest Changes Report

                          And a performance heatmap:


                          Google AdWords Performance Heatmap


                          See blog posts by Chantal and Dan for more on the Overview.


                          Call Bid Adjustments

                          With the new UI Google have rolled out call bid adjustments for mobile. This is welcome news considering calls convert more effectively than clicks do. The adjustments range from -90% to +900% and can be made right here:


                          Google AdWords Call Bid Adjustments Tab


                          Let’s Talk

                          Did you find our tips for the new Google Ads user interface helpful? Why not share this post on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?

                          If you want to know more about our paid search services and how it could benefit your charity or business, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

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                            Why Google Shopping Campaigns Are Fantastic!

                            Why Google Shopping campaigns are fantastic

                            The Benefits of Google Shopping Campaigns


                            Google Shopping Campaigns are fantastic! In the two years since we’ve started using them we’ve seen their performance continue to improve tenfold, to the point that they are now outperforming the more traditional search ads! If you want to transform your business by making the most out of shopping ads, please send us an email at hello@upriseup.co.uk

                            One of the key components of their effectiveness is understanding how they work and how you can best utilise Google’s shopping platform to show your products at the right time; and for the right bid! Today I want to open the lid (slightly) on our Google Shopping strategy and give you some insight into how you can send your ecommerce revenue through the roof.

                            Google Shopping Ads


                            Before I go any further, I just want to make sure that we’re all on the same page. There are some significant differences in the way the Google presents data to you between paid search and shopping. But, there are two fundamental differences when it comes to the key dynamics of how it all works. These are Ad Copy and Bid Management:

                            Paid Search
                            Shopping Campaigns
                            Ad Copy
                            User created ad copy which includes strong CTA. Text-based Manually added to spreadsheet or automatically pulled from your website. Includes product title, an image of the product, and the price
                            Bid Management
                            By keyword, optimised based on conversions By product, based on what is bringing in the income



                            Shopping ads consists of a title, price, store name and, most crucially, an image. They consequently differ to search ads as they do not require the creation of any ad copy. Google creates shopping ads automatically, using information provided by the advertisers in a Merchant Feed. It is therefore important to optimise the feed itself, as this effectively takes the place of the Ad Copy, by implementing a Shopping Strategy.


                            You should be reviewing all product names and product type categories in your feed and optimising them with as descriptive keywords as possible. Conducting this process increases the chances of the Ad being shown, and therefore provides more opportunities to convert prospective purchasers.


                            The other major difference with shopping ads is with how bidding works. In paid search, bids are placed at keyword level. In layman’s terms: The more profitable the keyword, the greater the bid. However, in Shopping Ads, bids are set by product. This is not ideal as different search queries have different intents of purchasing. For example, a user searching ‘buy pink umbrella’ has a higher intent to purchase than a search of ‘umbrella’. This causes a problem because we would happily pay more for ‘buy pink umbrella’, but we are unable to distinguish between the searches, as we are forced to bid at product level.


                            The way around this problem is to utilise the priority setting for each Shopping campaign. Each campaign’s priority can be set to ‘High’, ‘Medium’ or ‘Low’. By creating duplicate campaigns with differing priority levels, we can control our bids by funnelling search terms into different campaigns based on intent.




                            Using this system, a search of ‘umbrella’ would be sent to the ‘high’ priority campaign first, which would contain a low bid as it contains low intent search terms. You want to match to the ‘high priority’ first in order to show for as low a bid as possible to most keywords. Remember, Google chooses when your ads show – not you! So, by default we want it to be a low bid, until we know it’s a great search term.


                            Once you have enough data, top performing searches would be set as negative keywords in the high priority campaigns, and these searches would be funnelled into a ‘lower priority’ campaign. These campaigns would then have a higher bid, as we are happier to pay more for a user who is more likely to convert.




                            This system allows a much greater amount of control over our bids and has produced some fantastic results for our clients.


                            This blog is a snapshot of my ‘Evening of Ecommerce’ talk I presented at upriseUP for one of our fantastic events. You can find more information about my talk here presentation library.


                            Please do let me know your success with Shopping ads and I’d love to hear how you get on with implementing your ‘priority’ bidding strategy. If you would love for me to talk to you about how I think we can help your ecommerce even further, then please let me know.


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                              Extend Your Knowledge of Ad Extensions – Part 2

                              Extend your Knowledge of Ad Extensions

                              Ad Extensions Continued…


                              In this series of blogs, we are reviewing the plethora of ad extensions on offer from Google and what they can do for your ads. If you haven’t already, please see our first instalment where we reviewed sitelinks, callouts, structured snippets and call extensions, as well as why you should be using ad extensions wherever possible.

                              Message Extensions

                              Message extensions will show when viewing ads on mobiles and allow the user to, with one click, contact you via text. Working with a number of charities, we commonly use them for text donation asks, as you can prepopulate a text with, for example, DONATE3 to donate £3 per month. They can also be used to book appointments or classes or to receive quotes.


                              They can be a great addition to your extension library, not only offering a one click call to action but also taking up more space on the already space limited mobile results page, giving your ads more prominence. One thing to take into consideration is that your business must have a phone number that is able to receive, send and process the text messages.



                              Location Extensions and Affiliate Location Extensions

                              If you have a physical location associated with your business or charity you can use location extensions to add another line below your ad with an address, map or distance away from the location, as well as either a phone number or click to call button.


                              location ad extension


                              The clickable pin can take you straight to Google Maps if a map does not show on the results page, and if your Google My Business page is linked then opening times and reviews may also show. Interestingly, location extensions are also a way of getting your phone number to show if your call extension does not show. As is a theme with the fact that you can stack extensions, the more space you take up on the results page the more prominent your ad.



                              Price Extensions

                              Price extensions allow you to showcase the different types of products or services that you offer on both mobile and desktop searches. Shown below as it would appear on mobile, the extensions feature in a scrollable reel below the ad of up to 8 cards displaying products and associated prices.


                              Price extensions can increase how impactful your ad is by showcasing what you have on offer compared to your competitors and taking up vital space on the results page, especially on mobile. You also allow the user to click through directly to the most relevant page on your site, making their journey easier and giving them a shortcut to converting.


                              price ad extension

                              Promotion Extensions

                              Promotion extensions, currently only available in the new AdWords interface, show below your ad and are a great way to display any monetary or percentage discounts that you are currently offering.


                              You can enter a specific promotion URL, as well as select the extension as a special occasion, such as ‘Back to School’ or ‘Christmas’ to show as a bold label next to the offer.


                              Additional options include adding qualifiers such as ‘on orders over’ and displaying promotional codes. Using promotion extensions where applicable gives potential customers another reason to click on your ads over the others, and may lead to higher click through and conversion rates.


                              promotion ad extension


                              We still have a few more extensions to review so be sure to check in for the final part of this extended series!

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                                Changes To AdWords Daily Budgets: Our Thoughts

                                Changes to AdWords daily budgets

                                Campaign Budgets Can Now Spend Up To Double Their Daily Limit


                                Did you know Internet traffic is like an ocean? Some days, there will be small waves. Other days, there will be great big ones.


                                So states Google’s latest AdWords help article, relating to the latest update released last week. https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/1704443


                                Without much announcement, Google changed how your daily budget settings in AdWords are set.


                                The term ‘Daily Budget’ has always been a slight misnomer, as Google previously allowed a campaign to spend up to 20% more, to account for slight daily fluctuations. This is actually quite a smart move, as no one wants to miss out on relevant traffic if it is there. Google are also kind enough not to charge you more per month than your daily budget multiplied by 30.4 (and this hasn’t changed with the recent news), so you will not spend more than you have budgeted for.


                                Last week however, this 20% became 100%. That’s right – a campaign can now spend up to double the daily limit you set. There is no way to opt out of this.


                                If you are using Manual CPC bidding and Accelerated ad delivery (which is our recommendation), then as long as your campaigns are not limited by budget, (we would advise bringing your cost per click down if you are limited by budget), your account shouldn’t be affected by this wave news. If your campaigns are limited by budget, this means (along with a sign that your accounts are not being managed well) that your ads are eligible to show in more search results, but cannot show every time as the campaign does not have enough money behind it. This is then a case where Google can decide to ‘go with the waves’ and accrue costs way higher than your daily budget.


                                Google are also pushing advertisers to give their algorithm more control over their ads, most notably with the new automated bidding strategies they have introduced. For example, the new ‘Maximise Conversions’ strategy that Google is promoting to non-profits.


                                These strategies only show your ads in certain auctions based on how likely Google thinks you are to fulfil your chosen goal. Combined with the fluctuations in traffic Google mention, we are concerned that this change will cause your ads to show up inconsistently.


                                We have been keeping a close eye on our accounts since this change was introduced, and haven’t seen any noticeable changes yet. However, due to the reasons outlines above, we don’t believe this change will have much of an effect if managed well.


                                The potential for disaster waves exists when an account is not regularly checked in on, with our fear being that spend will peak and trough (waves!) for no apparent reason. We advise watching your account spend closely over the next few days in case there are any unexpected waves.


                                Google’s certainly aren’t worried by this, and I’ll leave you with their reassuring words:


                                “The waves of Internet traffic might make your daily costs go up and down. But at the end of the month, despite those unpredictable waves, you’ll find your costs at right where you expected them to be.”

                                If you’d like help with your Google Ads campaigns, or your Google Ad Grant, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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                                  Google’s Grant Account Game-changer: Initial Results and Next Steps

                                  Maximise Conversions for Google Ad Grants

                                  Maximise Conversions for Google Ad Grants

                                  Further Clarification


                                  A couple of weeks ago we woke up to the exciting news that Google were allowing certain grant accounts to bid over the previous limit of $2. In this blog, we briefly summarise the initial results we have seen and detail our recommended strategy to make use of this opportunity for those who have the option. The 15th of September is an important date, as you must opt-in to the feature by then, or you will lose the option for the time being.


                                  If you haven’t read our original blog on the subject, I recommend taking a look at that first.


                                  Due to the lack of information available on the subject initially, we have sought clarification from Google about numerous aspects of this news. Google have confirmed that this feature is officially a beta and is only being offered to a limited number of Grant accounts. In our experience, only Grantspro accounts are being invited, but crucially not every Grantspro account gets the new feature.


                                  As this is a beta, Google have confirmed that there is no documentation available for this feature. This is frustrating, and certainly makes it extremely hard to optimise campaigns effectively towards this new strategy.


                                  If you have not been fortunate enough to have been given access already, the good news is that if the trial is successful, it will likely be rolled out across all grant accounts.



                                  Our Results


                                  In general, there hasn’t been enough time since this feature was introduced to make a conclusive statement.

                                  We have however, seen some extremely promising results. For example the graph below shows Impressions and Avg. CPC for an Event campaign for one of our clients.


                                  The Maximise Conversions strategy was implemented on the 30th August, and almost immediately we can see how the Avg. CPC dramatically increases, up to over $6.00 at some points. This shows at this early stage we can achieve a bid three times the theoretical maximum!

                                  As we would expect, the number of impressions increases as well. This is because, due to us being able to bid higher, we can be more competitive relative to others and thus enter more auctions. The more times our ads can show, the more potential clicks we drive onto the website. The more clicks, the more possible conversions that can then be achieved. Always a good thing!

                                  More experimentation will be required to allow us to maximise the number of clicks achieved, and we will also be evaluating how best to configure conversion tracking in order to increase our bids as much as possible.



                                  Our Recommended Strategy


                                  With the optimism of the good initial results as seen above, we would urge every eligible account to opt-in. You must be quick as there isn’t much time before the deadline! Whilst opting-in is easy to do, it is not clear whether you must do so at campaign or account level.

                                  So, in order to not lose out on this opportunity in any of your campaigns, we recommend changing each individual campaign bidding strategy to ‘Maximise Conversions’. It has been confirmed by a Google Employee that you will be able to switch between bidding strategies after the 15th, but only if you have opted-in.

                                  To do this, you must first make sure that conversion tracking is in place in your account. This is something that most advertisers will have in place already. If not, we strongly recommend implementing this regardless of whether you have been invited to the Maximise Conversions beta.

                                  Then all you have to do it change your bidding strategy (in the settings tab) to ‘Maximise Conversions’.


                                  If you require any assistance with this, please feel free to get in touch. Otherwise, happy bidding!

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                                    Missing AdWords Data: The Google Ship Springs Another Leak

                                    Google Ship Springs Another Leak Missing Data

                                    More AdWords Missing Data


                                    Google seem to have misplaced more data, but this time it’s the big fish. Today, AdWords suffered a major reporting error causing data to not be shown in the AdWords interface from noon. For those worried that their ads have not been showing since that time, you will be relieved to know that we have tested our ads on the Search Network and they are still running as usual. However, whether this missing data in AdWords is recoverable or not is still in question.

                                    If you wish to see the issue for yourself, jump into AdWords and segment your campaign report by hour of the day, you will likely be greeted by the same results as those in the image below, normal results in the morning, low (and sometimes even impossible) traffic in the afternoon.

                                    It has not been a good few weeks for Google, with Tag Manager containers mysteriously disappearing in late May. Those containers were restored to their rightful place within a day, and we can hope for a similar result here, but the frequency of data leaks is concerning. For a company who prides itself in its reporting capabilities and who, in 2011, received 96% of their revenue through AdWords, a loss of reporting data of this magnitude is disturbing.

                                    One of our Marketing Executives, Robyn, asked about the issue, and got this response:


                                    AdWords Twitter Response to Data Leak


                                    Whilst there has been no official statement from Google about this missing data in AdWords, the Google AdWords twitter team has since responded to a further inquiry from twitter user @stockristian stating that the issue has now been resolved:


                                    adwords data delay fix response

                                    We have checked our accounts and there doesn’t appear to be any missing data in AdWords from yesterday, which is a relief. Also, all AdWords data from today seems to be up to date, which hopefully means that everything is back to normal!


                                    Get In Touch

                                    If you have any questions about paid search, please don’t hesitate to contact us. For regular updates, sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter.


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                                      Why Google’s New AdWords Interface is the Right Kind of Update

                                      New AdWords Interface 2017

                                      New AdWords 2017: A Fresh Coat of Paint?

                                      AdWords turned 15 last October, and it feels like the system is starting to show its age. Large accounts can take an age to load, and certain information such as geographic location and device type can be frustratingly difficult to find. This may be soon to change though, as Google announced in March last year that the system would be receiving a complete redesign. Last month one of our accounts was given access to the new alpha build and we can now begin to uncover what the new system can do.

                                      The first change is immediately obvious, as you are greeted when you enter an account by the new overview tab. This tab is available at account, campaign and ad group level, and provides top line information on the data that the section contains. This includes top performing campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and ads, along with data segments such as time, location, and device type.

                                      AdWords New Interface
                                      The new overview tab provides new ways to visualise your data

                                      New Visualisations, New insight

                                      Previously, beyond the home dashboard and report editor, the only data visualisation supplied in AdWords was line comparisons of two metrics. Not only has the new overview tab doubled the number of possible metrics in these graphs to four, but a host of new visualisations have been added such as maps, segmented bars, and heatmaps. The result is a large amount of clear information that is much harder to acquire in the current interface.

                                      New Adwords Interfance Day & Hour
                                      Segmenting data by day, or both at the click of a button.

                                      For example, in the heatmap below we can quickly see that the peak time for impressions is 6-7 am in the weekdays, but climbs to 11am-1pm at the weekend. People continue searching for the topic slightly later on Fridays than other weekdays, but still not as late as on Sundays. This kind of insight would have taken much longer in the current interface, and can have meaningful effects on your decisions, such as when deciding on your ad scheduling. This is a recurring theme of the revamp, the ease at which data in your accounts can be reviewed and visualised, has been improved greatly.

                                      AdWords Hour and Day
                                      Data visualisation done right, like this heatmap, can provide insight at a glance.

                                      The navigation has also seen changes. Gone are the tabs along the top of the interface, replaced by a second vertical bar on the left which sits next to the old (and reasonably unchanged) bar we are used to. This contains much the same sections as before, such as keywords and ad groups, but with a few notable changes such as the grouping of ads and extensions into a single section, and the addition of change history.

                                      The Dimensions tab, which up until now has felt like the resting place of reports that don’t fit anywhere else, has been removed completely. Whilst its reports are still available (as the new Predefined Reports section) you will likely find yourself visiting them much less, as its most popular features such as top movers and geographic location have been given visualisations of their own.


                                      Familiar Surroundings

                                      More importantly than what has changed, though, is what has stayed the same. Once you move past the flashy overview tab and enter into an old section such as keyword lists, you will recognise the page that appears.

                                      AdWords New Interface Keyword Lists
                                      It may look new, but the keyword lists remain almost untouched in the update

                                      Apart from some icon updates, and the bar containing options such as edit and label not appearing until an element has been selected, the interface and reporting remains true to the current interface. The experience has been improved technically, the load times are quicker and the entire account feels more responsive, but the functionality has not been changed.

                                      I went in to this earliest build of the new AdWords expecting to find something entirely new, but what I instead found was comfortingly familiar. When you get past the visualisations on the overview tab and get familiar with the new navigation system, you realise that beneath the updated visuals lies the same basic set up that has been the backbone of AdWords for 15 years. This makes the entire experience feel improved, as opposed to reworked, and means that when the system is eventually fully released it will surprise many with how a few changes can lead to a greatly improved experience.

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                                        Why Historic Quality Score Data is So Exciting

                                        Historic Quality Score

                                        Google Adds the Historic Quality Score Column


                                        In a recent update to AdWords, Google have added seven new reporting columns regarding quality score which not only enhances the visibility of some data, but also provides exciting possibilities for how quality score can be monitored.

                                        The first three columns of note are the Expected CTR, Ad relevance and Landing page experience ratings. These were available previously, but only by hovering over the speech bubble next to your keyword’s status. Not only are these new columns a much more convenient way to see this data, but it also allows you to sort and filter keywords by these attributes. This data has been available in the AdWords API since February 2016, and at the time Google was hesitant to add the data to the AdWords interface, but that view has obviously changed.



                                        The other four columns, however, are the more interesting ones. These provide you with historic data for all three of the previously described columns, along with the quality score, for your selected date range (there is no data for dates before 22 January 2016). Unlike the other columns, this data was not previously available in AdWords, where you could only see a keywords current quality score regardless of the date range you selected.

                                        This is an important indication of policy change for Google, who have always been very cautious when handing out quality score data, and it is interesting that they would release the feature now, instead of alongside the new AdWords interface which is in development. Scripts in the API have been able to produce similar data to this by populating a spreadsheet with the quality score values each day, and maybe Google decided that, if the data was already accessible, they might as well make it easier to find.



                                        Historical Quality Score Data; A Game Changer

                                        The potential usefulness of this data in terms of experimentation Is incredible. Previously, the way that ads effected the quality score of their keywords could only be analysed by manually extracting the data from AdWords, either with a script or by yourself. However, this data is now at your fingertips, and with Google’s promise that this data will soon be usable in the report editor we also have the possibility of being able to produce visualisations of the change in quality score over time.

                                        Since an easy way to create visualisations of the data is not available yet, we have found segmenting your data by day a great way to quickly track how a quality score has changed over time.  At the moment quality score data is not available in Google Data Studio, so you will have to wait before you can add this data to your reports there.


                                        Actionable Takeaways from the Historical Quality Score Data

                                        Now we know how we can visualise the data, the possibilities for testing are expansive. You can now track how your changes affect not only the quality score itself, but also all three contributing attributes. This means that you can track exactly what changes in quality score your experiments are causing. Why not try some of these tests, and see if the new data enhances your results:

                                        • In focused ad groups with few keywords, you can try placing keywords into your ad text in different places, and see how this affects the ad relevance.
                                        • Similarly, changes in landing pages are now much easier to evaluate, as you can simply track the historical changes in ad relevance and landing page experience, along with the overall quality score.
                                        • Finally, the effects of using dynamic ad text, along with keyword insertion, can be tracked beyond simply how they affect performance, and we can start to see just how well targeted these ads can be to your keywords.

                                        As more and more of Google’s services, such as Report Editor and Data Studio, get access to the historic quality score data, the ease at which we can use this data to track performance at all levels should receive a major boost. The possible optimisation methods this data provides is exciting, and we are eager to begin our own tests in the near future.



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                                          Landing Pages and Google Ads: Improving Your Ad Rank

                                          Landing Pages and Google Ads

                                          Landing Pages & Google Ads

                                          How To Improve Your Ad Rank

                                          Landing pages have a big impact on the performance of your ads in Google Ads. If they’re not user friendly, or they have uninteresting or irrelevant content, then your ad performance will suffer.

                                          Google states that “your landing page is the URL people arrive at after they click your ad, and the experience you offer affects your Ad Rank and therefore your CPC and position in the ad auction. Your ads may show less often (or not at all) if they point to websites that offer a poor user experience”*.

                                          Therefore, researching good keywords and making engaging ads can only take you so far if your landing page isn’t up to scratch, but better content and good user experience means you rank higher, attract more visitors and retain those visitors. And so I will explore the do’s and don’ts of landing pages:


                                          landing pages info picture


                                          Do – make original and engaging content. High quality content that is clear and concise attracts visitors and improves user experience. Making the page look aesthetically pleasing with a clear, easy to read layout means people are more likely to engage with your site. The more user friendly your page is, the better the ad rank of your ads and the more likely they are to be shown.

                                          Don’t – overfill your page with big blocks of writing or too much information as this will be off-putting to users. Also, never have ads or landing pages with grammatical or spelling errors and this can make users view you as an untrustworthy source, meaning they are less likely click your ad or engage with your site.




                                          Do – organise and design your page well so people don’t have to hunt around for information and provide clear and concise information. It is good to have specific landing pages for each topic in order to make ads and keywords as relevant as possible. For example: if you are a charity for Asthma, then having individual landing pages for asthma symptoms, asthma causes, asthma treatment, etc. can really help make your ads and keywords relevant and higher ranking.

                                          Don’t – stuff lots of information onto one page. If someone searches for asthma symptoms and is brought to a page overflowing with information, they might be put off and leave the site, whereas if they are brought to a specific page on asthma symptoms, then they have the information they are looking for and are more likely to stay.


                                          landing pages relevant pages for ads


                                          Calls To Action

                                          Do – make it obvious what the purpose of your landing page is and what you want the visitor to do. If you have a clear call to action on your landing page, as well as in your ad, then users know what you want and those who click are likely to convert as well.

                                          Don’t – bombard the user with your call to action. You don’t need multiple button or messages screaming at them to sign up now will most likely achieve the opposite effect and may affect user experience and engagement, therefore decreasing Ad Rank. Also, don’t make it difficult to for users to complete your call to action, if there’s a 10 page sign up process then even if you get a user to click on your ad and click to sign up, they are likely to drop out of the process mid-way.



                                          Do – include relevant and searchable keywords throughout your landing page. Having the main keywords as Headers and sub headings is important for Ad Rank, and having searchable terms in your content can help you add keywords in Google Ads that will have a high Quality Score. If you don’t have these terms on your landing page, then including them as keywords in Google Ads will not be effective as they will have low quality scores, meaning they are less likely to trigger your ad and they affect how high quality Google believes your Ads account is.

                                          Don’t – overstuff your landing pages with keywords. Google does not like this and neither will your users! Also, don’t use irrelevant keywords to try and bring in traffic as users will be less likely to stay on your page and it will affect not only your Ad Rank, but the rank of your whole Google Ads account. More traffic is only good if it is relevant.




                                          Do – update your website. This keeps your site fresh and up to date with anything new and exciting, it also shows your users that you are active and involved with your own website. Fundraising events are important to keep updated because if you forget to update an event and your page shows RideLondon 2016 when you’re trying to recruit people for RideLondon 2017, it can be off-putting and people are less likely to sign up.

                                          Don’t –neglect your site and not make any changes. Also, don’t forget to inform your digital marketing team of new content or changed content. If you make a new landing page but don’t inform them, then they won’t know to advertise it and you’re missing out on attracting potential visitors.


                                          landing pages old optimised to new


                                          Third Party Sites

                                          Do – use third party sites when necessary and link to other sites when they have content that involves you.

                                          Don’t – forget to create a landing pages on your own site with content concerning what is on the other site. Without the content, you have no keywords to promote the page and are missing out on a good advertising opportunity.


                                          Landing Pages & You

                                          If you need any help with your landing pages or Google Ads account, then please get in touch. We offer a variety of services that can match your needs and we would love to hear from you.


                                          *Google Ads Help

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                                            Bouncing Back After the Christmas Slump

                                            Maintaining Performance Over Christmas


                                            The run up to Christmas can be a busy one for people; they have bigger priorities and responsibilities in terms of buying presents, decorating, and planning for the big day. Unless you’re marketing in retail this can lead to a drop in your online traffic. This slump will likely then continue onto new years and even beyond as people start to devote more of their time into their New Year’s resolutions – as unfeasible as some of them may be!

                                            All together for such an extended period of time it can appear daunting or scary to see this drop in traffic. In most cases you can expect an improvement come January. As the population gets back to work, into typical routines and old habits, normality will usually be restored.

                                            However, this is not always the case and you can’t always expect traffic to return to normal by itself or as quickly as you would like it – old setups may just not be as effective. Just as you adapt strategies from year to year, so you must when your traffic has stifled. With much lower traffic to your website for such a prolonged period your brand could be weakened. It’ll take more time and effort to re-engage with certain parts of your target audience.


                                            Some things to look at for example on your AdWords accounts:

                                            • Search Terms – Possibly the most important factor when your ad shows up on someone’s screens is that they need to be relevant to what the user is actually looking for. People can be searching for completely different things over the holidays as opposed to the rest of the year and these irregular search terms can get caught in your keyword net. You could be getting unwanted impressions which yield little to no clicks affecting your CTR, so sift through and clear out some of your search terms!


                                            • CTR (Click Through Rate) – Due to your decrease in traffic your CTR could be effected and greatly decreased as a result. A good starting point is making sure your CTR hasn’t dipped massively, but if it has, why not revamp your ads for the new year? The more relevant and engaging your ads are, the higher your CTR will be. It’s also worth noting that CTR is a big factor when determining your quality score which can help improve your ad rank and bring down your CPC (Cost-Per-Click)


                                            • Quality Score – As mentioned, improving your CTR is one way of improving your quality score, however, this isn’t always so simple to do. Some of your keywords may just not be as relevant as before and as such keywords with a low quality score should be discarded. A low average quality score on just some of your campaigns can affect how all your ads are shown across the account. This is because quality score is a big factor in determining both your ad rank and CPC (Cost Per Click).


                                            • Ad Rank – A good ad rank is one of the most important things and why you keep track of everything else mentioned before. The two factors in ad rank are quality score and bid cost. So you can see now why improving quality score is so important if you want to keep to a budget of any kind.


                                            These are some of the basic fundamentals, but some of these steps can be easily overlooked and forgotten over time. If campaigns have been going well for years, you may think “why change now?” Often neglecting these simple tricks can build up over time and problems only rear their heads after a catalyst situation. When your traffic has decreased, flaws in your account can be all that more visible and weighted toward how your ads are ranked.

                                            This doesn’t just apply to Christmas, but Easter, summer and all holidays. You need to constantly be adapting and up to date with current events and social changes. This links to the eternal goal of marketing; to persistently stick in people’s minds, forever keeping up to date or risk losing relevance to your target market.

                                            2017 is set to be an even bigger year for digital marketing and offers a great opportunity for companies and advertisers to really reap the benefits of a digital campaign, no matter what time of year!


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                                              Expanded Text Ads Rollout begins

                                              Expanded Ads Update


                                              Some big news recently from Google. They have announced the release of 3 new features which had been mentioned in the May 2016 Google Summit – I wanted to bring you our thoughts on the implications and their effects for our clients.

                                              Ads will now be 50% larger, include a new double header and a simple 80 character description. This will mean the removal of the rigid two-line Legacy Ad type, which has been in existence for years. Google has announced that this change has been led by a need for responsive ads within the search results page; but the result has been an increase in the total space given to Paid ads at the top of the page. This is another example of Google continuing to monotonies the Search results page at the detriment of organic search. This is likely to lead to an increased importance of maintaining a Paid presence as Organic listings are pushed further down the page.

                                              We will be creating new Expanded Text Ads for each Ad Group in our accounts over the coming months and running A/B tests against the best performing legacy Ad format. Google has not set a timeline for the removal of the old Legacy format Ads, however, they have stated that Ads will not be able to be created in the Legacy format post-October 26th.

                                              The initial results of the trial look promising with some beta trialists seeing a 2x increase in CTR for non-brand. However, it is likely this was a test against other advertisers running the legacy Ads and so will not have been a fair test (especially when the new ads are 50% larger). As we are rolling these Ads out for our clients in the coming – we hope to be able to take advantage of the increased presence this will likely give us over competitors who are still using Legacy Ads.

                                              it will be interesting to see how this stands up when all marketers in the auction are using the new Ad format. As we roll out new Ads in the new format we will be reviewing the results and will share our learnings and feedback with you.


                                              Other great releases


                                              Separate Device-Bidding

                                              Google has announced that over the coming months they will be releasing the ability to set base bid adjustments for mobile, tablet and/or desktop per Campaign. The real-world implications for this are that we will be able to distinguish our bids between Desktop and Tablet devices. This will be especially useful for accounts targeting businesses where they will be able to down-weight Tablet devices which are more likely to be domestic users.

                                              The strategy used for the device-bidding will be dependent on a case-by-case basis, not only per account, but per campaign. When this feature is rolled out to your account, your Account Manager will likely be in touch to confirm their strategy with you for this.


                                              Responsive Ads

                                              As per Device-Bidding, this will be rolling out on an account-by-account basis and will see a new format of Ads being available on the Google Display Network. The new Responsive Ads will automatically adjust their size, appearance, and format to fit available ad spaces on a webpage. Responsive ads can show as almost any size text, image, or native format. The new Ad Format allows a campaign to cover more more Ad spaces without the need for a vast inventory of banners.

                                              Looks like a good innovation from Google and we expect to see a good response at the beginning for these new Ad formats. For clients who we are running Display activity for, we will be in touch shortly to discuss implementing these into your campaigns.

                                              As always if you have any comments, questions or queries about these updates or any other Google AdWords developments please don’t hesitate to get in touch! 

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                                                Google Summit 2016

                                                GOOGLE SUMMIT


                                                Tuesday 24th May was Google’s big AdWords summit of 2016. This covers all the new AdWords developments that they have coming up over the next 12 months and (slightly) beyond. Our observations from the livestream on changes that are coming are as follows:

                                                • The available Ad space for each Paid Ad will increase by 50%
                                                • Bid Adjustments have been re-designed to be available for all devices
                                                • The Search network has been extended to include Google Maps
                                                • A new responsive desktop AdWords interface will arrive in 2017
                                                • The Remarketing network has been extended to include the Cross-Exchange
                                                • ‘Similar Audiences’ are to become available for the Search network
                                                • Google will be releasing new Responsive Native Ads for the Display Network

                                                The New 2017 AdWords Interface
                                                Something of additional interest coming later in 2017 is a new Desktop AdWords interface, which will see the current interface adapt and evolve into a style more in-line with the recently developed Google AdWords app.

                                                Search Ad Text

                                                Coming just months after the removing the right-hand Ads column (the biggest structural change to the Google Ad layout in over a decade) Google has now announced a 50% increase in the size of each Ad Listing.

                                                This increase comes in the form of a new ‘Double Headline’ and a new 80 character Description box (replacing two lines of 35 characters). During Google’s Beta testing of the new expanded text ads “some advertisers have reported increases in click through rates of up to 20% compared to current text ads”. Since the removal of the right hand ads, there has been a drastic increase in the percentage of 4 Ad listings at the top of the page; even for non-competitive or commercially driven search terms.

                                                Bidding per Device

                                                Despite Google pushing a ‘mobile first world’ message for the best few years, the way bidding is conducted within AdWords has remained with a desktop first approach. With AdWords only allowing you to the increase or decrease the mobile bid (and no ability to alter the bid for a tablet device) in relation to the Desktop bid.

                                                Google has finally changed this. The new bid adjustments setup allows the user to set individual bid adjustments for each device type (desktop, mobile and tablet). Google says: “This lets you anchor your base keyword bid to the device most valuable to your business and then set bid adjustments for each of the other devices”.

                                                We’re starting to see a big variation in the value of a mobile user between each account so this is certainly a welcome change. It will be interesting to see the practical implications of this upgrade and how the new function fits within the existing interface.

                                                Similar Audiences for Search Ads

                                                Only a few years ago Google introduced RLSAs (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) to Google AdWords and it is already proving very successful for marketers wanting to target a warm audience.

                                                Building on this Google has now introduced ‘Similar Audiences for Search Ads’. Using existing Remarketing Lists, Google looks for people searching who have ‘similar characteristics’ to the users in your remarketing lists. This then allows you to target these particular users on the Search network. This is already in place on the Google Display Network, and works similar to Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences.

                                                Google Maps

                                                Google Maps now boasts over 1.5 billion destinations and location-based searches now account for nearly a 1/3 of all mobile searches. In fact location-based searches have grown 50% more than overall mobile searches in the past year. This makes it vital for any offline store or service-based business to have a strong presence on Google Maps.
                                                Google’s Summit saw the introduction of 2 new key features to help Marketers:

                                                The first being an expansion on the Google Maps listing. This includes branded pins, the ability to highlight in-store promotions, search in-store inventory level and even check peak-times. This effectively turns your Google Maps pin into a digital-leaflet for any passer-by to look through and be incentivised to visit.

                                                The second being location-based promotions, allowing your ad to appear to a user in Google Maps based on location. Google have been vague on the exact details on how this bidding system will work. Larry Kim of WordStream quotes: “However, the ad targeting here is a bit complicated. Ads show based on queries, but Google is also looking at several other context signals (similar to display advertising), such as personal browsing history, similar users, time of day, interests, and behaviours.”

                                                These will be very interesting developments as Google stretches its research and tools to try and place a value on those offline conversions which are otherwise untrack-able for an online marketer.

                                                Both these developments are exceptionally exciting to us and we expect to start utilising these new tools for our clients.

                                                Responsive Ads for the Google Display Network

                                                Google also announced the extension on the available reach of GDN remarketing campaigns, to now include access to the Cross-Exchange inventory for both AdWords and DoubleClick accounts. In Google’s statement they announced that:

                                                The broader reach of multiple ad exchanges can improve Display Network remarketing performance in the following ways:

                                                • Greater access to your most valuable audiences across more sites and apps
                                                • Increased potential conversion volume and return on investment

                                                Google opening this network to just Remarketing Lists seems like the best move forward to test its effectiveness and quality compared to its own Display network. Remarketing is the most-effective form of Display Marketing and the most likely to result in quality engagement. So if this warm audience does convert well across the new network it is likely that Google will look to extend this to their other Audience Targeting.

                                                The Google Summit also announced the introduction of new responsive ads for display. These new display ads will “adapt to the diverse content across the more than two million publisher sites and apps on the Google Display network (GDN)”. Providing just a headline, description, image and URL, Google will create a responsive ad which allows you to “unlock new native inventory so you can engage consumers with ads that match the look and feel of the content they’re browsing”

                                                As you can see from the images above, the styling of these new responsive ads for display looks clean and sleek and is a worthwhile new ad format to their expanding inventory. We’re hoping that this new format will help improve the speed and cost of production for image ads, which is often a stumbling block when looking to extend your marketing to the GDN.

                                                We will continue to monitor the effects of these changes over the coming year. As usual with Google, these announcements come months before the actual changes get implemented, and we will keep clients up to date of the changes as they happen. We will also be in touch with clients who we believe will be affected or may see an opportunity from these changes. If you would like to discuss these changes, or any of their implications on your account please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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                                                  Google Removes Right Hand Side Ads From SERP

                                                  Big Changes to Google Ads


                                                  You may have heard of one of the most exciting developments in paid search recently – Google have removed the paid ads from the right side of search result screens and placed them at the bottom.


                                                  Google have been running ads like this on mobile for a while now and I think that their motives are simple, it will drive revenue by making it more important for advertisers to appear in the top 3 – 4 positions. To me this is a shame because often positions 4 or lower do very well from a cost per acquisition (CPA), or return on Investment share (ROAS) perspective. The inventory is cheaper and (our results show) that traffic from these ads is more considered, thus proportionally more likely to convert.

                                                  Looking at our paid accounts to date, there has been no loss of CTR so far from paid ads outside the top positions. That said, I don’t think that we have seen the ultimate change in stats yet following this move from Google. I believe the market will take some time to adapt, ultimately paid accounts may be spending a little more from an average CPC basis to ensure a higher position.

                                                  This change does this provide a permanent place for desktop shopping ads, which are now situated in that right – hand position and have increased to eight ads per search. Shopping ads (or PLAs) are exceptionally effective to all organisations running ecommerce on their sites (there is much more potential than with standard search), but this is obviously another increasing revenue stream for Google.

                                                  Now, the really interesting results are in Google Ad Grants. We have seen a significant increase in CTRs for Grant accounts since this change. Looking at our results, the average position grant ads are achieving (which should be unaffected by the change) jumped at the time of Google’s switch from 2.6 to 2.1 – This change in position is exceptional. I think that in removing right-hand ads, Google have also changed that part of their algorithm which penalises Grant ads in favour of paying advertisers’ ads. As they haven’t announced any changes, this could be a mistake in Google’s algorithm and something that they will look to address. Either way, there is the potential to capitalise here. Where appropriate (for clients with separate paid accounts) we will be considering moving some of the less competitive terms from paid accounts into the Grant; although I imagine that this opportunity is only in the short term and that Google will soon be tweaking the algorithm again.

                                                  You may see some irregularities in the traffic derived from your grant accounts over the next few months as Google make their changes and we make the most of any opportunities that arise. In the short term I do think that there are opportunities here. In the long term, we’ll keep you informed as the competition adapts. We’ll also be looking out for any further changes to Google’s algorithm, especially concerning grant ads and will make any adaptions needed at that time.

                                                  If you have any questions, opinions or would like to talk through how we may be adapting our strategy, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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