Google: Change Is The Only Constant

Kris Taff

January 4, 2021

Each year, Google makes changes to many of its products.  Some well-loved features get disposed of, and some features get improved.  

Often when I’ve called Google customer service, the suggestions made by Customer Service Reps have provided clues to possible future feature changes. For instance, there was a campaign setting that would allow you to deliver your ads as fast as possible, or spread them evenly throughout the day. Since a brand new campaign does not have enough data for Google to optimize or calibrate best time for clicks or conversions, the “Standard Delivery” option often means a slow optimizing campaign. As a workaround, and for certain situations, I have recommended enabling a new campaign set to “Accelerated Delivery” for greater performance. A change to the bidding strategy and delivery leveraging more efficient automated options allows the customer to start building impressions and website traffic to optimize keywords and
ads much faster. However, Google Reps would caution that this setting “might” spend your budget faster than you wanted it, so they recommended leaving the ads Delivery setting to “Standard”. Sadly, the “Accelerated Delivery” option was deprecated in April 2020.

Another planned change to be implemented by Google is the removal of the “Maximum Clicks” smart bidding option. This change is scheduled to take place in February 2021. Maximum Clicks enabled bids to be adjusted to when your ads are most likely to get a click. Along with the “Accelerated Delivery”, I found this combination to be helpful when starting a new campaign with no history or quality scores. Needless to say, I am disappointed in these changes and will need to reset expectations in future campaign strategies.

However, not all changes are bad

One thing that Google does really well is testing and applying learnings to product improvements. Google, a firm believer in testing, has over a million dollars set aside for testing failed projects to get learnings to improve other projects. Through these learnings, they have reversed some major changes as long as performance declined and the data justified a reversal. Many of my fellow Digital Marketers remember the “Enhanced Campaigns” of 2013. Enhanced Campaigns effectively removed the ability to target by the device. This created an uproar for digital marketers causing a tremendous shift in strategy that many thought was unnecessary. As consumer behaviors progressed toward a mobile-first approach, it was necessary for Google to reverse their decision to give marketers better optimization options. Enhanced campaigns were not all bad, in fact, the “Enhanced CPC” bidding option is still around and makes for great A/B testing of different bidding strategies in “Campaign Experiments”. In summary, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) will always face changes that marketers are forced to adapt and adjust their campaigns too. Following this ever moving target that is Google’s search engine marketing can be a challenge, but luckily new platforms such as Hopps have emerged, that make it easy to tap into a certified expert who's got their finger on the pulse. Stay tuned for more insights in my next piece and until then Happy Googling!

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