I know everyone says this, but, sometimes it feels like Google really can read our minds.
Just when you’re thinking “Wow, I haven’t seen any Google Ads updates in a while! Maybe we’re off the hook for this season…” a Tweet flies across your screen or a blog article shows up in your news feed.
Oh no… It’s happening… The wave of Google Ads updates!
But don’t worry! These updates are nothing like the wave of changes we faced last year. We’ve covered the top six Google Ads updates you need to know about for the second half of 2022— including what they mean, the benefits or drawbacks, and what action you may need to take.
Table of contents
1. A new Google tag is rolling out now
If you checked out WordStream’s Google Marketing Live 2022 recap, you may have anticipated this Google Ads update.
Announced August 2, 2022, Google is rolling out a new Google tag that will replace global site tags. This new Google tag works with both your Google Ads and Analytics accounts for easier reporting and conversion tracking without additional code.
Here’s what you need to know about it:
- Your existing global site tags will become the Google tag automatically, so no action is needed on your end.
- Since the tag works for both properties, you can combine your Google Ads and Google Analytics tags, but this is optional. If you want to keep them separate, you can.
- You’ll be able to can manage your tag settings from a new Google tag screen in both Google Ads and Google Analytics.
In her Twitter thread on this announcement, Google Ads Product Liaison Ginny Marvin also shared that there’s more to come:
Stay tuned! Soon, you’ll be able to use your existing Google tag installation when creating new Google products, accounts, conversion actions – no extra code needed. Plus, more updates to come, including for those using Google Tag Manager.
2. Data-driven attribution models will be auto-applying
You may or may not recall that Google changed the default attribution model for new conversion actions to data-driven attribution last year. In this latest update, Google Ads is now automatically switching eligible current conversion actions over to data-driven attribution in some accounts.
This did not come as a formal announcement, as it only applies to some accounts, but those Google Ads account owners who are eligible for this received a notification email that said:
We’re reaching out because one or more of your conversion actions is a strong candidate for data-driven attribution. Unless you take further action by 8/24/22, we’ll switch your model.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Data-driven attribution is a multitouch attribution model that uses historical data to more accurately weigh each action that leads to a conversion throughout the buyer’s journey.
- This only applies to advertisers whose conversion actions meet the data requirements.
- You can opt-out of it the transition alerts you’ll get in your notifications view or within the actual conversion settings portion of the platform.
- You have until 8/24/22 to opt-out
Should you switch?
If you’ve been notified, familiarize yourself with data-driven attribution before you decide whether to opt-out. You can do that with Google’s help article on data-driven attribution or with our simplified guide to multi-touch attribution.
If anything, you could try the automatic transition on one or two conversion actions. Give it a month or so to perform, and then the option to opt out later is always there if you don’t see the results you’re looking for.
On July 27, Google announced that the deprecation of third-party cookies in Chrome has been pushed out yet again—to the second half of 2024.
If that sounds like a foreign language to you, here’s some context. hird-party cookies get dropped on a user’s browser by websites and apps across the web to collect and store data about their behaviors and buying journeys.
Advertisers use the data from third-party cookies to target relevant audiences and track their website visitors’ behavior after they’ve left their site.
Google announced in January 2020 that it would be doing away with third-party cookies in Chrome by 2022 for a more “privacy first” approach to the ever-changing advertising landscape. At that time, Google also launched the Privacy Sandbox, an initiative to bring tracking and targeting solutions to advertisers in privacy-safe ways.. FLoC was one such solution, but that got replaced by Topics API.
But Google has changed the timelines for testing and implementing these solutions multiple times now, which keeps pushing out the deprecation of third-party cookies
Our recommendations for this are nothing new: Keep finding ways to collect more first-party data, get familiar with privacy-safe features already available (like enhanced conversions), and harness the power of third-party cookies now while it’s still around.
You can keep track of the Privacy Sandbox timeline here.
4. Improvements to voice-overs for video ads with text-to-speech
Creating voice-overs for your YouTube video ads has always been something you could do on your own, but on July 20, 2022 Google added text-to-speech voice-overs right within the Google Ads asset library. This new text-to-speech technology uses AI to convert your written script into natural-sounding speech.
In fact, Google analyzed 5,000 YouTube ads to model seven unique voices, four male and three female. This should give advertisers a few different options in trying to match their brand voice.
To try it out, navigate to your asset library, select the video ad you’d like to add a voice-over to, type in your script, choose a voice style, and viola! Your AI-generated voice-over will overlay onto your video ad.
I know from personal experience that creating voice-overs can be a huge video marketing time-suck, so I think this update will be a win for advertisers.
With that said, I would suggest trying this feature. However, I thought it would only be fair to point out what Google does not address in its announcement article: what to do if the AI slips up on any parts in your script. While the chances of that happening are unlikely, it’s something to keep in mind as you test it out. The only piece of advice Google gives us for this, for now, is to refer to the help center or contact support as you get started and experience any bumps in the road.
5. Google starts automatically updating Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max
Performance Max campaigns were a buzz-worthy addition to the platform last year, and it’s been known that this campaign type will eventually fully replace Smart Shopping and Local campaigns. That being said, Google announced that starting July 21, 2022, it will be automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns on a rolling basis to eventually have the majority of advertisers fully on Performance Max by the end of September—just in time for the holidays. Search Engine Land sums up the details of this Performance Max update nicely:
For most advertisers, the updates will finish in September. Google will send a notification about 2-3 weeks before the updates take effect and provide a specific date when your campaigns will be converted. But some Smart Shopping campaigns using features like vehicle ads will be completed in early 2023.
6. Self-upgrade tool for Smart Shopping to PMax
On a related note, Google introduced a Performance Max upgrade tool for Smart Shopping campaigns that is now both widely available and recommended for advertisers to use.
The eventual replacement of Smart Shopping and Local campaigns with Performance Max is inevitable, so you may as well get ahead of the curve by self-upgrading your Smart Shopping campaigns in one easy click. The upgrade tool is available in a few different spots within the platform, such as the notifications section, Recommendations page, or Campaigns page in Google Ads. While not yet available for Local campaigns, Google teases that this self-upgrade tool will also be an option for that campaign type in the coming weeks.
The point of both the self-upgrade tool and the automatic updates is to make the transition from Smart Shopping or Local campaigns to Performance Max as smooth as possible for advertisers. In fact, regardless of whether you opt for the self-upgrade or automatic upgrade, your campaign settings as well as the campaign’s previous historical learnings will transfer over by default.
I think this update acts as a reminder that advertisers should become more comfortable with Performance Max campaigns. To start, check out our 10 tips to know before you try Performance Max campaigns.
7. Google introduces diagnostic insights for Performance Max campaigns
Speak of the devil, there is one last Google Ads update that also has to do with this newer campaign type. In early July, Google added a new diagnostic insights view to the Insights page and Overview page within the platform. These help advertisers to ensure that their Performance Max campaigns are firing correctly and nothing is slipping through the cracks.
It can automatically identify issues related to:
- Conversion tracking
- Strategy targets
- Ad strength
Google acknowledges in the announcement of this new Performance Max feature that it can be challenging to identify issues related to the list above quickly and easily, so the diagnostic page is meant to streamline that.
Performance Max still feels like uncharted territory for many advertisers, so I’d recommend taking a peek at diagnostic insights to gather all the information you can about your campaigns.
Stay up to date on Google Ads updates
When a new year hits and Google Marketing Live comes and goes, you know a round of Google Ads updates is coming your way. While changes within the platform are unavoidable, being as prepared as possible is your best bet to handle any updates with ease.
Knowing what every update means, when and why it’s happening, and how you can best take action will save you from headaches in the long run. Any easy way to do this? Keep your eyes peeled for more Google Ads updates roundups from WordStream, of course!
To recap, here are the top seven most recent Google Ads updates:
- A new Google tag is replacing the global site tag.
- Data-driven attribution being automatically applied.
- Third-party cookie deprecation is delayed until the second half of 2024.
- Text-to-speech voice-over tool for YouTube video ads.
- Google will be automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max.
- Self-upgrade tool for Smart Shopping to PMax.
- The diagnostic insights page for Performance Max is now available.