Google and Microsoft continually update their advertising platforms. Many updates are seemingly minor, but they are important. Recent changes maintain both platforms’ focus on machine learning, which removes control from advertisers but should improve performance.
Automated Extensions. Most ad extensions are implemented at the account, campaign, and ad group level. Each level replaces the previous one: the extensions of an ad group will be displayed instead of those of a campaign. For example, an advertiser can have sitelinks at the account level, campaign level (e.g., “Diapers”), and for an ad group (“Leather Diapers”).
Google automatically applies dynamic extensions to improve ad performance, independent of manual extensions. Dynamic extensions come under the umbrella of automated extensions. Seller ratings are an example of an automated extension.
With the latest update, Google could simultaneously show manual and automated extensions, such as two manual and three dynamic captions. Google will report extensions as “Advertiser” (manual) or “Auto-created” (dynamic).
This update removes the rule that the most specific entity (i.e. ad group) wins over the top level (i.e. campaign). All combinations of account, campaign, and ad group extensions can appear together. Google will determine which combinations are most likely to convert based on the searcher. Advertisers can opt out (but not opt out) of Auto Extensions.
Again, this continues Google’s focus on automating formerly manual features, such as responsive search ads.
Improved conversions for leads. Conversion tracking is at the heart of any successful paid search campaign. Tracking revenue, leads, and phone calls, for example, lets you monitor performance and adjust as needed. Google provides a tracking tag for all pages on your site. You can then add event snippets to specific pages to track various actions, like a snippet for purchases and another for form fills.
Conversion tracking can also apply to offsite transactions, if configured.
Here is an example. Suppose I fill out an online form for electrical work and three months later hire the electrician. Google will count the form completion conversion while the company’s customer portal associates the revenue with Google Ads. If Google and the CRM aren’t connected, the business won’t know which campaign, keyword, or ad copy drove revenue, and more importantly, which bid strategies to adjust.
Google has long allowed offline conversion tracking, but setting up the implementation is often difficult and requires developers. “Improved conversion for prospects”, the latest update, makes it easier to import proprietary data through Google Ads.
To get started, enable enhanced conversions, provide the customer tracking variable, and agree to Google’s terms. Email is the preferred variable. Name, address and phone number will be available soon.
Microsoft’s dynamic search ads automatically generate titles and assign the landing page based on the searcher. DSAs are not keyword-based and display the same way as Shopping ads. DSAs can generate additional traffic and revenue for keywords outside of an account, which is useful for sites with thousands of products.
With the latest update, Microsoft has added dynamic descriptive to DSAs. Microsoft extracts these descriptions from the advertiser’s site and, like dynamic titles, inserts them into ads. Dynamic descriptions will soon be the default option in new DSA campaigns. Advertisers can opt out if they wish.