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The Google Updates You Need to Know from Marketing Live 2021

By: Cody Albright    June 29, 2021

Marketing Live, Google’s yearly keynote used to announce new products and trends for the coming year, was held on May 27, 2021, and with it came some exciting product announcements that you need to know about in order to keep your campaigns up to date with the latest and greatest from Google.

Here are the top three updates you need to know.

Performance Max Campaigns: The All-in-One Solution

Sometimes, one of the hardest questions to answer on a Google Ads campaign is, “What placement type or Google channels should I run ads on?” With choices like Display, Discover, Gmail, YouTube and more, it can be difficult to know which placement will yield results while at the same time maximizing budget. What if there were a campaign that ran across all Google-owned ad placements and was managed under one central campaign and budget?

Enter Google Performance Max Campaigns.

Performance Max Campaigns, which are currently still in the beta process and available only for select advertisers and brands, allow for a single campaign to run various creative elements across the entire Google ad ecosystem. Optimization and targeting are mostly done by Google’s AI, but there are some directional inputs that an advertiser can enter to help steer the system in the desired direction.

As with most things, these campaigns’ greatest strengths reveal their greatest weaknesses, which primarily come in the form of control. There’s no doubt Google’s AI is extremely powerful; however, as we’ve seen with already existing automation options, giving Google full control can produce results that are misaligned with desired outcomes.

Nevertheless, this is an exciting update that can save advertisers time in optimization and planning, as well as increase overall conversions and sales.

Image Extensions: Bringing Visual Assets to Paid Search

Google extensions for paid search campaigns are nothing new and have been around for years. From sitelinks and callouts to location affiliates and structured snippets, Google extensions have been helping to create relevant and informative search ads to better serve the searcher and advertiser, alike. Image extensions, which had been around for a select few advertisers but are now globally available, took paid search ads to the next level by enabling an image to also be served alongside a search ad in the Google SERP, thus adding more visual appeal to what is otherwise a very text-heavy placement.

Image extensions can either be added manually at the campaign or ad set level of a paid search campaign, or accounts can be opted into automated image extensions, which allow Google to dynamically insert images from the landing page of a website into the extension placement.

It should be noted that, as with any other extension, image extensions are subject to show when Google deems it beneficial to the individual search query. There are no guarantees on when these extensions will show; however, initial results for accounts with image extensions enabled are showing much higher CTRs on both branded and non-branded search terms.

Customer Match for All Advertisers: Unlock the Power of Your First-Party Data

Marketing Live wouldn’t have been complete without at least one announcement from Google pertaining to first-party data. As covered in previous Media Unleashed articles, recent changes imposed by Apple iOS 14.5 (reduction of in-app tracking data) and the announcement of the Google Federated League of Cohorts (deprecation of the third-party cookie) have brands finding themselves in the position of needing to better leverage their first-party data.

This first-party data, which can be in the form of names, phone numbers, email addresses or country of residence, was originally only able to be utilized through Google Ads for select advertisers that met a minimum set of requirements; however, at Marketing Live 2021, Google announced the ability for most advertisers to now upload and deploy first-party data across Search, Shopping, YouTube and more.

Having this data available within Google Ads is obviously powerful from a retargeting standpoint, and this data can also be utilized at scale for prospecting campaigns using Google’s Similar Audience function, which looks to reach an audience with attributes most like those of a seed list (first-party data).

And So Much More …

These features only scratch the surface of what was announced during Google’s Marketing Live 2021, so we encourage you to watch Google’s own highlight reel to learn more about what’s new and upcoming. Want to take action on these exciting changes? We’d be able to chat with you about these changes and more!