Google Ads News Roundup: May 2024

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google ads news roundup for may 2024

Last Updated on: 15th May 2024, 11:14 am

Welcome to the first edition of the Google Ads monthly news roundup! It’s my goal to help you understand what’s new and how to use it to strengthen your ROAS.

I’ve divided this post into two sections: changes at a glance (changes to the Google Ads platform), and Google Ads Buzz (case studies, interesting occurrences in the space, and best practices). 

This month has been an interesting one, with key news including the following:

  • Google Ads Buzz: Dr Martens sues Temu over Google Ads
  • Google Ads Buzz: Search Engine Land’s Big Performance Max Report
  • RSA (Responsive Search Ads) are changing
  • Limited functionality for suspended Google Ads accounts
  • Changes for eCommerce and merchants: Conversion annotations for Google Shopping ads, Merchant Centre product data updates
  • New AI features for Performance Max
  • Pausing low-activity keywords

Ready? Let’s take a look!

Google Ads Buzz in May 2024

1. Dr. Martens Sues Temu over Google Ads

Temu has recently surpassed Amazon in advertising spend; if you’re seeing them everywhere – you’re not the only one. It was Dr. Martens that ultimately found a fault in their ads. 

The subject of Dr. Martens’ lawsuit was Temu bidding on competitor brand names – “Dr Martens” and “Airwair.” In their complaint, they wrote that Temu infringed on their trademark by targeting those keywords.

Does This Mean You Can No Longer Bid on Competitors’ Brand Keywords?

No. As long as you don’t pose as your competitor and only use the branded keywords to emphasise your offer is better, there are no copyright issues. However, I’ll keep an eye on the legal side of things and keep you posted!

For now, I recommend not mentioning the competitors by name in your ads. 

2. The Performance Max Playbook: What Are Successful Advertisers Doing?

Search Engine Land’s latest report (and playbook) looks at data up to Q2 2024 to identify what successful advertisers are doing with Google Ads’ supercharged campaign type, Performance Max

It’s a deep dive into everything from budgets and conversions to selecting the right types of assets for Performance Max campaigns. 

The key finding is that big advertisers still like to cut corners. If you default to text, consider visuals like images and videos

Similarly, don’t stick to just one campaign. Test multiple campaigns split according to your funnel segments and product categories, or get in touch with me for a tailored plan

Google Ads Changes in May 2024

1. Google Ads RSA Changes in May 2024

Google Ads has been increasingly showing Responsive Search Ads with only one headline and one description (instead of the old 3-2 combination). 

The new changes to RSAs mean three things:

  • You still don’t have control over your ad versions. Make sure different combinations make sense and choose carefully what you want to emphasise.
  • Test (not) pinning copy to see how it affects your results. Google wants free rein to test everything, but it’s your mission to ensure their tests deliver results.
  • Keep an eye on your assets. You can now add them at the campaign level and check their performance in the Assets reports.

2. Got Suspended? You Won’t Get Extensive Access to Your Google Ads Account

There are various reasons for getting suspended on Google Ads. However, you’ll no longer have free rein over your account. Instead, Google will only allow you to review the information in the following categories:

  • Billing (payments, tax documents, add payment methods)
  • Account settings (cancellations, refund claims) 
  • Appeals and verification
  • Update security settings
  • Navigating the account, reading information, downloading reports

3. Google Ads Merchant Changes in May 2024

Two key updates to Google Ads for (e)Commerce were announced in May 2024. 

Google Shopping Conversion Annotations

The first change is the conversion annotations, allowing you to add social proof badges to your Google Shopping ads. The goal? Showing how popular your products are. This is a strong trust signal which could help you get more clicks than your SERP competitors.

The main prerequisites are: having conversion tracking enabled in the Merchant Centre and opting into sharing your purchase history with Google Ads. (This can be a privacy concern, so be mindful of it as you consider whether or not to opt in.)

Improved Merchant Centre Product Data Specs

If you use Google Shopping ads or have a Merchant Centre catalogue for your other campaigns, get acquainted with the changes, including new attributes:

  • [loyalty_program] attribute: Specify special prices and points your members get with this new attribute. It’s currently only available in the US and Japan, but I hope they’ll expand to other regions!
  • [auto_pricing_min_price] attribute: Set the lowest price for your products when using automated discounts and similar features. Be careful with this one; you know what I always say about auto-applying recommendations – take it with a grain of salt!
  • [free_shipping_threshold] attribute: Specify the threshold above which the shipping is free.
  • [credit_type] sub-attribute in the [instalment] attribute for Vehicle ads: Lease or finance? You can specify in your ads!

In addition to new attributes, Google now requests you to specify when you’ve used AI to generate your product descriptions or other assets. The guidance around government-imposed fees is also clearer, stating that you shouldn’t mention fees like import duties in your ads. 

4. New AI Features for Performance Max

Despite being a black box when it first rolled out, Performance Max is now adding more AI and control features, including:

  • Customer Value mode: If you use purchase conversion goals and optimise for the value of conversions, the Customer Value mode will help refine your campaigns.
  • Customer Retention goal: Focus on winning back customers who are no longer actively purchasing from you.
  • IP address exclusions: Exclude your team’s IP addresses to prevent wasting your budget on unnecessary clicks.
  • Final URL expansion testing: Test if a different landing page on your website might generate better results than the original URL.

And, finally, we get two insight categories: Demographics and Budget pacing. 

Demographics will show exactly what it says on the tin: information about age and gender groups consuming your pMax ads. With Budget pacing, you’ll see real-time budget tracking and current/projected spend. It will also allow you to forecast conversion performance, so you can optimise your campaigns to generate higher ROAS. 

5. Google Will Pause Low-Activity Keywords by Default

If a keyword hasn’t generated any traffic in the past 13 months, Google will now automatically pause it. 

At first glance, this seems handy: Google is helping you manage your account. However, advertisers aren’t happy.

For example, in my business, if a keyword is in an account – it’s there for a reason, active or not. 

Still, we can always re-enable the keyword, but it poses a question: why is Google making default decisions, and then making us override them?

What Does May 2024 Tell Us about Google Ads?

AI is going full speed ahead, just as I predicted in my big 2024 Google Ads Changes post. With more features and assets come new ways to manage your account. 

On the one hand, it does help to have Google, for example, pull landing page data directly into your ad copy. But on the other, they ask us to let go of granular control, essentially saying – “Trust me on this.”

This month, consider if any of these changes apply to your account. Approach them strategically, mindful of your goals and budget. 

If you’re a new advertiser, familiarise yourself with the essentials through my best-selling book. Or, if you’re unsure how to maximise your ROI under these changing conditions, contact my team and me

I’ll see you in June! 

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