Everyone in digital media cringes when Google announces changes. One tiny modification to their algorithm can cause a ripple effect on processes and results. Most of the changes are designed to improve user experience, because let’s face it, the more time people are on the platform, the more Google makes on ads. Here are some of the changes for this year that impact small to mid-sized businesses in the professional services category. You’ll notice a theme – automation.
Local Maps Updates
Most local businesses rely heavily on local campaigns to drive business, for some it’s even the #1 tool. Until now, it was based on search queries like “ABC Retirement Planning” or “best financial advisor in Atlanta.” Google has now added some pretty cool new tools for local marketers on the most popular navigation app – Google Maps.
If a user searches for “financial advisor,” the new feature – Auto-suggest ads – will display an ad for a business nearby in their search results.
Another new feature are navigational ads which will show a business on Maps based on where a user is located regardless of their end destination. For example, if you’re driving home and pass by a promoted business, it will show up in your route as an ad at the bottom of the map.
The last addition to the navigation tools is a similar place ad which lets businesses show their location when a user is searching for similar companies nearby. For example, if you’re looking for “ABC Financial” and it’s closed, you’ll see an ad for another advisor nearby.
Google created Smart Campaigns to help small businesses and less experienced digital marketers take care of targeting and optimization. In May of this year, they released Performance Max which automates most of the work. It takes care of almost everything. The only thing the marketer must provide is the campaign goal i.e., CPA, ad details such as video, CTA, copy, budget and bidding, location, language and scheduling.
Google handles the rest including real-time optimization that uses audience signals that the advertisers provide which allows Google to show more ads to an audience that is more likely to convert. With Performance Max, ads can be pushed to every channel Google owns such as YouTube, Maps, Gmail, Display, Search or Discover. Remember, this is an option. If you want to take care of all the details, go for it, but for advertisers that don’t have the time or experience to tweak every single detail, this is a great option.
There are several more changes that Google has or will enable this year mostly targeted toward e-commerce, online retail and consent for cookie updates. Let us know if you need more details.