Google This Week: New Ad Formats, Insights Page and More

by | Nov 20, 2020

Google This Week
14 min read

It’s been a big week at Google this week as Google plans for the holidays, adding new ad formats including new app ad formats in open beta and audio ads now on YouTube. There’s also a new insights page in beta in Google Ads and you can now order food and see your takeout status in Google Maps.


ICYMI, here’s what happened at Google This Week.

Googlebot Now Crawling with HTTP/2 Protocol

Googlebot can now crawl with HTTP/2 protocol (beginning November 2020). Google has updated its Googlebot Developers Support Page to reflect the update. Google stated,

“Generally, Googlebot crawls over HTTP/1.1. However, starting November 2020, Googlebot may crawl sites that may benefit from it over HTTP/2 if it’s supported by the site.”

Google My Business Phishing Appears to be on the Increase

Hijacked Google My Business listings appears to be a growing issue with Google saying it’s aware but business owners need to remain vigilant. Hijacked GMB listings (where someone other than the business gains control of the local profile) appears to be on the rise.

SterlingSky’s Joy Hawkins has reported the trend and tactics. GMB phishing is where the scammer uses the “claim this business” link in the Local Knowledge Panel that sends a request to the registered owner. In one case, a hijacked listing for a law firm was used to sell leads to other personal injury lawyers. A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land,

“We’re aware of this incident and are monitoring it closely and are continually working to keep the information on Maps safe and accurate. If a merchant ever receives a request to manage or to transfer ownership from an unknown person, they should decline the request. The rights to own or manage a Business Profile can only be granted if the verified merchant accepts the request or the requester proves their affiliation with the business.”

Google Automatically Surfacing Broad Match Opportunities in Recommendations

Google is pushing for broad match on the Recommendations page. Google says “On average, advertisers that switch their phrase match and broad match modified keywords to broad match can see more conversions and a higher conversion value.”

Google says that using broad match and Smart Bidding together can “help you reach more relevant queries you may not have thought of.” For example, winter headwear for women or women’s accessories. Pairing broad match with Smart Bidding means you can use auction-time signals to set the right bid for each of these queries, meaning you no longer need to anticipate and manage every potential search.

Auction Insights Report Expanded to Report Editor

Auction insights are now available in Report Editor at the account and manager account level. You’ll now be able to view cross-account auction insights to track metrics, identify shifts in auction performance and compare performance across retail product categories.

Auction Insights Report Expanded to Report Editor

The report is available for Search and Shopping campaigns. Simply click on the Reports icon in Google Ads and go to Predefined reports and select the Auction Insights tab.

reporting available for Search and Shopping campaigns

Google Testing Subcategories in Search

Google appears to be testing subcategories in the search results. The subcategories appear as tabs above the search results. SEMRush first spotted the test. This could be a new format for the sidebar filter that we reported on previously.

Remove Outdated Content Tool Updated

Google has updated the remove outdated content tool in Search Console (not to be confused with the remove content tool) with a more intuitive user interface.  The tool is designed for you to request the removal of URLs you don’t own. Google has updated the look and feel of the tool to be more consistent with the new Search Console interface.

Remove Outdated Content Tool Updated

Disavow Link Tool Migrated to New Search Console

Google has announced that it has migrated the disavow link tool from the old Search Console, one year after officially closing the old version. The new location for the disavow link tool is now at Google also updated the interface and you can now download a disavow file as a text file. There’s also a new error report for uploaded files that’s no longer limited to 10 errors.

Disavow Link Tool Migrated to New Search Console


New Improvements to Smart Bidding

Google has made some improvements to smart bidding. You can now more easily predict performance with updates to Target CPA, Target ROAS and budget simulators. To date, these calculations have been based on the last 7 days of campaign data. Now, you can forecast performance by choosing a date range up to 90 days in the future. Simulators will also incorporate seasonality to better predict performance changes after budget or target changes.

Simulators predict performance changes after budget or target changes

Google has also made some reporting improvements with recommendations now in the bid strategy report. To start, this will surface new keyword or budget opportunities. More recommendations will be added in future. They’ve also added features from the bid strategy reports to other areas in Google Ads.

New features on Bid Strategy reports


Takeout and Restaurant Reservation Status in Google Maps

Google is rolling out the ability to see the live status of takeout and delivery orders in the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, Brazil and India when you book or order from Google Maps on Android and iOS.

Google Maps updates to get you through the holidays

You’ll know when to pick up food or when to expect it to arrive. You’ll also be able to view expected wait times and delivery fees and reorder your favourites from the app. Soon, you’ll also be able to see the status of your reservation across 70 countries.

Audio Ads Now on YouTube

Google is rolling out audio ads. “Our first ad format designed to connect your brand with audiences in engaged and ambient listening on YouTube.” Audio ads are currently in beta and have the same measurement, audience and brand safety features as your video campaigns.

Audio ads are available in beta via auction on Google Ads and Display & Video 360 on a CPM basis with the same audience targeting options, bidding strategies and Brand Lift measurement capabilities as YouTube video campaigns.

Updated Defect Alerts in Google Merchant Center

Defect alerts help to identify issues with your orders in real-time, allowing you to take action before it impacts customer experience or your Retailer Standards score. Now, you can view order defect alerts directly from your “Orders” page in Google Merchant Center. You’ll be able to resolve issues directly from the “Order management” page. The old “Defect alerts” tab within the Retailer Standards section has been removed.

Manual Actions Bug in Google Search Console

For many, the manual actions within Google Search Console have disappeared. Many users are finding that it now says “no issues detected” even if they had issues yesterday. Google’s Daniel Waisberg said he is “looking into it…”. So if you go into GSC and see no issues detected, don’t celebrate just yet, they may have simply disappeared temporarily due to a bug.

Manual Actions Bug in Google Search Console

YouTube Now Reporting on Traffic Sources

YouTube analytics is now reporting on traffic sources. YouTube channel owners can find the new report in the Analytics tab in YouTube Studio. In the Overview area, there’s a new section called “How viewers found this video”.

YouTube Now Reporting on Traffic Sources

The report lists the traffic source, the percentage of views generated by the traffic source and the total number of views from the source. It also shows whether views for each source are trending up or down. Traffic sources can include notifications, subscriptions feed, YouTube recommendations (YouTube Home and Up next), channel pages and other.

New Insights Page in Beta in Google Ads

Over the next few weeks, Google is rolling out the Insights page as a beta in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, with more to follow. With the Insights page, you’ll be able to explore insights and emerging trends based on your business. You can deep dive into each trend to understand the searches and locations where demand is growing fastest.

You can deep dive into each trend to understand the searches and locations where demand is growing fastest

You can also find new opportunities with suggested trends (growing categories you’re not currently covering). You’ll also be able to take action with recommendations. You can review and apply keyword, budget and bidding recommendations more easily. As the beta is expanded next year Google says they’ll “be adding other types of insights to help you identify more opportunities and grow your business.”

finding new opportunities with suggested trends

New App Ad Formats Now in Open Beta

Google is unleashing new app ad formats in open beta, including app open ads and rewarded interstitial ads. App open ads are a way to monetise an app’s loading experience, with ad placements available when a user opens or switches back to the app.

Rewarded interstitial ads help to engage users who don’t opt-in to traditional rewarded ads by offering in-app rewards for watching full-page interstitial ads. Both ad formats were first announced at Think Games and are now available in open beta.


Thank You for Reading

Have you noticed any changes from Google this week?

Check back next Friday for the latest from Google This Week.

Paul Hewett

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