Google This Week: Free Ticket Booking Links, Improved Understanding of Search Intent for Smart Bidding & More

by | Sep 24, 2021

Google This Week
10 min read

This week Google has announced new features for the travel industry with free ticket booking links and eco-certified badges for hotels. Google has also improved its understanding of search intent for broad match and Smart Bidding and has launched Advertiser Pages to give users more transparency into ads. There are new conversion paths insights in Google Analytics and lots more exciting news at Google This Week.

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

New Conversion Paths Insights in Google Analytics

Google Analytics is introducing a new set of insights focused on conversion paths. The new insights show the most common individual first-touch and last-touch channels, as well as the most common channel combinations for multi-touch paths. You can analyse the data further in the Conversion Paths report.


Floodlight Sales & Counter Tags in GTM

Google Tag Manager has launched Floodlight sales and counter tags for server-side containers. Moving your Google Floodlight sales and counter tags to the sever will reduce the amount of code you have to run in the page and thus may improve page load times.


Google Tests Active Pricing Forms for New Cars Directly in Search

Google is testing active pricing forms for new cars directly in Search in the US. The forms can select trim styles and other options to price the car. Brett Tabke from WebmasterWorld said, “This is similar to what they have done in the airline industry, but the first time they have done it with an industry with non-reactive and generally fixed pricing (such as air, and hotel rates).” Brett went on to say that “this will have a profound effect on the entire ecosystem of auto buying: from car sites, dealerships, affiliate sites, to even OEM accessory sites.”


Delay in Search Console Performance Report

Google is experiencing delays in the Search Console performance report from around the 17th of September. Google confirmed the delays and updated users on Twitter. “This only affects reporting, not crawling, indexing, or ranking of websites.” Google is working on the problem and will issue an update once it has been resolved.

Delay in Search Console Performance Report


Update: Google Search Console’s performance report now seem to be back to normal and showing recent data as of yesterday (23rd September).


Google Announces Free Ticket Booking Links

Google has announced that now partners can promote their ticket booking links for free, similar to the free hotel booking links introduced earlier in the year. When people search for attractions they’ll see booking links for basic admission and other ticket options when available. Coming soon, Google will also begin showing information and booking links for experiences in a destination. Google is also introducing a new ad format for things to do to help advertisers drive additional revenue and bookings. The ads include more details like pricing, images and reviews.

Google Announces Free Ticket Booking Links


Google Introduces Eco-certified Badge for Hotels

Google is introducing an eco-certified badge for hotel listings in search. Hotels that are certified for meeting high standards of sustainability from certain independent organisations, including Green Key and EarthCheck will show an eco-certified badge next to their name. Users can click on the “About” tab to find a list of eco-friendly practices the hotel uses.

Google Launches Advertiser Pages

Google is enhancing its transparency around advertisers by introducing new advertiser pages. Users can view the pages in the new “About this ad” menu to get a list of ads the advertiser has run over the past 30 days. With advertiser pages, users can learn more about the advertiser before making a purchase. In addition, Google has made it easier for users to report an ad. Advertiser pages will launch in the coming months in the US and will roll out to additional countries next year. Google will also begin rolling out the “About this ad” feature more widely to YouTube and Search over the coming months. 


Relaxing Restrictions Around COVID-19 Related Shopping Ads

This month, Google will begin relaxing the restriction of certain COVID-19 related products on Shopping ads and free listings. Products, including clothing, test kits and home goods that were previously disapproved due to the COVID-19 sensitive event restrictions will now be eligible to serve on Shopping ads and free listings.


Server-Side Tagging Moves Out of Beta

Google has announced that Server-Side Tagging now works with any cloud or server provider that supports Docker – an open-source platform for developing and running applications. Server-Side Tagging has also now moved out of beta is now generally available to all customers in Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360. Server-Side Tagging now supports Google Ads and Google Marketing Platform products, including Campaign Manager 360, Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360. Server-Side Tagging also works with other privacy solutions including Consent Mode and enhanced conversions.


Improved Understanding of Search Intent for Smart Bidding

Google is improving understanding of search intent and predictability in how keywords match for broad match and Smart Bidding. Broad match can now help you find more relevant, high-performing traffic using fewer keywords with improved understanding of language and intent.

“Since your broad match keyword can match to a variety of queries, this technology is particularly useful for broad match. For example, a highly specific query like “1995 5 speed transmission seal input shaft” is now able to match with the broad match keyword auto parts because we can tell they’re related, even though none of the words in the query and in the keyword actually match.”

Earlier in the year, Google announced that an exact match keyword that is identical to a query is always preferred as long as it’s eligible to match. Now, both phrase and broad match keywords will follow this behaviour. When a search is not identical to any of your keywords, Google now considers relevance signals in addition to Ad Rank when determining which keyword is selected. These improvements will give you more control over which keyword matches a search, particularly when using broad match.


Thank You for Reading

Have you noticed any changes from Google this week?

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

Kirsten Tanner

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