Google This Week: Less Featured Snippets, Goodbye Showcase Shopping & More

by | Feb 26, 2021

Google This Week
12 min read

There’s been a lot of Google news this week with a number of updates around Display & Video 360 and Campaign Manager 360, as well as news around Google Ads and Analytics, now with Contribution Analysis V1. Google is also showing less featured snippets in the search results and more.

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

Google Looking into Blocking Content from Discover

Danny Sullivan from Google said Google is “looking at” methods to restrict certain pages or subfolders from being included in Google Discover. There are new manual actions for Discover and Google News off the back of the controversy around the news media bargaining code, but currently, there is no way to control if you show in Discover.

Contribution Analysis V1 in Google Analytics

Analytics Intelligence scans your data for anomalies in metrics. Now, if anomalies are found, Analytics Intelligence may identify granular user segments that demonstrate the anomalies. You can create an audience from a user segment for root cause identification or export for ad campaign targeting.

Google Ads Available in Analysis

Google Ads metrics, dimensions and session scope are now available in Analysis in Google Analytics. Google Analytics has added a set of new dimensions so you can see which source/medium/campaign drove a session.

And if your Google Analytics 4 property is linked to a Google Ads account you can now see campaign data, including impressions and clicks alongside user behaviour data in the Analysis module.

Google Ads Available in Analysis

Custom Dimensions and Metrics in Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 now has user-scoped custom dimensions and a unified table to manage custom dimensions and metrics. User properties are now aliases for (user scoped) custom-dimension slots, meaning developers can focus on tracking meaningfully named data points without having to associate each data point with an arbitrary slot number.

The User Properties section in Google Analytics is now Custom Definitions and has been updated with a table to unify the management of custom dimensions/metrics of all scopes.

New Association Functionality Added to Search Console

Google Search Console now has an enhanced Association page within the settings menu. Association is a connection between a Search Console property and another entity or property in a Google Service, this could be a link between a Search Console property and a Google Analytics account, YouTube channel or Web Store account.

Existing associations have automatically been carried over to the new Associations page. Associating your site can unlock more functionality. For example, associating with your Google Analytics property means you can view your Search Console data in GA.

Now, you can also link Search Console domain properties to Google Analytics to get even better coverage of your organic search results. You can also associate Google Ads, YouTube, Play Console, Actions Console and Chrome Web Store.

New Association Functionality Added to Search Console

Open Measurement-enabled (OMID) Inventory Targeted by Default in DV360

Open Measurement-enabled (OMID) inventory will be targeted by default for more measurable, higher-quality inventory in Display & Video 360 starting April 5. The setting will be available as part of viewability targeting at the advertiser level and line item level.

Beginning March 5, you’ll be able to review your settings for Open Measurement targeting and see notices in the Campaigns tab. Any updates you make to Open Measurement targeting will take effect on April 5.

Programmatic and non-Programmatic Guaranteed Deals Not Targetable from the Same Line Item

Soon in Display & Video 360 Programmatic Guaranteed and non-Programmatic Guaranteed deals won’t be targetable from the same line item. This change will impact new line items.

Existing line items will continue to serve both types. When editing inventory source targeting on an existing line item, you’ll have to choose one.

New Creative Status Tab Coming to DV360

A new tab in Display & Video 360 is coming, called “Creative status”. The Audit information section will be renamed to Display & Video 360 review and will move from the Creative details tab to the new Creative status tab.

This tab will give you one place to find all information related to a creative’s status, including proactive information to understand platform and exchange reviews, campaign and line item eligibility and any restrictions.

Story Insertion Orders to Support Audio

Soon, you’ll be able to include audio line items in your story insertion order in Display & Video 360. This gives you another media type to use to show a sequence of creative messages to your audience.

N+ Frequencing Coming to Unique Reach Reports

Soon, N+ frequency, a dimension that determines how many people observed a given ad N+ times, is coming to reporting in Display & Video 360 and Campaign Manager 360. You’ll be able to see a new “Reach by frequency” metric section in Unique Reach Reports, allowing metric selections on Impression Reach, Click Reach, Total Reach and Viewable Impression Reach.

Mobile-First Indexing Deadline Looming

Google’s mobile-first indexing deadline is coming up soon. Google moved the deadline from September 2020 to March 2021 last year. John Mueller from Google said the March deadline is approximate.

When asked if all sites would be moved over by April, Mueller responded “That’s approximately the target. We don’t have a critical reason to reach any particular cut-off date, so it could be that the remaining sites are a bit spread out, some earlier, some a little bit later.”

Google Deprecating Showcase Shopping Ads on April 1

Google is set to stop serving Showcase Shopping ads and remove Showcase Shopping ad groups on April 1. Google sent an email to advertisers on February 23 with the news. After April 1, previous Showcase Shopping ad layouts will be part of Product Shopping ad groups. You will still be able to access performance data for removed ads and ad groups in your account reports.

Google Deprecating Showcase Shopping Ads on April 1

Page Experience Update Won’t be a Massive Change to Start

According to Google’s Danny Sullivan, the Page Experience update won’t be a massive change to start. It may grow in importance over years but “it shouldn’t be the case that overnight, we flip some type of switch and there’s a massive change.”

The Page Experience update will begin rolling out in May 2021. Sullivan posted on Twitter what he mentioned at the Google Search Central live event saying “it could become a more important factor over time than with an initial launch as a great page experience becomes more common to pages.”

He also said it was one of many factors and said when it launches relevancy will still rank supreme over other factors.


Google Search Showing Featured Snippets Less Often

Barry Schwartz noticed and reported over on Search Engine Land that many of the SEO tools are showing a decline in the number of featured snippets showing up in the Google search results. The trend starts around February 18, with most, if not all of the tools that track Google search results showing big declines in featured snippets.

Google Search Showing Featured Snippets Less Often

This may be a bug as RankRanger is now showing a return of featured snippets to a normal level. The other tools are still lagging behind so it is too early to say. However, this still may show an intentional change by Google as there was a change to how often certain categories of search results in Google show featured snippets.

RankRanger is now showing a return of featured snippets


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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