Google This Week: New Ad and Shopping Features, Predictive Capabilities in Google Analytics and More

by | Jul 17, 2020

Google This Week
14 min read

There’s been a lot of news from Google This Week. There are a lot of new exciting ads and shopping features and new products, including new predictive capabilities in Google Analytics with new audience features for Google Ads. There are also new features for smart shopping campaigns, image extensions and countdowns for responsive search ads.

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

YouTube Testing More Immersive Ads

As users are shopping more and more online, Google continues to test more immersive ads.  Google has announced the ability to run YouTube live stream content in display ads. Users can interact with the video, watch a preview, etc.

We also reported on Swirl ads in DV360 last week with 3D ads now available on YouTube. YouTube has also introduced a new AR beauty try-on. The new ad format allows users to try out product colours as they watch YouTube creator videos. Google said,

“Using this new format, brands like M·A·C will be able to tap into YouTube’s vibrant creator community, deploy influencer campaigns to YouTube’s 2 billion monthly active users, and measure their results in real time.”

YouTube Testing More Immersive Ads

Google to Crack Down on Fake News and Illegal Content on YouTube

Google announced it will be cooperating with South Korea to more closely monitor and prevent the spread of fake news and illegal content across YouTube. During a video conference with Han Sang-hyuk, chairman of the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) Google’s Senior Vice President Neal Mohan agreed to work together to stop the spread of fake news, especially in regards to COVID-19.

New Predictive Capabilities in Google Analytics

Google has introduced 2 new predictive metrics to App + Web properties. Purchase Probability predicts the likelihood that users who have visited your app or site will purchase in the next 7 days. Churn Probability predicts how likely it is that recently active users will not visit your app or site in the next 7 days.

You can now use these predictive audiences in Google Ads, with Analytics now suggesting new predictive audiences that you can create in the Audience Builder. You can also use predictive metrics to analyse your data with the Analysis module. For example, you could use the User Lifetime technique to find which marketing campaign helped to acquire users with the highest Purchase Probability.

New Predictive Capabilities in Google Analytics

You will be able to use predictive metrics in the App + Web properties beta soon. In the next few weeks, these metrics will be available in properties with purchase events implemented or are automatically measuring in-app purchases once certain thresholds are met.

Google Bans Ads for Stalkerware Products and Services

Google has banned ads for “stalkerware” apps and services (apps used to spy on another person without their authorisation). In an ad policy update this week, Google announced, beginning August 11, it will prohibit ads for products or services marketed for secretly tracking or monitoring another person.

Google Updates Discover Help Document with E-A-T

Google has updated its Google Discover help document with E-A-T mentions. The document has been almost completely revamped. The new section covering E-A-T reads:

“Our automated systems surface content in Discover from sites that have many individual pages that demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T). Those looking to improve E-A-T can consider some of the same questions we encourage site owners to consider for Search. While Search and Discover are different, the overall principles for E-A-T as it applies to content within them are similar.”

Google to Notify GMB Account Owners When Local Listings Suspended

Google will now notify Google My Business account owners via email when their local listings are suspended. Previously, businesses only found out of a suspension when they signed in to their accounts or noticed a change in call volumes, web traffic or conversions. Based on a new European law that just went into effect, Google will notify businesses, but still won’t explain why they’ve been suspended.

Google to Notify GMB Account Owners When Local Listings Suspended

New Features for Smart Shopping Campaigns

Smart Shopping campaigns can now display shipping annotations and have a ‘new customer’ bidding control. Later this year, a new Smart Shopping format will launch and videos are coming to Display ads. There’s a lot of exciting new features for Smart Shopping campaigns.

Shipping annotations

Starting this week in the U.S. Smart Shopping ads can now include shipping annotations like ‘free’ or ‘fast’ shipping. The annotation appears dynamically and pulls from your product feed and Google Merchant Center account.

‘New customer’ optimisation

Also starting this week, advertisers can now optimise Smart Shopping campaigns for new customer acquisition with conversion goals.

'New customer' optimisation


Immersive and video ads

Immersive and video adsGoogle has also announced it may launch a new ad format for displaying Smart Shopping ads later this year. Google will be adding more visual features to help customers discover more retailers.  A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land:

“For example, let’s say a customer is browsing around for furniture ideas across websites and apps. They may see a video Display ad from a retailer’s Smart Shopping campaign (the sample image on the right) to help showcase relevant products in that moment. After more research, the customer narrows down their choices and starts searching specifically for ‘side chairs’. They may see a more immersive, browsable experience with a carousel of multiple retailers’ most relevant products.”

Image Extension Beta and Countdowns for Responsive Search Ads

Responsive search ads are getting more features and functionality. Back in May, we reported that Google would sunset gallery ads and move forward with image extensions. This week, Google launched an image beta and also added dynamic countdown functionality to responsive search ads. When enabled and activated on an ad impression, image extensions in Search ads show an image next to your text ad.

Immersive and video ads

The beta is open to both responsive search ads and expanded search ads. You can either upload images to your ads or enable Google to pull images dynamically from your site. Google has also launched countdowns in responsive search ads. Countdowns give customers a sense of urgency to buy if you show when a promotion is ending.

countdowns in responsive search ads

Search Ads 360 Migration Tool Compatible with Microsoft Ads Parallel Tracking

You are now able to use the Migration Tool within Search Ads 360 to become compatible for Microsoft Ads parallel tracking. Always run the migration tool before activating parallel tracking. Microsoft Advertising parallel tracking improves your landing page speed by sending customers directly from your ad to your final URL while click measurement happens in the background.

Impression Share Automated Bidding for Microsoft Ads in Search Ads 360

Impression share bid strategies are now supported for Microsoft Advertising campaigns targeting “absolute top of page” and “top of page” (in addition to targeting “anywhere on page”). Target Impression Share means you can get your ads anywhere on the results page and assign a specific impression share target.

This bid strategy gives you clearer controls and objectives with visibility goals and makes it easier to report on performance. This week, SA360 will start migrating your Microsoft ad campaigns managed by keyword position bid strategies to impression share bid strategies, when possible.

Google Boosting YouTube in Search Over Competitors?

In a recent study in the Wall Street Journal, Google is reportedly boosting YouTube videos ahead of rivals in search results. When Facebook and other competitors host a video that also appears on YouTube, Google allegedly pushes the YouTube video ahead of others in search.

“The Journal conducted Google searches for a selection of other videos and channels that are available on YouTube as well as on competitors’ platforms. The YouTube versions were significantly more prominent in the results in the vast majority of cases.”

However, these allegations are difficult to prove. According to the study, YouTube came up 95% of the time in the first position in Google’s video carousel, compared to just 5% of the time for Facebook Watch.

“Engineers at Google have made changes that effectively preference YouTube over other video sources, according to people familiar with the matter. Google executives in recent years made decisions to prioritize YouTube on the first page of search results, in part to drive traffic to YouTube rather than to competitors…”

While this study hasn’t proven anything, if you want to rank for your videos, you may want to consider uploading to YouTube.

Google Launches ShopLoop an Entertaining New Way to Shop

Google has launched ShopLoop, an interactive way to shop online. Shoploop videos are no longer than 90 seconds and help consumers discover new products. The ads are made by content creators knowledgeable about the product/s and users can save the product to buy later or click straight to the merchant’s website to complete a purchase.

You can follow your favourite Shoploop content creators and share videos. Shoploop is currently only focussed on the beauty industry and is mobile-only with desktop to launch soon.


Google Removes Twitter Results in Search

Google has removed Twitter results in Search after a major Twitter hack on Wednesday. Hackers pushing a crypto scam hijacked Twitter accounts for Bitcoin and other verified accounts, including Apple, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Jeff Bezos. It appears that Google took action by removing Twitter results from Google Search. So far, there has been no statement from Google on the change but we’re pretty sure it relates to the hack and the change is just temporary.

Google Removes Twitter Results in Search

Thank You for Reading

Have you noticed any changes from Google this week?

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

Paul Hewett

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