Tyranny is a fact of life. Our political founders tried to fight it. They won. For awhile.
But tyranny comes in all shapes and sizes. And the Thomas Jeffersons and the Benjamin Franklins couldn’t have envisioned the tyranny we experience today.
This typically comes in the form of digital monopolies. In the online advertising world, we see a two-fold monopoly or a duopoly. Google Adwords and Facebook Ads.
These two ad services are in every nook and cranny of the internet. And if you want any kind of exposure online, you have to use both. Otherwise, you lose half of your audience.
But Google is an overbearing master. They are strict in how their ads appear and where they appear.
If you are expecting high exposure with Google Adwords, you have to abide by their rules and expectations. If you upset the Google overlords, you might as well feed your money to pigs.
But we don’t want that to happen. Therefore I’ve put together a list of recent changes so that you’re up to date on what our Google masters are doing.
1. Things Are a Changing
One of the nutty things about both online marketing and SEO marketing is that Google changes its ever loving mind constantly. One year you’re allowed to put annoying animations in your ads. The next year the same action will sink your campaign battleship.
And the summer of 2017 is no different. We’re seeing Google make two major changes to their AdWords service and a few changes that will affect AdWords indirectly.
The Enhanced CPC Expansion
Google will gradually do away with the 30% cap on Enhanced CPC. This means that some bids will increase by more than 30% according to its likelihood to convert.
This is mixed news for marketers. On the one hand, you’ll be able to see quite clearly which clicks are most likely to convert based on price. On the other hand, you’ll end up spending way more than you bargained for if you’re not careful.
Google claims that this will help you drive more quality conversions. And this might actually be true. But it remains to be tested.
The Ad Rank Threshold Change
Ad Rank controls where an ad may appear on a page. A host of factors determines this including max CPC, expected CTR, landing page experience, ad relevance, etc.
Ads that show up on Google’s search results only show on the first page if they meet specific thresholds or minimum standards. Kinda like making the cut in High School basketball.
If you don’t make the cut for the A string, you’re stuck on B string. If you don’t make the cut for B string, well, you might as well be a team manager.
The top of the page is A string and the bottom of the page is B string. Anything else gets put on page two.
But the thresholds are changing. In fact, there is a new threshold to getting on the top of a page. It takes into account the meaning of the query.
You might think this is related to the exact match changes that happened recently. But it’s not. It’s something Goole began to roll out in May of 2017 and only now are we seeing the effects.
Before this change, Google hardly took context into account for Ad Rank. It’s oddly confusing because it has absolutely nothing to do with audience. Your bid adjustments will be treated exactly the same.
What Do I Mean?
What do I mean when I say “context”? The queries will be divided into categories like News or Recipes or Consumer Products. And these categories will determine the difficulty of the threshold for entry into the top of the page.
Also, you’ll see fewer ads in certain categories. News is an especially sacred online space and there will be fewer ads on news queries.
And, following the laws of supply and demand, these ads will cost more.
The Ad Rank Weighting Change
This is really part of the same change, but I’d like to especially highlight this particular aspect. Some query thresholds will weigh context over Quality Score.
This change will possibly mean higher CPCs while quality score does not change. Also, you might notice the opposite, your quality score might be high, but because of context, your Ad Rank might be lower.
If you go through a Google adwords agency, you might want to contact them to find out if they’ve noticed a change. They will be able to advise you on how to deal with this change.
2. Polishing Chrome
I remember back in the days of Firefox we would block all the ads. I was in college then and ads were our enemy.
Now, ads are our friends. And we don’t block them, right?
Well, Google disagrees…sorta.
They’re adding an adblocker to Chrome. But before you go upending tables and burning down the roof, listen for a second.
Google isn’t blocking all ads. In fact, they’re calling it an “ad filter.”
Their goal? Block “annoying, intrusive ads on the web.”
This is massive news. Google, the ad maven, blocking ads. It’s unheard of!
But it’s a sound strategy. And you have no reason to fear if you’re using at least Google AdWords.
Not only will those who use Chrome no longer be subject to pop-ups and timed ads, their loading speeds will increase. And even if you have a slower connection, your experience will be a little bit faster.
If you’re worried that your ads will get blocked or filtered, Google’s DoubleClick just released a guide on how to create not so annoying ads.
So, if you follow those guidelines on all non-AdWords ads, you should be fine. No need to go all Chicken Little on your employees.
Conclusion: Don’t Panic and Always Carry Your Towel
Really, none of these changes are groundbreaking or earth shattering. Your Vogon overlords aren’t paving a space highway through Earth quite yet.
But it’s still a good idea to be prepared and know what plans are being forged. So keep your PPC towel on hand just in case you get ejected into AdWords purgatory.
Have you kept with PPC and AdWords news? Any new insights you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below.