Google Ads 2020: Here Is What Changed

We break down the major changes to Google Ads in 2020.

In a year filled with change, Google Ads was no exception.

The platform that remains the king of PPC made several permanent changes marketers should know about.

In case you missed them, we've gathered them all into one document here.

1. Disappearing Search Terms

In September Google Ads announced that fewer queries would be shown in its search terms report.

Since up to 40% of clicks can come from queries with low search volume, this change complicated life for PPC marketers who use the search terms report to scout out keywords with low volume but high conversions.

Google framed the change as protecting the privacy of its searchers, but more likely it was to conceal the increasingly broad keywords that ads were being triggered for.

2. Free listings on Google Shopping

Before 2020, advertisers had to pay to list their products on Google Shopping.

In a sign that Google was losing out in the ecommerce battle to Amazon and Facebook, in April Google decided to let all advertisers list their products on Google Shopping for free.

Google framed the change as helping small businesses during the pandemic when COVID had just began and lockdowns were everywhere.

More likely, Google Shopping has never actually caught on among businesses and advertisers, and it was Amazon that forced Google's hand.

3. Lead Form Extensions

Lead forms are a popular lead generation tool for LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

When clicked on, users are taken to a form they fill out that gathers information useful to a company when they follow up with them later in their CRM.

Traditionally Google focused on taking users to landing pages when they click on an ad.

Beginning in 2020, Google advertisers can use lead form extensions on Google Search ads, YouTube ads and Discovery ads.

4. More automation

Google's push to automize more and more of its ads didn't stop in 2020. In particular, Responsive Search Ads and Responsive Display Ads got pushed forward with new changes.

With Responsive Display Ads (RDAs) marketers now have the ability to upload multiple headlines, description liens, images and logos in different aspect ratios, and Google will dynamically create ad units using different combinations of each.

After data begins to come in, Google will automatically begin showing the ads that perform the best, usually taking about two weeks for Google to give scores of 'Best', 'Good' and 'Low' on each combination.

Responsive Search Ads work in the same way, and advertisers can include as much as 15 headlines and 5 different descriptions.

5. New bidding strategies

Finally, Google made some changes to update the amount of bidding recommendations it gives to users.

These recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt. While implementing Google's recommendations can certainly lead to higher clicks and impressions, they do not consider internal metrics such as profitably, and therefore they can eat away your budget.

Google's recommendations work best when they are implemented using a high budget.

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