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TPE #2: The future of Google Ads, trends & PMax asset optimization

Jul 03, 2022

The PPC Edge #2: The future of Google Ads, trends & PMax asset optimization

Welcome back to the PPC Edge! Every Sunday, you’ll get 1 actionable tip to scale your e-commerce Google Ads campaigns to the next level.

In this issue, I’m reporting on some of the most important learnings from Adchieve Summer School (training about the latest insights on PPC for e-commerce brands).

Before we dive in, two things:

  1. Until further notice, the PPC Edge will be shared on Sundays instead of Mondays
  2. I tried to keep it short but this newsletter turned out to be quite long. Hope you have the time to soak in some new trends ;-)

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the content!

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Adchieve Summer School? What?

For those of you who aren’t familiar: Adchieve is a PPC management software & search automation tool.

I’ve never used their tool myself but I’ve heard some great stories about them.

This week, they organized Adchieve Summer School: a training about the latest insights on PPC for e-commerce brands.

Topics that were discussed:

  • Using first party data in Google Ads
  • The disappearance of third party cookies
  • A new way of measuring success: ROAS vs POAS
  • How to optimize (creative) assets for Performance Max

Most of the topics were about trends and upcoming changes to the Google Ads landscape.

I’ll briefly share my notes and biggest learnings per topic.

 

Third party cookies are going away. First party data is the only way to survive

I’m going to keep it as simple as possible since I’m not a data expert and I don’t want to lose you with fancy buzzwords.

Please forgive me if I share information that is not 100% correct - but I’ll try to paraphrase as best as I can.

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A quick reminder so you know what I’m talking about:

  • First party cookies/data = owned by the website your visiting (i.e. your own website)
  • Third party cookies/data = owned by another party (i.e. Google)

Everyone that’s been in online advertising knows that online measurement is becoming extremely hard.

Before we continue, allow me to give a little bit of context:

As a result, Google has announced it will kill third party cookies in Chrome in 2023

Advertisers have relied heavily on using third party cookies to track, measure and optimize campaigns.

Since they are going to disappear at some point, you need to focus on gathering and using your own data.

Now that tracking is becoming harder and harder, we need to look at alternatives.

Here are some options as explained by Lars Maat, founder of Maatwerk Online:

  1. Start using Google Analytics 4
  2. Use first party data (customer lists, conversion data etc.)
  3. Use external attribution tools tools (I use Northbeam)
  4. Use Google Consent Mode
  5. Use Google’s Enhanced Conversions
  6. Look at offline conversion measurement

Koen Vanderhoydonck, Performance Marketing Specialist at Google, went a bit deeper. He defined 3 key categories to look at.

Because everything is changing so rapidly, we must rely more on algorithms to optimize:

1. Conversion data

Conversion modeling is becoming huge really fast. In the past we knew exactly which click led to which conversion. Unfortunately, now we don’t. 

That’s where conversion modeling comes in. This is basically algorithmic conversion tracking based on probabilities.

Because conversions are being modeled, it’s not 100% waterproof.

Therefore, input is everything.

Trash input = trash output. Focus on high quality data so the algorithms can learn fast and optimize well.

2. Audiences

Audience sizes are shrinking due to issues with tracking…

So we must build our own audiences. Try Customer Match in Google Ads (import your own customer lists and let Google find people that look like them).

Ods are your Google rep has shoved this down your throat 1000s of times.

Now before you tell me: “CusToMeR MAtCh DoEsn’T w0rK”...

Give it a try. Try different audience segments. I see great results with Customer Match of high value customers (i.e. customers with higher than average order amount of AOV). 

Don’t bash it. Try it. If it works, scale. If it doesn’t, try something else :-).

Moral of the story: build & target audiences you OWN.

3. Creatives

This is where your edge is going to be. 

Focus on creating killer creatives.

Use timeless direct response marketing tactics.

Research the greats of the past like Dan Kennedy. A lot of the fundamentals still hold up today.

That’s it with the boring stuff… You still here?

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A new way of measuring success: ROAS vs POAS

I’m going to keep it short here.

Adchieve’s CEO, Mark van Werven, showed us how they’re helping advanced brands redefine measurement with new metrics.

Lots of brands focus on a simplified metric like ROAS or ACOS, which is not wrong.

However, Adchieve is taking it one step further and is challenging brands to think more about the profitability of your campaigns.

This led to the birth of POAS: Profit of Ad Spend.

It SOUNDS great, but it could take a long time in practice to actually implement. 

Why?

  1. Most businesses have their own way of measuring data
  2. It takes a bit of a technical implementation to set it up
  3. Not every brand is only focused on profit

If you decide to switch to profit-based measurement/bidding, make sure it solves the problem of your (client’s) business.

Don’t try to solve a problem that’s not there.

Profit-based bidding is advanced and not something every brand should do per se.

 

How to optimize (creative) assets for Performance Max

Now on to the tactical part of the newsletter: optimizing (creative) assets for Performance Max.

I’ve said this before but your creative assets are your way of differentiating yourself from your competitors.

Everyone is using the same tech and the same bid strategies.

But not everyone is using the same ads.

Making your ads stand out is the number one way to success with PMax.

So what should you optimize?

1. Your shopping feed

A quick overview of how to optimize your product feed in no particular order:

  • Test images
  • Test headlines
  • Use as much data as possible
  • Make sure product info is up to date at all times
  • Fully set up Google Merchant Center (with shipping times etc.)

I’d suggest you use a feed management tool. I personally use Channable but there are many alternatives out there.

When testing images, experiment not only with the main image, but also with the additional images!

2. Your images

Your main goal with your image ads is to stop someone from scrolling. Then, your image should be intriguing enough for a user to click.

Make sure you have thumb-stopping creatives by:

  • Research what works for others
  • Optimize for mobile devices
  • Try different text overlays
  • Test, test, test

3. Your videos

Video ads are amazing when done right. But they can also hurt your performance when done wrong. 

A few quick ways to optimize your videos:

  • Use the ‘Hook-Story-Offer’ framework
  • Hook your ideal audience in so they don’t skip after 5 seconds
  • Show a compelling story about your brand/product to keep users watching
  • Close with a strong call to action to direct users to your offer
  • Frontload the most important messaging
  • Make text overlays easy to read
  • Optimize for mobile devices
  • Test different lengths
  • Test, test, test

There are many different ways to optimize your images and videos but that’s for another newsletter :-).

4. Your campaign structure

Just like with Smart Shopping, you can go many different routes with your campaign structure. 

Try various structures for yourself and see what works for your brand.

Here’s a great article by ProductHero that shows a few different ways to set up your campaigns.

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It gives you a good direction of options to choose from, although there are many more things you can try.

Maybe an idea to dive deeper into in the next newsletter?

 

Geez… That’s it for today!

This newsletter turned out to be a bit longer than planned haha.

Thanks for reading this edition of the PPC Edge.

If you liked it, feel free to share with a friend/colleague.

See you next week!

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Thanks for reading, see you again next week.

 

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