Google Ads: The Latest Updates You Need to Know

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Janet Mobley

Have you ever used a Google tool and felt like it had completely changed from the last time you used it? It’s not in your head!

Google constantly tweaks their services and platforms in order to enhance the user experience for both searchers and advertisers. One of their most recent updates came to Google Ads, their pay-per-click advertising platform. Google rebranded their ad platform from Google AdWords to Google Ads (their biggest update in the past 15 years), in an effort to be more encompassing for the suite of platforms that their ads influence (maps, YouTube, display, in-app, mobile, and search).

With the update, they rolled out several technical tweaks and aesthetic upgrades to the platform. Changes like these, however, can cause a number of headaches for businesses and advertisers unaware of them. In this post, we’ll be covering the most important aspects of the update so you can get the most out of your ads.

Here are a few of the changes and features that you should know.

The Interface

Part of the transformation from AdWords to Google Ads includes an updated user interface. The new look, which replaced the grey menus and sidebars with vibrant colors, rolled out in December of 2018. However, users still have the option to revert back to the old version.

To switch from the new interface back to the old, click the tools icon in the top right corner and select Return to previous Google Ads. To go from old to new, simply click the gear icon in top right and select Try the new Google Ads.

Video Ads

If your company uses video ads, you’re in luck. Gone are the days of being restricted to 6-second non-skippable ads. Google now provides a slight boost to advertisers by making 15-second ads on YouTube non-skippable. Before, Google and YouTube only provided non-skippable, 15-second ads to certain advertisers (movie trailers, streaming services, etc.), but they have decided to open them up to everyone.

All advertisers now have the ability to expand their creative videos ads to 15 seconds and know that their target audience will receive the full message. The 30-second option remains available, but a skip button will be added 5 seconds into the ad.

15 second non-skippable ads

Additionally, this update gives advertisers the option to add a call-to-action (CTA) to video ads. Similar to how you can add a CTA to a search engine results page (SERP), Google has now added this interactive CTA to their videos, which brings you fresh leads and allows consumers to interact with your brand beyond the ad.

As your advertisement plays during a video, you will be able to add your CTA, like “install” or “try today”. This is a great way to A/B test and reach a broader audience!

Call-to-action video ads

Display Ads

As 2018 came to an end, Google rolled out a few upgraded features to their Display ads. At the end of the year marketers tend to adjust the dollars and cents of their campaigns in an effort to maximize their remaining ad budgets, which can be a very tedious and time-consuming process. The update includes the new audience expansion tool, which allows marketers to broaden their audience with the help of Google’s algorithm, ensuring that ads reach the correct segments. As you slide the bar to the left and right, Google shows how many people will see the ads.

audience expansion tool

Dynamic Prospecting

Google added another feature called dynamic prospecting, which shows your products to users who have interacted with similar sites across Google. Simply upload your product feed to Google Ads, activate dynamic prospecting, and boom! Your products will be shown to users who have interacted with similar businesses in your industry.

Suggested Audiences

Google has also made it easier to reach your ideal customers with suggested audiences. This update allows advertisers to input a list of keywords, URLs, or apps into their system and, based on those keywords, you will receive a list of recommended segments for you. This saves you time and helps you reach more of the right people – those who are looking for your products or services.

Lastly, the tech giant added a new pay-per-conversion system for display ads that gives you the option to pay for conversions instead of clicks. In the example provided by Google, if your target cost-per-acquisition is $10 and you received 30 conversions over the weekend, you will only have to pay $300. This is a highly recommended alternative to paying for every click a consumer makes on your ad, which is not guaranteed to lead to conversions.

This combined with dynamic prospecting and the update to custom intent audiences should help you have more successful campaigns.


As an advertiser, you now have the ability to capture data on calls coming from your location extensions. By default, calls that last for more than 60 seconds (this can be adjusted based on your goals) will count as a conversion, providing insight as to which campaigns, ad groups, and ads are providing positive customer impressions.

To gain further insight into how your individual extensions are performing, Google has added call and message reporting with new metrics such as phone-through rate and chat rate.

Dynamic Search Ads

You can now specify which URLs you would like to include in your dynamic search ads. It is recommended that you utilize your top pages, as those are the ones that your customers are visiting the most often.

However, if you have a page for a particular product that you are trying to push, be sure to promote that page. We recommend performing keyword research, optimizing the content, and checking its mobile responsiveness before choosing to promote any page on your website.

Still need help?

As Google continues to make changes to its advertising platform, you may find yourself wondering how to best use Google Ads for your home improvement business. FatCat Strategies is here to make your life easier. Give us a call to see how we can help you reach more of the right people online for one flat, monthly fee.

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