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Julie F Bacchini addressed this week’s PPCChat session where experts expressed their views on the impact of auto-applied recommendations on their accounts, their thoughts on any other changes that occurred in Google ads, expectations from Google Ads in the near future, and more.

Q1: What kinds of campaigns are you currently running on Google Ads? And do you use an MCC or direct logins?

I am running primarily search campaigns on Google Ads currently. The 10,000 placement exclusion limit has me really down on G Ads display. I use an MCC (which is always trippy when connected to another MCC!). @NeptuneMoon

All kinds? Search, App, Local, Disp, Discovery. For restaurant, for ecom, for awareness/behaviour change. I use a blend of MCC and direct, depending on the client. as usual, i’m an omnichannel mosaic. @JuliaVyse

Shopping, smart shopping, search, gmail, remarketing, youtube, basic display. I think I’m running just about everything. @CJSlattery

I run search (duh), GDN (smol, mostly retargeting) and shopping campaigns. I use the MCC. @FindingAmanda

Ideally, MCC over direct logins. I currently run Search, Display, Shopping, and YouTube ads – haven’t played much in other sandboxes. One day I’ll get back into LSAs…@ferkungamaboobo

All the kinds. LOL. Search, custom intent, remarketing, Display and smart display, Local services, Discovery, I’m sure I’m missing one or four. @ynotweb

MCC, of course. @ynotweb

We’re running (IIRC) a bunch of everything right now — YouTube, Search, Shopping, App, Display… Everything is via MCC. Individual log-ins are hell w/ lots of clients + 2FA. @DigitalSamIAm

Yup missed Shopping in there too. @ynotweb

Search, Smart Shopping, Regular Shopping, GDN, YouTube, Discovery. @AskYisrael

Search, Display, Video, Shopping, nothing smart and we use a combo of MCC and direct. @amaliaefowler

Everything under the google sun. using an mcc @JonKagan

Pretty much running all the different campaign types aside from the new Audio beta. I always roll accounts into our MCC where possible. @BrettBodofsky

We’re mainly running search but have added a few Shopping campaign clients recently as well. We do both MCC and direct login (white labelling) @adwordsgirl

Q2: Have any of your accounts been impacted by the recently rolled out Auto Applied Recommendations (with their own control center outside of the Google Ads UI)?

Thankfully no…but we’ve audited at least half a dozen accounts over the past ~2 months that have been impacted. We’ve also caught that the previously deactivated Auto-Applied Recs was switched on, with no history in the change log. Wonder who did that…@DigitalSamIAm

Not majorly, but we had some fun discussions (narrator: it wasn’t fun) about how these will impact public sector ads. Don’t just do random sh*t on behalf of the government! @JuliaVyse

All of my accounts are not active in this new program. I imagine because I had auto-applied recs turned off previously so they maybe carried that over? @CJSlattery

I found 2 that were (and several recent audits too). I certainly did not do it. But when the reps reach directly out to clients, I think they are getting permission without the client really knowing what they are doing. At least that is my best guess. @NeptuneMoon

Yes! My client had it enabled on their MCC, so even though our MCC had it off – they still auto-applied. @amaliaefowler

I have one account actively using the campaigns. It’s not a priority account for us/me and its performance is fine. I wouldn’t use it on anything that even approaches a priority though. @ferkungamaboobo

Opted 4 accounts into it. 3 bombed and I opted out, 1 improved. @JonKagan

What in the world…why Google why??? @Maiglisreal

I noticed a few account got enrolled into using the auto applied recommendations from the individual control center. Immediately changed that, as it tends to interfere with testing going on throughout the account and not produce the best result overall. @BrettBodofsky

Q3: Has the obscuring of search query data continued to impact your accounts? If so, what are you seeing now?

Um, YES. it’s very difficult to discuss performance quality and accountability if you can’t even see all the queries you match with. Also, public sector often have trouble with Search Console implementation for privacy reasons. so very very blind. @JuliaVyse

Non issue so far @JonKagan

Yes. Ugh. It’s infuriating. I have high value service clients paying $50-$150 a click and the fact that I’m paying $50+ a click for mystery meat is enraging. Most of these accounts it’s over 50% of their clicks/budget. I am going back to only exact match now. @CJSlattery

Yes, and the time it takes to deal with it. We have our work around, but its astounding the amount of crap we now see. So either it was bad all along (and only now visible to our external audit) or their “matching” skills have gotten worse. @ynotweb

Same old, same old. Looks to me offhand that we’ve stayed at the same levels as immediately after the change. While it’s sometimes frustrating to understand why a certain bad lead came through, it’s helped me better focus on the things I can change. @ferkungamaboobo

We are seeing only about 40% of search terms and it even hides search terms with conversions, which should qualify for ‘significant results’ @AskYisrael

So kinda. There’s still plenty of data available in Google Analytics, which allows you to approximate stuff pretty well + manage negatives, but it’s still frustrating that it’s been removed. @DigitalSamIAm

Averaging at least 30% of terms no longer visible, which is not good. Especially hard on smaller budgets and/or higher CPC accounts. You should not need a workaround for this. @NeptuneMoon

If Google’s main goal is to provide the best quality search results for users, limiting the search queries is not helping. Everything is getting lumped under mod broad keywords so I can’t make more specific ads based on search queries anymore…@FindingAmanda

Example: I have a keynote speaker I work with and I used to add keywords like “keynote speaker in California” with an ad calling out the state if I saw it pop up in search queries. Now I can’t see those so my ads must remain general. @FindingAmanda

We have clients where ~90% of search terms have been removed, which is just bloody bullshit. It’s a pretty egregious attempt by @GoogleAds to inflate their revenues and drive CPCs higher, while not improving product quality (which is textbook monopoly behavior) @DigitalSamIAm

Q4: Are there other changes that have occurred in Google Ads that have impacted your accounts this year – positively or negatively?

The as-of-yet unnamed/undisclosed “there isn’t enough volume to serve” warning when I go to launch accounts with smaller budgets and tighter keywords. I’ve had to shift the entirety of how I launch accounts. @amaliaefowler

In addition, ads are being truncated so the third headline is essentially entirely irrelevant, and the second description can get cut off. For my lower budget clients often in 3 or 4 position, this has changed how we write ads. @amaliaefowler

Not to show off or anything, but CPM Mastheads on YT rather than the 1 day buy are an expensive pain! yes, that’s my actual problem. @JuliaVyse

The continued degradation of match types. Everything blends together but they increased the close variants this year right? @CJSlattery

The preference for sites using Responsive ads. So much harder to pinpoint great headlines/ad copy. I think the more competitors that are using Smart bidding poorly, the more click prices are going up. Of course, Google accountants probably love that. @ynotweb

The continued deterioration of support has been a real problem for me. If you need help it can take weeks to get something resolved, which is ridiculous. We are paying customers. The related misery of match types merging has also been a big negative. @NeptuneMoon

Indeed digital taxes in some countries that Google kindly passed on to their customers. @Maiglisreal

On the positive side, the lead form extensions have been interesting and kinda good; on the bad side….well….everything else is gradually going to hell. @DigitalSamIAm

I’ve been loving the guided setups, even if they totally throw me for a loop when I try to implement ads that aren’t allowed in the campaign type. Really impressed by new ad units in display, though adoption across the internet is much lower than i’d hoped. @ferkungamaboobo

Popular opinion, somehow google support has become less helpful. @JonKagan

Q5: What do you think will be coming next from Google Ads?

At this point I’m honestly not sure. More consolidation probably, more automation. Stadia was a pretty meager launch, but you know, G has a way of building global ownership ads…so get ready for Twitch to actually have a competitor! @JuliaVyse

Movement towards intent/behaviour/audience, reduction of match-type importance, possibly keywords at all. Elimination of ETAs. @amaliaefowler

Less control/less visibility into the data that the channel generates. But I do think there will still be some levers to pull even in the far out future. @BrettBodofsky

Removal of ETAs. @PPCKirk

More streamlining, which doesn’t necessarily mean less knobs and dials to play with. More incentive to set up once and occasionally maintain, vs. playing with knobs constantly. More automation tools. @ferkungamaboobo

I think keywords are going to continue to get demoted, unfortunately. Forced RSAs (you could argue that they are almost forced now). @NeptuneMoon

The future of Google Ads will be more “smart” campaigns and less and less manual options. It’s unfortunate, but the bright side is experts like us will always be in demand. Advertisers need someone outside of Google to explain what the heck is going on. @FindingAmanda

Honestly, I think there will be some major changes to negative keywords (and NOT in a good way). It’s one of the few things G hasn’t (significantly) modified or nerfed, and probably the last major barrier to large-scale automation. @DigitalSamIAm

A robot that will not only take your job, but assume your role within your family, and ultimately snuff you out. @JonKagan

Q6: What is something you hope Google Ads does in the near future?

Gives us back Search Terms data. @DigitalSamIAm

Can I say undo most of the changes they’ve made over the last 3 years? Because that’s my answer. The original sin was not provided in Google Analytics. @CJSlattery

I think an interface update is badly needed. Same dashboard options with about 500% more things to watch. Its gotten very cumbersome. @ynotweb

But since that’s a fantasyland idea, I’d love if they’d give us more detailed breakdowns on ad performance (especially for RSAs), expand negatives/placement exclusion limits and re-work the optimization score in a big way. @DigitalSamIAm

I also hope that they at some point recognize the immense value that working *with* advertisers could provide. Have more conversations. Loop agencies into decisions. It doesn’t have to mean things stay as is, but we can be powerful partners in a similar goal. @amaliaefowler

Show all the query data again. Provide a bad match feedback tool for advertisers (I have been suggesting this for years!). Let us help the ML get better. Provide actual data on RSAs. @NeptuneMoon

The wishlist this year is pretty light. I just want my search terms and match types back. And maybe some data on particular asset performance. Not just ‘good’ or ‘low’ but imp/clicks/videoplays for app, local, rsas. @JuliaVyse

Oh oh! And please extend AI to view your other campaigns! I don’t want keywords suggested that I am already running in another campaign! @ynotweb

Would love it if Google Ads provided visibility into how each individual keyword or url is contributing to the overall performance of a custom intent audience. But at this point, obtaining more data seems a bit unlikely. @BrettBodofsky.

Gets a consistent and accurate support operation (been asking this for 15 years), and easier to deploy GA based call analytics. @JonKagan

Q7: What is something that you hope Google Ads will NOT do in the near future?

The exact thing they do every year, Julie. Try to take over the world. @amaliaefowler

Push more bad automation. Remove more advertiser control. Destroy the keyword. Hire more sales reps. Try to make everything “smart”…@DigitalSamIAm

Retire keywords and aggressively go direct everywhere! dark, but there you have it. @JuliaVyse

I hope that they won’t eliminate match types / control over keywords to an additional degree. I think I’m wrong, but I hope. @amaliaefowler

Deactivate/remove scripts. Turn Google Ads into FB-lite. @DigitalSamIAm

One thing I’ve struggled with is explaining to clients how projections from Google are pretty finicky and really shouldn’t be trusted as gospel. I’d love to be able to have a projection tool that’s more client-friendly. @ferkungamaboobo

I really don’t want them to completely do away with keywords. I’ve had actual reps (not chat support and not at my current agency) make the claim that the keyword is going away. @BrettBodofsky

Please don’t: Further mess with match types. Stop showing query data all together. Force automated anything. Get rid of non RSA ad types. Make search campaigns have to include a display component (that is the new default). @NeptuneMoon

Make recommendations that don’t benefit them first. @JonKagan

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