Sit tight for the most important PPC updates circulating the web this July, featuring Google Ads’ restrictions to spyware coming August 11th.
Last month, LinkedIn launched engagement retargeting, Google’s featured snippets were updated and four new attributes were applied to GMB listings.
This month, we look at Google, Amazon, and Facebook, and discuss the antitrust hearing we’ve all been reading up on.
Let’s get to it.
Google introduces increased visual options for shoppers and brands
What: Google has introduced rich, personalised creatives across Search, Shopping, and Display ads in a bid to help businesses connect with shoppers. This includes the new Image Extensions Beta program, the ability to dynamically highlight sales, promotions, and shipping offerings, and videos on Display ads.
Why: In a statement published on July 15th, Google said the upgraded features will allow businesses to “showcase and augment your brand and products visually to spark action across Search, Shopping, and Display ads; optimise and grow your customer acquisition volume; and amplify your e-Commerce experience”.
The result: Businesses who embrace the new features, along with updates in the near future, will be able to engage with consumers on a totally different level. More information about the updates will also be rolled out on Google’s Advertising Solution Center in the coming weeks, along with the latest customer research.
Google to roll out out LSAs and ‘Google Screened’ to select professional services
What: Google has decided to formally roll out local service ads (LSAs) for professional services nationally after a successful trial run. It will initially be available to lawyers, financial planners, real estate agents, and tax preparers, though there are talks that other categories may be included as well.
Why: According to Google, this expansion brings more opportunity for providers to reach potential customers when they are searching for their services. LSAs also seem to perform well for local advertisers.
The result: To take part in the program, LSA advertisers must meet a minimum review score threshold of 3.0 stars, and be either Google Guaranteed or Google Screened. These checks ensure consumers that the businesses they choose to work with have been thoroughly vetted and deemed as trustworthy, helping to bring more conversions.
Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google attend antitrust hearing
What: An “Online Platforms and Market Power” virtual antitrust hearing was held on the 29th July, where the House Judiciary Committee questioned Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The hearing took place on Webex.
Why: The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are pursuing antitrust investigations into all four companies, potentially taking legal action. It was an opportunity for tough questions and documents to be raised about their competitive tactics regarding transparency with pricing, third-party seller data and more.
The result: Though the hearing was a significant public event and gained a lot of attention in the press, it’s thought to be a small part of the larger series of antitrust investigations into Big Tech. We can expect to hear more about them over the next few months, particularly following the U.S. elections in November.
Google My Business offer profile upgrades for $50 per month
What: After exploring something similar last year, Google My Business is now testing a subscription model. The upgrade came to light when Google My Business Product Expert, Tom Waddington, shared an email he had received on Twitter – sparking a conversion with Search Engine Roundtable Founder Barry Schwartz and other digital marketers.
Why: The new subscription gives advertisers a Google Guaranteed badge and supposedly helps them stand out on the SERPs. It’s suspected more information will surface soon, though it seems the majority of advertisers aren’t currently seeing the option to upgrade in their account.
The result: Tom commented “A screening process still applies. It’s for eligible businesses only. So don’t expect to see the offer for any GMB listing. For now it may only be an option for some businesses that are currently in Local Services.” He also said that he wouldn’t expect to see it available in the UK any time soon.
The ACCC takes Google to court over user tracking
What: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken Google to court over terms and conditions users agreed to back in 2016 about how the company tracks internet users. It comes about after Google updated its terms and agreements between 2016 and 2018, with statements such as “Google will use this information to make ads across the web more relevant for you”.
Why: According to recent news, the ACCC’s digital platforms inquiry found that 80% of Australians did not want their browsing activity to be combined with their personal information, and Google did not properly disclose this change to its users. The ACCC also argues that the agreement was purely for Google’s benefit.
The result: It’s thought that the ACCC will seek millions of dollars in damages from Google, and declarations about what Google and other similar platforms can and can’t do in terms of getting users to consent will be brought to light. A draft code on arrangements around revenue and data is expected to be released by the ACCC this week.
Google Ads plans to restrict advertising for spyware products and software
What: From August 11th this year, Google Ads will be denying any advertising related to “spyware and surveillance technology”. The update is part of the Enabling Dishonest Behaviour policy and will apply to both Search and Shopping campaigns.
Why: The policy has a strong focus on advertisements that mislead users or those that allow users to gain access to forbidden physical objects. With this in mind, Google’s update suggests that companies will no longer be able to promote products or services designed to enable people to “track or monitor another person or their activities without their authorisation.”
The result: Violations will not result in immediate account suspension, but it’s suspected that Google will issue a warning at least 7 days out prior to suspension. We can also expect advertisers to test different variations of ads in the weeks after August 11th, as well as those with problematic ads in place to make immediate changes.
A wealth of PPC updates on your doorstep
Want to get stuck into even more?
Here’s what Microsoft’s new Shutterstock partnership means for advertisers, insight into Google’s audience recommendations, and a commentary from Adzooma’s Head of Acquisition on the new reporting for RSAs.
Keep an eye out for next month’s roundup!
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