Public Interest

Google Ads Trends 2023: The 10 Biggest Changes You Need to Know

by | Dec 22, 2022 | Digital Marketing

SEO experts have definitely felt the tremors throughout 2022 as Google regularly updates its algorithm to favor search engine results that are more relevant to the user.  But what about Google Ads trends? Were there any major changes that could affect the future of pay-per-click ads?

Google’s advertising platform has been modified to give users more control over their spending. This is expected as Google wants users to invest more in its network since that is how they generate revenue. If you don’t keep up with these trends, you risk falling behind your competition. Maximize your success by taking advantage of new trends as soon as possible.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the latest changes in Google Ads, what they mean to you, and how you can use them for effective lead generation.

Cost per lead has significantly increased across all industries (nearly)

According to WordStream’s most recent Google Ads Benchmark Report, cost per lead has been on an upward swing for 91% of industries; the average rate increasing by 19%. Within that spectrum are some startling figures: Arts/Entertainment went up 134%, Travel rose 69%, and Furniture climbed 54%.

The research indicates that high prices associated with inflation and ads targeting low commercial intent queries caused conversion rates to drop, leading to an eventual increase in CPL. That explains why industries with high search volumes, such as travel and furniture, saw a bigger impact.


How to Lower Your Cost per Lead in Google Ads?

To reduce expenses, you should consider lowering your bids and managing “limited by budget” campaigns in Google Ads. You’ll know you’re limited by budget if your bid prices are sufficient to secure a certain number of auctions but don’t have the allowance for more appearances. In such cases, decreasing your bids will help maximize profits while improving visibility.

On the other hand, a lower bid can lower your cost per click. This, in turn, lowers your overall CPL. But how can you score the Google Ads auction with a less expensive bid? The answer is simple: improve your Quality Score.

If your ad quality meets or surpasses their standards, they will reward you by decreasing your clicks’ cost per click. You can do this by optimizing your ad copy with keywords, ensuring a seamless customer experience on the landing page, and improving the relevance of keywords to ads.

Another way to cut costs is by organizing your keywords and ads into campaigns; then campaigns into ad groups. A proper account structure can reduce your CPA in a few ways:

  • Ads within the same ad group are more likely to be triggered by a single keyword as it makes them relevant and relatable.
  • By structuring your campaigns appropriately and utilizing automated bidding strategies, you guarantee Google’s access to the necessary and persistent data it needs to optimize bids while controlling costs.
  • Keeping your campaigns organized allows you to manage and distribute budgets at the campaign level effectively.
  • When you organize your keywords into related ad groups, it will be easier to identify CPL trends and allocate your budget based on the performance of those keyword sets. 


Maximize the potential of your top-performing keywords. Uncover those with low cost per click and high conversion rates, then allocate more budget to those campaigns.

To optimize your campaigns, consider maintaining a negative keyword list. Utilize the search terms report to spot keywords that demonstrate:

  • High click count and little/no conversions.
  • At least 3 conversions but CPA’s significantly above your goal (3-4x or more).
  • Decent impressions, yet low CTR.


It is also wise to pause any keywords that have Cost-Per-Action values two times higher than the average in your account. This way you can keep all historical data while minimizing potential losses.


New Ad Types for Auto, Finance and Travel Industries

For the past two years, a multitude of industries has been forced to continually adapt their strategies to keep up with supply chain complications, pandemic limitations, and economic instability that are dominating our lives.

Despite a few alterations to Google Ads that could have been seen as discouraging, there are also some recent modifications that can be advantageous. As customers’ wants and needs continuously evolve, Google has developed multiple ad formats tailored specifically toward different industries to stay current with modern expectations.

At NADA last March, Google announced Vehicle Listings Ads to assist automobile dealerships with highlighting their new and used cars. This ad format is comparable to a Local Inventory Ad on the SERP, featuring an image of the car, its price range, condition, and the location at the top of search results. Microsoft Advertising released a similar Automotive Ad format for local dealerships shortly after.

Vehicle Listing Ads can be managed in the same way as Shopping Ads. However, it requires an active inventory feed to be downloaded and accepted through Google Merchant Center. Google used to have strict restrictions on most vehicle listings from their platform.


Google Puts an End to Expanded Text Ads

For more than two decades, marketers have been diligently perfecting the art of crafting text ads for PPC on Google. Over that time period, a variety of new search ad formats were developed by Google – including Expanded Text Ads in 2016 and its further expansion in 2018. But after years of continuous updates to their system, Google decided to retire Expanded Text Ads last June.

Instead, Google’s new go-to ad type is the Responsive Search Ad (RSA). This enables advertisers to provide multiple text versions for Google to compile and assemble into an advertisement that appears on the SERP with every search query.

RSAs have the potential to offer over 40,000 distinct variations of an ad through asset-driven and machine-learning. However, detractors highlight that it could produce messy combinations resulting in unsatisfactory performance. This shift has limited brands’ control on their ads messages and SERP testing process.

Microsoft initially had plans to follow Google’s lead and stop supporting their Expanded Text Ad by summer, but they’ve since delayed that termination date until February 2023.


Say Goodbye to Smart Shopping, Say Hello to Performance Max

Shopping Ads are an essential tool for eCommerce marketers. In 2018, Google released Smart Shopping Campaigns to help businesses expand their shopping ads’ reach across Search, Display, and YouTube with just a product feed through their Merchant Center. Then, in 2019, Google also introduced Local Campaigns, which helps small local businesses to promote their Google Business Profiles across Google Search, Gmail, Maps, Display, and YouTube.

However, earlier this year, Google introduced its newest campaign type, Performance Max—an upgrade of Smart Shopping Campaigns (which was eventually discontinued). With Performance Max, advertisers can efficiently reach their intended customers through automated bidding and advanced machine learning technology.

Google’s Performance Max campaigns boast plenty of unique features, helping advertisers to expand their reach across new ad placements – including Google’s Discovery feed. Performance Max also comes with automated tools and increased conversions for a lower CPA than manual campaigns. Managing multiple campaigns can be arduous; however, these innovative changes in Google Ad campaigns make things simpler while yielding remarkable results.

Not all advertisers are happy with Google retiring Smart Shopping and Local campaigns. Performance Max campaigns require more in both data and budget for them to reach their maximum potential. While Performance Max campaigns can run on any budget, advertisers get the most bang for their buck when they invest a minimum of $100/day. This new ad inventory may be seen as an excellent opportunity to expand one’s reach by some; however, others might see it as a cause to worry about additional out-of-control expenditures.


Similar Audiences will also go away

Nearly a decade ago, Google introduced Similar Audiences to help advertisers reach their remarketing audiences like never before. After the triumph of Facebook’s lookalike audiences, Google was spurred on and has since increased its investment in Similar Audiences. Eventually, it became a cornerstone of many advertisers’ Google Ad campaigns.

Unfortunately, privacy standards have impacted Google and Facebook’s audience solutions. This is why in November, Google announced its plans to deactivate Similar Audiences for more reliable alternatives during the next year.

Advertisers now have a limited time to capitalize on the benefits of Google’s Similar Audiences. From May 2023, this feature will no longer be available for new campaigns or ad groups, and from August 2023, it will be completely removed from all campaign targeting options. 

Google implores businesses to upgrade their target audiences before the shift. For maximum efficiency, Google advocates that advertisers should habitually use first-party data such as Customer Match details to create fresh audiences for their campaigns. Moreover, Google suggested utilizing Smart Bidding tactics and targeted optimization to enhance the performance of your campaigns continuously.


New Competitor Advertising Insights on the SERP

Google stepped up its efforts to provide more visibility into how to target ads in 2021, launching My Ad Center in October as part of the company’s expanded advertiser verification program. Through this platform, users can discover and explore how advertisers target them on and off the search engine results page (SERP).

My Ad Center offers a revolutionary tool known as “Advertiser Pages,” granting users the ability to view all past ads from an advertiser within the last 30 days. This groundbreaking feature will benefit any business, allowing them access to comprehensive insights into their ad campaigns and competitors.

To discover more information about an advertiser, click on the three stacked dots next to their ad. This will take you to their Advertiser Page, where you can access vital details like company name and location. Even better, with a single click of “See more ads by this advertiser,” you’ll be able to view all other promotions from that business over the past 30 days. You can filter your results to display only text, image or video-based ads.


New Business Name & Logo Ad Assets

Businesses typically have a difficult time standing out amongst the crowd on search engine result pages (SERPs), and often have to protect their own brand name from competitors or other advertisers who are trying to benefit from them illegitimately. Fortunately, Google is now providing verified advertisers with some protection by introducing business name and logo ad assets onto SERPs.

Advertisers who have gone through Google’s verification process gain exclusive access to various new assets available for use in their advertisements. Not only will these creative elements be visually compelling and likely improve performance, but they are also part of Google’s efforts to combat fraud. To make the most out of these features, advertisers need to complete the necessary steps for verification with Google.

Furthermore, advertisers can exclusively use this feature to emphasize their genuine business name or an accurate similarity with the domain name. Logos assets should also be conspicuously presented and match the certified advertiser’s identity for authenticity.


Voiceover Features for Video Ads

This summer, Google unveiled new features to its video ad content due in part to the rise of TikTok and its easily accessible editing tools. For instance, advertisers can now add a voice-over to their existing YouTube ads without needing enhanced editing. Research from Google reveals that including a vocal element significantly amplifies an advertisement’s recall rate by 25% while also decreasing the cost per lifted user by 50% compared to non-voice advertisements—which surprisingly were fewer than half of all video ads.

Advertisers can now take their voice-over experience into their own hands. With Google Ads, they can select from a total of eight distinctive voices (four male, four female) and conveniently review and edit their script within the platform—no extra video editing software or technical know-how needed.


Audio Ads on YouTube and Smart Speakers

The world of streaming content and OTT services are flourishing, pushing many advertisers to rethink their strategies. Google was well aware of this surge and quickly announced audio ad campaigns on YouTube earlier this year, targeting the considerable number of music lovers or podcast followers tuning in.

Specifically designed for advertisers, this new video campaign subtype is the perfect solution to reach users while listening to music or podcasts, as highly visual content usually fails in these environments.

If you’re looking to create impactful Audio Ads, Google’s best practices suggest using a static image or quick animation with attention to sound quality and an inviting, conversational tone. Of course, don’t forget the importance of crafting a concise and persuasive call to action. To support this new Audio Ad format, Google also released content targeting YouTube, including Music Mood Lineups and Podcast Lineups. This way, brands can ensure that their audio ads reach the appropriate placement where they will find their desired listening audience.


Broad Match Keyword Targeting

Last October, Google rolled out an experimental feature that allows advertisers to turn on broad keyword targeting at a campaign level. It is not unexpected since they have been advocating for Smart Bidding and broad match. However, it still leaves marketers uncertain to see an option with no match types, even if it’s just a beta test.

Is keyword match types a thing of the past? Although Google has confirmed that keyword match targeting will remain, Google’s Ads Product Liaison Ginny Marvin’s statement, “We have nothing else to share at this time,” raises some doubts. Only time will tell if keyword match types will become obsolete.


Final Thoughts

As a marketer, you must prepare for the constant barrage of changes headed your way in 2023 and beyond. The Google Ads trends we showcased today are just some of many you can expect to see coming down the line. Now that you have finished this article, rest assured: You are one step ahead!

Need help with your Google Ads campaign? Holler at us at Public Ad Agency!


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