With the build-up to Christmas 2018 very much on, it’s going to be a busy few months for advertisers as we work towards another New Year countdown. Google is also traditionally busy during this time of the year, too, rolling out new features and ad innovations to help brands make the most of the festive consumer madness.
This year looks like no exception and the search giant unveiled a number of new additions over the past few weeks. So let’s take a look at all the latest news on Google Ads and see what new toys you’ve got to work with over the holiday period.

Google rolls out new ad position metrics
First up, Google is rolling out four new metrics for ad position to give you a better idea of where your search ads are appearing on the results page. Ad position metrics have been a source of confusion for quite some time now and Google is trying to resolve this while also giving advertisers deeper insights into where their ads are showing.

“Contrary to common perception, average position is not meant to describe where the ad appears on the page. Average position reflects the order that your ad appears versus the other ads in the ad auction. As a result, an ad position of “1” means that your ad shows ahead of all other ads, but it doesn’t mean the ad was at the very top of the page. Sometimes no ads are displayed above the organic search results so the ad with a position of “1” appears at the bottom of the page.” – Google Ads Help

To help solve this issue and give advertisers a better understanding of where their ads are showing, Google is rolling out four new metrics for ad position:

• Impr. (Absolute Top) % – the percentage of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
• Impr. (Top) % – the percentage of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.
• Search (Absolute Top) IS – the impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
• Search (Top) IS – the impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.

Source: Google Ads Help

As you can see, these new metrics provide a much clearer and more specific representation of where your ads are showing on the page and in relation to other ads.
Good stuff.

New improvements for click-to-message ads

Source: Google Ads Blog

Back in 2016, Google rolled out click-to-message ads, connecting users with your brand via their phone’s messaging app. Now, the search giant is introducing a number of improvements to the ad format to help create a more engaging experience between messages.

• Email forwarding sends text messages to your email, so you don’t need to provide a phone number to use message extensions. Responding to the email will automatically send a text reply back to your customer.
• Automatic reply sends a preset message back to customers as soon as they message you. For example, you can automatically reply with, “Thanks for your message. We’ll get back to you within the hour.”

As well as these new features, Google is also expanding message reporting to give you more insights into how your click-to-message ads are performing. With the new reporting system, you’ll be able to define the number of user-initiated exchanges needed to count as a conversion – so, if it normally takes two messages from a user to confirm a table booking, you can set this as your minimum requirement for a conversion.

Create better responsive search ads with “ad strength” indicator

Source: Google Ads Blog

Responsive search ads are designed to help you grab user attention and create a more compelling message in your ads, but the feature is still in beta and there isn’t much in the way of reporting for them. Google is trying to improve this and help you create more effective responsive search ads by introducing an “ad strength” indicator for the ad format (which is still in beta, let’s not forget).
One of the trickiest things about responsive search ads is the amount of variables you have to consider and the number of potential variations you have to work with. The new ad strength indicator helps you fine-tune your responsive search ads by grading the strength of your ads and giving you actionable feedback – for example, “add more headlines” or “make your headlines more unique”.

So that’s the lowdown on the latest things going on with Google Ads but we expect more announcements as the festive build-up continues. Be sure to follow us on social media for all the latest updates and get in touch with our advertising team if you need any help with boosting your performance over the holiday season.