It’s that time of the year when we start thinking about what’s coming next. While making predictions for the upcoming year is very common, we decided we’re going to talk about common predictions that we do not think will happen next year.
Match types are Removed
Google has been exceptionally lenient in how they are matching search terms and keywords over the past few months. Exact has felt more like broad match to where you are matching to completely irrelevant search terms. However, that is not a portent of match types being removed.
The death of match types was first mentioned several years ago, and we’ve seen adjustments to match types, but they will not be going away in 2024. Search grew to be one of the best advertising methods in history because it matches searchers to advertisers in real-time with relevant information. While we have definitely lost some of that relevancy over the years, Google does not understand search intent nearly well enough to remove match types.
DSA’s Will be Sunsetted for PMax Campaigns
This prediction gained steam with the change from Discovery to Lead Gen campaigns. Since Pmax already has URL expansion, this almost makes sense.
Except, Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) allow you to manage negative keywords. DSAs can be used as primary or backfill inventory. You can be very flexible in how you utilize them in your account.
What is more likely: Google allows you to easily manage PMax negative keywords, or Google keeps DSAs? Negative keywords are essential to managing DSA campaigns, and without that option, PMax just can’t fill the same roles as DSAs.
We do expect some more PMax/Demand Gen campaign features to roll out this year. Vidhya Srinivasan was instrumental in launching these products when she was leading product and engineering for ads. She has now taken over for Jerry Dischler as the VP/GM of Google Ads. Therefore, we expect more push from reps and Google to adopt these campaign types and more features as she settles into her new role.
Removing DSAs will be a lot of work for some companies. This is an announcement that would have to accompany a long transition time to evaluate if someone wanted to switch to PMax or create more search campaigns. It would not surprise us if these rumors grew, and eventually, there would be an announcement of some kind next year. However, don’t expect DSAs to be removed in 2024.
You will only create PMax/Smart/Automated Campaigns
We’ve been hearing this rumor and prediction for a few years as well. Google will only offer automated campaigns. We even have clients whose reps informed them Google was removing all non-smart campaign types next year.
While PMax can work for small to mid-sized ecommerce companies, PMax has failed B2B and lead gen companies since these campaigns launched. While there are exceptions when advertisers do well with these campaign types, they are exceptions, not the rule.
Eric Schmidt’s dream of just giving Google your credit card and sitting back to let the conversion roll in is still a long way away.
While Google reps will increasingly push these campaign types and Google will continue to cherry-pick case studies to publish about their effectiveness, advertisers are not ready for this dramatic change.
Manual Bidding will be Retired
Yes, Google is excellent at bidding. No, they are not perfect. While there are many reasons advertisers need to control their bids manually, here are the most common reasons for manual bidding:
The day manual bidding is retired is the day no 3rd party tool can set bids for you. Google has a tough lawsuit now, and we’d expect another lawsuit to be filed if manual bidding is removed. Google doesn’t want more controversy, so it’ll be a while before we see manual bidding retired.
The New UI Will Save You Time
Remember trying to learn the current user interface? Then, after a couple of months, the most common message you received was please refresh the page?
Google keeps hiding features they don’t want you to use, such as finding where Google moved the automatic audience expansion setting. Amy Hebdon wrote a fantastic article on Google Ads UI manipulation. Expect trying to find all of the settings in the new UI to be another laborious process.
We will probably see a new UI this year if the beta gets a thumbs up; however, don’t expect it to be an easy learning curve to master it.
SGE Will Take Over
Google launched its Search Generative Experience (SGE), which is their answer to Microsoft’s ChatGPT experience, this year. Chat based search experiences are the biggest change to search results and user interactions with search since Archie was launched in 1990.
Vidhya Srinivasan has been working on monetizing SGE, so she is experienced with how Google can interweave ads into the results. The answers from ChatGPT and SGE are often inaccurate, and we think it’ll be a while before users consistently trust the results enough to default to these new search experiences.
We don’t expect SGE to be the default experience in 2024 or that Google will launch any metrics associated with SGE. We should see announcements, adoption rates, and excitement for SGE next year, but we shouldn’t be obsessed with how it works yet.
Enhanced or Smart Will be Used
A new feature will launch that is labeled either smart or enhanced. Google has favorite words, and these are the two most common ones. While something called enhanced can be worse than the previous product or smart features act rather dumbly, Google is still a marketing company. As such, they will use names that make you think the features are good, even if the name does not accurately describe the feature.
Yes, this is an easy one to predict. Sometimes, you want the easy win.
Audience Data Causes More Data Issues
Supposedly, Google Chrome will stop supporting cookies in 2024. We expect some GA4 changes that will make syncing audience or personal data with Google Ads more difficult. Of course, privacy lawsuits will continue.
What’s getting more and more difficult to manage and measure is audience usage and, at times, even conversions. We’ve seen companies continue to struggle with GA4 or just ditch their implementation completely.
Floc is dead. Google Ad Topics seems to be quite average in targeting users. Google has a lot of implicit and explicit data that can potentially be used. We expect to see some changes to audience targeting and management in 2024.
The death of keywords can’t occur without amazing audience targeting, and we’re just not there yet.
Maybe someday Google can replace keywords with credit cards, and searcher intent matching your offers. However, it will not happen in 2024.
In 2023, Google Analytics 4 fully replaced Universal Analytics.
Some of our favorite attribution methods weren’t understood and were removed.
While match types didn’t get an official change, how they function has changed.
AI took center stage. AI/ML is being used in search results, PMax, Demand Gen, bidding, search term matching, audience matching, privacy protection, ad creation, ad rendering, and many other features.
In 2024, we expect to see even more AI/ML interwoven into Google Ads products.
Just remember, AI/ML can’t function properly without data and context. If your data isn’t accurate, or your ads and website’s context don’t match the search intent, your account suffers.
If you want a free audit of your account, Adalysis will create one for you (for free) so you can see how your account is performing and ensure you’re ready for the new year.