Google Updates Search Ads Query Matching and Brand Controls

Google search ads updates June 2024

Google Search Ads Updates in June 2024

As any seasoned search marketer knows, the only constant in our industry is change. Google’s latest Search Ads updates, released in June 2024, are no exception. 

Google’s changes will undoubtedly impact the day-to-day work of SEM professionals, but the extent of that impact remains to be seen.

As with all updates, there will be winners and losers. Some advertisers may find that these changes streamline workflows and improve results. Others may struggle to adapt to the new normal. The key, as always, is to approach these updates with a critical eye and a willingness to experiment.

So, what exactly is changing? Let’s break it down:

Query Matching and Brand Controls

Google has rolled out significant updates to its Search ads query matching and brand controls, aiming to improve how search terms and brand-related queries are managed. These changes are designed to enhance the precision of ad targeting and streamline account management for advertisers.

Here’s a detailed look at the new features and their implications for your PPC campaigns.

Aggregating Misspelled Search Terms for Better Reporting

Google now aggregates misspelled queries with their correctly spelled keywords, increasing the visibility of these terms in search term reports. Previously, many misspelled terms didn’t meet the privacy thresholds for reporting.

On average, 9% more search terms that were previously hidden under “Other” will now be visible.

Intended Benefit: This update provides more comprehensive insights into user behavior and search patterns, allowing advertisers to refine their keyword strategies.

Did you know? 20% of search queries contain typos or misspellings (Source: Search Engine Land).

At first glance, this seems like a win for advertisers – more data is always better, right? But before you pop the champagne, consider the implications.

With this increased visibility comes the responsibility to make sense of the data. It’s not enough to simply bask in the glow of a 9% increase in visible search terms. Advertisers need to roll up their sleeves and dig into the data. How do these newly visible misspelled terms impact your understanding of overall keyword performance? Are these misspellings driving quality traffic?

And then there’s the question of bidding strategies. With this influx of new data, it’s important to reassess and refine your approach. 

Simplified Negative Keyword Management

Negative keywords will now block all misspellings, eliminating the need to manually add every possible variation to your negative keyword lists.

New Capability: Adding the correct spelling to your negative keywords will now block all its misspellings.

Intended Benefit: This change simplifies account management, making it easier to maintain an efficient negative keyword list.

Tip: Proper negative keyword management can reduce wasted spend.

This update aims to simplify negative keyword management by allowing advertisers to block all misspellings of a negative keyword by adding the correct spelling.

While this may reduce manual effort, it’s important to thoroughly review the effects on search term matching to avoid inadvertently excluding relevant queries. Trust, but verify.

Google Ads Search Ads Updates June 2024

Brand Inclusions for Broad Match Campaigns

Google has introduced a feature called brand inclusions for broad match campaigns, ensuring ads match only queries related to your brand name.

New Capability: Recommendations to switch brand-focused campaigns to broad match with brand inclusions may now appear.

Benefit: This update intends to aid broad match campaigns more accurately align with brand-related queries.

Best practice: Use brand inclusions for brand awareness campaigns, where precise targeting is essential.

Google has introduced brand inclusions for broad match campaigns, providing that ads only appear for queries related to the brand name.

While this aims to improve targeting precision, advertisers must monitor the impact on reach and consider the trade-offs between precision and potential loss of relevant traffic.

Keep an eye out for recommendations to switch your brand-focused campaigns to broad match with brand inclusions – but don’t switch blindly. Test, measure, and decide for yourself.

Brand Exclusions Across All Match Types and Dynamic Search Ads

Previously limited to Performance Max campaigns, brand exclusions are now available in Search campaigns. This feature allows advertisers to prevent their ads from appearing on queries and misspellings related to specific brands they wish to avoid.

New Capability: Brand exclusions will apply across all match types and Dynamic Search Ads.

Use: This update is intended to provide greater control over ad placement, helping to avoid unwanted associations with particular brands.

It’s important to regularly review excluded brands and assess the impact on overall campaign performance. Brand exclusions can be a powerful tool, but wielded carelessly, they can also limit your reach. Use them wisely.

Strategic Considerations for Advertisers

With the increased visibility of misspelled search terms, advertisers must closely track changes in keyword performance metrics, such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and cost per acquisition (CPA). Adjusting bidding strategies and budget allocations based on the observed impact is vital. But don’t just react – anticipate. Use this data to inform your strategy moving forward.

Here are some strategic considerations and tips:

Search Query Reports

Performing regular and thorough search query reports (SQRs) helps identify potential negative keyword conflicts and ensures that relevant queries aren’t inadvertently excluded. But don’t just go through the motions – really analyze the data. Look for patterns, anomalies, and opportunities.

Brand Inclusion Performance

For advertisers implementing brand inclusions in broad match campaigns, rigorous testing and evaluations are advised. Comparing the impact on key performance indicators (KPIs) such as reach, CTR, and conversion rates before and after implementing brand inclusions will provide insights needed to make informed decisions on their continued use. But don’t stop there – keep testing, keep refining, and keep pushing for better results.

Brand Exclusions

Regularly reviewing the list of excluded brands and assessing their impact on overall campaign performance is important. While brand exclusions offer greater control, it’s imperative to ensure that valuable reach and potential conversions aren’t sacrificed in the process. Continuously monitoring and adjusting brand exclusion lists based on performance data is critical. But again, don’t just react – use this data to inform your broader strategy.

The Take Away

As with any update, the devil’s in the details. It’s not enough to simply be aware of these changes; search marketers must be proactive in testing, monitoring, and adapting their strategies.

The road ahead may be uncertain, but one thing is clear: those who approach these updates with a keen eye and a willingness to experiment will be best positioned to succeed in the ever-changing world of search advertising.

Google’s June 2024 Search Ads updates are neither a panacea nor a catastrophe. They are simply another twist in the winding road of search advertising, a reminder that the only constant in our industry is change itself.

As search marketers, our task is to meet these changes head-on, to approach them with equal parts skepticism and optimism, and to never stop testing, iterating, and improving. Only by embracing the complexity and nuance of these updates can we hope to turn them to our advantage.

So, roll up your sleeves, dig into the data, and don’t be afraid to experiment. 

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