The Latest Google and Microsoft Paid Search Feature Updates You Should Know About

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As we move further into 2021, consumers are beginning to feel more comfortable returning to their everyday lives. They’re more willing to travel, shop retail and browse for goods and services online. It is extremely important for marketers to keep up with all the newest trends. You may be asking yourself: “How do I stay ahead of the game with my search marketing efforts?” 2021 is shaping up to be a pivotal time in the world of paid search advertising and utilizing the following new features can take your advertising efforts to the next level.

Convert Broad Match Modifier (BMM) to Phrase Match

Back in February, the Google Ads team announced that Phrase and Broad Match Modifier (BMM) keywords would begin matching to the same user’s search queries. With this update, ads may show on searches that include the same or more specific meaning for the keywords in your account. This update simplifies match types by combining the control you get from phrase match keywords and the expanded reach of BMM keywords. 

As of July 2021, the new phrase match will fully replace BMM. This change has been a divisive one amongst the advertising community. On one hand, it simplifies workflows by removing combining BMM and phrase matching behavior. On the other, it gives advertisers less control and increases the importance of regular search query optimization.

Changing Broad match modifier (BMM) keywords in Google Ads

Pro Tip: You can easily change your BMM keywords to phrase match by bulk editing your BMM keywords on the keywords tab in Google Ads:

Utilize Similar Audiences in Microsoft Audience Network (US Only)

This update is a major milestone for the Microsoft Ads Network, formerly known as Bing Ads. Similar audiences expand an advertiser’s reach by helping find new customers who are similar to users found in your first-party audience lists. Using similar audiences has also never been easier. Simply create a remarketing list with at least 300 users. Once there are enough contextual signals, similar audiences will automatically be generated.

Pro Tip: Import your remarketing and similar audiences directly from Google Ads to simplify this process.

Test Image Extensions and Customer Match

Google Marketing Live 2021 showcased some of the most impactful updates to Google Ads to date. Two of the most critical feature updates were Customer Match Audiences and Image Extensions.

Customer Match Expansion

Though this feature has been around for years, it will soon be widely accessible for all advertisers leveraging Google Ads. For those reading that might not be familiar with this feature, Customer Match is simply a data file filled with anonymized contact information that has been given to you by your customers. Furthermore, you can use these lists for your retargeting efforts. 

Starting in Fall 2021, any advertiser with a good history of policy compliance can opt into certain features of customer match. With the deprecation of cookies on the horizon, it is important to find other avenues to retarget to your prospective customers. This feature gives advertisers of all sizes a quick and easy way to do so!

Pro Tip: Existing loyalty programs are an excellent fit for Customer Match given that customer emails are the primary join. Utilizing your first-party data via Customer Match lists can help you gain incremental ROI via remarketing and other tactics.

Image Extensions Now Available Globally

Have a product or service that your audience needs to see to believe? Image extensions appear directly next to your search ad and provide marketers with the ability to occupy more of the search engine results page (SERP):

Pro Tip: Image extensions only appear when you rank first on the SERP, making them ideal for your brand campaigns. Utilize existing test-and-learn strategies for images as you typically would for other text-based ad extensions.

Much like customer match, image extensions have been available for advertisers in a limited capacity for years. Now, they are widely available and can be tested by any advertisers who would like to showcase what they're selling directly on the SERP.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your search challenges, please reach out and one of our experts will contact you.