5 hidden areas of Google Ads you probably didn’t know about

Google Ads has been around for 23 years and is arguably the most complex PPC ad platform within digital marketing. 

Over the past few years, there has been a conscious effort to consolidate campaign settings and simplify the available levers within an account. 

On the one hand, I think it reduces friction on campaign setup for the less marketing savvy. 

However, as someone who has dedicated their professional career to digital marketing, it can cause frustration. In some cases, the tools and features I had before are slowly disappearing. 

After using Google Ads for over a decade, there are a few areas that I think most advertisers or agencies don’t utilize enough.

This guide aims to bring light to some of the lesser-known tools and areas of the platform that can pack a big punch when implemented right.

The first and the most underutilized Google Ads feature is checking a little-known area called “dynamic parameters.” 

The premise is that dynamic product marketing is only made possible by making sure you are passing through the right parameters via the Google Tag. 

For some reason, there is an expectation that dynamic product remarketing with Performance Max is automatic. But this is only true if your pixel is set up properly. 

For ecommerce, we believe it’s a huge miss if you are not dynamically remarketing to your potential customers, specifically when a customer visits a potential product(s) and does not purchase. 

The ideal strategy is to allow Google to have visibility into which products each customer looks at. 

In a way, it generally does, but to get the best results, you want to ensure that you are passing through the “id” value in your pixel. 

This is a critical variable that the Google Ads tag needs visibility into so it can properly remarket. 

I dug up the Google help article on Tagging your website for dynamic remarketing. You need to work with your developers to ensure the structured data passes through. 

I suggest using the Datalayer checker plugin for Chrome. This will help you and your developers identify the correct variables you want to pass through. 

Where to access this in Google Ads

  • Click on Tools and settings > Audience manager > Your data sources > Details.
  • Review the ‘id’ parameter.
    • If you don’t have one, then you’ll need to work with a developer to make sure you’re passing it through.
    • If you see IDs passing through, make sure that they match Google Merchant Center. If they don’t, then dynamic remarketing will not work.

2. Seasonality adjustments

In the age of smart bidding, most marketers rely entirely on the algorithm to do the job. 

However, a computer cannot anticipate or understand outside factors in many instances. 

If you’re using smart bidding, you will want to know the next hidden setting, seasonality adjustment

This lesser-known tool within Google Ads allows you to give the smart bidding algorithm a heads up on what’s to come. 

This is the most useful if you know definitively that conversion rates will increase or decrease significantly. 

By inputting these dates and the expected conversion rate variance, smart bidding will use that in the process.

Where to access this in Google Ads

  • Click on Tools and settings > Bid strategies > Advanced controls.
  • Navigate to Seasonality adjustments, then click on New seasonality adjustment.

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3. Data exclusion

In the same area, you’ll see my next hidden feature, data exclusion

This tool lets you exclude specific dates across an account, campaign, or campaign type. As Google states: 

“Data exclusions are meant to account for outages or major issues related to conversion tracking. Using them often or for long periods could negatively impact Smart Bidding performance.”

This is extremely useful if you experience a conversion drop or the pixel is over-reporting. 

If you can identify the issue, you can remove that data from the algorithm. This can save you a lot of potentially wasteful spend if you encounter a tracking issue. 

Where to access this in Google Ads

  • Click on Tools and settings > Bid strategies > Advanced controls.
  • Navigate to Data exclusions, then click on New data exclusion.

4. Account-level automated extensions

A few years ago, I started to get an influx of screenshots from clients saying, “What is this?” and then I’d scratch my head in confusion. 

They would share an image with an asset (formerly extensions) I didn’t recognize or set up. 

I soon realized that Google was rolling out account-level automated extensions

These extensions will automatically be generated based on your website, ranging from site links and callouts to longer headlines. 

I generally will turn these off for many clients because we want to control the messaging (sorry, Google). 

Although Google will tell you that these improve performance, I haven’t necessarily observed that myself, except for a few. 

If you are fortunate enough to have a lot of Seller reviews, that has made an impact on click-through rates. 

Using dynamic images, we have also observed a lift in click-through rates for larger retailers. Dynamic images will crawl your site and apply relevant imagery to your ad. 

Where to access this in Google Ads

  • Click Ads & assets > Assets > More options > Account-level automated assets > More > Advanced settings.

5. Your data insights

The last one is more insightful but can be actionable depending on how you want to use it. I think many of my clients are always super interested in this one.

The hidden feature is called Your data insights, which takes your pixel data and lets you get a read on your customer base. 

There are two primary areas that we like to look at:

  • In-market audiences we’re indexing highly for.
  • Affinity segments we index high for.

This information can help shape customer profiles and personas and be used for targeting. All of the segments can be used in some campaigns to bid again.

You can also use this information to help adjust for ad copy or creative. Seeing some of the interests or affinities you wouldn’t expect is fun. You’ll see what I mean when you look at it.

Where to access this in Google Ads

  • Click on Tools and settings > Audience Manager > Your data insights.

Maximizing your Google Ads results with overlooked features

Many useful areas are tucked away in Google Ads – options that many advertisers may be entirely unaware of. 

Each one of the features I mentioned should provide a bit more insight and control over your campaigns. I hope this article will help you find different ways to influence your Google Ads performance. 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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