Review of Google Ads developments 2019

Written by Sherlock SEO Agency

2020 is now well underway. A year in which we look forward again to the new developments in the online advertising world.

In 2019, Google has added several new features to Google Ads. New features that we, at Sherlock, are very excited about. Below are our top 3 new Google Ads features from 2019.

Combined target groups

When running YouTube campaigns, target group targeting is often used. Interest-based ads are matched to Internet users. Are you a real estate agent looking to promote a new home in an outlying area/nature preserve? Then chances are you are targeting homes for sale (in-market). Or if you are a beauty shop launching a new line of makeup specifically for brides then you are probably targeting makeup and cosmetics (in-market).

Sometimes this targeting group is not accurate enough and the audience you are reaching is too large. Google now offers combined audiences for that. These are also available in Google Search campaigns. By including different targeting methods in a combined audience, you make the targeting more precise and it is possible to advertise in a more targeted way. Back to our examples: The broker can combine the target group houses (for sale) with outdoor enthusiasts. A group that loves the outdoors (affinity) while looking for a new home (in-market). Using combined audiences, the beauty shop can now combine makeup and cosmetics (in-market) with the life event is getting married soon (in-market).

This new capability makes YouTube campaigns even more relevant to users and allows advertisers to set up campaigns more tightly. For Search campaigns, this feature offers new opportunities.

New conversion columns

The conversion statistics in Google Ads provided a lot of insight into what happens after a user clicks on an ad. Is there a newsletter subscription, has an order been placed and/or a contact form filled out? Google reports these numbers in the conversions columns (provided conversion tracking is set up). In the last quarter of 2019, Google added new columns: by conversion time.

Now what is the difference between the familiar and the new columns. Until the end of 2019, Google Ads wrote the conversion on the date the ad was clicked. Was your ad clicked the day before yesterday but the conversion did not occur until today? Google Ads wrote the conversion the day before yesterday. This made Google Ads statistics more difficult to compare with a company’s statistics.

The new columns no longer attribute the conversion to the day an ad works but rather to the date the conversion occurred. As a result, Google Ads statistics match a company’s statistics, allowing for better comparisons and more accurate statistics such as CPA and ROAS. Do you want to start using these statistics? Then add the new columns (by conv. time) in Google Ads.

New methods for target group targeting

Affinity audiences and in-market audiences are targeting audiences in Display and YouTube campaigns. Meanwhile, this targeting method has also been added to Google Search campaigns.

By combining this targeting with keywords, you can gain more insight into your target audience (observation). This does not change the reach of a campaign. A user must use a keyword from a campaign to see an ad but need to belong to a target audience. This gives an advertiser insight into how many users who clicked or searched find themselves in a target group from which learnings can be drawn for other (online) campaigns.

You can also choose to make your campaigns more specific by narrowing the range (targeting). A user must be in the target audience AND use a keyword from a campaign to see the ad. Possibly these users have a higher value for an advertiser and it is interesting to use higher bids on them or set up specific campaigns/advertisements.

4 additional changes

In addition to these beautiful and useful new features, Google has tweaked more things in Google Ads. Below are 4 more changes you shouldn’t have missed:

  • As we wrote earlier in 2019, Google has updated its competition statistics. The column average position has since disappeared
  • The ad view for Search Network and Shopping campaigns has been changed to improved default view where the budget is spread ouht over te day. The option of spending the budget quickly from day one (and thus capturing all search traffic immediately) is no longer an option
  • Product reviews in Shopping expand: Add user images to product reviews in Google Shopping campaigns so potential buyers see visual experiences
  • Broad Match Modifier and Phrase Match keywords have also been matching searches using synonyms for a few months now. Thus, it is no longer a requirement that the keywords contain your keywords


Google has implemented useful features in 2019 that we enjoy working with and that allow us to manage campaigns even better. Unfortunately, some things have also disappeared or been modified that we would have preferred to keep. In 2020, Google will no doubt surprise us all again with new developments, we look forward to it!

Would you like more information on any of these topics or would you like to take a look at your campaign statistics together? Then contact the Sherlock team, we are happy to help!

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