On August 19, 2019, Google Ads announced somewhat under-the-radar that Accelerated delivery will no-longer be available for search campaigns, shopping campaigns and shared budgets.
- Search, Shopping and shared budgets will no-longer be able to use accelerated delivery by October 1, 2019.
- For now, display and video campaigns are not effective by this news.
- Starting Sept. 17, 2019, choosing Accelerated delivery will no-longer be an option; the only option will be “Standard Delivery“.
- Campaigns using accelerated delivery will be switched to standard delivery by October 1, 2019.
I’d like to unpack Google’s announcement to shed light on how weak Google’s reasons are for removing accelerated delivery. In-fact, their reasons given have little to do with accelerated delivery and more to do with illogical campaign management. Google wants you to just accept their propaganda as truth and not question their reasoning.
You might as well… you have no choice anyways.
Quote 1 from the Google Ads announcement
While Accelerated delivery attempts to spend your budget faster than Standard delivery, it isn’t effective for campaigns that aren’t limited by budget.
My response: this is irrelevant to why accelerated delivery is worse than standard delivery. In fact, this has nothing to do with accelerated vs standard delivery. If a campaign isn’t limited by budget and you want to spend it, having it set to accelerated is actually MORE advantageous than standard because accelerated shows your ad as fast as possible until your budget is gone. Under a standard budget delivery, this wouldn’t happen and it’s up to the Google Ads system to determine when to show your ads.
Quote 2 from the Google Ads announcement
And for campaigns that are limited by budget, this method can increase CPCs due to increased competition early in the day, or unintentionally spend most of your budget in earlier time zones.
My response: think about what they’re saying here.
- Condition 1: I’m using accelerated budget delivery and
- Condition 2: I’m limited by budget
then my CPCs could be higher due to:
- competition early in the day
- earlier time zones consuming the budget.
First, why does Google Ads care if my CPCs are higher? The only time they act like they care is when they are taking features and control away from advertisers. Like taking more control away from us is somehow helping us.
Competition early in the day – CPCs are not higher BECAUSE OF accelerated budget delivery, CPCs are higher earlier in the day because advertisers have newly replenished daily budgets to spend AND consumers are searching most between the times of 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon.
If your CPCs are higher when you’re limited by budget AND have accelerated delivery set (very specific case), then the SMART thing to do as an advertiser is to set delivery to Standard if you want to make your budget last longer. The answer is not to REMOVE accelerated as a budget delivery method!
Early time zones consuming the budget – for local businesses, this doesn’t even apply. For businesses that do span multiple time zones, advertisers are fully aware that time zone differences can cause their budgets to be depleted.
For example, if my account’s time zone is Pacific Standard Time (PST) and I have a nationwide campaign, I know that when I wake up in the morning, it’s possible my budget could be gone because of the 3-hour difference in time zones.
If I’m an advertiser, and I set the budget delivery to accelerated, I fully understand that my budget could be depleted faster than if I set it to standard. It’s not Google’s place to step in and say “Because you might spend your budget sooner because of time zone differences (that we think you don’t understand, AND regardless whether time zones even apply to you) we are removing accelerated budget delivery altogether.
It’s ridiculous. It’s 100% propaganda and spin from Google Ads.
Quote 3 from the Google Ads announcement
Alternatively, Standard delivery takes into account expected ad performance throughout the day and is better at maximizing performance within your daily budget.
This sentence is supposed to support their claim that Standard Delivery is a better option than accelerated because it uses more predictive analytics to decide when to show your ad.
First, let’s be clear – this ISN’T “Improved” standard delivery… this is the same “Standard Delivery” and there’s nothing “improved” about it. The only difference between standard delivery and accelerated is that accelerated tries to show your ad as fast as possible while standard uses various signals like device, time of day, day of week, network, ad format, CTR, user, and many others.
In other words, it’s more algorithmic but it won’t help you show your ads as quickly as possible.
Suggestions From Google Ads For Managing Ad Delivery
Google Ads proposes using Ad scheduling, or automated bidding.
Ad scheduling won’t help you get maximum impression-share. Using ad scheduling will cause YOU and OTHER advertisers to use bid modifiers which is much harder for many advertisers to understand the overall impact on their CPCs because bid modifiers can compound with other bid modifiers. Also, ad scheduling doesn’t even work for automated bid strategies like Maximize Conversions and Target CPA.
As far as using Maximize Conversions is concerned, it’s a terrible alternative to using Accelerated delivery because it will try to spend your budget – even if it has to increase CPCs to ridiculous amounts to do it. This goes back to Google’s article saying that Accelerated delivery leads to higher CPCs. Their alternative recommendation ALSO leads to higher CPCs! So they don’t really care about that and it’s good for them and bad for you because they can then charge whatever they want for the click – because it’s under an AUTOMATED bidding strategy.
Maximize clicks is also an automated bidding strategy and is a good alternative because it tries to maximize the number of clicks for a given budget – the idea being if you give yourself more opportunities to convert for the same amount of budget, you have a better chance at better performance. Of course, this isn’t 100% true because not all clicks are created equal.
Where is all this going?
Google is trying to get you to help them train their deep neural networks by opting-in to their automated bidding. If you look at all the automations that Google Ads is doing, the writing is on the wall. They are trying to eventually automate all PPC.
I know there will be people that say “No, PPC can’t be automated.” These types of sayings always come from PPC managers that are heavily vested in their job, have very little experience with machine learning and love what they do (managing PPC accounts).
I’m here to tell you that YES, everything you do as a PPC manager can definitely be automated. Google knows at least 570 million entities. Responsive ads are being automated to do the split-testing for you. Automated bid strategies are being pushed more and more by Google.
If you don’t realize this, you’re not paying attention. This is the direction Google Ads is going in.