Google Ads New Rules
Pay per click can be unpredictable at the best of times. 2020 was an unprecedented challenge for everyone, and 2021 is shaping up to be another interesting year in the world of PPC.

Internet use in the UK surged to the highest levels ever in 2020, with UK adults now spending roughly a quarter of their days online. This upward trend was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is expected that people will keep trending towards spending more time online in years to come.

new Google Ads rules


What are the new Google Ads rules?

Google Partners are advertisers that are certified by Google. By working closely with the team at Google, certain PPC agencies in London and around the world have direct access to multiple account managers that are on hand to assist with granular details in your campaigns. The new Google Ads rules change the requirements for becoming a partner:

New Google Partner program benefits

A new Partner badge with more advanced requirements, more transparency, and more guidance on the actions you need to take to earn the badge.

New status and product capabilities categories to help your company stand out, showcase your areas of proficiency, and provide more exclusivity in the market.

New program benefits that support your business needs and ability to drive customer success.

While this all sounds super, there are a handful of caveats to these new rules.

New Google Partner criteria

To meet the Google Partner requirements, you must meet new criteria in all three categories: performance, spend & certifications.

Performance

To meet new performance rules, Google Ads will now grade your performance from 0-100%. To remain a partner, you need to keep your optimisation score above 70% - simple enough, right?

Google will now make recommendations such as keywords edits, repairs & ad suggestions, among others. The more of these recommendations that you apply, the higher your score will be. While this isn’t inherently a bad change, the recommendations aren’t tailored to your clients. It’s important to always put your clients’ success first, which might now mean sacrificing your optimisation score.

On the other side of this coin, Google suggests that ‘advertisers who increased their account-level optimisation score by 10 points saw a 10% increase in conversions, on average.’

The general consensus is that this change benefits Google and could hurt clients’ campaigns; only time will tell just how much of an impact this has on the PPC market.

Spend

The minimum 90-day ad spend is increasing from $10,000 to $20,000. A small, but significant, change, especially for small businesses whose advertising average might float beneath $20,000.

Certifications

Before now, a company was required to have only one user certified in Google Ads. This will change in 2021, with a company now needing to have at least 50% of their eligible users certified. While this is a time-consuming process, it’s not anything that should have any tangible disadvantages.

What are alternatives to Google Ads?

As Google shifts more towards machine-learning, it will be critical for advertisers to invest in diversification. There are a huge variety of alternative advertising platforms that might offer the perfect experience for your clients in 2021.

Many social media platforms provide the ideal avenue for reaching your target audience.

PPC advertising on LinkedIn

advertising on LinkedIn


LinkedIn Advertising is a robust and effective tool for advertising in 2021. Centred around objective-based advertising, LinkedIn allows you to fully customise your advertising objectives to tailor to your campaign.

Not only this, but social media platforms are, well, social! LinkedIn provides the option to use their InMail feature for conversation ads which help you drive engagement in a more personal way. All of this happens in real-time as messages can only be sent when your target customer is online on LinkedIn.

You can also filter and target companies based on a variety of parameters, with filters varying from high-profile sites such as Fortune and Forbes, to something as integral as a company’s growth rate. This allows you to use your market research to target the perfect businesses quickly and efficiently.

PPC on social media

Making sure that your social media profiles are lively and engaging is key, especially in a world where people are spending more time than ever online.

Content is, of course, key. Making sure that your socials are filled with interesting insights and useful discussion is important. Using PPC will bring eyes to your profiles, and the benefits are multi-faceted.

Take this example from American Airlines:

You can use PPC to bring traffic to one profile (Facebook, in this example) and divert off to other social media platforms. Interlinking & being present on a variety of channels is crucial when brand building, and having a unique social media strategy should be a part of any marketing team’s plan.

Microsoft Advertising

When you think about PPC advertising, you’d be forgiven for thinking almost exclusively about Google Ads, but there are some distinct advantages that Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads) has over the dominant platform.

Microsoft’s platform is generally cheaper, has less competition, has a unique, wealthier audience (through Bing) and offers device targeting opportunities.

While all of the above sounds great, it is worth mentioning that Bing only holds 2.69% of the search engine market share versus Google’s 91.38% (as of January 2021), so if your objectives are growth-based, then Google Ads will still be the favourite pick.


Microsoft Ads is compatible with Google Ads, and lets you import an existing Google Ads campaign effortlessly, so why not both? Investing in PPC for both search engines only serves to increase your overall reach!

Are Google Ads worth it?

The short answer? Yes! Google’s dominance is unparalleled, and it’s looking unlikely that this is going to change any time soon. While the rule changes certainly do shake up PPC in 2021, Google Ads remain a force to be reckoned with in the PPC world.