Starting from the 17th of September, advertisers will only be able to select Standard Delivery for Search, Shopping and shared budget campaigns.
Then, from the 1st of October, all of these campaigns will swap to using Standard Delivery. The only campaigns where Accelerated Delivery will still be an option are Display and Video campaigns.
Why is Google changing this?
Accelerated Delivery was introduced to Google Ads when advertisers wanted an option to aggressively bid against every possible impression. Standard Delivery would actively spread out your impressions throughout the day, thus not necessarily competing for every one. The downside of Accelerated Delivery, of course, is that if your ads are successful in attracting attention, you could run out of your daily budget part way through the day.
Google are now saying that improvements to Standard Delivery mean that this is now not necessary, because Accelerated Delivery is not effective for campaigns that aren’t limited by budget. The argument is that for campaigns limited by budget, this method can increase CPCs due to increased competition early in the day, or unintentionally spend more budget in earlier time zones.
The main improvement to Standard Delivery is said to help better predict performance: Google says, “Standard Delivery takes into account expected ad performance throughout the day and is better at maximising performance within your daily budget”.
How will the removal of Accelerated Delivery affect me?
For more advanced advertisers, the use cases that Google provide as reasons to remove Accelerated Delivery shouldn’t be a problem. For example, separating your campaigns by geographical location rather than having a multi-country catchall will mean that most time-zone related issues won’t be an issue.
In terms of structure and best practice, this represents a small but interesting shift from the way Google used to conduct their own search campaigns internally. Using Accelerated Delivery specifically against keywords that are known to consistently convert and drive results is a well known segmentation strategy. Google are now saying that using Standard Delivery and ensuring your daily budget isn’t limited, should achieve the same or a similar effect.
The problem for enterprise clients is that Google recommends using the “Maximise Clicks” or “Maximise Conversions”, which are not helpful if you are running multi-channel campaigns using third party bid management such as Marin or Kenshoo. This is clearly a problem individual advertisers have to solve or find workarounds for in the short term.
Advertisers with offline promotions may need to be wary of campaign budgets
Google Ads users who see periodic jumps in campaign spend (think products that get PR coverage, etc.) need to be careful, as theoretically you’d need to set your daily budgets many times higher than your “normal” spend to ensure that you have headroom for when periodic spikes happen. It is unlikely that Google’s predictive performance algorithms will be reliable at making room for these offline triggers, so when these happen, pay close attention to your budget.
Conclusion, and the long term play
In short, while the removal of Accelerated Delivery is a noteworthy change, it’s unlikely to have much potential to cause unnecessary spend or fluctuations in performance. Aside from a few niche cases where advertisers should spend some time considering individual campaign budgets, day to day management should remain unaffected.
What is interesting, though, is how this fits into Google’s long term strategy for where they see Paid Search going. By removing more Paid Search levers available to advertisers, this allows Google to simplify and more accurately predict performance.
However, that is no guarantee that Google’s AI is better at optimising campaign delivery in the short term, and advertisers should at least prepare to monitor their campaigns post-change closely to ensure consistent performance.
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