Join us, as we discuss the top news and trends from the PPC industry in February.

Including ad spend increases in Google Ads, new AI-powered tools from Microsoft Ads, a glimpse into the cookie-less future of paid ads & more!

Google Search ad spend jumps 17% in Q4 2023

In the final quarter of 2023, advertising spend on Google Search ads in the U.S. increased 17% year-on-year, accompanied by an increase in clicks of 8%.

Notably, the average cost-per-click increased by 9%, fuelled by a 19% increase in mobile ad spend.

Tinuiti's Q4 2023 Digital Ads Benchmark Report also sheds light on the performance of desktop, laptop, and tablet search ads, revealing varied trends in spend, clicks, and CPC for each platform.

The report highlights the adoption of Performance Max (PMax) campaigns by 91% of retail advertisers during the peak holiday shopping season, reflecting a marginal increase from the previous year.

In a noteworthy development, the report identifies Temu as a rising competitor in Google Shopping auctions. By the final week of 2023, 90% of retailers recognised Temu's presence in the ads auction.

TikTok reveals impact of non-skippable video ads on engagement

TikTok's latest report suggests that non-skippable video ads might negatively impact user engagement. A study conducted in collaboration with MAGNA Media Trials highlights that viewers prefer control over their experience, with 73% agreeing that the ability to skip videos increases engagement.

The stats from the study indicate that 56% of viewers are more likely to actively watch brand-sponsored videos when given the option to skip. Interestingly, the duration of skippable versus non-skippable ads doesn't significantly impact viewership.

TikTok emphasises that every view on its platform is intentional, and users can skip any video, including ads. The platform's spokesperson notes that skippable formats perform comparably with forced-view formats across key metrics like brand favorability and purchase intent.

For marketers, this insight suggests that experimenting with skippable ads could enhance viewer experience, with higher potential of leading to better campaign performance in terms of brand awareness and conversions.

Additionally, the study emphasises the importance of ad placement, indicating that ads adjacent to popular and relevant content have a more substantial impact, increasing purchase intent by 9%.

Microsoft unveils AI-powered tool for instant banner ad generation

Microsoft has introduced Retail Media Creative Studio, an AI-driven solution set to revolutionise banner ad creation. Launched in January 2024, this tool enables advertisers to generate customised banner ads within seconds by inputting a product's URL.

Microsoftaibanneradsimage image

Example of AI-generated banner ad from Microsoft

The generative AI within the Retail Media Creative Studio ensures that the ads align with each retailer's style guide, eliminating the need for manual resizing or adjustments. This innovation holds the potential to streamline the creative process, reducing the back-and-forth between creative and media teams.

Key features include a review process that allows retailers to finalise ads before going live, and automated optimisation using AI algorithms once the campaign is live to select the most effective creatives based on metrics like click-through rates and conversions.

Advertisers can transform product photos, generate headline options, and modify banner elements seamlessly.

Microsoft Advertising overhauls hotel ads management with lodging campaigns

Microsoft Advertising is introducing changes to streamline Hotel Price ads and Property Promotion ads management, discontinuing subaccounts and bid management in the Hotel Center from 6th February. Advertisers must take proactive steps for a seamless transition.

Key Points:

  • Starting 6th February, Lodging Campaigns will exclusively manage Hotel Price ads and Property Promotion ads.
  • Hotel Center can still be used for feed management tasks like uploading and editing property feeds.
  • Recommendations for a smooth transition include recreating sub accounts as lodging campaigns, updating URL tracking, and gradually shifting budgets.

Hotel Price Ads and Property Promotion Ads:

  • Hotel Price Ads enhance visibility by featuring hotels on during hotel searches.
  • Property Promotion Ads, displayed on Bing Maps' hotel grid, influence early-stage travellers' decisions.

Lodging Campaign Benefits:

  • Cross-platform parity with Google Ads Hotel campaigns for streamlined management.
  • Expanded ad distribution to Microsoft audience ads and other syndicated search partners.
  • New targeting opportunities, utilising existing active remarketing lists for extended reach.

Microsoft is excited about Lodging Campaigns, emphasising benefits like enhanced outreach, more control over campaigns, and increased engagement leading to more bookings.

Advertisers are urged to act now to ensure a smooth transition and avoid disruptions in their hotel ad management.

TikTok unveils advanced ad performance tools for deeper insights

TikTok has introduced two ad performance measurement tools, Cross-Channel Partners and Lift Partners, aimed at providing marketers with enhanced insights into their campaigns.

Key Points:

Cross-Channel Partners

  • Analyses TikTok ads' performance across various online platforms and touchpoints, offering a comprehensive view of their impact before a purchase is made.
  • Multi-touch attribution measures ad effectiveness across digital touchpoints.
  • Post-purchase survey integrates with e-commerce stores to gather additional data, contributing to a deeper understanding of advertising impact.

Lift Partners

  • Assesses the effectiveness of TikTok ads in four crucial areas – brand lift, sales lift, store visit lift, and tune-in lift.
  • Brand lift metrics include Ad Recall, Awareness, Attitude, and Favourability.
  • Sales lift measures the impact on online and offline sales, especially beneficial for Consumer Packaged Goods marketers.
  • Store visit lifts gauges additional visits to physical stores generated by TikTok ad campaigns.
  • Tune-in lift assesses the impact on increasing viewership for shows, movies, or other media content.

Traditional last-click attribution models fall short in capturing a significant portion of TikTok's impact, making these tools beneficial for marketers to gain a clearer understanding of the customer journey.

Google initiates phase-out of third-party cookies

Google has officially begun the process of phasing out third-party cookies with the introduction of a new feature called Tracking Protection. This tool, which defaults to restricting third-party cookies, is now being rolled out to 1% of Chrome users globally as of 4th January 2024.

Advertisers heavily relying on targeted advertising with third-party cookies need to reconsider their tactics. Preparing websites for the complete retirement of third-party cookies by the latter half of 2024 is essential.

Users affected by the Tracking Protection tool will receive a notification when opening Chrome on desktop or Android devices.

Google issues warning on non-compliant GDPR consent banners

Google is issuing suspension threats to website and app owners in the EU displaying non-compliant GDPR Consent Banners. Failure to address violations within Google-assigned deadlines may lead to account suspension, impacting revenue generation from Google.

If Google detects a violation, site owners will receive an email specifying the issue and a deadline for resolution. Failure to address the problem within the given timeframe may result in account suspension.

The EU User Consent Policy mandates site owners to secure consent for the use of cookies, collection of personal data for ad personalisation, and clear identification of parties handling user data. Additionally, end users must have easy access to information on how their personal data will be used.

Compliance with GDPR Consent Banners is crucial for site owners to avoid revenue loss and maintain a positive online presence. Google's strict measures underscore the significance of adhering to privacy regulations.

Site owners are urged to promptly address any violations to ensure continued compliance and avoid potential account suspension.

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Meet the author ...

Maddie Crawford

PPC Manager

Maddie has worked in digital marketing since her apprenticeship in 2017 but quickly realised her true passion was in the PPC side of things! Since then she has worked across ...