Join us, as we discuss the top news and trends from the PPC industry. In this blog we’ll cover new tools and updates from major advertising platforms including Google, Apple, Pinterest, and X.

Apple has introduced a 30% service charge on boosted Meta posts - here’s how you can avoid it

Meta is introducing a solution for small businesses aiming to avoid Apple's 30% service charge when boosting posts on Facebook and Instagram. Advertisers can utilise desktop and mobile platforms to access iOS app features without incurring the Apple fee. This development is particularly beneficial for small businesses, as they can now boost posts without additional charges, resulting in cost savings.

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The Apple service charge, effective as of now, involves Apple managing the billing process for advertisers using the Facebook or Instagram iOS app, with a 30% fee applied to the total ad payment (excluding taxes). It's essential to note this fee goes to Apple, not Meta advertising costs.

Boosted posts, a feature allowing businesses to swiftly promote content without setting up a full campaign in Ads Manager, will undergo a new payment process. Advertisers on iOS will now need to pay in advance by adding prepaid funds to their accounts. If these funds are added through the iOS app, an Apple service charge is applied. However, if added through payment settings on desktop or mobile browsers, advertisers can use them without incurring fees, including for boosting content via iOS apps.

While this only currently affects US advertisers, the service charge will impact advertisers globally by the end of the year. To swerve this, advertisers can boost content directly from the Facebook or Instagram websites.

Snap's Q4 revenue surges 5% post ad strategy shift

Snapchat experienced a 5% boost in revenue for the final quarter of 2023, reaching $1.36 billion. While this growth is notable, it slightly missed Wall Street analysts' predictions of $1.38 billion for Snapchat’s parent company, Snap.

The positive quarter saw net losses narrowing to $248 million, an improvement from the $288 million reported in the same period the previous year. This financial performance follows Snap's strategic decision to focus on direct response ads, allowing users to make purchases directly from the app. Despite a dip in sales during the first half of 2023 due to this shift, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel believes it will benefit the advertising business in the long run.

However, these results come on the heels of Snap laying off approximately 10% of its global workforce. Spiegel emphasised that this decision was "painful" but deemed necessary for achieving long-term goals.

Snapchat shared additional insights into its 2023 performance, reporting a 10% year-over-year increase in Daily Active Users to 414 million. Looking ahead, Snapchat anticipates reaching 420 million daily active users in Q1 2024, with revenue expected to increase between 11% and 15%.

Following the Q4 performance slightly below expectations, Snapchat could present a unique opportunity for advertisers in the upcoming quarter. A potential dip in advertiser interest could lead to reduced competition, making ad placements more cost-effective and providing advertisers with a chance for a higher return on ad spend. However, this may be a riskier investment compared to rival platforms like Meta.

Pinterest is thriving with revenue up 12% and active monthly users at an all-time high

Pinterest reported robust performance in Q4 2023, with revenue surging 12% to reach $981 million. The platform's success can be attributed to a remarkable increase in global monthly active users, reaching an all-time high of 498 million. Pinterest credited this achievement to the launch of a record number of ad solutions, boosting campaign performance for brands.

For advertisers seeking to diversify their ad spend, Pinterest stands out as a promising option, surpassing expectations with its notable increase in global monthly active users. This surge indicates significant potential for advertisers in terms of extended reach and engagement.

Looking ahead, Pinterest is optimistic about its growth projections for Q1 2024, expecting a year-on-year growth of 15-17%, with revenue ranging from $690 million to $705 million.

Bill Ready, CEO of Pinterest, highlighted the platform's success, stating, "Our users are engaging deeply, and we're delivering better results for advertisers through improved measurement and innovation across the full funnel." He emphasised Pinterest's transformative year in 2023, with accelerated product velocity and the launch of more solutions than ever before.

Pinterest boosts ad revenue since major partnership with Google

Pinterest has announced a significant ad partnership with Google, aiming to enhance its ad revenue. This collaboration marks Google as the second third-party ad partner for Pinterest, following a multi-year collaboration with Amazon unveiled last year.

The partnership provides a valuable opportunity for brands running campaigns with Google Ads to broaden their reach and engage with an active, high-value consumer base on Pinterest. This engagement holds the potential for stronger return on investment and increased conversions.

The integration enables ads to be served on Pinterest through Google’s Ad Manager. When Pinterest users encounter a Google Ad, they will be directed to the advertiser’s website to complete their purchase.

Pinterest initiated the rollout of the new ad integration a few weeks ago, with reported positive results. Similar to the Amazon integration, the Google partnership is expected to be phased in over several quarters.

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LinkedIn introduces new campaign planning features with enhanced audience insights and predictive analytics

LinkedIn has unveiled a ground breaking solution for marketers, introducing enhanced audience insights and predictive analytics to streamline and improve campaign performance.

The platform's new Media Planning API empowers advertisers to leverage real-time data signals for assessing the expected reach and frequency of campaigns before allocating budgets.

This innovation provides marketers with a clearer understanding of a campaign's potential performance, facilitating informed, data-driven decisions on the optimal media mix, timing, and frequency to achieve the best return on investment.

Key features:

Audience insights offering data on user demographics, job roles, industries, and users online behaviours.

Budget allocation to identify the best advertising strategies per account.

Planning capabilities so agencies can integrate LinkedIn’s data with their own tools and analytics platforms.

76% of X’s advertising traffic revealed to be fake

X reported a significant surge in traffic during the Super Bowl weekend, boasting increases of 31% in impressions, 41% in user posts, and 75% in video views year-on-year. However, a report by cybersecurity firm CHEQ reveals that a staggering 75.85% of the advertising traffic from X was identified as fake.

If the majority of clicks on X ads are generated by bots, advertisers are essentially paying for clicks that won't contribute to conversions. This fake traffic not only impacts budgets but also complicates campaign optimisation, hindering a clear understanding of the actual audience.

CHEQ gathered data from 144,000 visits to its clients' websites through X ads during Super Bowl weekend, from February 9 to February 11. While the data is not scientifically sampled and represents a small portion of CHEQ's overall data from 15,000 clients, it highlights a significant trend.

CHEQ founder and CEO Guy Tytunovich expressed astonishment at the findings, stating, "I've never seen anything even remotely close to 50 percent, not to mention 76 percent." He emphasised that CHEQ, known for being conservative in its estimates, has never witnessed such a high percentage of fake traffic. The decision to publish the X bot data was a result of the unprecedented nature of the findings.

Google overhauls search partner network controls

Google is introducing significant changes to offer advertisers enhanced control over ad placement within the Search Partner Network, starting from March 4.

Advertisers using Performance Max will now have access to impression-level placement reporting for SPN sites. Additionally, excluding specific ad placements at the account level will apply to the Search Partner Network, YouTube, and display ads.

These updates follow a Adalytics report accusing Google of discreetly placing search ads on inappropriate non-Google websites through the SPN, including sites with adult content, sanctioned materials, and pirated content. Google refuted the claims, highlighting Adalytics' track record of inaccurate reports.

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Prior to the Adalytics report in November, all Performance Max campaigns were automatically included in the SPN, with no opt-out option. After the report, Google temporarily allowed Pmax users to opt out of the SPN. Now, Google is removing the option to opt-out of the SPN, but introduces increased insights and control over ad placement within the SPN.

Advertisers will benefit from better control and insights into the placement of their ads within the SPN, addressing concerns about ads appearing near inappropriate content and safeguarding brand reputation.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check back next month for the latest trends and updates in the world of PPC for April.

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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 ...