In the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, staying ahead of the curve is paramount. In this rapidly changing landscape, it's crucial for marketers and advertisers to keep a keen eye on the latest developments.

Join us, as we unravel the top news and trends from last month. Our comprehensive coverage of the most significant PPC news for September 2023 promises to provide valuable insights.

Google's secret pricing increases in advertising auctions during antitrust trial

The Google news that everyone’s talking about right now.

Google has increased the cost of its advertising auctions in an effort to meet revenue targets without informing advertisers of pricing changes.

Due to the monopoly that Google has over paid search advertising, Google is able to raise prices for advertisers with few repercussions.

In this article from Marketing Beat, we can see that this may have resulted in cost increases from 5%-10%.

This news was revealed during an ongoing antitrust investigation, with the US Department of Justice accusing Google of maintaining an unlawful global online search monopoly.

Advertisers buying ads through Google would have been unaware of these price increases.

The best way to identify if your CPCs have been impacted by this is to review the CPC over a long period of time on keywords that experience the least amount of competitor pressure ie. brand.

Here I have displayed an example of a brand campaign, of a client who sees very minimal competitive pressure. As you can see, CPCs have increased incrementally every month since Q1 2021 from £0.06 to now £0.38.

For this client, had the same amount of traffic been generated in Q3 2023, but with a lower CPC of £0.10, for example, the savings would be £7.6k.

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There are many factors that formulate your CPC, including competitors, your bidding strategy, your landing page & seasonality.

We recommend investigating your CPCs, especially if you have seen increases with no evident reason & don't be afraid to experiment with the good, old-fashioned manual bidding strategies if you fear your CPCs are higher than they need to be.

X (formerly Twitter) joins the Google Display Network

On September 28th, 2023, X announced its partnership with Google Display Network.

This strategy is likely to alleviate some of X’s financial problems, but marketers are concerned that ad spend will be wasted on this platform, due to the high amount of invalid traffic generated by fake accounts on X.

Advertisers that fear invalid traffic, or low quality placements leading to wasted ad spend, may choose to opt out of advertising on X via their display campaigns.

From our internal display campaigns, we're yet to see any ad placements on X, however if you want to review where your display ads are showing, follow these steps:

  1. Select your display campaign in Google Ads
  2. In the left hand navigation, select 'Content'
  3. In the menu, select 'Where ads showed'
  4. This will show you a list of mobile apps, YouTube channels and websites that your display ads have shown on.
  5. If your display ads are showing in many low quality placements, you can exclude these at ad group or campaign level

Tip: you can adjust which metrics you want to review by placement (i.e. cost, conversions, CPC) using the 'Columns' button & you can split data by conversion type, day/week/month, or device using the 'Segment' button.

Google Keyword Planner update: significant changes impact advertisers

In a recent development, the Adido team stumbled upon a noteworthy update to Google's Keyword Planner, one that has left advertisers grappling with its implications.

For years, Google's keyword planner tool has served as a reliable ally for advertisers, offering insights into forecasted search volumes for keywords and projecting potential performance outcomes based on varying budget allocations to selected keywords. It played a pivotal role for advertisers seeking a performance benchmark before committing their budgets to new campaigns, especially those with uncertain outcomes.

However, an update has occurred. Google's Keyword Planner has undergone a transformation that has left it, in many ways, ineffective. It can no longer predict performance results at the granular levels of individual keywords or ad groups. Instead, it restricts itself to providing a breakdown by country, significantly limiting its usability.

Even more concerning, historical forecast data can no longer display information at the keyword or ad group level. The days of having an aggregated view of this data are now gone.

What remains within the purview of Keyword Planner is the ability to scrutinise low and high-range bids, helping advertisers gauge potential CPCs should they decide to launch campaigns with specific keywords. Nevertheless, when it comes to viewing performance based on keywords, advertisers are now nudged toward live testing within Google Ads itself.

The disconcerting aspect of this development is the increased potential for wasted ad spend. Many advertisers are left speculating whether this could be a precursor to Google eventually phasing out all keyword match types except for broad match, which could have significant ramifications for the advertising landscape in the future.

Cultivating transparency: Google's limited ad serving policy to enhance user trust

Google is introducing a new policy called Limited ads serving’, aimed at enhancing ad clarity and building trust with users.

This policy involves a "get-to-know-you period" for advertisers less familiar to Google, during which time, impressions for their ads may be limited.

Initially, this policy applies to advertisers targeting specific brands with their campaigns, especially when the relationship between the advertiser and the brand in their ad is unclear. The goal is to ensure users have a clear understanding of who they are dealing with when they interact with an ad.

Advertisers with a history of policy compliance and transparency will be prioritised. Advertisers without a proven track record might have their ad impressions limited initially to help reduce the chances of users encountering misleading or confusing ads.

Advertisers impacted by this policy will receive notifications and guidance to attain qualified status. While this policy won't block or remove ads, it will apply limitations in scenarios where users could be confused by an advertiser's brand identity.

Watch this space as we continue to bring you the latest and most influential updates in the realm of PPC advertising.

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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 ...