Online Ad Updates March 2019


The news this week finds Twitter launching a new paid ads podcast, Google and Facebook making changes to their ad platforms whilst HM Government are set to explore the dominance of Google and Facebook on the paid ads marketplace … 

Chancellor Announces Watchdog Study on Facebook/Google’s Online Ad Dominance

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has sent an open letter, announced in the Spring Statement, to the head of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Lord Andrew Tyrie, in which ‘Spreadsheet’ Phil asked the CMA to undertake a formal study of the online paid ad environment and to understand more about recent evidence that articulated a market dominance from two major players – most notably Facebook and Google.

The Digital Competition Expert Panel Review, lead by former Obama advisor Jason Furman, argued that the digital ad marketplace “suffers from a lack of transparency”. The review heard from a diverse range of online marketing stakeholders who argued that Google’s dominance within the programmatic ad ecosystem meant “they were unable to achieve a fair return from digital advertising associated with their content and business needs”.

This is on the back of news that the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright MP, is also undertaking a review into the regulatory frameworks behind online advertising. The lack of ‘transparency’ and the latest CMA investigative study could shine a much-needed light on the unknown underbelly of online paid ad marketing which could help make it fairer and more accessible to the everyman and everywoman marketing supremo trying to follow the rules to get the best returns for their own marketing campaign endeavours.

Brand Safety Concerns Cause Major Headaches For Digital Marketers

Trusting your company’s reputation and brand to paid online ad platform, only to be damaged by a third-party negative experience could result in massive brand damaging consequences for your business.

Just this month, McDonalds and Pepsi paused major campaigns on YouTube after comments linked to illicit crypto, drugs and pornography were found by users in their brand’s ad campaign video comment stream.

These brand damaging events create major brand safety concerns for marketing professionals. How can you fully consider your ad platform’s brand suitability and calculate any negative long term brand damaging consequences into your overall marketing stratagems?

You need to start asking yourself what brand safety means for your organisation when developing marketing campaigns. What is the quid pro quo of the transactional relationship and the relationship between delivery and safety in terms of ad deliverables and your brand’s wider ad campaign outcomes.

By facilitating a conversation within your organisation regarding the suitability of your ad platform and the negative brand-damaging content available on many platforms, being ready for the ‘inevitable’ fall out from such a third-party experience could help your brand survive a major marketing incident?

Are You Using “Best” In Your Ad Descriptions, If Not, You May Be Losing Potential Customers

According to Google, online search queries with the phrase “best” – in the context of ‘what’s the best chocolate’, ‘what’s the best car’ or ‘what’s the best computer’ – has seen a two-year-long growth in popularity that has increased by 80% during this period.

By understanding consumer insights, Google believes marketing professionals can help use Google’s marketing technologies and these new insights to help drive functional and purposeful marketing solutions for your business.

If you’d like to find out more on Google’s latest search insight, why not sign up to watch the Google Marketing Live webcast available online which can help you gain greater insight into the Google search experience and about what people search for and in what context.

This information could help marketers develop more intuitive marketing campaigns and help tailor the right campaign focus for the right audience. This specificity can provide marketers with the tools required for campaign success.

Harness Google Images To Help Drive Customers To Your Brand

Google has published new data that shows a majority of global shoppers will visit Google first to identify new brands/purchase ideas and this behaviour has grown by 50% over the past three years. As Google expands the ad experience across its entire ecosystem – the Google Images platform is the next to experience “Shoppable Ads On Google Images”.

Google explains how this could work:

“Let’s say a shopper is searching for home office ideas on her mobile device or desktop and goes to Google Images to explore ideas around how to organize her room. She can scroll through the images, hover over any sponsored ad with the price tag, and see the items for sale in the image — along with prices, the brand, and more. We’ll continue to roll this out to more categories across more retailers over the next few months.”

The Showcase Shopping ads in Google Images can offer a marketing experience that connects people’s visual search parameters with your own business’s retail offerings thus helping to connect people with products and services through the power of visual programmatic ad services.

Facebook Updates Business Insights Metrics For Marketing Managers

As Facebook continues to push on after a series of brand damaging scandals in recent months, the company’s ad revenues are remaining resilient, and as such the company has decided to replace the single relevance score with updated and more relevant metrics to help marketers utilise Facebook as a means of generating positive growth.

Facebook argues:

“Relevance score measures whether the ads that you ran were relevant to the audience that you reached. Rather than measure relevance in one metric, over the next few months, we will replace relevance score with three new, more granular ad relevance diagnostics metrics. Similar to relevance score, these ad relevance diagnostics are not factored into an ad’s performance in the auction. We think that this level of granularity will offer reporting that’s more actionable for businesses.

Ad relevance diagnostics will measure relevance across these three dimensions:

  • Quality ranking: How your ad’s perceived quality compared with ads competing for the same audience.
  • Engagement rate ranking: How your ad’s expected engagement rate compared with ads competing for the same audience.
  • Conversion rate ranking: How your ad’s expected conversion rate compared with ads that had the same optimisation goal and competed for the same audience.

When used together, ad relevance diagnostics will help advertisers understand whether changes to creative assets, audience targeting or the post-click experience might improve performance. We will begin introducing relevance diagnostics over the coming weeks and will begin removing the previous relevance score metric starting 30 April.”

Twitter Launches Ad Business-focused Podcast called “Character Count”

Twitter has entered into the incredibly populated arena of podcasting by releasing a series called “Character Count” which is focused on Twitter’s advertising business and how it can help marketers grow their brands via the 240-character microblogging web platform.

According to Tech Crunch, the new podcast series will help:

“Each episode will involve talking to people behind the scenes of some of Twitter’s advertising stories, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq), Dropbox (@dropbox) and Simon & Schuster (@SimonBooks). The companies will speak about how they built effective ad campaigns and why Twitter’s audience mattered to them. The goal, says Twitter, is to offer others in the industry a look into which brands are “doing it right on Twitter,” and potentially spark more brands to do the same.”

So, if you want more sage advice or marketing inspiration why not head to “Character Count” as your next marketing podcast destination and find out what marketing professionals around the world are doing today through the power of Twitter ads.


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Mike Knight