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TikTok is still considered a niche social media site by some, but the platform has grand ambitions to keep growing into an even bigger platform in the future. 

In TikTok’s first-ever company event, held as part of the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the company’s leadership spoke about the challenges facing the platform and their plans to overcome them.

Company leadership addressed a range of topics, including shopping across the platform, user safety, iOS 14’s impact on online advertising, and more. Let’s go over some of the highlights:

Advertising Updates

Though it has already amassed hundreds of thousands of advertisers, TikTok’s president of global operations solutions, Blake Chandlee says the company’s current goal is in the millions.

To do this, TikTok is expanding its advertising toolset and creating new features to help advertisers measure the quality of ads.

Managing director and global head of monetization product, strategy, and operation, Ray Cao, also addressed the impact of Apple’s iOS 14 on its advertising operations. 

This update made it difficult to target and track ads to many users as it gave users the option to block many forms of online tracking. However, Cao says the social network will overcome this by increasing the options for contextual ad targeting.

At the same time, TikTok is working to improve brand safety by better assessing what type of content an ad may be associated with. 

As Francis Stones, head of European brand safety explained, the company’s review process now analyzes sounds, text, emojis, and imagery to ensure brands do not become associated with something problematic.

TikTok Shopping Features

Along with these updates to TikTok’s advertising services, the platform is also continuing its efforts to develop its live shopping functionality.

Global head of business marketing, Sofia Hernandez explained that the new feature is being developed to allow brands to take advantage of user-created content quickly and easily, though further details were unavailable.

As TikTok grows into a major force on today’s internet, it is working to provide brands and advertisers with the types of features they have come to expect from social networks. While this is just a small look at the platform’s direction for the future, it shows that the newly popular social network intends to keep growing with its userbase.

As announced last August, Google is set to stop allowing advertisers to create, edit, or start running expanded text ads across the search engine’s ad network starting June 30, 2022.

Though expanded text ads have been a popular way to make your ads stand out and increase click-through rates, the company says it plans to replace the ad format with responsive search ads.

The goal, according to Google, is to simplify running ads while using automation to improve ad performance. 

According to the announcement, advertisers who have already made the switch from expanded text ads to responsive search ads saw an average 7% increase in their conversions.

Why Google Is Switching To Responsive Search Ads

Things are shifting all the time online, including the ways we are searching. According to Google, at least 15% of all search queries are never-before-seen searches. With responsive search ads, Google is trying to help brands keep up to date with these ever-changing trends and to always be where their audience is.

How To Prepare

For the time being, existing expanded text ads will be largely unaffected by the change. Though they cannot be edited, existing ads in this format will continue to run as normal. However, no new expanded text ads can be created.

To help you prepare for the upcoming change, Google recommends taking these steps:

  • Repurpose high-performing text ad content into responsive search ads and focus on improving ad strength.
  • Apply changes suggested in the account’s Recommendations
  • Pin headlines and other copy in specific positions to ensure they always show.
  • Use variations to test different ad versions.
  • Review assets in cross-campaign reporting based on performance to identify the most effective messaging.
  • Evaluate incremental growth in impressions, clicks and conversions at the ad group and campaign levels.

For more information, you can read the full announcement here.

As part of its big Google Marketing Live event this week, the search engine announced a big makeover is coming to some shopping ads in the near future.

Initially limited to apparel-related shopping results, Google is revamping both online ads and organic listings to be more visually exciting and drive more engagement.

You can get a  preview of what to expect below:

Swipeable Google Shopping Ads

The revamp brings shopping ads more in-line with the more visual organic listings which have been rolling out since last year.

Google is accomplishing this using Search or Performance Max ad campaigns, though the images or graphics must be provided by advertisers.

As the company described the makeover:

“These will be clearly labeled as ads and will be eligible to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page. We’re also rolling out new ways to showcase multiple product images within Shopping ads in the U.S., along with information such as product descriptions, reviews, and product availability, with no further action required of advertisers.”

Though it is unclear when this revamp will be rolled out, advertisers should be excited by the more stylish and engaging presentation when it arrives.

Google Ads is testing including small favicons next to links in ads shown on search results.

Over the weekend, some users noticed that ads for food delivery service UberEats were including a small icon of a pizza slice when they appear in search results. 

Google Ads Testing Favicons With UberEats

This was particularly notable because the icon looks like a typical emoji for pizza when emojis are “invalided or unsupported characters” according to Google Ads policies.

Thankfully, Ginny Marvin, Google Ads’ product liaison, has clarified that the icon is actually a favicon – a small visual icon associated with a URL. These icons already appear on many search results, as well as within many browsers when visiting a website.

Marvin went on to confirm that the company is testing using these icons in ads on search results to make advertisers more identifiable:

Currently, the test appears to be limited to a very small number of advertisers on a small number of search results for some users. Still, the immediate interest in these ad favicons across social media likely reinforces that these icons not only make it easier to recognize advertisers. They make ads more attention-grabbing for users.

Best Buy is taking a page from the playbooks of Google and Amazon, announcing this week that it has launched its own service to sell online ads on search results across the web.

Best Buy Ads, the new in-house media company, will sell traditional search ads and sponsored product listings across Best Buy’s online marketplace, as well as offsite and in-store.

The service will focus largely on consumer electronics and related products, staying in line with the products already offered by the company.

While the announcement may seem odd, it is clear that e-commerce is becoming a major part of today’s retail market, and advertising is a major component of that. 

Best Buy is also not the only company to take a similar step. In October 2021, Lowe’s announced it was opening its own advertising company – not the mention that Amazon drives huge amounts of revenue through its ad platform. 

As for what makes this platform unique, Best Buy is highly emphasizing its direct connection to customers through their long-established brand:

“We interact with our customers three billion times a year — in our stores, in their homes, and online. These relationships last longer and run deeper than most. Knowing our customers on this level means we can help other brands cut through the clutter with advertising that won’t waste our customers’ time.”

The announcement continues:

“We have spent the past few years building a business that can analyze the data from our customer relationships and recommend relevant ways to connect with customers based on cutting-edge data science and analytics.”

For more information about Best Buy Ads, read the complete announcement here.

Starting earlier this week, Google Ads has implemented new rules for advertisers promoting cryptocurrency or cryptocurrency-related services across its platform. 

Under the new rules, only those registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) as a money services business and with at least one state or federal entity, or with a state or federally chartered bank can run ads. Additionally, crypto advertisers must have completed the most recent verification process on Google.

With the massive explosion in interest around Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and other cryptocurrencies, Google Ads has also seen an increase in fraudulent ads or outright scams using its advertising service. 

Requirements for Cryptocurrency-Related Ads

If a cryptocurrency exchange or wallet service wishes to advertise on Google Ads, they must be registered with FinCEN as a Money Services Business and with at least one state as a money transmitter. The only exception to this is those registered with a federal or state-chartered bank.

Advertisers must also go through the latest Cryptocurrency Exchanges and Wallets verification process on Google.  

Lastly, cryptocurrency advertisers must comply with all legal requirements and are expected to follow Google Ads guidelines and policies. 

Other Restrictions

Along with these new restrictions, cryptocurrency advertisers should be aware of the already established rules for crypto-related ads. For example, advertisers cannot promote pages or sites which aggregate or compare issues of cryptocurrencies. Advertisers are also forbidden from advertising initial coin offerings.

For more information, check out Google’s latest advertising guidelines for cryptocurrencies and other financial services.

For years, two names have ruled the online ad game – Google and Facebook. Currently, that is still true, though a new analysis suggests Amazon is steadily expanding its ad business to be a sizable challenger to the Big Two.

Research firm eMarketer’s latest annual digital ad report shows that Amazon’s share of digital ad revenue broke two digits in 2020, earning 10.3% of U.S. online ad revenue. That’s a significant jump from 7.8% in 2019.

In actual dollars, the online retail giant’s ad revenue reached $15.73 billion, an increase of more than 50% from the previous year.

Should Facebook and Google Be Worried?

Amazon still has some ways to go before it’s ad platform is the size of Google or Facebook’s – both of which receive more than 20% of U.S. digital ad spend.

Still, eMarketer predicts the company will continue to increase its share of online ad revenue over the next few years until it is on par with the other two giants.

For Facebook, this might not be a big concern since much of Amazon’s advertising is driven by Amazon Prime video advertising and product ads. In their current form, both platform’s ads largely serve different purposes.

Google, on the other hand, might be getting a little nervous. Over the past few years, the search engine has been investing heavily into its online shopping services, as well as expanding YouTube’s advertising platform.

What Does This Mean For Brands?

Though this might have significant implications for the future of online advertising, nothing has really changed for the majority of brands who might use these platforms for their ads. 

However, it does serve as a reminder that there are more than just the Big Two online ad platforms. Many of the others out there may be a better fit, provide less competition, and allow you to reach your potential customers at a more ideal time. This is why it is important to know what each has to offer and invest your ad budget into the platform (or platforms) which make the most sense for you.

It can be easy to forget that online marketing can have a much wider effect than just “online”. These days, it is also one of the most powerful tools businesses have to drive in-person and other types of offline sales.

The key is knowing how to optimize specifically for local searches to help those nearby find you and your products or services at the most effective times.

To help smaller businesses do this, Google recently published a small guide with 4 tips and ideas for driving offline sales using your online ads and marketing.

Creating In-Person Sales With Online Marketing

Establish Your Digital Storefront

The first step to using your brand to drive local sales is establishing your Google My Business profile. This allows you to appear in the prime search results placements for relevant localized searches. 

As Google says:

“Stand out when people search for your business, products or services. Getting your business on Google is the essential first step towards driving and measuring visits to your stores.”

2) Measure Your Offline Impact

These days, the search engine’s analytics tools can measure a lot more than online traffic and conversions. Using metrics like Store Visits and Local Actions, you can see exactly how effective your online ads and marketing are in the real world.

“Getting the full picture of how your ads drive impact across channels is important to refine campaigns, make budgeting decisions, and inform your overall business strategy.”

3) Optimize For Online AND Offline

Use ads and optimization to highlight what you have online and what you have to offer at your brick and mortar locations. Not only can you use Google Shopping to showcase your products in search results, you can specifically promote your in-store inventory using Local Inventory ads.

The guide suggests:

“Make the most of your marketing investment and grow revenue for your stores, whether customers ultimately purchase online or in-store.”

4) Showcase Your Locations

Use local campaigns to highlight your local stores and send online searchers straight to your door. 

“Machine learning makes it easier and more efficient to promote your physical business locations at scale across Google properties. It can help you reach customers throughout their purchase journey and optimize for those who are most likely to visit your business.”

For more about how you can use Google and online marketing to drive both online and offline sales read the full Google Ads Help guide here.

YouTube has introduced a major change to how it handles advertising which has many content creators, users, and advertisers outraged.

Breaking with its tradition of sharing ad revenue with the channels they are shown on, YouTube is beginning to show ads on channels which have not opted into monetization. 

This means that the channel creator did not approve the inclusion of ads and – perhaps most importantly – they will not receive any revenue from the placement of ads within their videos. 

Until now, video creators had to join the YouTube Partner Program and enable monetization in order for ads to be shown on videos across their channel.

This helped strike a balance where those who wanted could create their videos planning for the inclusion of ads while others could rely on sponsorships to generate revenue or simply not monetize their videos. 

All of this was introduced via a change to YouTube’s Terms of Service with very little communication to users and content creators. 

Right To Monetize

YouTube added a new section to its Terms of Services recently titled Right to Monetize which introduces the ability to advertise on any and all videos. 

In order to use YouTube, all users must agree to the Terms of Service, making it mandatory for uploading videos or even viewing and  engaging with videos. 

A brief selection of the new section largely lays out the changes taking place:

“You grant to YouTube the right to monetize your Content on the Service (and such monetization may include displaying ads on or within Content or charging users a fee for access). This Agreement does not entitle you to any payments.”

Although YouTube says it is starting slowly by rolling out ads to a small number of channels which have not joined the Partner Program, it will be hard to track how true this actually is. The company has chosen not to notify channels when ads begin appearing on their videos, so it is hard to gauge how widely the change has been implemented. 

While YouTube says channels which are not part of the Partner Program can apply for the program if they wish to receive revenue, it is also true that not everyone is eligible for the YouTube Partner Program. 

YouTube Partner Program Requirements

To be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program, channels have to meet a number of conditions. The biggest hurdles for most channels are the requirements stating you must have more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months and more than 1,000 subscribers. Adult-oriented topics may also run into issues with content guidelines.

How This Affects Advertisers

The most obvious group affected by this change are small video creators who do not meet the requirements for the YouTube Partner Program but will have ads placed on their videos nonetheless or have opted to not include ads within their videos. 

However, the new ad policies may also have an effect on advertisers. If viewers receive a double-dose of advertising through an in-video sponsorship and mid-roll ad, they may be less likely to engage with either advertisement. 

Additionally, smaller channels may cover more niche topics or themes making it harder to properly target ads to that audience. 

Lastly, the revised rules on advertising may have an unintended consequence of driving more users to YouTube’s ad-free premium service, YouTube Red. This means that although YouTube would keep getting revenue, ads may actually have smaller reach than ever and drive less sales. 

As expected, the new rules have not been warmly received. Countless creators both big and small have uploaded videos decrying the new Terms of Service agreement, with some going as far as to announce they will be changing platforms or altogether boycotting YouTube.

For now it appears YouTube is sticking with the policy change, though there is always the possibility for the platform to amend or revise its agreement if negative response is widespread enough. 

Twitter is rolling out a new form of carousel ads which let you showcase between 2-6 images or videos in a single ad. 

According to the social network, the ads are particularly suited to helping businesses reach their advertising goal with a more immersive and interactive format which includes:

  • An edge-to-edge design
  • Third party measurement reporting
  • Accessibility support
  • New reporting features (such as swipes within the Carousel and breakdowns to measure individual Carousel card performance)

The ads have an edge on most other Twitter advertising formats because they allow you to approach an ad from a variety of different directions. You could highlight a variety of features and benefits of a single product, highlight a small collection of products, or tell a story about your brand. 

Why You Should Try Carousel Ads

Carousel ads have already proven to be a powerful tool on a number of other platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads. 

According to a Nielsen study cited by Twitter, using 3 or more assets in an ad format increases awareness by up to 20% and purchase intent by 7%.

Based on Twitter’s early testing of the ad format, that will continue to be true here. The company says carousel ads saw an average 15% increase in click-through rates compared to traditional single asset ad formats. 

Carousel ads for apps saw an even bigger boost, with an average 24% increase in installs.

Twitter Carousel Ads Best Practices

To help you get started, Twitter provided a set of recommendations and best practices for making the most out of carousel ads:

  • Use all of the available components: Including visuals, headlines, descriptions, and calls-to-action.
  • Tell a story: Craft a visual narrative with a beginning, middle, and end to keep viewers engaged.
  • Consider the audience: Show different product images to re-targeted customers than you would show to new, prospective customers.
  • Highlight the product and its benefits: The product should be visible and there should be clear, simple communication of benefit to the consumer.

Available Now To Everyone

The new ad format is available to all advertisers and marks a renewed effort by Twitter to create a more effective and enticing advertising platform:

“This investment in performance advertising also includes expanding the capabilities of our ad formats to enable advertisers with more options to show and tell their brand story, while providing a more intuitive, engaging experience for people on Twitter.”