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Microsoft Advertising is helping you get ready for the new year with three new predictions for upcoming trends in digital advertising. 

As we enter the final month of the year, many are already planning their marketing and ad campaigns for the start of 2023. Unsurprisingly, many of these campaigns will be focused on health and self-betterment as consumers make their New Year’s resolutions.

According to a recent study by Opeepl, approximately 60% of people reported making a New Year’s resolution in 2022 with the most popular resolution being to get healthier.

Even more interestingly, almost half (49%) of those who didn’t make a resolution reported that they still made changes to their lives to improve their wellness around the beginning of the year.

To help you take advantage of this with ads that will connect with health-minded consumers in the start of 2023, Microsoft Advertising shared three predictions for upcoming trends in Health and marketing:

‘Organic Food’ Will Spike In Interest

Microsoft believes clicks for ads related to organic food may leap up to 20% during the week of January 14 compared to the same week in December.

With that in mind, Microsoft recommends planning ahead:

“Target users searching for healthy, nutritious food options in January with In-market Audiences. Our internal forecasting data suggests that clicks will peak during the winter on January 14, so although you should ramp up your budget after the holidays end, make sure you don’t run out midway through the month.”

Target Sports Apparel From Now To Late January

The predictions indicate that searches for sports apparel are likely to surge beginning early this month and lasting through January, creating an opportune time to target customers with related shopping campaigns:

“Use Shopping campaigns to showcase your sports and fitness apparel products late November and early December during holiday shopping sales. Microsoft internal data estimates that consumers will be most heavily searching for gear between the weeks of and November 26 and December 3, but activity will remain high until January.”

‘Fitness & Nutrition’ Searches Regularly Surge In Interest

While it is true that searches for fitness and nutrition-related topics are likely to increase in the new year, Microsoft Advertising also notes that this trend is likely to pop back up throughout the year. Because of this, it may be better to take an “always-on” approach to targeting these areas:

“Using 2021 data as a comparison for what to expect activity wise over the next year, we can assume clicks for nutrition and fitness will peak in January, May, July, and October. Consider an always-on approach since Audience Ads are shown to drive users down the funnel to search tactics.”

Google is officially rolling out frequency targeting controls for video ads on YouTube according to a new blog post from the company.

With this move, advertisers can now take control and set limits for how often individuals see their ads.

In the past, the only way to do this was through connected TV campaigns in Google Display & Video 360 – more advanced advertising tools and features.

What Is Frequency Targeting For Ads?

Frequency targeting lets advertisers set a target number of times their ad will be shown to specific users.

This helps make the most of ad budgets by preventing ads from being repeatedly displayed to unreceptive audiences.

As the announcement for the feature explains:

“This will help advertisers optimize towards more precise reach and frequency, while ensuring that we continue to provide a suitable advertising experience for viewers. Target frequency allows advertisers to select a frequency goal of up to four per week and our systems will optimize towards a maximum unique reach at that desired frequency.”

Why Set a Frequency Target For Your Ads

Though there may be times when repeatedly seeing the same ad may be beneficial to motivate potential customers, there is a limit. Most studies indicate that repeatedly seeing ads is much more likely to contribute to diminishing returns and bad will with consumers.

For example, one Google-commissioned study found that TV advertisers see a decrease in ROI of 41% when the frequency of their ads was more than 6 views per week. Based on the data, more than 46% of ad impressions were above this threshold, making nearly half of ad impressions wasted.

The study says:

“Almost half of the linear TV impressions in our study were considered waste but the same study from Nielsen shows that brands can increase their average weekly frequency from one to three on YouTube with a consistent ROI.

“This is a huge opportunity for marketers to maximize their impact across the same set of people they are already reaching today.”

Final Details

Frequency targeting is now rolling out to all Google Ads users around the globe. 

Google claims that over 95% of all campaigns using frequency targeting hit their goal using the tool in testing.

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.