Jun 21 2024
Basis Technologies

Innovations in Search and Social Advertising


June 2024

What’s new in the realms of paid search and social media? This month, Courtney Shaw, VP of Social Media Solutions, and Maggie Shelton, Director of Search Media Investment, compiled all the latest news, trends, and resources that advertising pros need to know.

The creator economy in 3D [:02]

THE NEWS: Deloitte’s new report details the impact of the creator economy from the perspectives of creators and influencers, brands, and consumers. One takeaway of note for advertisers: The report found that bonds between consumers and their favorite creators can lead to increased trust between consumers and the brands those creators partner with.

THE CONTEXT: Brands are upping their investment in the creator economy, with 92% planning to increase their spend on creator marketing this year, and 36% planning to spend at least half their entire digital marketing budget in the space.

EXPERT POV: Marketers can no longer afford to sit out on creator marketing. Creator content, whether owned, organic, or sponsored, is here to stay and is fast becoming the key to winning new customers. As we look at investment across social channels, advertisers may need to be wary of platform-managed creator marketplaces, where exclusive contracts can limit brand usage rights across the open internet. – Jess Kaswiner | Director, Social Media Investment

Global Ad Trends: Social media reaches new peaks [:20]

THE NEWS: Global ad spend across social media platforms is up by a whopping 14.3% year-over-year, making it the leading media channel in the digital ecosystem. This surge is fueled mostly by advertising spend on Meta platforms, which is set to surpass linear TV for the first time in history. The report attributes some incremental increase in social spend to artificial intelligence, suggesting that new tools that automate creative development and media planning, such as Meta Advantage+, are growing in popularity.

THE CONTEXT: The surge in social media ad spend comes on the heels of a rough couple of years for many of the biggest players in the social space, which were marked by plummeting stocks and missed revenue expectations. However, things haven’t turned around for all the major players: While Meta, Pinterest, TikTok, and Snapchat are forecast to enjoy double-digit growth this year, the report notes that X’s revenue woes will continue.

EXPERT POV: Brands show no signs of slowing down their social ad investments. To ensure the social presence of a business acts as a buttress rather than a mere prop, advertisers must understand what that businesses’ audience wants to hear/read/see, while simultaneously differentiating from competitor content. – Jess Kaswiner | Director, Social Media Investment

Instagram confirms test of ‘unskippable’ ads [:02]

THE NEWS: After screenshots surfaced on social media, Meta confirmed that it’s testing a non-skippable ad unit on Instagram. These new ad breaks will display a countdown timer that stops users from being able to browse through more content on the app until they view the ad. The functionality is similar to YouTube, which requires users to view some ads in full before and in the middle of watching videos. Information about the test is limited, such as where the test is running from a geographic standpoint, or how long the test will run.

THE CONTEXT: With 44% of consumers preferring to learn about products and services through short-form video (where Instagram excels), and 87% of marketers reporting that video has directly increased sales, an unskippable ad unit would likely strengthen the impact of Instagram’s video ad offerings for advertisers.

EXPERT POV: Should this “forced view” ad unit on Instagram become available more broadly, advertisers will have the opportunity to fully capture a user’s attention with guaranteed visibility, which will help to drive awareness and engagement. Brands will want to ensure the content of the unskippable ad is engaging, with clear messaging and CTAs. – Laura Kubiesa | VP, Social Media Investment

Study Shows Young Consumers Are Increasingly Turning to Social for Discovery [:02]

THE NEWS: Young people are increasingly using social apps—TikTok and Instagram in particular—to find products. Gen Z users search social apps primarily for fashion, beauty, food, and craft-related trends, but turn to Google for bigger purchases, places to go, and professional services.

THE CONTEXT: Whether looking to drive sales from younger or older consumers, there’s gold in those social media hills: Both product discovery and purchase happen on social media at rates higher than on messaging apps, video, or through influencers. This trend goes hand in hand with the rise of social search, with over 25% of 18 to 54-year-olds preferring to perform their online searches via social media.

EXPERT POV: The integration of generative AI into search and social platforms is likely to further blur the lines between different types of product discovery channels. By staying informed about these consumer trends, marketers can better navigate the shifting landscape of product/brand discovery and optimize their strategies for maximum impact. – Erik Chellberg | VP, Social Media Investment

Google launches Google TV advertising network [:02]

THE NEWS: Google announced the launch of the Google TV Network, a network aimed at leveraging Google's vast audience to distribute and monetize TV content. This network is available within the Google Ads platform through YouTube and display campaigns and currently focuses on the six-second bumper ad format, with more formats coming. The platform offers a range of content, including sports, news, and entertainment, and focuses on personalized recommendations and targeted advertising.

THE CONTEXT: This move from Google empowers advertisers to make the most of the rapid growth of free ad-supported television (FAST) channels like Amazon’s Freevee, Pluto, Tubi, and Roku, in light of rising subscription costs for other streaming services.

EXPERT POV: For now, my team is opting in to the Google TV Network within non-skippable and bumper YouTube campaigns. As we see more data coming from this network, we will evaluate whether performance is of high enough quality to continue opting in—I recommend other advertisers do the same. – Heather Crider, VP of Search Media Solutions

Google Ads rolls out new design to all markets on Aug. 30 [:02]

THE NEWS: On August 30th, Google Ads will complete the rollout of its new design to all markets. New features include a left-side menu that organizes pages into several high-level categories, a more comprehensive search function, and an overall cleaner and more modern-looking UI.

THE CONTEXT: Google trialed two different looks in 2023 before landing on this UI, based on user feedback, for the full rollout.

EXPERT POV: You can expect all the same functionality in the new Google Ads design, but the tools and menus have moved around a bit. Users should adopt the new Google Ads UI early and get as familiar as possible with the various changes, as there will be no way to opt out after August 30th. Certain things have shifted, from tools and menus to more efficient campaign segmentation for Performance Max, and it will take some time for the new navigation to become second nature. – Sofia Petrovsky, Director of Search Media Investment

May 2024

Google Marketing Live 2024: Everything you need to know [:03]

THE NEWS: Content at Google Marketing Live 2024 focused on AI-driven updates, including those that enhance creative production and consumer engagement. Key highlights include:

  • Mass AI creative asset production and advanced image editing added to Performance Max
  • Immersive shopping ads introduced, with video, virtual try-ons, and 3D product spins
  • Vertical videos and automatically generated animated image ad options added across YouTube, Discover, and Gmail

THE CONTEXT: Google has been on an AI tear as of late, adding AI-powered tools meant to help marketers with creative development, campaign management, and seemingly everything in between. Their stated purpose? To respond to an “evolution of [consumer] attention.”

EXPERT POV: This year’s GML was a continued push into AI, adding incremental features to a lot of what was released during GML 2023. Agencies and brand marketing executives should swiftly educate and integrate Google's AI-driven tools to streamline creative production, enhance consumer engagement, and optimize campaign management. By leveraging these advancements, they can achieve deeper customer connections and more efficient marketing outcomes in an increasingly AI-centric landscape. – Robert Kurtz | Group VP, Search Media Solutions

April 2024

President Biden signs law to ban TikTok nationwide unless it is sold [:04]

THE NEWS: After years of Washington lawmakers scrutinizing the platform, President Joe Biden signed into law a bill that will ban TikTok in the US if its China-based parent company, ByteDance, does not sell the app within a year. Lawmakers say their main concerns are around data privacy and the perceived possibility of “espionage, surveillance, [and] maligned operations”. ByteDance has called this ruling “unconstitutional” and has promised to sue.

THE CONTEXT: If they aren’t successful in court, ByteDance says that they’d rather shut down TikTok in the US than sell the app and its algorithms to an American buyer. A shutdown would be a big deal for advertisers, particularly those working for small- to medium-sized businesses: TikTok recently released a report that claims SMBs using the platform’s free services and paid advertising contributed a total of $24.2 billion to the US GDP last year.

EXPERT POV: Advertising on Tiktok will continue to operate as usual for now. However, with TikTok having risen to the top of the list of social platforms that provide value for SMBs, its political limbo status should cause advertisers to monitor and evaluate existing similar features across other social channels, like YouTube Shorts and Meta's Reels, while also keeping an eye out for any new copycat features or channels that come down the line. – Jenny Lewis | Director, Social Media Investment

TikTok won’t dial back on TikTok Shop content, but it may not matter for time spent [:02]

THE NEWS: Since the launch of TikTok Shop in September 2023, reports have suggested that the increase in TikTok Shop content was causing a decline in overall usage of the app. However, many users say they have increased their TikTok usage since TikTok Shop rolled out. Time spent on TikTok is plateauing and new user growth is slowing, but given that the app already has 107.8 million monthly US consumers who spend immense amounts of time on the app, this simply indicates a more mature growth phase.

THE CONTEXT: While time spent on the app and user growth may be slowing, forecasts still show that US adults will spend 58.4 minutes per day on TikTok in 2024, up from 2023 numbers and ahead of every other social media platform for most US social users.

EXPERT POV: While some headlines may infer growth on TikTok is declining, users are still spending a lot of time on the app, which presents a great opportunity for advertisers. Regardless of a brand’s location in the funnel, there’s something for everyone when it comes to advertising on the platform: TopView can be leveraged for boosting reach and awareness, while Video Shopping Ads maximize sales with tailored ads. TikTok is investing in rolling out new paid opportunities and features weekly, and there’s no time like the present for advertisers to ensure they’re capitalizing on the highly active user base and ensuring their paid social strategy encompasses TikTok. – Laura Kubiesa | VP, Social Media Investment

4 ways to use Search to check facts, images and sources online [:02]

THE NEWS: In honor of International Fact-Checking Day, Google highlighted its fact-checking tools and shared expanded features within those tools. “About this image”, for one, appears to be very similar to Reverse Image Search, with additional features that provide information about the image’s history as well as what reputable sites are saying about it. There’s also a new version of “Fact Check Explorer” that allows users to explore images as well as topics and people.

THE CONTEXT: Several of these tools and features were introduced in October 2023; since then, an academic study has questioned the sufficiency of Google’s fact-checking information for most false claims, even as the search engine’s results themselves were deemed “relatively reliable”. Fact-checking is particularly critical today for both advertisers and consumers due to the rise in AI-generated disinformation.

EXPERT POV: For better or worse, AI is becoming a bigger part of the online world, making it much easier for bad actors to create mis- and disinformation, which can quickly erode consumer trust. Tools like this can help by providing users with options to weed out that noise. However, they don't have complete coverage and the results can be unreliable. This puts the onus on advertisers to be as transparent in their messaging as possible to foster trust and prevent misinformation from spreading. – Jesse Foley | VP, Search Media Investment

March 2024

Google suspended 12.7 million ad accounts and blocked 5.5 billion ads in 2023 [:03]

THE NEWS: Google’s 2023 Ads Safety Report highlights their efforts to maintain a secure online environment. The search engine suspended or removed 12.7 million advertiser accounts last year—nearly two times the amount from the previous year—and blocked 5.5 billion ads for violating the company’s policies. Key violations included misrepresentation, financial services violations, and malware promotion. Google took several actions in response to these threats, including launching its Ads Transparency Center and updating its suitability controls.

THE CONTEXT: Duncan Lennox, Google VP & GM of Ads Privacy and Safety, cites generative AI as both an opportunity to improve policy enforcement and a challenge—with “bad actors operating with more sophistication, at a greater scale.” Deepfake artificial intelligence has made it cheaper and easier to launch campaigns featuring, for example, fake celebrity endorsements for products and services, which fraudsters have used to scam people out of money and personally identifiable information.

EXPERT POV: While this added safety and security good in general, we at Basis Technologies are seeing more questionable violations that require us to push for re-review. For clients in sensitive verticals like politics, health, and finance, it can make running ads more difficult and time-consuming. Be prepared to file certifications proving your identity and bona fides before your ads go live (or shortly after launch). – Jesse Foley | VP, Search Media Investment

LinkedIn Rolling out Company Page Messaging to all Brands [:01]

THE NEWS: LinkedIn has confirmed that Pages Messaging is being rolled out to all businesses after initially launching the functionality with some company pages in June 2023. In addition to its direct in-app messaging expansion, LinkedIn is also partnering with various third-party platforms to facilitate company messaging via social management tools (e.g. Hootsuite).

THE CONTEXT: Adding Pages Messaging was a logical step for LinkedIn, as social media activity continues to move to private messaging, 78% of consumers surveyed say they have used a direct messaging tool to interact with a brand, and 86% of those consumers said those direct interactions positively impacted their perception of the company.

EXPERT POV: Company leaders and advertisers alike have long been anticipating this feature’s rollout on LinkedIn. The imperative now is to be ready to react, which means devoting resources to monitoring, responding, and possibly escalating customer concerns. While social media—and, increasingly, DMs on social—are a means of customer service, they can also serve as “free” listening tools to help guide other marketing and advertising efforts, like campaign themes and timely creative swap-outs.  – Erik Chellberg | VP, Social Media Investment

Instagram Tests Option To Comment on Specific Frames Within a Carousel Update [:01]

THE NEWS: Instagram is testing out a new way to comment on specific images within a carousel post, with some users able to link their reply to a photo or video based on its assigned number in the display. This update is aimed at driving more focused engagement and encouraging more interaction around each content element, while also clearing up confusion around carousel post comments. Instagram is testing the new carousel tagging option with a limited number of users at this stage.

THE CONTEXT: Instagram carousels already have the highest engagement rate of all post formats. This new feature allows for even more engagement and could lead to strategic engagement opportunities and more learnings for creators, influencers, and brands.

EXPERT POV: Engagement rate rules supreme for Meta—the more a user engages with a brand, the more Meta “rewards” the brand for fostering that in-platform engagement. And with this content-specific engagement, advertisers are afforded more insight into what resonates most with their audience. They can use that information to inform other marketing and advertising collateral, from products to feature in display or shopping ads to tiles that could transfer from high-performing organic content over to high-performing advertising content. – Erik Chellberg | VP, Social Media Investment

Google changes definition of 'top ads' [:02]

THE NEWS: Google’s text ads appear to be showing up at different positions relative to organic results on a search engine results page. While “top ads” have generally appeared above the top organic results, this “definitional change” means top ads may also show below the top organic search results on certain queries. The placement of top ads is dynamic and may change based on the user’s search. Importantly, this will not affect how performance metrics are calculated.

THE CONTEXT: This change seems to be a by-product of Google’s search engine results page continuous scroll functionality, which allows ads to appear in more positions among organic results than just the top, and which has prompted Google to experiment with those positions. To that point, Google has provided tips for advertisers to help improve their ad positions.

EXPERT POV: If ads appear below the top organic results more frequently following this definitional change, we’ll be monitoring for downstream effects on click-through rate and other key metrics. In the meantime, maintaining a focus on ad rank factors such as relevancy remains key to securing top placements. – Alexa Dillon | VP, Search Media Investment

Google Ads Introduces Customizable Automation With “Solutions” [:04]

THE NEWS: Google recently launched Solutions, a free tool within Google Ads that automates and simplifies campaign management in an accessible and user-friendly way. It comes with several pre-built automation templates for the campaign management process, including Performance Reporting, Anomaly Detection, URL Validation, Budget Optimization, and Negative Keyword Management—all of which can be customized to meet different advertising needs.

THE CONTEXT: As part of this launch, Google announced it will sunset its manual solutions library. This focus on automation comes on the heels of Google’s new AI-powered approach to displaying responsive search ads and its application of Gemini for text and image generation within Performance Max (which has not been hiccup-free). Overall, the company continues to push advertisers towards automated processes across the campaign life cycle, from creative development, to ad placement, to campaign management.

EXPERT POV: Google continues to create new tools to help free up time for paid search managers to analyze data and make strategic decisions. By starting to use the Solutions tools now, search managers can get ahead on campaign management simplification, allowing them to spend more time on optimizations and recommendations that grow paid search accounts and drive business goals. – Nick Tuttle | Director, Search Media Investment

Microsoft Advertising launches Performance Max campaigns globally [:03]

THE NEWS: Performance Max (PMax) campaigns are now available globally through Microsoft Advertising. PMax is an automated campaign type that uses artificial intelligence to create ad assets and automate ad optimization across different Microsoft Advertising formats and channels. The company will soon add more automated features, including brand exclusions (for less inflated performance metrics), search insights reports (for greater visibility into user queries), and video assets (for broader creative distribution) to its PMax campaigns.

THE CONTEXT: This global release follows a closed beta launch in May 2023 that Microsoft deemed successful. Time- and resource-strapped marketers who rely on manual efforts may appreciate PMax campaigns’ automated optimizations, even as some position the campaign type, similarly available through Google, as relinquishing control and decision-making power to artificial intelligence.

EXPERT POV: Rolling out PMax campaigns globally is another instance of Microsoft competing with Google, particularly by relying on AI and algorithms that identify when and where someone is most likely to convert. When it comes to the landscape of search advertising, Google is still far and away the most dominant search engine, but Microsoft integrating ChatGPT into Bing helped increase its market share from 6.35% to 8.07% over the past year. When determining whether PMax may be a valuable, additional layer in your search investment, consider your ideal demographic (as older generations are more likely to use Bing) and your vertical (as certain industries, like healthcare and financial services, attract larger shares of older users). – Nick Tuttle | Director, Search Media Investment

Reddit launches free tools to help businesses grow their presence on the site ahead of IPO [:02]

THE NEWS: Reddit is launching a suite of tools, called Reddit Pro, for businesses looking to grow their organic presence on the community-driven platform. Currently in its beta testing phase, Reddit Pro uses AI to help brands identify trending topics and conversations, even allowing them to see when their brand has been mentioned in a subreddit. The suite of features also includes content drafting, scheduling, and reporting tools, as well as the ability to easily turn organic posts into paid advertisements. This is Reddit’s first set of free tools meant to inform businesses’ social media strategies, and the company plans to launch additional features within it later this year.

THE CONTEXT: The Reddit Pro launch came as the company prepared its initial public offering (IPO) at a stock price that valued the company at nearly $6.5 billion. Reddit is likely leveraging this new suite of free tools to entice brands to the platform and turn them into paying advertisers.

EXPERT POV: All eyes are on Reddit as the platform continues to make headlines with news of its successful IPO. Brands looking to connect with a wider audience may want to explore adding this channel to their organic and paid social portfolio. These new Reddit Pro tools—only available to brands that are active on Reddit—grant deeper insight into what Redditors are saying about brands, what aspects of products or businesses are resonating with customers, and which industry topics are trending. For brands not yet using the platform with a u/ (Reddit-speak for “username”) of their own, these new tools may incentivize them to create Reddit profiles and start an “OP” (“original post”) of their own. Pro Tip: Get to know the Reddit lingo! LSHMSFOAIDMT – Jess Kaswiner | Director, Social Media Investment

TikTok users bombard Congress with phone calls to save their favorite app [:03]

THE NEWS: TikTok has been under the US political microscope for some time, but now it’s ramping up its own political activity: TikTok users were shown a pop-up message earlier this month, urging them to call members of Congress to voice their opposition to a bill that aims to ban the app in the United States if its parent company, the China-based ByteDance, doesn’t sell it. Congress was quickly flooded with phone calls from TikTok users of all ages; the majority of calls, however, were from children. Since then, anonymous sources say some of the calls have turned threatening and concerning.

THE CONTEXT: Less than a week later, the US House of Representatives passed the bill, 352 to 65 in favor of a nationwide TikTok ban if the app isn’t sold, driven by concerns over the data security of US TikTok users. The bill’s future in the Senate is unclear, but President Biden has said he would sign the bill if Congress passes it.

EXPERT POV: While a ban on TikTok in US markets could have significant implications for brands already active on the platform—especially those leveraging it for influencer marketing and e-commerce sales—daily active usage is not showing any signs of slowing. The recent developments around TikTok highlight a continuing concern with and focus on data privacy in the digital advertising space. Taking a step back from TikTok specifically, this situation underscores the importance of diversification in media planning. In the short term, however, Committee and House votes are the beginning, not the end, of a long process. – Jess Kaswiner | Director, Social Media Investment

February 2024

In Pinterest’s latest campaign, the P is for Performance [:03]

THE NEWS: Pinterest’s recent campaign, “The P is for Performance,” touts the platform’s full-funnel approach to advertising, including lower-funnel case studies that show as much as a 28% increase in conversions and up to a 96% increase in traffic for its advertisers. Pinterest’s performance products include mobile deep links and direct links, making it easier for users to convert, plus shopping ads for greater inspiration and Pinterest API for Conversions for higher reporting visibility.

THE CONTEXT: In years past, Pinterest’s ethos of being a place for discovery has appealed to advertisers seeking upper-funnel awareness for their brands. With this campaign, Pinterest seeks to broaden its draw for advertisers who may only think of it as an upper-funnel platform. The campaign launched shortly after Pinterest released its Q4 2023 earnings, highlighting 12% revenue growth compared to the same period in 2022 and its 11% increase in global monthly active users.

EXPERT POV: Pinterest has thrived as one of the first social platforms to sit in a space that blends paid search and social channels. It’s no surprise that as a historically well-established traffic driver, Pinterest has now set its sights on also fiercely competing in lower-funnel effectiveness. Recent product releases have proven to be fairly low-lift activations for advertisers, particularly in the retail, e-commerce, travel, and professional services industries. Brands can significantly cut down the path to conversion by leveraging Pinterest to display product information, prices, and descriptions directly to their audiences’ feeds via shopping ads and simplify the consumer journey by tapping into direct links. – Jenny Lewis | Director, Social Media Investment

Cyber Week Lessons CMOs Can Apply To Their Digital Marketing Strategy [:05]

THE NEWS: Online sales for Cyber Week 2023 were up 7.8% year-over-year, with e-commerce sales totaling $12.4 billion on Cyber Monday. Paid digital marketing was a big driver of that growth, and advertisers are relying more on automated platforms to enhance efficiencies and expedite the scaling of campaigns. On the other hand, with advancements in automation and AI, invalid traffic has become more and more sophisticated over the past three years. One advertiser explained that tackling invalid traffic led to “more stable and predictable growth across our most important paid media channels.”

THE CONTEXT: 22% of ad spend in 2023 (or $84 billion out of a total $382 billion) was lost due to ad fraud. However, $23 billion of that amount would be recoverable with fraud mitigation platforms in place. Given that political advertising for the US presidential election will drive up ad costs at the start of the holiday season, driving efficiencies by leveraging the right technologies will be especially key for advertisers this year.

EXPERT POV: Ad networks aren’t incentivized to crack down on the increased bot traffic we’re seeing due to AI advances and the corresponding ease with which bad actors can create bots. So, the onus is on the marketer to stay alert for signs of high levels of bot traffic. These include high bounce rates and traffic spikes without corresponding conversion increases. Consider ways to block or limit these, like captchas, using conversion-based goals with machine learning bidding, and optimizing landing page content to be very specific to the intended conversion. — Jesse Foley | VP, Search Media Investment

Nearly 8 in 10 Consumers Would Rather Receive More Ads Than Pay for Digital Content and Services, According to IAB Research [:03]

THE NEWS: The IAB’s new comprehensive consumer privacy study found that nearly 80% of consumers would prefer to get more ads in exchange for not having to pay for websites and apps, and that 90% prefer personalized ads, but that nearly half feel websites and apps aren’t clear enough about how their data is used.

THE CONTEXT: With Google planning to fully deprecate third-party cookies in its Chrome browser by the end of this year, and signal loss across the industry as a result of data privacy concerns, figuring out how to use consumer data in ethical, transparent ways to serve personalized ads to consumers is a must for digital advertisers.

EXPERT POV: The fact that most consumers would rather receive more ads to retain their free access to websites and apps means that advertisers’ digital media investments are well-positioned to reach consumers who find them valuable. Advertisers should take a “test and learn” approach to understand which channels work best given their KPIs and to remain flexible and fluid with budget allocations based on results. —Laura Kubiesa | VP, Social Media Investment

Google Releases New Features for Responsive Search Ads [:02]

THE NEWS: Google’s responsive search ads rely on artificial intelligence to combine headlines and descriptions based on consumer behavior and predicted outcomes. New AI-powered features allow Google to decide when an ad should display only one headline versus two, with the second headline appearing at the beginning of the ad’s description section. Google can now also supplement or override an advertiser’s manual assets—like images, sitelinks, callouts, and structured snippets—with its own AI-generated assets if it feels doing so will help an ad’s performance.

THE CONTEXT: AI’s influence on ad placement and creative continues to grow. Search Engine Land weighed the pros and cons of Google’s update, noting that while it may serve to drive engagement and performance, it also means that advertisers are surrendering more control to Google. At the same time, artificial intelligence tools often don’t perform with 100% accuracy—and as this is a newer feature, advertisers have no benchmark for how much accuracy these specific features can provide.

EXPERT POV: With the increased focus and adoption of AI capabilities in digital media, it’s no surprise Google continues to roll out these features within their campaign types and ad formats. As the industry continues to trend in this direction, getting left behind means being unable to capitalize on the reported improved performance of these AI-powered features. However, many advertisers need to maintain control over the images and copy that run within their ads, so turning off the auto-assets feature within Google Ads may be the better option. Advertisers who aren’t comfortable giving up control can still take advantage of some of the latest updates by testing the new campaign-level headlines and descriptions and scheduling them to run during certain time frames, which can help manage time-sensitive promotional copy. — Alyssa Theo | VP, Search Media Solutions

Meta spotlights how AI investments are paying off for advertisers [:06]

THE NEWS: AI and automation within Meta's ad products, such as its Advantage suite, helped fuel 24% year-over-year growth for Meta's ad business in Q4 2023. The social giant also shared advertiser success stories that included increased revenue and improved performance metrics for brands’ campaigns when they employed Meta’s AI ad tools. Meta plans to expand its generative AI features, including text and image variations, to further enhance advertising capabilities.

THE CONTEXT: Meta, along with every other social platform, is placing a high level of priority on building out further automation and AI solutions that work in tandem with their advertising algorithms to drive strong results for customers while making the lives of marketers easier.

EXPERT POV: In the face of ongoing question marks with Meta’s advertising platform (e.g. third-party cookie deprecation, ATT impacts, and data privacy regulations), capitalizing on AI and automation solutions integrated into the platform is an effective way to manage media campaigns efficiently, expand existing audience targeting to reach engaged new users, and create a high volume of ad iterations for easier creative testing. — Erik Chellberg | VP, Social Media Investment

Pinterest announces major ad partnership with Google [:02]

THE NEWS: Pinterest has begun rolling out an integration that allows ads to show on Pinterest via Google’s Ad Manager. The integration will make it so that when Pinterest users come across a Google ad, they’ll be sent to the advertiser’s website to finalize their transaction. This partnership will not only broaden the reach of advertisers using Google Ads but will allow them to engage an active, high-value consumer base.

THE CONTEXT: Pinterest’s stock dipped almost 28% in early February, but bounced back after this Google deal was announced.

EXPERT POV: For those advertisers looking to generate discovery, this new inventory source could be very beneficial. Google is rolling out this new option over the next several quarters, and it will be available within Google’s Ad Manager. As of now, Basis Technologies is waiting to see how this inventory performs to inform future recommendations. — Robert Kurtz | Group VP, Search Media Solutions

ICYMI: The power of TikTok pulse: How content adjacency drives impact [:05]

THE NEWS: TikTok's Marketing Science team partnered with IPG's MAGNA Media Trials to conduct a study of digital video through the lens of TikTok’s impact on its advertisers. Contents of the report include TikTok’s positive effect on brand sentiment and consumer experience, higher engagement with skippable vs. non-skippable video ads, how contextual content adjacency increases ad view time, and the details of TikTok Pulse, a feature that guarantees ad placement next to top-performing organic content.

THE CONTEXT: TikTok has faced several hurdles in the past few years, not the least of which being several countries and US states implementing full or partial bans of the platform. And although TikTok’s growth is slowing, it still led 2023’s list of app downloads and consumer spending.

EXPERT POV: Advertisers are right to prioritize TikTok, given the time users spend on the app per day, averaging 53.8 minutes, and the platform’s abundance of out-of-the-box and accessible ad products, betas, incentives, and platform support. — Alana Putterman, Group VP, Social Media Investment

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