Table of contents

    In Google Ads or Facebook Ads systems, changes occur almost week by week. Some of them will go unnoticed by advertisers, some are publicly announced, and still others are discovered by accident. Here I’ve compiled a dozen or so key updates within Google and Meta Ads that were introduced this year. I hope you find them helpful! And if you want to read about the news in Google Ads for 2022 I refer you here

    Starting Google Ads Transparency Center

    One of the major updates this year was the launch of the Google Ads Transparency Center, designed to help users quickly and easily get more information about ads displayed in the Google ecosystem. Privacy and transparency have been the main directions of change in recent years. Google’s tool works very similarly to TikTok’s ad library or Facebook’s ad library. Simply enter an entity’s name or web address to get previews of active ads and the estimated number of ads. The data can be further filtered by date, location, as well as format.

    The Transparency Center of Google Ads is a resource for consumers, but also for advertisers to check all ads displayed by competitors.

    Google Ads is phasing out most attribution models

    Data-driven attribution has been one of Google Ads’ goals for several years. All the rest of the attribution models are an indirect way to pull back from the last-click model. To be honest, except for advertisers with little data, there was little point in using intermediate models. Now we only have the choice of a data-driven or last-lick model. A major simplification.

    From September 2023, if you have any activities that result in conversions that still use first-click attribution, linear attribution, or time decay, they will be automatically migrated to the data-driven model. I wouldn’t expect big changes in the data, but it’s worth checking out.

    Brand Limitations in Performance Max

    Brand limits can be applied to campaigns on the search network and Performance Max to more accurately manage brand traffic. For the search network, this setting will limit traffic to only queries related to specific brands (you must have a conversion-based or conversion value-based rate strategy enabled!). For Performance Max campaigns, brand exclusions will provide additional control so that PMAX campaigns will not include searches on a designated brand (this could be a company, product name, service, etc.). As you can see, the brand restriction scheme works differently for search results and PMax.

    Automatically-created-resources-in-Google Ads

    Google Ads is providing advertisers with more and more automation options. One of them is ad content prompts within flexible text ads. With these, opti-score is maximized. It’s worth a look here, as you can significantly speed up your Google Ads accounts.

    Direction LTV, or optimization for a new customer

    This is one of my favorite options. Targeting optimization under a new customer is crucial in understanding the effectiveness of Google Ads campaigns. It’s the new customer that drives business, builds a new stage, and scales brands. Often it may cost several times more to acquire a new customer, but there is value in it.

    The feature Google has introduced is based on smart strategies for setting rates and using customer data to help find new users. On the one hand, this will reduce remarketing reach within the budget, on the other hand, it will open up the rates in auctions and probably increase them. A new customer is always a smaller return on investment here and now.

    How does the bidding mechanism work under a new customer? If you enable this option at the e-commerce campaign level, Google Ads will add the value you set to each conversion made by a new customer. If the purchase was for 500PLN and the new customer has an additional value of 150PLN, Google Ads will automatically increase the value of the purchase to 650PLN. You need to be careful with this option because this is not a real value and turnover!

    Discovery campaigns enter Demand Gen

    The Discovery Ads format is changing into Demand Gen. It’s changing, or one might say, rather, it’s going to be updated. New name, more ad placements, new reporting and bidding capabilities. The new name seems to better reflect what the format is for, which is demand or interest generation.

    In August and September 2023, advertisers will be able to request access to the beta version of Demand Gen campaigns, and an automatic migration of all existing Discovery Ads campaigns will begin in October. The Demand Gen format can utilize a click maximization strategy, as well as lookalike groups, which was not possible with Discovery Ads.

    Performance Max Updates

    Google Ads is constantly working on changes to Performance Max (PMax) campaigns. Almost all PMax updates recently have expanded control over campaigns, but there’s more to come. In the latest updates, we have an option for better video creation or the ability to run experiments. Still missing, however, is full keyword transparency or the option to control where ads are displayed.

    Advertising price changes as a result of Google’s antitrust lawsuit

    As a curiosity more than an update, Google Ads has reluctantly announced that the company sometimes raises prices on its listings by 5-10% without notifying advertisers. It all came to light during a Department of Justice lawsuit against Google for alleged anti-competitive actions. The author of the words was Google advertising director Jerry Dischler.

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    Meta-certificate program

    And now it’s time for Meta/Facebook Ads changes. It is worth knowing about them when operating on this advertising platform in 2023.and planning for the next 2024.

    Meta Ads is launching a Certified Companies Program (something along the lines of Google Partners), in which you can demonstrate your expertise, experience and a certain level of quality. Certifications are divided into several groups of competencies:

    • Meta Media
    • Meta Marketing Science
    • Meta Creative Strategy
    • Meta Community Management
    • Meta Spark

    For example, the Media specialization requires that individuals in the organization have a min. 20% of active certifications or a minimum of 20 active certifications, whichever is higher. As you can see, this is not an easy threshold to meet, and all the requirements are published on the official program website

    Facebook announces performance 5

    Unlike many other updates, this update is rather informative. It’s not a new tool or program. Instead, we have five strategic directions that Facebook recommends. The first recommendation is to simplify the campaign structure, and I guess this can be considered a positive direction. The simpler the account structure, the easier it is to find your way around and test changes. In addition, the more data compacted into one large campaign, the easier it is for algorithms to work out optimal settings.

    A valuable tip is to use the Meta Advantage suite of products: shopping campaigns Advantage+, audience optimization, or placements. Facebook recommends that the creative be used as a new approach to targeting. That is, less work on audience groups (severely restricted by the new restrictions!) and more on creatives: concept, copy, and ad layout. Another recommendation is to implement a conversion API, i.e. a direct connection between marketing data and the Meta platform. The whole is complemented by a new look at analytics, i.e. measuring not only current conversions but the so-called conversion lift and the use of A/B testing.

    Lead generation form updates

    Lead generation forms have long been a staple of many performance-oriented accounts. More recently, they have been offering conditional logic in the questions, meaning that the questions change depending on the answers that come in as you fill them out. So we can set up multiple scenarios, ask additional questions, and adjust the offer. This is great for companies that want to improve lead quality and avoid sending lower-quality leads to their sales teams. In addition, within a single campaign, you can now offer differentiated services tailored, for example, to the location or needs of a particular customer.

    Extensions for Reels format

    Reels are gaining immense popularity, which immediately results in more marketing opportunities. Reels provide 22% more interaction than standard video posts, and most Reels viewers are between the ages of 25 and 34. Facebook now makes it possible to reach audiences on Instagram through roleplays. Second, AR ads are now available within Reels, creating even more opportunities for interaction.

    Sandbox AI launch

    Facebook ads can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of a campaign. It’s important to make sure your ads appeal to your customers and capture their attention. Facebook’s AI Sandbox is the beginning of automating advertising messages on three levels:

    • Copy: the system generates multiple versions of copy giving advertisers the opportunity to try different messages for specific audiences
    • Background generation: the new Meta AI system creates background images based on the text you enter, allowing you to try different types of backgrounds on creatives more quickly
    • Cut graphics: the new system adjusts creative assets to fit different proportions, such as in relationships or rolls, saving a lot of time

    Customized Meta campaigns

    The Facebook Ads platform is very complex and provides advertisers with a lot of control, but it requires experience. To make the whole process easier, Facebook Ads has introduced so-called tailored campaigns (who’s in charge of translations at Facebook? Hello?), which include several types of campaigns:

    • Messages (Activity)
    • Sales
    • Contacts
    • Movement

    The advertiser only determines the audience, display locations, and ads. And there you have it. It can be said that FB modeled itself on Performance Max, but left many more reporting options.

    Control of brand image and content

    From the perspective of the huge amount of content that is published on Facebook or Instagram, it becomes important for brands to control the context. This can be a simple blocking of unwanted content or more advanced features

    In 2023. Meta announced brand content controls to help better manage what type of content brands can display ads alongside. From now on, anyone can choose from three levels of pre-defined settings, or with each one additionally marked with specific conditions. This is all to best take care of brand image

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    Tomasz Starzyński
    Tomasz Starzyński

    CEO and managing partner at Up&More. He is responsible for the development of the agency and coordinates the work of the SEM/SEO and paid social departments. He oversees the introduction of new products and advertising tools in the company and the automation of processes.