Digital Marketing Industry Updates: December 2023

Welcome to the wonderful world of digital marketing in the late fall of 2023. Walk with us through industry news in marketing analytics, paid media, and search engine optimization.


Update from Nico Brooks, Head of Analytics

What is HyperLogLog++ and why should you care?

A couple of months ago, we explained some of the reasons why the GA4 Sessions metric can be a bit squirrely. At the time, we were aware that Google describes it as “an estimate“, but we didn’t know the specifics. It turns out, that HyperLogLog++ (HLL++) is used to estimate any metric in GA4 that does a unique count of dimensions. This includes both the Sessions metric and all ‘Users’ metrics (Total users, Active users, New users). The HLL++ algorithm uses a pretty cool technique to approximate metrics, but all coolness aside they are approximations!?!

Google describes their approach in this article, but the Quantable blog does a much better job of explaining it in my opinion. They also did some testing and found that user metrics are typically accurate to ±1.6% and sessions are accurate within ±3.3%.

So, if you are wondering why Session or User counts are different from one report to another even when the date ranges are identical, this might be why. But it could also be thresholding or sampling. Sheesh.

If you prefer your metrics on the more reliable side, talk to us about GA4 & BigQuery – building reports based on BigQuery data makes all of these issues go away.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud integration with GA4

If you use Salesforce Marketing Cloud, you can now import GA4 audiences into Salesforce and use them in your email and SMS direct-marketing campaigns. You can also import GA4 reporting data into Salesforce for a more integrated view of performance.

The import is pretty easy to set up, but let us know if you’d like any help!

Making GA4 ecommerce reporting better

This is the peak time of year for most ecommerce businesses, but does GA4 have your back? Are you getting the data you need to evaluate your marketing performance? If not, check out our video Making GA4 Ecommerce Reporting Better.

The video addresses limitations of the default ‘Ecommerce purchases’ report. That report is inherently confusing and often inaccurate because it is item-scoped. This means that each of the metrics it reports on are related to specific items, not overall purchases. So, for example, revenue in that report rarely matches overall revenue. One reason for this is because it doesn’t take into account discounts applied to purchases during checkout. Another is that item-level tracking is often set up incorrectly or not set up at all. Check out the video for an explanation of ecommerce dimension and metric scopes and a walkthrough of how to build better reports and Explorations.

Paid Media

In-app shopping on Meta expands with Amazon

Meta has introduced a new feature in the US that allows users on Facebook and Instagram to link to their Amazon accounts, so that they can buy products advertised without having to leave the platforms or enter payment & shipping details. This makes purchasing easier for consumers, of course, but also makes it much easier to attribute and track Meta conversions and demonstrate direct ROI. Plus, it works around reduced tracking from Apple’s privacy-related changes.

More US consumers are comfortable with social commerce–that is, purchasing directly inside of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Pinterest. One survey released this month reported that 43% of US consumers have purchased this way in the past year. That seems high to us, but the survey did have a higher concentration of Gen Z and Millennial respondents.

Meta also supports in-app purchases through Shops, using checkout with Facebook or Instagram, in which they of course take a cut of transactions.

LinkedIn launches conversion tracking improvements

LinkedIn announced two improvements to tracking. The Conversions API tracks without cookies and offers ways to connect offline conversion data with LinkedIn. It’s new Website Actions makes it easier to set up tracking on button clicks across a website for better conversion and retargeting tracking.

TikTok improvements for businesses & advertisers

Not sure where to start with business on content? TikTok has released a set of “Creative Cards” with data-backed prompts for inspiring content creation. 

Meanwhile, TikTok has been working on improving conversion tracking, in an effort to attract more advertisers and prove better value. Earlier this fall, TikTok released a study showing that last-click attribution models undervalue TikTok’s contribution to sales by 73%, in addition to saying that 79% of purchases driven by TikTok don’t even show up in most attribution reports. 

Last month, Engaged View-Through Attribution was introduced, which measures conversions that happen after users view ads for at least six seconds and don’t click, but convert within 7 days.

Quick bits

  • YouTube actively slows load times for ad-blocker users, an escalation of efforts to push out ad blockers, which violate YouTube’s terms of service. 
  • Google Ads will restrict demographic-based targeting options for personal finance products such as home and car loans, credit cards, and checking accounts starting in late February.
  • Amazon is offering Sponsored Display ads for non-Amazon sellers in a beta program. Advertisers can benefit from Amazon audiences, which are cohorts based on product viewing and purchasing patterns, as well as engagements with Amazon subsidiaries, such as Whole Foods. Only specific verticals are currently supported: travel, automotive, local services, restaurant, and education advertisers.


Update from Randy McFadden, Sr. SEO

Google released the November 2023 core update

Google released their November 2023 Core Updates November 2nd, and finished rolling it out November 28th. This is another update likely revolving around positively influencing landing pages with people-first quality content. 

The significance of this update is still too early to tell, but any notable ranking fluctuations in November could be tied to this update.

Google released structured data for profile pages and discussion forums

Google now supports profile page and discussion forum structured data

Profile page structured data is for any site that features content from that individual’s, or organization’s, first-hand perspective, and listed good use cases including author pages on news sites and employee pages on company websites. This helps improve the chance to be featured within Google’s Perspective and Discussion and Forums SERP sections by giving Google information on the creator’s name, social handle, follower count, profile picture, and content popularity.

Discussion forum structured data allows Google to understand the contents of a forum-style site. That content will also have a better chance at appearing within the Perspective and Discussion and Forums SERP sections.

If your site has content that fits either of these categories, utilize Google’s structured data examples for DiscussionForum and ProfilePage to help develop this schema and improve your SERP presence.  

Google enhances tailored search experience with a follow button

Google released a new feature that allows users to receive a more tailored search experience on any subject they are searching for by clicking on the “Follow” button next to the subject name.

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This is Google’s attempt at increasingly providing personalized experiences for users on their home feeds. This feature is available on the Google App, Safari, and Chrome on mobile devices, and was rolled out in the 2nd half of November.

There are no drastically new methods to increase how often your site may show up on curated content for sought-after topics. Ensuring that your landing pages have clear topic focuses, with people-first content and leverage structured data, are the main recommendations for appearing in a user’s tailored search experience.

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