Digital Marketing Industry Updates: May 2023

Here’s the news you need to know from the digital marketing world this month.

Paid Media

Google Ads has a Beta for Brand Exclusions for Performance Max Campaigns

Performance Max is a campaign type where brand targeting has been hard to exclude in the past. Previously only a Google representative could apply negatives on an account or campaign level. With this beta, any user can add exclusions to help reduce brand traffic on Performance Max campaigns.

Performance Max campaigns often get traffic and conversions that would otherwise be captured by branded campaigns. With this beta, advertisers can help ensure that branded budget is managed and traffic is sent to the proper landing page with tailored ad copy.

Google Ads Removing Older Attribution Models

Google Ads is moving away from all attribution models except data-driven and last click. Google Ads will default to the data-driven model but advertisers can manually switch to last click. Linear, position based, and time decay will be retired. 

Most accounts have already automatically been switched to data-driven models once the campaign was deemed eligible. Now this is the default model in Google Ads and in Google Analytics 4 (mostly), and moving forward all new campaigns will use data-driven attribution.

GA4 still includes the option to use these retiring attribution models. We do think the data-driven attribution model is the most useful model across most situations. Learn more about attribution models in our GA4 Attribution Models blog, including the surprising fact that some GA4 reports use last click attribution, even when you have data-driven selected for your account.

Google Ads is Testing Blue Verification Badges

Most Google Ads advertisers have had to go through the process of verifying their identity in the past year, and we’re seeing a small number of examples of a blue badge & checkmark next to ads. Verification badges help consumers trust the brand and build authority behind the brand. This is not something that can be bought, like on Twitter, so it helps the consumers determine if the ad is legitimate.

Beware of Spam and Phishing

Amongst the constant bombardment of spam calls and unsolicited emails, we and clients have noticed a few crafty phishing attempts from people saying they’re Meta, Facebook, and even TikTok. One email told us our Facebook business page faced permanent suspension or deletion if we didn’t submit an appeal via the button in the email. A client was contacted by “TikTok” asking that they submit a customer list in order to try out new ad targeting options. We’ve been contacted by phone by fake Facebook representatives in years past.

Remain vigilant! These platforms should be communicating through the platforms. We validated that our business page was not “restricted” by logging into the business section of Facebook. Don’t give out information via phone or email unless you’ve initiated the communication via contact information you trust.


Google Released The April 2023 Reviews Update

Google launched their April 2023 reviews update on April 12th and finished rolling it out on April 15th. This was a significant change to the previous six review updates as it now includes various topics beyond just product reviews. Google’s review guidelines extends to topics such as 

  • Products
  • Services
  • Destinations
  • Games
  • Movies 
google search central post april 12 2023

Any content dedicated to reviewing products and or services can now be subjected to Google’s updated review guidelines. Google offers documentation on what they are looking for in review-based content, which includes recommendations such as

  • Evaluate from a user’s perspective.
  • Demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about what you are reviewing—show you are an expert.
  • Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with what you are reviewing, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.
  • Share quantitative measurements about how something measures up in various categories of performance.
  • Explain what sets something apart from its competitors.

Follow Google’s recommendations when drafting review content to help ensure well-performing landing pages.

Page Experience Report Changing in Search Console

Google Search Console is replacing the current Page Experience report with content and links to help guide users to making the right decisions for Page Experience optimizations. The mobile-friendly stats will be removed, but the Core Web Vitals and HTTPS reports will remain.

Google states that mobile-friendly factors are still important, but they are going to direct users to overall mobile recommendations instead of providing specific reports.

This only changes how reporting will be conducted moving forward, and all webmasters should still strive to provide a fast, secure site that is mobile-friendly.


GA4 Continues to Get Interface Adjustments

When setting up a new GA4 account, Google now asks you to select one or more business objectives. It will then create a “tailored collection of reports”. Oh, the chaos. This means each GA4 account may have different options available in the Reports, which is sure to complicate the process for people trying to learn their way around a new interface. Which reports are available for which business objective is outlined in Google documentation.

Looker Studio Adds Scorecard Widgets

Looker Studio added two new visualizations to use in scorecards. 

sparklines in looker studio

Sparklines show activity over time.

progress bars in looker studio

Progress bars show how your metrics are pacing to goal.

Privacy Protection Expands, State by State

California strengthened and Virginia implemented internet privacy laws January 1, 2023, and Colorado follows suit on July 1, 2023. We advise all clients to implement tracking opt-ins, and we’ll share more detailed recommendations this month.

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