PPC 2022 in review

Why 2023 will be the year of diversified ad spending

In 2022, cracks started to appear in Facebook’s and Google’s online advertising duopoly.

Over the past 12 months, both platforms have become less detailed in their ad-reporting metrics, thanks to the end of third-party cookies and Apple’s privacy-focused iOS updates.

Now, brands that want to glean granular insights into how their ads are performing and who they are reaching are finding that specifics are increasingly hard to come by. To evaluate ad performance, we now have to look at trends. It’s one reason why ad costs have gone up while conversions have gone down. Cost per lead benchmarks jumped 19% year over year in 2022, while conversion rates fell an average of 14%.
As the limitations on Google and Facebook come into focus, I expect that, in 2023, the name of the game in PPC will be diversification.

2022 in review: less detailed data on Google

Google’s ad business is undergoing some major changes. Though the company pushed its long-pending end to third-party cookies to 2024, it made other important privacy updates to how it tracks and reports ad performance.

For brands, these changes have largely meant one thing: it is getting harder and harder to pull granular data out of Google. Here are the changes to know.

Similar audiences are going away. The “similar audiences” tool was a way to reach lookalike audiences with your ads. You can put in data for your email subscribers, for instance, and Google would generate a new audience of people with similar tastes and interests. But Google is phasing out the similar audiences tool. By May 2023, it will no longer be operational.
Without the “similar audiences” tool, Google is limiting the abilities to find new customers with similar attributes to your existing audiences and relying on their own in-market signals to seek new customers.

Google’s Performance Max is getting simpler. Google is trying to simplify its ad system, housing different type ads under a single umbrella. So far, though, that simplicity has translated into less data about how ads are performing.

For instance, Google’s past campaigns were segmented into three main ad formats: search ads, shopping ads, and display ads. While Search and Display ads remain available as separate ad types, Shopping listings, previously siloed to the shopping portion of Google search, now have the ability to expand into these other networks of ad types. Within the new Performance Max Hybrid shopping format, , Google doesn’t report how these different ad types perform relative to each other. While this means that you can appear in more ad auctions at the same time, it also makes it harder to know where your ad spend is going. How are the shopping ads performing compared to the display ads? Questions like that are no longer easy to answer.

The result: 2023 will be the year of diversified ad spending

As Google and Facebook become less specific in their reporting, brands need to craft a multi-channel PPC strategy.

Focus on retail media spending. Many of the audience and targeting tools that once set Google and Facebook apart now exist on Walmart, Amazon, Instacart, and more. Amazon DSP lets you create lookalike audiences, while you can use Amazon Marketing Cloud to upload first-party data from your DTC site and find connections between your shopper data and Amazon’s shopper data. Meanwhile, Walmart is investing big into in-store retail media displays which track offline behavior and can also be merged with Walmart.com shopping data.

As retail media becomes more sophisticated, spending has been on the rise, accounting for 11% of all ad spending in 2022.

Try out programmatic ads. Programmatic ads used to be reserved for big brands like Coca-Cola. The required spend was so large that only enterprise brands could afford it. Now, however, there is such a large proliferation of programmatic ad inventory that they are accessible even to small businesses. Rather than just linear TV, you can run ads on Hulu, Peacock, Freevee, and many others.

Programmatic ads are having a renaissance moment retaining the granular targeting other platforms are removing while becoming more widely available. . Clickable ad formats that can drive viewers back to your DTC site have begun popping up, and platforms like Hulu and Peacock are becoming better at measuring sales conversions. If you want to place an ad on Freevee, for instance, you can use Amazon DSP to select a specific audience of people who see it—say, only shoppers in the market for baby products.

A mover and shaker in 2023: TikTok

TikTok has become an integral piece of the customer shopping journey. 20.6% of TikTok users reported that they buy products they discover on the platform “all the time,” more than the share that said the same about Facebook (15.8%) and Instagram (16.4%). Commerce-focused hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt drive a large portion of those conversions. 

TikTok is still a young platform, but it has been rapidly expanding its tools for advertisers. Recently, the company introduced:

  • New ad formats, such as video shopping ads, catalog listing ads, and Live Shopping ads.
  • TikTok Pulse, a contextual ad tool that gives advertisers the ability to showcase their brands’ content next to the top 4% of all videos on TikTok.
  • Branded Mission, an in-beta tool that lets brands develop a brief about their goals as a company and then release that brief to the creator community, in the hopes of attracting the best possible influencers.

Doing the “Squeaky Clean” test after brushing and polishing my teeth at home just as I would in the dental office 🦷 DID YOU HEAR IT SQUEAK?! Linked in bio #izzopartner #SqueakyCleanTest #SmileOn #teeth #smile

♬ Qipao - Official Sound Studio

definitely getting another @In Good Taste advent calendar this holiday season #giftbox #adventcalendar #christmascountdown #fyp

♬ original sound - Hannah Brown

When choosing influencers to partner with, brands need to make sure they are aligning themselves with the right people. At Acadia, we curate lists of creators, deploy tools that verify their follower counts, and review each influencer’s digital history to ensure they are a responsible partner for your brand.

We also help you sort through complex questions about how to make decisions about whether to put ad money behind influencer content, or leave a post as is to make it look as organic as possible.

Managing all of these different ad placements is complicated. While some brands often hire multiple outside agencies, at Acadia, we can do it all in one place. We have expertise on Google, Amazon, connected TV, the fast-growing world of TikTok and audio ads, and more. Get in touch with us for more.

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Jeff Cline