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Google Will Sunset Similar Audiences in 2023 [Timelines & Next Steps]

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Google Will Sunset Similar Audiences in 2023 [Timelines & Next Steps]

It seems that the only constant is change when it comes to Google, and that sentiment certainly rings true as we take on 2023. The search landscape is constantly evolving and Google is finding new ways to drive business growth during times of uncertainty and to help businesses build more durable Google Ads strategies

In the latest announcement, starting May 2023, Google plans to sunset similar audiences. For the next six months, users will be able to utilize similar audiences while also exploring the benefits of automated solutions in preparation for this new change.

In the following article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about the recent announcement and what marketers should do to prepare.

 

Why is Google Sunsetting Similar Audiences?

 

Marketers know first-hand how advertising practices are becoming more and more restricted and regulated due to privacy concerns. Google recognizes that the best way to stay ahead of these changes is through automation. With this update, Google plans on upgrading similar audiences to “more powerful, automated solutions, such as optimized targeting, audience expansion, and Smart Bidding.” This update will help marketers utilize first-party data to optimize campaigns to reach marketing objectives.

Should marketers be concerned about this new update? Josh O’Donnell, Sr. Strategist, Paid Search, and Connor Sheridan, Senior Manager, Shoppable Media of Tinuiti weigh in… 

“Google Ads specialists have gotten used to a lack of control with recent updates from Google including things like responsive search ads, broad match keyword enhancements, performance max campaigns, and optimized targeting. The latest announcement of similar audiences deprecation sounds scary, but it shouldn’t have a major impact on digital strategy. With the use of smart bidding & customer match lists, advertisers are already tapping into these signals with their campaigns. So if you haven’t adopted smart bidding already, there is no time like the present.”

– Josh O’Donnell, Sr. Strategist, Paid Search at Tinuiti

 

“Given all the changes Google has been making to prepare for a cookie-less world, it is unsurprising to see this announcement related to audiences and user privacy.  Luckily, Tinuiti is already a strong adopter of Google’s Smart Bidding, so our search and shopping campaigns will be well positioned to take advantage of this upcoming change as Google sunsets Similar Audiences, and hopefully see minimal impact to our client’s performance. “

Connor Sheridan

– Connor Sheridan, Senior Manager, Shoppable Media at Tinuiti

 

What about marketers who are using this feature exclusively? 

 

“Advertisers who are targeting these lists exclusively in Display and/or Video campaigns will still have all the benefits of similar audiences by ensuring they have a robust library of Customer Match lists and are pairing those with Google’s new Optimized Targeting in those campaigns. Google has also recently released a “New Customer Acquisition Goal” setting in Performance Max campaigns. This allows first-party data to be used exclusively for prospecting, which is very similar to how many advertisers use these similar audience lists today. This feature is expected to roll out to Search campaigns by the end of 2022.”

– Josh O’Donnell, Sr. Strategist, Paid Search at Tinuiti

 

How Can Marketers Prepare for This Change?

 

To prepare for the future of the web and the loss of third-party cookies, O’Donnell recommends that advertisers ensure they fully adopt smart bidding strategies and couple them with a robust library of customer match lists. Similar audience targeting isn’t going away, but the methods around how these lists are created and leveraged within campaigns are changing in order for them to remain effective solutions as privacy policies continue to reshape the web in the years to come. 

Within the recent announcement, Google shared the following chart to help advertisers prepare for the coming update:

 

For Search campaigns and regular Shopping campaigns:

 

 Chart with three suggestions to drive performance, value users, and acquire customers with Search and Shopping campaigns after Google retires Similar Audiences

Source: Google

 

For Display, Discovery, and Video action campaigns:

 

Chart with two suggestions to drive performance and value users with Display, Discovery, and Video campaigns after Google retires Similar Audiences

Source: Google

 

For YouTube Awareness and Reach Video or Consideration Video:

 

Chart suggesting advertisers use Audience Expansion to target personas for YouTube campaigns after Google retires Similar Audiences

Source: Google

 

What Happens Next?

 

Luckily, marketers have time to prepare for the sunsetting of similar audiences, but May will creep up quickly so it’s important to take the necessary steps so your business can be ready for what’s to come.

See below for Google’s proposed transition timeline:

 

Source: Google

 

  • Starting May 2023, new similar audiences segments will stop being generated, and existing similar audiences segments will no longer be added to campaigns and ad groups on Google Ads and Display & Video 360. Ad groups and campaigns that already have similar audiences segments attached will continue to function as expected.

 

  • Starting August 2023, similar audiences segments will be removed from all ad groups and campaigns. You will continue to have access to historical reporting data for similar audiences segments from past campaigns.

 

Need Assistance Navigating this New Update?

 

At Tinuiti, we have a dedicated team of experts who can help you prepare for the sunsetting of similar audiences. If you have questions or concerns about this new update, please contact us today. We’d love to help set you up for success in 2023 and beyond.  

 

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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

Now that we’ve officially settled into the new year, it’s important to reiterate that among the most effective ways to promote your business are Google Ads. Not only do Google Ads increase your brand visibility, but they also make it easier for you to sell your services and products while generating more traffic to your website.

The thing about Google Ads, though, is that setting up (and running) a Google Ads campaign isn’t easy – in fact, it’s pretty beginner-unfriendly and time-consuming. And yet, statistically speaking, no platform does what Google Ads can do when it comes to audience engagement and outreach. Therefore, it will be beneficial to learn about and adopt some smart bidding strategies that can help you get the most out of your Google Ads.

To that end, let’s check out a few different bidding strategies you can put behind your Google Ads campaigns, how these strategies can maximize the results of your Google Ads, and the biggest benefits of each strategy.

Smart bidding in Google Ads: what does it mean, anyway?

Before we cover the bidding strategies that can get the most out of your Google Ads, let’s define what smart bidding means. Basically, it lets Google Ads optimize your bids for you. That doesn’t mean that Google replaces you when you leverage smart bidding, but it does let you free up time otherwise spent on keeping track of the when, how, and how much when bidding on keywords.

The bidding market is simply too big – and changing too rapidly – for any one person to keep constant tabs on it. There are more than 5.5 billion searches that Google handles every day, and most of those searches are subject to behind-the-scenes auctions that determine which ads display based on certain searches, all in a particular order.

That’s where smart bidding strategies come in: they’re a type of automated bidding strategy to generate more conversions and bring in more money, increasing your profits and cash flow. Smart bidding is your way of letting Google Ads know what your goals are (a greater number of conversions, a goal cost per conversion, more revenue, or a better ROAS), after which Google checks what it’s got on file for your current conversion data and then applies that data to the signals it gets from its auctions.

Types of smart bidding strategies

Now that you know what smart bidding in Google Ads is and why it’s important, let’s cover the best smart bidding strategies you can use to your advantage.

Maximize your conversions

The goal of this strategy is pretty straightforward: maximize your conversions and get the most out of your budget’s allocation toward said conversions. Your conversions, be they a form submission, a customer transaction, or a simple phone call, are something valuable that you want to track and, of course, maximize.

The bottom line here is simply generating the greatest possible number of conversions for your budget. This strategy can potentially become costly, so remember to keep an eye on your cost-per-click and how well your spending is staying inside your budget.

If you want to be extra vigilant about keeping conversion costs in a comfy range, you can define a CPA goal for your maximize conversions strategy (assuming you’ve got this feature available).

Target cost per acquisition

The purpose behind this strategy is to meet or surpass your cost-per-acquisition objective that’s tied to your daily budget. When it comes to this strategy, it’s important to determine what your cost-per-acquisition goal is for the strategy you’re pursuing.

In most cases, your target cost per acquisition goal will be similar to the 30-day average you’ve set for your Google Ads campaign. Even if this isn’t going to be your end-all-be-all CPA goal, you’ll want to use this as a starting point.

You’ll have lots of success by simply leveraging target cost per acquisition on a campaign-by-campaign basis, but you can take this one step further by creating a single tCPA bid strategy that you share between every single one of your campaigns. This makes the most sense when running campaigns with identical CPA objectives. That’s because you’ll be engaging with a bidding strategy that’s fortified with a lot of aggregate data from which Google’s algorithm can draw, subsequently endowing all of your campaigns with some much-needed experience.

Maximize clicks

As its name implies, this strategy centers around ad optimization to gain as many clicks as possible based on your budget. We recommend using the maximize clicks strategy if you’re trying to drive more traffic to your website. The best part? Getting this strategy off the ground is about as easy as it gets.

All you need to do to get started with maximizing clicks is settle on a maximum cost-per-click that you then earmark. Once that’s done, you can decide how much money you want to shell out every time you pay for a bid. You don’t actually even need to specify an amount per bid since Google will modify your bids for you to maximize your clicks automatically.

Picture this: you’ve got a website you’re running and want to drive more traffic to it. You decide to set your maximum bid per click at $2.5. Google looks at your ad, adjusts it to $3, and automatically starts driving more clicks per ad (and more traffic to your site), all without ever going over the budget you set for your Google Ads campaign.

Conclusion

If you’ve been using manual bidding until now, you probably can’t help but admit that you spend way too much time wrangling with it. There are plenty of other things you’d rather be – and should be – spending your time on. Plus, bids change so quickly that trying to keep up with them manually isn’t even worth it anymore.

Thankfully, you’ve now got a better grasp on automated and smart bidding after having read through this article, and you’re aware of some important options you have when it comes to strategies for automated bidding. Now’s a good time to explore even more Google Ads bidding strategies and see which ones make the most sense when it comes to your unique and long-term business objectives. Settle on a strategy and then give it a whirl – you’ll only know whether a strategy is right for you after you’ve tested it time and time again. Good luck!

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

The world survived the first three months of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover.

But what are marketers doing now? Did your brand follow the shift Dennis Shiao made for his personal brand? As he recently shared, he switched his primary platform from Twitter to LinkedIn after the 2022 ownership change. (He still uses Twitter but posts less frequently.)

Are those brands that altered their strategy after the new ownership maintaining that plan? What impact do Twitter’s service changes (think Twitter Blue subscriptions) have?

We took those questions to the marketing community. No big surprise? Most still use Twitter. But from there, their responses vary from doing nothing to moving away from the platform.

Lowest points

At the beginning of the Elon era, more than 500 big-name advertisers stopped buying from the platform. Some (like Amazon and Apple) resumed their buys before the end of 2022. Brand accounts’ organic activity seems similar.

In November, Emplifi research found a 26% dip in organic posting behavior by U.S. and Canadian brands the week following a significant spike in the negative sentiment of an Elon tweet. But that drop in posting wasn’t a one-time thing.

Kyle Wong, chief strategy officer at Emplifi, shares a longer analysis of well-known fast-food brands. When comparing December 2021 to December 2022 activity, the brands posted 74% less, and December was the least active month of 2022.

Fast-food brands posted 74% less on @Twitter in December 2022 than they did in December 2021, according to @emplifi_io analysis via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

When Emplifi analyzed brand accounts across industries (2,330 from U.S. and Canada and 6,991 elsewhere in the world), their weekly Twitter activity also fell to low points in November and December. But by the end of the year, their activity was inching up.

“While the percentage of brands posting weekly is on the rise once again, the number is still lower than the consistent posting seen in earlier months,” Kyle says.

Quiet-quitting Twitter

Lacey Reichwald, marketing manager at Aha Media Group, says the company has been quiet-quitting Twitter for two months, simply monitoring and posting the occasional link. “It seems like the turmoil has settled down, but the overall impact of Twitter for brands has not recovered,” she says.

@ahamediagroup quietly quit @Twitter for two months and saw their follower count go up, says Lacey Reichwald via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

She points to their firm’s experience as a potential explanation. Though they haven’t been posting, their follower count has gone up, and many of those new follower accounts don’t seem relevant to their topic or botty. At the same time, Aha Media saw engagement and follows from active accounts in the customer segment drop.

Blue bonus

One change at Twitter has piqued some brands’ interest in the platform, says Dan Gray, CEO of Vendry, a platform for helping companies find agency partners to help them scale.

“Now that getting a blue checkmark is as easy as paying a monthly fee, brands are seeing this as an opportunity to build thought leadership quickly,” he says.

Though it remains to be seen if that strategy is viable in the long term, some companies, particularly those in the SaaS and tech space, are reallocating resources to energize their previously dormant accounts.

Automatic verification for @TwitterBlue subscribers led some brands to renew their interest in the platform, says Dan Gray of Vendry via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

These reenergized accounts also are seeing an increase in followers, though Dan says it’s difficult to tell if it’s an effect of the blue checkmark or their renewed emphasis on content. “Engagement is definitely up, and clients and agencies have both noted the algorithm seems to be favoring their content more,” he says.

New horizon

Faizan Fahim, marketing manager at Breeze, is focused on the future. They’re producing videos for small screens as part of their Twitter strategy. “We are guessing soon Elon Musk is going to turn Twitter into TikTok/YouTube to create more buzz,” he says. “We would get the first moving advantage in our niche.”

He’s not the only one who thinks video is Twitter’s next bet. Bradley Thompson, director of marketing at DigiHype Media and marketing professor at Conestoga College, thinks video content will be the next big thing. Until then, text remains king.

“The approach is the same, which is a focus on creating and sharing high-quality content relevant to the industry,” Bradley says. “Until Twitter comes out with drastically new features, then marketing and managing brands on Twitter will remain the same.

James Coulter, digital marketing director at Sole Strategies, says, “Twitter definitely still has a space in the game. The question is can they keep it, or will they be phased out in favor of a more reliable platform.”

Interestingly given the thoughts of Faizan and Bradley, James sees businesses turning to video as they limit their reliance on Twitter and diversify their social media platforms. They are now willing to invest in the resource-intensive format given the exploding popularity of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other short-form video content.

“We’ve seen a really big push on getting vendors to help curate video content with the help of staff. Requesting so much media requires building a new (social media) infrastructure, but once the expectations and deliverables are in place, it quickly becomes engrained in the weekly workflow,” James says.

What now

“We are waiting to see what happens before making any strong decisions,” says Baruch Labunski, CEO at Rank Secure. But they aren’t sitting idly by. “We’ve moved a lot of our social media efforts to other platforms while some of these things iron themselves out.”

What is your brand doing with Twitter? Are you stepping up, stepping out, or standing still? I’d love to know. Please share in the comments.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like trying to swim against the current.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job. (more…)

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