PPC News Roundup - April 16th, 2019

Amazon ad-supported music streaming; Pinterest users growing pre-IPO; YouTube new 'quality' content metrics.

PPC News Roundup is a weekly roundup of all news related to the major PPC and digital advertising platforms. Published on Tuesdays, “PPC News Roundup” will help you stay up-to-date on all the important PPC ads news you need to know.

PPC Videos This Week

How Google Is Looking to Monetize Maps
Google's plan to run ads on Google Maps represents the company's next big monetization opportunity.

Snapchat projected to lose U.S. users for first time
Snapchat will lose users in the U.S. for the first time this year according to industry analyst EMarketer. Snapchat disputes the report.

What do 30K followers get you on Instagram?
How much money does an Instagram influencer actually make? A microinfluencer with 30,000 followers talks about what it's like trying to turn social media into a full-time job.

Twitter expanding in Middle East and North Africa
Twitter is expanding its video efforts in the Middle East and North Africa as revenue from video advertising becomes a key element for the social network.

Amazon Ads News

Amazon could launch ad-supported free music streaming services
Amazon could reportedly launch a free, ad-supported music service, posing a direct threat to Spotify and Apple's and Google's own streaming services.

Amazon's ad business doubled in 2018 and is set to do the same in 2019.

Adding an ad-supported music streaming service, in combination with Amazon Echo and Alexa, could mark a new era of voice-supported ads on streaming services.

Consumers largely unaware of fake reviews problem on Amazon
A survey of 2,000 American adults that made a purchase on Amazon in the past six months has found that 90% read reviews before buying a product and 75% either fully or somewhat trust the reviews.

Multiple sources have however shown that Amazon products are polluted with fake reviews either written by companies themselves or ghost-written by fake customers.

Facebook Ads News

Study: Facebook ad targeting may discriminate—even when advertisers don’t want it to
New research shows that Facebook's ad targeting continues to discriminate by race and gender even if advertisers specifically change settings to have ads shown to as broad of an audience as possible.

In a study that spent $8,500 on housing ads with parameters set at 'highly inclusive', researchers found that Facebook's algorithm discriminated regardless of the settings.

For example, ads to buy a home in North Carolina were shown to a 75% white audience, while ads to rent a home were shown to an evenly mixed demographic, implying that non-white populations were more likely not to be able to afford to buy a home.

Americans don't trust Facebook
An NBC poll found that the majority of American's don't trust Facebook at all and believe social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook divide the country. 82% said that social media is a waste of time, even though 70% of Americans say they use social media at least once a day. 74% said that collecting personal data for ads in exchange for free or low-cost services was not an acceptable tradeoff.

Facebook launches new brand safety controls to protect advertisers
Facebook has launched new brand safety controls to prevent ads from appearing on controversial content and harming brand reputation. The three new options include:

  • "Limited Inventory" which offers maximum protection, like the opt-in category exclusions currently available.
  • “Standard Inventory” which offers moderate protection and is set as default.
  • “Full Inventory” where ads may be delivered to all eligible content.

Google Ads News

Google Maps may soon see ads
Google's next big monetization opportunity will come in the form of running ads on Google Maps. While Google built its business on the back of search advertising, Google Maps has over one billion user worldwide and is one of the last services the company has left ad-free.

Small businesses and brick-and-mortor stores could see the most benefit from Google Maps ads as they often have to rely on email marketing to attract more customers.

Google Ads Keyword Planner has been upgraded
Google Ads updated its keyword planner in late March with a host of new and old features. The new features include:

  • More seeds
  • Keyword trends
  • Grouped ideas
  • Save an idea to an existing campaign
  • Suggested budget
  • Competitive value column

While three of the features are completely new, a few like 'more seeds', 'grouped ideas', and 'add to campaigns' have been resurrected from old additions. Keeping up with these changes can help PPC marketers optimize their Google Ads accounts as manual bidding slowly shifts toward more automated bidding strategies and machine learning.

Instagram Ads News

Influencers are flocking to a surprising new kind of social media
Influencers are increasingly abandoning platforms like Instagram and YouTube to create their own apps using a subscription model. Could this be the end of influencer marketing?

Study: Instagram ads disguised as friends' posts still more than traditional ads
According to a new study by the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, people continue to prefer ads on Instagram that imitate posts made by friends over traditional advertising, despite knowing they are being deceptive. The study suggests that brands should continue making ads that feel more genuine and authentic over traditional advertising when it comes to social media.

Virtual AI influencers pose threat to real-life influencers in the long-run
KFC has launched a new version of its Colonel, but instead of using a famous actor to play the role, the new mascot is entirely computer-generated.

The 'Virtual Influencer Colonel' is the latest example of how brands are using AI in their marketing campaigns to appeal to a younger Gen Z audiences. In the long run, computer generated influencers could wipe out real influencers.

Linkedin Ads News

LinkedIn has a fake profile problem
Digiday spoke with several senior executives who said they regularly receive spam messages from fake profiles which detracts value from the platform.

A significant number of the 600 million registered members on LinkedIn are fake profiles with fake job descriptions working at companies that don't exist.

"When users have to manage connection requests from fake profiles, LinkedIn becomes a time waster rather than a productive tool. While LinkedIn has worked to improve its product by introducing video and more sophisticated ad tools, the platform is still plagued by inauthenticity. It’s unclear how many fake profiles exist on the site," Digiday writes.

LinkedIn Ads sell at a premium compared to Facebook, but the amount of fake profiles makes it difficult for advertisers to be sure their ads are being seen by real people, a wider symptom of digital fraud that exists across the internet marketing landscape.

LinkedIn introduces lookalike audiences
LinkedIn has given advertisers the ability to create and target lookalike audiences on the platform. A standard practice used by Facebook marketers, lookalike audiences enable you to target users similar to those who’ve already engaged your business in some way, such as visited your website, downloaded a whitepaper, or become a paying customer.

The idea is that people who match the same demographic as those that have already engaged with your brand are more likely to take similar actions. You can then expand the reach of your LinkedIn ads and remain confident that the impressions and clicks you’re driving are coming from relevant, high-quality users.

Pinterest Ads News

Pinterest Ad Campaigns Can Now Be Optimized for Conversions
Pinterest is now letting marketers choose conversions as a campaign objective for Promoted Pins instead of just clicks.

Similar to action extensions introduced by Bing last week, optimizing for conversions will allow marketers to optimize their ads to have viewers perform certain actions, such as make a purchase, sign up for a mailing list or fill out a lead-gen form. In early testing brands were able to double sales and reduce cost per acquisition by 58%.

Pinterest Shows Healthy User Growth Ahead of IPO
Pinterest has released updated data ahead of its IPO that show the company has 265 million users, putting it ahead of Snapchat but behind Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. But unlike Twitter and Snapchat, the company's user base is growing much faster. The company added 51 million active monthly users in 2018.

Reddit Ads News

Absolut achieves 2.5x more engagement with Reddit Ads
Absolut Vodka bought Reddit Ads between October 2018 and December 2018 and has reported much higher engagement with Reddit videos than video ads on other platforms.

"Absolut's ads saw KPIs double the average for Reddit with completion rates for eight to 10-second video ads 2.5 times higher than normal. 70% of these views were on mobile devices," the company said.

According to eMarketer, Reddit is on pace to more than double ad revenue by 2021. The company is expected to post over $100 million in ad revenue this year.

Reddit to become leader in monetizing User Generated Content - COO
Reddit is attempting to position itself as a leader in monetizing user-generated content.

In an interview Reddit COO Jen Wong highlights two main advantages Reddit has over other social media platforms: the ability to shape conversations before they go viral elsewhere and hyper-focused active communities with significant engagement levels.

Shapchat Ads News

eMarketer Slashes Snapchat Growth Forecast for 2019
A new report by eMarketer has drastically slashed Snapchat's user numbers for 2019, predicting that for the first year ever Snapchat will actually lose users in the United States.

Snapchapt is expcted to have 77.5 million monthly US users in 2019, down 2.8% from last year, and a drastic reduction from eMarketer's previous report which put US users at 90.4 million for the year.

The main reason for the falling numbers continues to be a disastrous redesign of the app in late 2017 that mixed stories and chats together and caused severe backlash which the company has yet to recover from.

Twitter Ads News

Tweeting and watching TV brings better results for advertisers
Traditionally it was thought that tweeting and watching TV would hurt advertisements on television because viewers were not engaged with commercials. But a new report by the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University suggests that users who tweet and watch television are more engaged and more likely to make purchases online after seeing an ad.

Twitter's Jack Dorsey paid $1.40 in 2018
Twitter's CEO received a salary of just $1.4 in 2018, the company said on Monday in an SEC filing.

Twitter vs Faceboook: Why Facebook ultimately won the ad war
A comparison of the paths Facebook and Twitter chose to monetize user data reveals that Facebook's approach to restrict access to its users through ads was ultimately the superior choice.

"By restricting access to its data, Facebook was able to enforce a monopoly on access to its user data, ensuring it alone could offer lucrative services on top of those riches. In contrast, by selling its data directly, Twitter relegated itself to the low-profit business of data vendor, allowing other companies to reap the vast service industry profits," Forbes writes.

YouTube Ads News

YouTube plans to reward 'quality' content
YouTube is looking for a way to reward quality videos and marginalize fringe content.

New metrics introduced by the company aim to create a pool of 'safe' YouTube videos that advertisers can rely on to run their ads that won't cause fresh controversy when ads are shown on videos that promote fringe causes like racism or sexism.

The goal is to ward off criticism that the company creates social friction and promotes offensive content.

Three Ways To Make Your YouTube Ads Stand Out
As the second-largest search engine, advertising on YouTube is one of the best platforms to choose to reach a large audience. Forbes goes over three best practices to keep in mind when creating YouTube ads.

  1. Deliver the video's key message early: "For some ads, like in-stream ads, you only have five seconds to grab your audience's attention and gain their interest before they click 'skip ap.'
  2. Keep the video engaging: "With so many video ads and content around the web, and the option to skip over most YouTube advertisements, it is extremely important to create high-quality video content."
  3. Always optimize for mobile: Keep in mind that 50% of all video ads are viewed on mobile devices."

Politics and Society

U.S. senators introduce social media bill to ban 'dark patterns' tricks
Two US senators introduced a bill to ban online social media companies like Facebook and Twitter from tricking consumers giving up their personal data. The bill takes aim at practices that online platforms use to mislead people into giving personal data to companies or otherwise trick them.

Why you should care? Restrictions on how social media companies collect information about users could hurt their ability to sell advertisements, a key source of profit.

U.S. advertising groups create privacy bill coalition
Four U.S. advertising trade groups have banded together to lobby Congress to ensure federal online privacy legislation is less strict than a law scheduled to go into effect in California in 2020.

Why you should care? The issue is of huge concern to advertisers, who rely on online data collection to help ad buyers spend their advertising budgets effectively.

EU's Vestager says Europe must lead the way with a digital tax
The EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager argued that Europe should lead the way in imposing a digital tax on major tech giants like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. The so-called 'GAFA tax' aims to force global internet giants to pay a fair share of taxes on their operations in Europe.

Why you should care? Internet giants are coming under increasing pressure from regulators globally and getting slapped with fines. The new regulations and penalties could end up getting pushed on to advertisers who may see increased CPC and CPI as a result.

PDFs This Week

The State of Influencer Marketing 2019
Influencer marketing is expected to continue to grow in 2019, according to a new report by linqia. In addition to the rise of the micro-influencer, marketers are increasingly launching multiple campaigns each year. This report looks at influencer trends and tries to understand how brands and agencies are using influencer marketing in 2019. A total of 57% of marketers say that influencer content outperforms brand-created content.

How Shoppers Browse and Buy On Amazon
Shoppers are increasingly skipping Google to do their shopping directly on Amazon. Marketers are responding by shifting more and more of their ad budgets to Amazon, which could spell trouble for Google in the long run.

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