Posted on January 16, 2023 by Emily Eltinge From Google’s continued push for automation with Performance Max to privacy changes, 2022 was a ride from start to finish. Looking ahead to 2023, we can see the economic trends that may push ads to be more centralized, while having to navigate the loss of insight that third-party data gives advertisers. However, with the right strategy (and staying flexible) businesses can continue to see growth. Let’s jump right into the review and 2023 predictions. Performance Max With the Performance Max (sometimes referred to as P-Max) rollout in early 2021 through 2022, many of our clients were eligible to opt in. It gives advertisers the ability to utilize all of Google’s advertising channels within one campaign, such as Display, Search, Youtube, and Gmail. What’s not to love? Well, even with Search and Display capabilities, we’ve come to learn that the conversion types do matter. Service-based clients who tracked leads via form-fills saw a significant increase in spam/bots filling out the forms. Although P-Max seemed to struggle with leads, the industry saw great success with product-based companies where transactions were the main goal (think e-commerce). The benefits being overall lower CPC and significant reach, it’s still an incredibly useful campaign type for certain transaction-based industries. What’s to Come in 2023? Google is sunsetting Smart Shopping campaigns and moving users to P-Max campaigns starting in Q3. With that, we’re bound to see numerous updates and bug fixes from Google. We’re hopeful the spam form fill issue will be resolved and our service-based clients can benefit from this campaign type. Google Analytics 4 Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. Launching back in 2020 in its beta form, Google announced Universal Analytics would be replaced by Google Analytics 4 (or GA4) in July 2023. As the looming deadline approaches, marketers have been making the switch from Universal Analytics to GA4. Reviews on the interface have been mostly positive, even with the constant changes Google makes, which increase the learning curve. One roadblock that has SEO and PPC marketers heated is the consistent issues with conversion tracking, specifically with contact forms. What used to be a simple case of thank-you-page tracking now requires registering event parameters as custom dimensions and a solid understanding of Google Tag Manager. What’s to Come in 2023? A July deadline means the earlier the integration, the better. Although there’s still speculation about if the deadline will be pushed back, my go-to motto is “prepare for the worst, hope for the best.” Staying informed on updates made (and getting that good ol’ GA4 certification) can help give you an edge. And for all you data nerds, the earlier you integrate with GA4, the more data you have to utilize. Economic Ebb + Flow It’s no secret that the economy is constantly changing. But having pushed through the thick of the pandemic, the economy’s growth has slowed more than originally expected. This is causing business owners to really focus their ad dollars. While some are limiting their total budget spent, others are narrowing their focus to one or two paid advertising platforms instead of spreading out among several. We’re seeing many clients choose to advertise solely on Google and/or Meta (Facebook and Instagram) and pull the plug on other platforms, including Pinterest and TikTok. What’s to Come in 2023? With a mild recession in the works for the first half of 2023, it can be stressful. But flexibility and transparency will be key for marketers. Consistent open communication with clients documenting ROI while utilizing creative and effective campaigns will be the key to success. In the past, we’ve seen that clients who can double down on their overall marketing strategy achieve the most success during economic downturns. AI + Automation Automation is nothing new in the digital marketing landscape, and its constant evolution within the ad space is the new norm. Google products like P-Max that utilize AI and machine learning are just the tip of the iceberg. You’ve probably heard the internet went wild for AI programs like ChatGPT that can be used for content. Even Microsoft has made the push, reportedly planning on investing $10 billion in OpenAI, 10 times more than their initial investment in the startup back in 2019. What’s to Come in 2023? Some marketers may be concerned about job security, but I’d say AI and machine learning development is an important step as user journeys become more complex. Until robots are able to perfectly mimic humans (which is far off) there will always need to be a human element to create connections with users. No More Cookies Welp, talks about Google’s new privacy updates ramped up in 2022, and concern for limited targeting options was (and still is) prevalent. Although third-party cookies are being phased out by 2024, there are still opportunities to develop strategies for the new privacy-orientated marketing landscape What’s to Come in 2023? With similar audience segments being sunsetted in mid-2023 and Google continuing to limit targeting, it will become imperative for businesses to really make sure their unique value proposition (UVP) and messaging is on point. Resonating with a wide variety of users and really relaying your brand’s message and story will make all the difference when it comes to the success of future campaigns. Let’s Make 2023 A Year Of Growth! As the paid advertising space continues to evolve and change with consumers and platforms, it’s crucial to stay informed and ahead of the game. If you have questions about Google Ads updates or want to take your paid advertising to the next level, reach out to us.