TikTok’s Insta Dupe, Updates to query matching for Google Ads, RIP Universal Analytics, and more…

June 28, 2024

Hey there, Digital Darlings,

Ready for your weekly dose of digital drama? Google Ads is shaking things up with major updates, and TikTok is launching an Instagram dupe called ‘Whee.’ Let’s dive into all the juicy details.

Google Ads announced major updates to search query matching

They’ve been improving their AI-powered broad match capabilities over the past six months, which led to a 10% improvement in broad match performance for advertisers that use smart bidding. Now, they’re making updates to query matching and brand controls to help brands benefit further from broad match.

The first is a new recommendation for brand inclusions in broad match campaigns. When using brand inclusions, your ads will only serve for queries that include brand names you’ve selected. For example, if you were bidding on the broad match term “clothing” and had a brand inclusion for ‘Target’, your ads would only match to ‘clothing’ queries that included ‘Target’ or brand-related terms. Target’s loyalty club is called Circle 360, so the brand inclusion would allow ads to serve on a search for ‘Circle 360 clothes’. 

They’re also rolling out brand exclusions across all match types and DSAs over the coming months, giving advertisers even more control over brand spend. If you’re confused about the difference between brand inclusions, brand exclusions, and negative keywords, this chart cleared things up for me.

Google also improved the search terms report by associating misspelled queries with their correctly spelled counterparts. 9% of the search terms previously appearing under the ‘other’ category due to misspellings are now visible. They’ve applied the same logic to negative keywords, too – rather than needing to add all the misspelled variations of a keyword as negatives, those variations will now be excluded when you exclude just the one properly spelled keyword. Nice! In other Google Ads news…

Google added a tROAS insight box for PMAX and Shopping campaigns

This insight box helps advertisers understand if their actual ROAS is within the expected range relative to their target. It charts actual ROAS for the campaign over time, and indicates whether performance is on track. Of course, ROAS will vary day-to-day, but this chart, shared by @thomaseccel on X, should make it easier to understand the big picture of how your campaigns are doing. Check it out for yourself. Now, let's chat about Google Analytics…

Universal Analytics dies July 1st

This is your final warning! Transition to GA4 now or face Google’s wrath (they’re literally going to delete all your data). If you haven’t made the switch yet, do it today. Here’s Google’s guide to transitioning to GA4. If you still want to have access to your old UA data, make sure to download or export it by the end of the week. In other Google Analytics news..

Five new features are coming to GA4

The first new feature is that users will be able to import third-party ad data from Pinterest, Reddit, and Snap and it’ll be included in the cross-channel performance report. Second is a new cross-channel budgeting feature that’ll help advertisers track budget pacing and projected performance against a revenue or conversion target. The third is that GA4 will start importing impression data from LinkedIn Ads. GA4 is also getting an AI bot that will identify patterns in your data and explain them in simple terms. And lastly, GA4 will start supporting Chrome Privacy Sandbox APIs later this year. Those are some big updates, so keep an eye out for them! Now for some SEO news…

Google’s continuous scroll is no more

Searchers can no longer scroll through an endless flow of search results. We’re going back to the old-school pagination bar at the footer of the SERP. Google said they're doing this to improve page load times, which is fair. But it could have a negative impact on site traffic if you’re ranking on page 2 of the SERP. You may see less clicks now that users have to take an extra step to get to that second page. In other SEO news…

Search Engine Journal revealed how Google ranks content

Data scientists analyzed over 260,000 search results to get to the bottom of how Google ranks content. The biggest takeaway? Topic authority is the biggest on-page ranking factor, and domain traffic is the main way authority is measured. The scientists also found that since the March core update, Google places more emphasis on user experience, and particularly on site-load speed. There are TONS of other great insights for SEOers here, so give this article a read. Now let’s talk about something other than Google…

TikTok launched ‘Whee’, an Instagram dupe

TikTok wants to beat Meta soooo bad, but it’s just not happening. With Instagram maintaining its place as the most downloaded app in Q1 (that said, TikTok is still #1 when it comes to consumer spending), TikTok decided to build their own photo-sharing app. It’s positioned as a platform for sharing photos with only your closest friends, which is smart since non-influencer Insta users seem to post mostly on their ‘close friends’ stories anyways, and there’s been a push for authenticity on social media lately. The app isn’t available in the US yet, so we’ll have to wait and see if we get a chance to try it out or if TikTok gets banned. Speaking of Insta…

Google now shows Instagram posts in search results

Can’t say the same for TikToks… Instagram posts now appear in the ‘Perspectives’ tab of Google. Does this mean SEOers will start trying to gamify their brand’s Instagram captions? I’ve honestly never used that ‘perspectives’ tab, so I’m not sure how relevant this actually is… only time will tell. In my final bit of Meta news…

Meta is rolling out automatic creative testing for Reels

They’re calling it ‘Auto A/B testing’. This AI-powered feature automatically experiments with different variations of your content to determine which performs best. It’ll test versions of your Reel with various captions, cover images and more and then distribute the top performer for you. It’s built for business pages and is currently in the testing phase. Sounds handy! Sure, go ahead and do my job for me, Meta.

And that's a wrap, my dears! From Google’s updates to TikTok’s latest attempt to rival Instagram, the digital world is buzzing with excitement. Until next week, stay sharp, stay savvy, and keep reading.

You know you love me. 💋

Maddie Marinsider

Marin Software
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