Back to School with ROAST’s Paid Media team: Tools, Tech and Trends

Back to School with ROAST’s Paid Media team: Tools, Tech and Trends

ROAST • 24/09/2021

On the 22nd of September, the ‘Back to School’ Webinar returned for a Paid Media special. The panel of Paid Media experts sat down to explore updates happening across Google, Microsoft, Social & Amazon.

The session was led by George Stolton, PPC Team Lead, Rebecca Bampton, PPC Team Lead and James Dawkins, Paid Media Account Manager. Within the 45 minute update, they plunged into Paid Search & Paid Social updates, Amazon shopping and the trends and what to expect as holiday season quickly approaches. To end the session, the experts also delved into an update into Google’s cookieless delay.


Watch the session here and find the key findings summarised below:


Paid Search Product updates

First up, James took us through some of the changes occurring across the Paid Search landscape, with a particular focus on the products across Google Ads and Microsoft Ads.

Responsive Search Ads set to become the only ad format on Google

From June 2022, Responsive Search Ads are set to become the only text ad type available. These ads appear in the same format as regular text ads but rather than using static assets, they’re created using a pool of headlines and descriptions that constantly rotate.

According to Google, advertisers that switch to Responsive Search Ads, using the same assets in campaigns that use broad match and smart bidding, see an average of 20% more conversions at a similar cost per conversion.

To find out more about this change, read more here.

How can advertisers with strict compliance restrictions make use of Responsive Search Ads?

Some brands can’t rely on the headlines to rotate. There are ways for advertisers to continue running these ads with full control following from the change occurring from June 2022.

The first way to do so is to create RSA’s with just three headlines and two descriptions, similar to a regular text ad.

Another way to comply with the restrictions is to pin your Headlines and Descriptions to ensure they show in specific positions, for example your brand in H1.

Google Ads Campaign Experiments

Google has increased their focus and recommendation of Broad Match terms. To help advertisers, Google has introduced an easier way to test Broad Match terms through the recommendations tab.

Within the recommendations tab, users can now test this match type as an experiment to gauge with confidence if the broad match term is valuable for your campaign.

Updates to Search Query Reports

Google is now allowing users to see historical data for queries that have a high number of impressions, but no clicks.

From February, 2022, Google will be removing any historical query data collected before 1st September 2020, if it doesn’t meet their privacy requirements.

It is very important to get this data downloaded prior to this change to ensure historical reporting can take place.

Find more information on the upcoming updates to SQR’s here.

Import Facebook Campaigns into Microsoft Ads

Facebook Import has made it easier than ever to get audience campaigns up and running. Through seamlessly transporting your campaigns from the Facebook Audience Network into the Microsoft Audience network, you’ll be able to save time, and maximise ROI.

The ability to import your Facebook ads into Microsoft ads and serve these across the Microsoft audience network will enable you to reach a wider audience across Microsoft.


Paid Search Platform Updates:

Next, George covered the platform updates across Paid Search, specifically concerning the verification Google have been conducting across the platform.

Google Ads UK Financial Service Verification

Over the past six months, Advertiser Verification on Google has been rolling out to increase transparency.

Google is now expanding on this through requiring additional verification to show financial services ads of any kind in the UK. Advertisers must demonstrate that they are authorized by the UK FCA or alternatively qualify for an exemption.

Find out more here.

Google Ads Additional Costs (DST)

From 1st October, Google will be the first platform to include a surcharge on invoices for ads purchased through Google Ads and YouTube placements on a reservation basis.

They have been applying this to the UK, Turkey and Austria since November 2020, and are now also introducing it to Italy, France, India, and Spain.

To see how this could affect advertisers, find out more here.


Paid Social Product & Platform Updates

Rebecca ran through the Paid Social updates from a platform and product perspective, mainly across Facebook and Instagram, with smaller updates across Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok.


Optimisation of Facebook leads to Conversation rates

Facebook is now trying to integrate with CRM systems and sales funnels in order to optimize leads into conversion rates on Facebook Ads, rather than optimizing towards people who are just filling in the forms.

Facebook Campaign Ideas Generator 

In July 2021, Facebook built a dynamic tool that could help those looking for guidance on how to develop content for campaigns. It does this through providing campaign ideas, pre-made assets and resources specific to your business needs.

As this tool is fairly new, it is somewhat basic at the moment for some industries, however, the insights mined from the tool are exceptionally useful at giving insight into target users in the specific industry and their Facebook usage for brand purchases.

A more private experience for younger people on Facebook

Facebook is trying to give young people a safer, more private experience when using Facebook.

They have changed the available targeting options for advertisers across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger so that those under 18 can only be targeted based on their age, gender and location. The previous, more tailored, interest targeting can no longer be used for anyone under 18.

Read more here.



The introduction of Reel Ads

From June 2021, Instagram launched Reel Ads across the world. Similar to the ads you see in Snapchat stories, reel ads will appear in between individual reels as either full-screen or vertical ad types.

Get inspired by other businesses on Instagram

Instagram has introduced a hub where businesses can seek inspiration to spark content ideas.

Those with business accounts can browse a collection of both organic and promoted posts from other businesses to trigger them to post their brand-specific content. This new hub could also act as a way to research your competitors.

Read the blog here to find out more.

Ads in Instagram’s shop tab

Instagram has introduced ads into their shop tab to make it easier for people to discover and shop from brands whilst they’re actively browsing.

The ads appear in the form of tiles on the page which you can save to a wishlist, share with friends, or hide and report the ad.



The Introduction of Trends

Users in the UK, US, Canada and Australia can now discover and explore Trends on Snapchat. You can find out what topics perform well and better engage with your audience.

Five ways to apply these trends to your business:

  1. Product market research
  2. Creative messaging and copywriting
  3. Building user profiles and personas
  4. Researching key moments
  5. Competitive research



The end of Twitter Fleets

In November 2020, Twitter introduced Fleets, short-term posts that disappear after 24 hours.

After seeing no increase in the number of new people joining the conversation, Fleets are no longer available.



Spark Ads

Spark Ads lets brands create ads out of their own TikTok posts or through using organic posts made by creators, with their permission.

This enables brands to amplify their existing organic videos that fit with their campaign objectives, such as video views and conversion, with great flexibility and efficiency.

Read more here.


Amazon Advertising

Custom bid optimisation towards sponsored display ads

Amazon has now added additional bidding controls for sponsored display campaigns. Previously, you used to only be able to use manual CPC bids and optimise towards product placement, but now you can select ‘Maximise Page Visits’ or ‘Maximise Conversions’.

Creative asset library introduced in the US

Amazon Ads have introduced a creative asset library to help you to store, organise, and reuse your branded content.

This makes it much easier for brands to access their assets when they need them, rather than re-uploading the asset every time you want to use it.

Update to sponsored brands logos

From August 2021, Sponsored Brand campaigns will require the use of a true brand logo.

Listed below are some of the basic requirements for your brand logo:

  1. The brand logo must fill the entire image to be on a white or transparent background.
  2. It should not contain any crowded or cluttered elements.
  3. It cannot be a product ASIN or lifestyle.
  4. It shouldn’t contain any additional text.


Preparing for Holiday Season 2021

Lastly, George took us through how advertisers can prepare for the holiday season that is quickly approaching. Some key highlights were the advanced Smart Bidding tool used to help Google know about any significant conversion rate changes over a period of time, and the way advertisers can use TikTok this holiday season.

Last year’s data:

  • 45% of all digital holiday spend occurred by the end of Cyber Week.
  • Pre-Cyber week experienced an 83% increase in Revenue Growth YoY.
  • Black Friday spend increased by 30% YoY, with a total of 62 billion.
  • Cyber Monday grew 18% YoY.

Although in-store visits are expected to increase by 85% this year, it’s important for brands to maintain an online presence to capture those users who continue to shop online.

Seasonal adjustment for flash sales:

In Google Ads, there are some tools that brands can use when expecting a higher conversion rate over a shorter period of time.

An advanced Smart Bidding tool can be used, that allows you to inform Google Ads of any significant changes in conversion rates over a short period of time, such as flash sales.

It should be noted that this tool should not be used regularly as campaign techniques will account for most seasonal events and changes in performance.

Getting prepared on TikTok:

With 62% of TikTok users preparing for gifts two months before Christmas, spending more than $200 – up from 9% last year, advertisers need to take this into consideration when considering their advertising opportunities on TikTok.

Read here for TikTok’s 2021 Holiday Guide.


Privacy Updates

Google’s delay to going cookie-less

As many know, Google have delayed their updates to third-party tracking, and are now aiming to phase out third-party cookies over a three month period starting in mid 2023 to end in late 2023.

Despite this delay, it is massively important for advertisers to start preparing for these changes, by first party data set up, and by moving away from third-party data wherever possible in order to plan ahead of this inevitable change.


Thank you for reading the wrap up of ‘Back to School’ with the Paid Media team. We hope that the updates provided across Amazon, Social & PPC will help you arm your strategy ahead of the upcoming quarter.

If you’d like to chat through any questions with our team, get in touch now. Alternatively, keep your eyes peeled for the next ‘Back to School webinar’ with our SEO team here