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End of Year Paid Media News

Christmas Tree in the Uprise Up office - End of Year Pad Media News Blog

Paid Media Christmas Round Up

It’s that time of year again. A time to spend with family in front of the fire. A time for over-indulging on fantastically festive foods. And a time to take stock of all the latest Paid Media News to help enhance your digital marketing strategies for 2023. With exclusive news on Facebook pixel conversion tracking, Google Ad Grant spending trends and new Meta developments effecting paid media targeting, Will Rhodes shares our expert insights on all things paid media.

Ad Grant ‘Giving Season’ Funding

The ‘giving season’ is well and truly upon us, and Google is getting in the festive mood by generously awarding certain charities more money to spend on Paid Search advertising.

Whilst there is speculation that mental health and cancer charities may have been main beneficiaries this season, there has been no clear, official criteria announced as to which charities have been awarded funding.

A handful of the Ad Grants we manage were selected this year, with their daily spend being doubled throughout December and January. It was not possible to apply for the funding, however the numbers awarded were notably higher than last year.

Our Ad Grant representative informed us of any Ad grants connected to our MCC (My Client Centre) who had been awarded; emails should have also been sent directly to account owners too.

We have found previously that this isn’t always the case. We would therefore recommend checking your gmail, if you currently own and manage an Ad Grant, to see if you have benefited from this festive funding.

Bonus round: Sustainability Funding

We have also had one account that was awarded additional funding just ahead of the ‘giving season’ initiative. Google confirmed that they’re “supporting a set of organisations focused on sustainability, with increased budgets through 2023”. Again, this is not something you can apply for, nor is it clear the exact criteria for accounts being awarded – however it is a nice bonus for Ad Grants who do receive it.

Fluctuations in your Ad Grant’s Maximum Daily Spend

In October and November, we noticed odd fluctuations in some Ad Grant accounts. This impacted about 1/5 of the accounts we manage. Spend increased above the usual capped restrictions, $330 per day (for a standard $10k account), by between $10 and $40 extra. You can see an example below.

Graph demonstrating fluctuations in Google Ad Grant daily spend budget.

We initially suspected that it was related to extra funding being granted (as discussed above) however speaking to an Ad Grant rep, they confirmed that:

“it is possible that Ad Grants accounts will spend over the daily spending limit if there are high traffic volumes. However, the accounts will not spend over the monthly allocation when viewed from a 30d period”

We have not seen this behaviour previously in accounts, although Google have not suggested this was a new feature. Other accounts that can easily spend their limit were still strictly capped, so it seems like there is something occurring in the background for Ad account spend management.

Whilst the irregularities of this spend fluctuation are odd, it is nonetheless a welcome change, opening up the potential for Grant accounts to offer more flexibility in the future.


Were you ‘Got by Get’ in November? You may have noticed some strange Google Ad Disapprovals last month. Many of our clients received a disapproval specifically on ad extensions flagging ‘get’ as an unapproved substance…

Unapproved Substances Disapprovals for Google Ad Extensions

As it was only on Ad extensions, it luckily didn’t have a major effect on ad performance. However, it does make us question how Google monitor their ad disapproval automation.

All appeals we made on behalf of our clients were approved quickly and it seemed like there was only a small window where this was happening. Despite many people being got by ‘get’, Google made no comment on the issue, meaning we still have no explanation as to why ‘get’ was flagged as an unapproved substance in the first place.

Changes to Similar Audience Targeting in Google Ads

Google has announced that lookalike audiences are going to be leaving the Google Ads targeting suite by the middle of next year. The targeting option, which would create a list of users with similar traits as one of your existing audiences, will stop being usable by May 2023.

Google also confirmed this feature will become a part of automated bidding – as long as you have an audience added to a campaign.

We don’t think this change will affect most charities’ accounts and no action is needed. Although, it is unfortunate that you will no longer be able to view the exact data of these audiences compared to your overall performance.

EXCLUSIVE: Facebook Pixel Conversion Tracking to be Sunset Next Year

During a recent call with a Meta rep, they confirmed that in order for advertisers to continue to make use of conversion tracking and optimisation, the Conversion API will need to become compulsory at some point next year. The pixel would still exist but for pageview tracking/optimisation only.

They mentioned that support would be available for organisations to help migrate over to the Conversion API in the coming year, however this is likely to extend to larger organisations/agencies first, who are least likely to need the support.

It’s not entirely surprising, given the transition has already begun, off the back of the iOS 14.5 changes and move to a 3rd party cookie free world in general.

As this news hasn’t been officially announced yet, unfortunately there’s no more information that we can provide at this stage. We will be keeping our eyes peeled for official updates on this from Meta, and will ensure we share the rollout process with you as soon as we know more.

New Meta Developments for Paid Media

Conversion Segmentation is Being Brought Back!

During the iOS14 updates, much functionality was removed or restricted. This included the ability to segment your conversion data by key demographics and breakdowns, including age, gender and placement/platform. Although not completely clear why, we believe it was likely due to issues with data reliability and modelling.

Whilst you could still segment performance data from the platform (clicks or video watches for example), you couldn’t for how your conversions were split. Even though using UTMs and GA effectively largely covers this (and is still a crucial step) but it was frustrating nonetheless. On many occasions we have set-up IG and FB in separate campaigns purely due to this lack of reporting, whereas we previously might run them inside the same campaign.

Which is why we are excited to see conversion segmentation now returning! This is in addition to the ability to compare attribution settings as well the longer 28 day click attribution window being available to use.

Conversion Segmentation window in meta

The return of conversion segmentation will enable advertisers to make more informed decisions quicker. Being able to report on how different placements and demographics are performing can save a lot of time, with attribution comparison offering more context too.

You can now target your Instagram followers directly

You can now select ‘People who started following this professional account’ for Instagram follower targeting. Previously, it was only possible to target Instagram users who had engaged with content, unlike on Facebook where you can reach your followers and page likes specifically.


Old Instagram follower targeting


New option for targeting Instagram followers which includees 'people who started following this professional account.

Re-engaging warm audiences is a crucial part of paid social strategy, so offering more options to dig into and reach this subset is a win. Especially for charities with a younger audience focus, where reach is far greater on Instagram compared to Facebook.

It’s important to note that your Instagram account will need to be configured to allow for this.Also, you still can’t run a campaign with the objective of reaching new IG followers, like you can on Facebook. This is a development we feel would be a nice addition to Instagram targeting.

Further Updates to Leads Forms

Meta have recently announced their most significant overhaul for Leads Ads this year, offering ‘custom’ forms. This is a further development from previous Meta ads updates including Lead Filtering (asking additional qualifying questions) and then Gated Content (allowing users to download resources directly from Facebook).

Custom forms option for Leads Ads in Meta - Paid Media News

These ‘custom’ forms allow advertisers to completely tailor the look and feel of their lead form, which provides more opportunities to showcase product benefits and imagery, social proof as well as incentives.Tailoring options for showcasing products on Leads Forms in Meta.

Whilst we have seen some advertisers struggling to return to their former glory on Facebook Ads (more specifically conversion-optimised campaigns), many have found great success in using Lead Ads in their strategy.

Keeping users on Facebook, and retaining their data can be key, making the rollout of features such as this a noteworthy development. Moreover, combining the Conversion Leads optimisation could be instrumental in capture highly qualified leads.

Paid Media Services to Enhance your 2023 Strategy

Are you looking to up your Paid Media game in 2023? We’d love to help you get there! Tweet us upriseUPSEM, email hello@upriseup.co.uk , or simply send us a message through our contact page, and we can discuss taking your Paid Media to the next level in the New Year.




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