Paid Media Predictions for 2023
Paid Media Predictions for 2023: What Can We Expect?
We’re all excited to find out what 2023 will bring for the world of paid media. Our Senior Paid Media Manager, Will, takes us through his paid media predictions for 2023 below. The usual themes have cropped-up, 3rd party cookies, automation, Facebook CPAs… but we’ve also included some charity specific predictions as well and a good dose of helpful hints to carry forward.
More channel diversification
Channel diversification has never been more important. The removal of targeting options in 2022 (and 2021 before), and decline in pixel-based tracking in Facebook, has shown how devastating one platform’s update can be to your campaigns. This impact can be felt even harder in the nonprofit sector, where every penny counts.
We feel the key to success will be through omni-channel marketing, and not simply following the same routine from 2018. We expect charities will be wanting to branch out further and test more opportunities available to them. Paid Search will still be pivotal as a final touch-point, with Facebook still playing a role too. But platforms such as Tik-Tok and LinkedIn, with their alternative targeting methods, present the possibility to open more doors.
Moreover, the available targeting and machine learning capabilities of programmatic display can be extremely powerful too, and even outperform Facebook in terms of direct-conversions in some situations. This year, we’re also expecting a continued expansion into more digital-audio channels such as Spotify, as well as more Connected TV (CTV).
Testing the channel-mix through 2023 will be vital to find the right approach to help you reach your KPI’s. Diversifying your channel mix should also soften the impact of any future platform updates. However, it’s worth noting that without time to properly test, and crucially, effective data reporting and attribution, channel diversification can sometimes fall flat.
We use Google Campaign Manager to report all omni-channel campaigns, and have seen best results doing so, by monitoring journeys, understanding the attribution, and appropriately assigning budget for the greatest impact. By ensuring you properly test and report on your omni-channel activities, you will be able to have confidence in your paid media plan and create a clear strategy to drive your campaigns forward.
Bonus data-analysis tip: Utilise all data sources available to help build up the most accurate picture. When running a Facebook campaign, we aim to compare and report on data from Facebook, Google Analytics (UA and GA4), Campaign Manager and a CRM.
Tik-Tok to become a key player
It’s definitely time to take TikTok seriously. We expect the rise both in terms of its market share against Meta generally and also for advertisers to start planning more TikTok into their advertising budget.
TikTok has evolved far beyond being simple homemade quirky, dance-videos only. It’s now a serious content and message delivery system, where ads can integrate seamlessly into the user’s browsing experience. It’s hard to ignore the growing audience, and simultaneously we expect faith in Facebook and Twitter to decline – opening the door for advertisers to explore TikTok further.
TikTok is also helping alleviate issues with 3rd party cookies, by tapping more into contextual audiences, and the launch of Pulse, which positions branded ads alongside top content creators. Some of the targeting options are still quite limited, especially for reaching some charity-specific audiences (often around more sensitive topics). However, we expect more and more advertising features will continue to roll out too, and amp-up Tik-Toks appeal further.
We also expect TikTok to have a wider impact on paid-social advertising too, with ad content more closely resembling Tik-Tok’s video formats. This includes more ‘reels’ (shorter form content) , and user-generated content (UGC) content. We would recommend factoring this into all future paid-social campaigns.
A passing thought, is that it will also be interesting to see what becomes of BeReal in 2023. Whether the platform will phase out, or continue to grow and mimic the success of TikTok – and eventually develop its own advertising capabilities… maybe one for 2024…
More opportunities and support for charities
With the introduction* of the Microsoft Ads for Social Impact scheme in August and the LinkedIn Ad Grant in 2022, the next year is looking promising for charities. After some initial teething issues with customer support, we’ve already started seeing the benefits for charities who have been awarded the Microsoft Grant.
We’ve also seen more opportunities offered to Google Grants in 2023. We feel this could be as a response to more competition from Microsoft, and LinkedIn to an extent. Regardless of the reasons, we hope to see this trend of growing support for charities and nonprofits continue.
Meta have also steadily released helpful updates for non-profits over the last year or 2, including on-Facebook donations and ‘Fundraiser Challenges’. In the US, a recent update included the ability for recurring on-FB donations which looks very interesting. Whilst we’re uncertain about whether dedicated support for non-profits will be constant, we do expect a steady roll-out of new features in the UK as well as more information and events for non-profits. Look out for their Education Conference later in 2023 too.
*As of Jan 2023, both the Microsoft and LinkedIn schemes have now actually closed to new applicants, due to the high demand. That being said, it seems Microsoft are destined to grow in 2023, especially following their lucrative Netflix deal. With this continued success, we will hopefully see more opportunities for charities to come.
GA4 panic in 6-months time or so…
…well, maybe for some advertisers. To recap, as announced in March, UA will be sunsetted this year. Data collection will stop in June, with access to data stopped from the end of the year.
While we have been helping our clients set up their GA4 accounts since the first announcement, there will many advertisers who have yet to set-up GA4 or come to grips with it. With June fast-approaching – panic stations will hit. If you are reading this in early 2023 and are yet to have implemented GA4, this is your sign to get GA4 ready!
How to prepare for GA4
- We strongly advise starting to use your GA4 properties as much as possible to become familiar with the new interface and also some of the new naming categories. We’ve got a bit of a kick starter on the language differences in our blog.
- It’s imperative to review your conversion tracking as soon as possible, as historic data will become more limited. Ensure tracking is set up which focusses on your key goals and priorities so you can start building a store of good-quality data. We also suggest looking out for data warehousing solutions (for the old UA data). If you’re unsure, please feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be more than happy to help.
- Also, as mentioned in our previous end of year paid media summary, Meta hinted at the death of the Facebook Pixel for conversion tracking. This will be replaced solely by the Conversion API. We expect this will also cause some mild panic amongst advertisers, and a mad rush to get the Conversion API in place, but timings aren’t clear at this stage. We will do our best to keep you updated as we learn more.
Automation won’t take our jobs…yet…
It’s obvious automation and machine-learning features are going to continue to expand at an ever-increasing rate. Digital marketing news-feeds’ are filled with debate around tools like ChatGPT and Performance Max campaigns. I expect the capabilities and effectiveness of automation to continually improve, and in-turn the adoption of said features to increase.
But this rise in sophisticated automated systems does raise some questions…what actually needs to be set-up now and are digital media agencies even required?
As we outlined in our Best and Worst of Automation blog, there are clearly some features better than others. This increase in automation comes with greater complexity, requiring a proper understanding of how they work and how to use them effectively.
Using paid media marketing automation:
- Still requires humans to review the data and assess the impact, whilst providing clear and actionable data analysis reporting.
- It still requires manual adjustments to ensure the settings are optimised, and minimise wastage.
- There still needs to be an effective paid strategy agreed and implemented, with the right channel mix and a clear testing plan.
- Expert knowledge is still required to help with CRO recommendations, as well as technical set-up. For example, ecommerce tracking (using target ROAS strategies) and Conversion API set-up on Facebook.
The point is, automation is a great tool which can be used to help advertisers enhance their campaigns, not replace them.
Rising CPAs on Meta
Increasing cost-per-acquisition. The big elephant in the room. Most advertisers don’t want to hear about rising CPAs on Meta. Yet, this is simply a continuation of trends we have seen over the last few years.
This has been the inevitable fall-out following on from iOS 14 changes and general decline in 3rd party cookies, whereby loss of cookie data has resulted in less precise targeting and worse machine learning. The impact of this has been further compounded as trust in Meta Ads and overall investment has dropped, and popularity of the platform declined too leading to less data.
You may have also noticed rising CPCs and CPMs in your campaigns as a result too. Again, weaker targeting causing less relevant ads, as well as smaller custom audience sizes causing greater competition have played a key role in this.
It’s also worth adding, that CPAs will obviously be higher with less data being reported. Be that in Facebook itself, or even in Google Analytics if website cookies have not been accepted – this doesn’t always mean though that results are poor.
Bonus data-analysis tip #2: It is possible to fairly accurately take cookie-loss into consideration when reporting results though. This can be done by comparing platform clicks vs GA session data, to estimate how much data is being lost, and then multiplying your conversion data by this difference.
Despite keeping CPAs down becoming more challenging, there are strategies on and off the platform which can help. We will run through our top-tips more comprehensively in our next blog.
What are your paid media predictions for 2023?
We’d love to hear your own thoughts on new or continuing trends for paid media in 2023! You can join the conversation by tweeting @upriseUPSEM. If this blog has injected some inspiration for your 2023 paid media strategy, we’d love to hear from you either through our contact page or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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