The Biggest Learnings from Paid Advertising in 2023

Reflecting on the biggest paid advertising changes and trends, this blog post summarises the biggest takeaways from 2023 to help you plan for a successful 2024.

In the world of digital marketing, the year 2023 proved to be a transformative period for paid advertising, unveiling new trends and strategies that reshaped the landscape for advertisers worldwide. As businesses navigated the evolving terrain of Google Ads and Social Media, significant revelations emerged, altering the way advertisers approached their campaigns.

In today’s post, we explore how 2023 shaped PPC/Google Ads and Social Media, highlighting the impact of Smart Bidding, understanding the user journey through Google Analytics 4, and the imperative need to keep pace with Google's ever-evolving best practices. We’ll also dive into the resurgence of Social Media advertising in 2023, and how to maximise these channels in the face of some common stumbling blocks and limitations that can impact results.

Google Ads - 2023 Learnings

Smart Bidding Alone is Not Enough

In 2023, Google's Smart Bidding algorithm continued to revolutionise paid advertising, ushering in an era of automation and data-driven decision-making. Advertisers found themselves relinquishing some control, prompting the need to be savvier in campaign creation. The key takeaway? Control what you can control. The success of campaigns now hinges on understanding the balance between automation and manual adjustments. Failing to do so risks wasting a substantial budget

GA4 Shows the Breadth of Google Ad Strategies

While understanding the user journey has always been crucial, the advent of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) brought a new level of insight. GA4's capabilities compared to Universal Analytics (UA) make acquiring data on the full user journey easier than ever. This newfound understanding revealed that the impact of Google Ads strategies extends far beyond the immediate conversion. Lead generation and eCommerce clients, in particular, experienced a performance boost of up to 50% when considering the broader impact on other channels, especially Direct.

Google's Best Practices Are Evolving Faster Than Ever

Staying up-to-date with Google's Best Practices has always been a cornerstone of successful advertising. However, in 2023, technological advancements accelerated the rate of change. Advertisers found themselves needing to adapt quicker to the evolving landscape, making it crucial to stay informed and agile in the face of regular updates.

Social Ads - 2023 Learnings

Social Media Advertising is Back

Social media advertising made a strong comeback in 2023 after grappling with challenges posed by changes in cookies and tracking capabilities. These changes initially made it difficult to understand user intent and dampened the effectiveness of social media channels. However, as these platforms adapted to the new landscape in 2023, we have observed (and demonstrated) the ability to consistently and profitably drive results.

Human Intervention & Expertise are Required for Success

While social media channels tout their AI algorithms, advertisers discovered that they need to "hold the hand" of these platforms more compared to Google. This underlines the importance of advertisers taking an active role in setting up and maintaining control over targeting and creatives on social media. Unlike Google's Smart Bidding, social media channels require more hands-on management to ensure optimal performance.

Casting a Wide Net is Key

For those venturing into the realm of social media advertising, 2023 reinforced the importance of starting with a wide net. Despite the temptation to narrow down audience targeting immediately, advertisers found that beginning with broader audiences proved more effective, particularly for new accounts. As the account matures, strategic testing of various audience segments can be undertaken to refine targeting based on real-world data.

Wrapping Up On 2023

Advertisers who embraced these changes and adapted their strategies accordingly were better positioned to navigate the dynamic landscape and drive meaningful results for their businesses. As we move forward, staying agile and informed will remain paramount in the ever-evolving world of paid advertising.Overall, the paid advertising landscape in 2023 changed a lot, and was marked by a shift towards automation. Despite the conveniences offered by AI and automation, the need for human intervention and advertiser expertise remains paramount, as does the importance of holistic data analysis.

Looking to grow your business online in 2024? Speak to a member of our Paid Advertising team

Call us on 0161 402 3170 or contact us via the form below to see how we can help. If you're looking for some examples of our expertise and insights, you can also Request a Free Digital Marketing Audit.

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