January 2021 is the kickstart for a new year of rising opportunity, in the hopes that we can build on our foundations and push for success. Those foundations supported by platform improvements to aid us towards our targets and help maintain balance when faced with unsettling uncertainty, such as the introduction of iOS 14.
1. Google Ads
1.1 – Data Exclusion Periods For Smart Bidding
There have been times when a business has to work around troubles with stocking, warehouse capacity, and even periods of server outage, which can skew data consistency. When it comes to something as data-dependent as smart bidding, this can cause a real issue in assuming false assumptions in demand. Fortunately, you can now exclude a range of time where your tracking may have been down, so that smart bidding doesn’t take into account that period of misleading data. Whilst it’s a shame this wasn’t available last year when we needed it most, at least we can be more prepared going forward.
1.2 – Target ROAS Now With Bid Limits
Recently, we have seen changes to our Target ROAS campaigns, allowing us to set minimum and maximum bid limits, which wasn’t previously available. It’s a very welcome addition; we’ve had our share of smart bidding anomalies with a CPC so high, you start questioning Google’s strategy. The support documents for tROAS campaigns have been updated to include this new feature.
1.3 – Similar Audiences Come With A Size
Whilst opinions may vary for ‘similar to’ audiences, it’s still another tool in our belt for account optimization. You can now view an estimated audience size for these similar audiences, giving you a bit more transparency as you expand your targeting. There are limitations, however, with the estimates only appearing for Search audiences of more than 20,000 and Youtube audiences of more than 5,000.
2. Microsoft Advertising
2.1 – In-market Audiences Now In Beta For The EU Market
In their key product updates blog for January, Microsoft announced that In-market audiences will are available in beta for EU advertisers, with the exception of Belgium. What’s better is that you can import all your In-market audiences from Google with ease as they have updated the import process to accommodate these new changes. More audience options are always a good thing; more data leads to increased optimization.
In addition to the above, Microsoft have expanded the beta for Customer Match audiences to non- UK/EU/China advertisers and said they’re working on a Target Impression Share bid strategy to be released later down the line.
3. Facebook & Instagram
3.1 – Facebook Attribution Window Changes
In October we spoke about the changes to Facebook’s attribution window and how it’ll affect accounts and reporting. This was something that was due to take effect but it seems that for a lot of accounts it was delayed. Only recently have we seen notifications pop up confirming that these attribution changes have taken place. Below is a slightly amended version of what we wrote.
Due to changes in digital privacy, Facebook will be removing the 28-day attribution window option and will instead offer a 7-day window, which they claim is a more sustainable measurement strategy. We can’t stress just how necessary data is for advertising so it’s disheartening news to hear. Any historical account data before these changes will remain. During this transition, you may find your reports showing a downturn in performance, although it’s important to note that this may likely be down to how results are measured.
3.2 – iOS 14
iOS 14 has shaken up Facebook, causing a lot of advertisers to panic. However, it’s not all doom and gloom as according to a leading expert, certain conversions will still be recognized, even if an Apple user decides to opt-out of tracking. You’ll still lose out on a lot of other useful data that will be important to optimizing accounts but Facebook will still at least be able to track purchase or lead conversion events.
Smart bidding and audiences have been the main focus for Google & Microsoft this past month, with new bid limits and data exclusion periods to help compensate for poor results and more audience tools to expand our targeting. Meanwhile, Facebook appears to have timed their attribution window changes in line with iOS 14 permission updates, potentially as a way to mitigate the length of data inconsistency.