Innovations in Search and Social [June 2023]

What’s new in the realms of paid search and social media? This month, Robert Kurtz, Basis’ Group VP of Search Media Solutions, and Colleen Fielder, Group VP of Social Media Solutions, compiled all the latest news, trends, and resources for easy access.

Thousands of subreddits went private this month as users protested Reddit’s decision to eliminate free API access for developers, replacing it with a pay-as-you-go model. The protest has seen more than 8,400 subreddits going dark, including major communities like r/funny and r/gaming. While the initial 48-hour blackout is over, some subreddit communities are considering extending the protest indefinitely in response to the company’s dismissive response to user concerns.

Reddit maaaay be in for a fight.

Reddit has introduced new ad options, including Contextual Keyword Targeting, which allows advertisers to associate specific keywords with their brand and reach users engaged in relevant discussions, which expands an advertiser’s reach beyond specific communities. Additionally, Reddit is launching Product Ads, which provide product descriptions, pricing information, and a “Shop Now” call to action, aiming to generate direct shopping activity on the platform.

Google is integrating ads into its conversational generative AI platform, Search Generative Experience (SGE), which allows users to converse with Google about their interests and needs. Google can now insert ads that are tailored to the user’s specific interests into these conversations. For example, if a user discusses plans for a vacation, Google could insert an ad for a travel agency. Some privacy advocates have raised concerns about the move, arguing that it could lead to a bombardment of unwanted ads. However, Google says this is the latest step in its ongoing effort to make its advertising more personalized, relevant, and engaging.

Thanks, Google, don’t mind if we do!

Google Marketing Live focused on artificial intelligence, with various announcements around integrating AI into Google Ads. Conversational AI can now be used to create campaigns within Google Ads, while Google Search Generative Experience will integrate search and shopping ads. Google PMax and Google Product Studio introduced AI-generated assets and images for campaigns, and Google Merchant Center Next will replace the current Merchant Center. Additionally, new features include brand restrictions in broad match, AI in Smart Bidding, and two new campaign types: video views and demand generation. These AI-driven updates aim to provide better automation, control, and time-saving benefits for advertisers.

TikTok has introduced Open Applications, an audition-like process that enables brands to find creators with unique stories and connections to their brand and provide more collaboration opportunities. Brands can filter and screen applicants based on criteria such as demographics, follower count, and relevant experience, as well as invite specific creators to apply. Verification of a TikTok Creator Marketplace account is required to use this feature.

If you’re going to audition, make sure you stand out.

Meta is developing various generative AI tools to stay on top of emerging trends and capitalize on major shifts in technology. One is a new AI chat option on Instagram that allows users to ask questions and receive advice from an AI system within any direct message. This feature aligns with Meta’s goal to incorporate generative AI into social apps and serves as a starting point for more advanced AI functions in the future.

Meta recently introduced updates to its Performance 5 best practices during last week’s Performance Marketing Summit. The framework includes actionable strategies to enhance ad performance, such as simplifying account structure, utilizing automation tools, differentiating creative by audience, utilizing the Conversion API for improved measurement, and implementing Conversion Lift, A/B testing, and marketing mix modeling. Several companies have already seen positive results from implementing these practices, including increased purchases, improved return on ad spend, and reduced acquisition costs.

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