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This week’s PPCChat discussion centered around “Trust in Ad Platforms” sparked by Google Ads’ decision to halt credit card payments for some advertisers. Here is the screencap of the entire session hosted by Julie F Bacchini.

Q1: Have you heard about Google Ads moving a set of advertisers off of credit card billing? If so, what are your thoughts on this? For reference, here is a write-up at Search Engine Roundtable on the topic:

Yes! We received notice for several clients, larger spending accounts. @MenachemAni

Aside from credit card points, clients typically use cards that give cash back on ad spend, so they can be losing out on 3-5% cashback. @MenachemAni

I have heard of this, and it doesn’t seem quite right to me. so many small businesses, particularly in their first two years, really need that agile, revolving credit to kickstart activity. Seems like a gift to meta. @JuliaVyse

I find this so interesting!I stated elsewhere that this seems to me a way for Google Ads to save the credit card fees (thus far these notifications have been going to larger accounts). AND it will give revenue a bump with those savings…@NeptuneMoon

I’ve seen folks say they received notifications for smaller accounts too. ( @MenachemAni

I feel like I’m the only one who is more on the side of it being a positive (protecting brands from shady agencies) than anything else. Is it annoying that some folks will loose that cash back? Sure. Is it a thing to riot over…I don’t really think so. @navahf

When it starts hitting smaller advertisers this will be a big deal. Many small biz use credit cards as cash flow management and de facto lines of credit. Taking that away will have an impact on spend. @NeptuneMoon

What’s more interesting is that people seem to be up in arms over this vs the glitches where Google actually over spends. @navahf @MenachemAni

So on the question of trust – Google is giving folks over a month to get payments sorted – I remember when they rolled out verification and it was an annoyance that we all grumbled about. I would have been a lot more angry if the option was just taken away without the time to change over billing. @navahf

Well, they want to get paid. a short grace period helps that actually happen. Collections take fees too.@JuliaVyse

I’ve heard of this but I didn’t quite realize Google is forcing this onto advertisers. I incorrectly assumed it was optional. @JulianPhillip

Also – there was a great point regarding Amex and how they made a big push to get people to pay for Google ads with Amex. The credit card processing fees (and higher ones) are just as much to “blame” as Google. @navahf

A month is not that long in business terms. Most companies are net 30.I think they could have had a longer transitional period. Ginny said this was rolling out to “some advertisers” but the details were limited on scope and timing. @NeptuneMoon

Yes – I wrote about it, but what I’d really appreciate is also commenting on my poll about whether advertisers will stop spending because of this update –[…]558123106304-sU39?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop  @TheMarketingAnu

I am in no way carrying water for credit card companies… but lots of businesses use them to pay for stuff. @NeptuneMoon

Originally it sounded like enterprise-only. @navahf

I kept getting the following: It’s only for customers in specific service + support segments. @MenachemAni

I agree that this isn’t necessarily something to get our pitchforks out for, but I do know that this will be an issue for our smaller clients who rely on their credit cards for managing their cash flow. @adwordsgirl

That it will impact smaller folks is interesting. @navahf

So @TheMarketingAnu put out a really great poll in response to this about whether folks would move off Google and the resounding answer was no. @navahf

I think the timing and method go hand in hand. It’s not like trust is building, quite the opposite. not a good moment to make a sudden, mandatory change. @JuliaVyse

@navahf that is what I thought/heard/read initially as well. Larger orgs are better equipped to deal with a fast change like this (and they also have the clout to take their time paying Google vs. little businesses). Smaller businesses will be hit hard if this goes across the board. @NeptuneMoon

Amazon, Microsoft, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snap, Meta, Instagram, and Reddit are all options. @navahf

My Dad is a rancher and sells his grass-fed beef directly to customers. He also owns a greenhouse/nursery. He has always talked about the 3% processing fee and how it cuts into his profits. This feels like Google trying to save that 2%-3% cost by going to direct bank transactions. If you multiply that percentage across their revenue, it’s A LOT of money. Enough to beat analysts predictions for another quarter perhaps. @robert_brady

I honestly believe Google is trying to find any way to eek out more revenue and this does take away the credit card fees from their income. Unfortunately, this does impact smaller advertisers and is another example of Google just not caring. I know folks say just don’t use Google, but they are the best/biggest game in town for most. @lchasse

Listen @lchasse those cushions are not going to shake themselves! @NeptuneMoon

Some of our clients received these notices. It’s annoying but no one is going to leave Google. At least no one that matters to Google’s contribution margin. If you’re replying on a credit card for cash flow, you’re the dictionary definition of a “negative customer avatar” for Google. @AlexMakarski

I do hope it makes other ad platforms more attractive in comparison and that they take away some market share from Google by being better / more caring. I’ve been looking for Bing… ahem… Microsoft to do something but they’ve only been making things worse @AlexMakarski

I’ve actually seen a lot of good from Microsoft, but their rules of engagement are slightly different and I know they’re going aggressive on the Audience Network. MSN and Outlook are frustrating budget hogs that get in the way of great placements. @navahf

Also, I just thought about this: Have we considered insurance for all of this?In Canada, business chequing accounts are not insured like credit cards are. I’m not sure how it works in other parts of the world, though. @adwordsgirl

So shameless funny plug: one of the reasons Optmyzr bills itself as PPC Insurance is because of all the protections it helps people do for their ad accounts – as well as the integration with Cheq for click fraud. @navahf

But yea – there should be formal business insurance for accounts if all ad accounts will have to go through the bank @navahf

I don’t think it’s a great thing, especially w/ the timing. Getting any enterprise client to completely re-jigger billing and POs in 45 days. @DigitalSamIAm

Oh, that’s interesting @navahf I didn’t know that about Optmyzr – that’s amazing! @adwordsgirl

Q2: How is your overall trust in ad platforms these days? What influences your trust in an ad platform?

My trust has always been skeptical with all the ad platforms. Because the interests of an ad platform and the interests of advertisers are never fully aligned. They can’t be. So I am very much trust, but verify when it comes to ad platforms. @NeptuneMoon

I have the luxury of being involved with several: @navahf
Google: 6.5/10
Microsoft: 9/10
Amazon: 9/10
Meta: 4.5/10
TikTok: 5/10
Reddit: 0/10
LinkedIn: 7/10

I have a pretty cynical view of all these platforms. I work with amazing people at Google, and other platforms. But the co’s themselves, do not have you or your clients’ best interest in mind. @JuliaVyse

We really need to define what we’re trusting them to do.#1 Do I trust these platforms (most of which are large, publicly traded corporations) to act in the best interest of their shareholders? 100% yes.#2 Do I trust them to act in the best interest of advertisers? 100% yes, as long as it aligns with #1 above.If acting in the best interest of an advertiser hurts revenue? Then things start to look more like  @navahf‘s comment above. @robert_brady

And at least in Canada, it looks as though our audiences feel the same: @JuliaVyse

Amazon and Microsoft get big boosts for me because I have the luxury of getting to connect with product managers and understanding what they’re building and why. The reason Google is a 6.5 is I’m including Youtube in there which means they get the boost. @navahf

I’ve always been skeptical of ad platforms, but since our BM hacking 2 years ago, my trust has been in the toilet for ad platforms, especially meta. @adwordsgirl

Honestly, not very good. They are public companies where they care #1 about their revenue and if things work out for advertisers as well, that is great. There is a lot of pressure from shareholders to increase their portfolios vs. helping advertisers reach more and the “right” customers. The key is the right customers, which Google has strayed very far from.I would actually rank Google right with Facebook these days. Microsoft who I have loved has also lost ground with some of the less than honorable things they have done. @lchasse

I retweeted this thread today, but it highlights why trust in platforms, G Ads in particular, is so low. This antitrust case and everything coming to light from inside Google is pretty damning: ( @NeptuneMoon

Part of why tools exist (Optmyzr, Opteo, Truclicks, Adalysis, Fluency, Channable etc.) is that people need a referee between their budgets and the ad platforms. @navahf

And if they don’t want to use tools – scripts are great (and free)  @navahf

I have feelings about how different tools approach the ad platform protection equation (obviously I’m pro Optmyzr but there are others who do good work too), but that’s essentially the path forward these days unless you’re willing to trust ad platform rules and scripts @navahf

Very low for all of them – but in a way, I think it’s more a – why should it ever have been high? Google (and let’s be honest – all the platforms) were never in the business of primarily making money for us. If we make money as a bi-product of them making money – yay! but they have always been about making money for themselves. @TheMarketingAnu

As far as what influences my trust in a platform, I agree with what others have said about platform goals (revenue going up every quarter forever) makes it impossible to trust an ad platform. Their interests will always come before mine/advertisers. And that’s ok – it is how it is. But we need to have our eyes open on this so that we make sure advertisers’ interests don’t get trampled in favor of the platform’s interests as best we can. @NeptuneMoon

Here’s where I struggle: there’s a difference between the Meta advertisers who do the work and put in rules that DON’T DO ANYTHING (because Meta is shady) vs Google advertisers who complain that they have to do work. For example, I had a big LinkedIn debate with folks around using shared budgets with bid caps and people tried to claim that they don’t work because they don’t want to put in a troas or tcpa @navahf

Trust is a two way street – if we complain about everything and don’t do the work, it’s hard to be taken seriously @navahf

For me, the platform is a tool. I try to trust, but I’m always skeptical, though. Ultimately, we do what’s best for our clients. @MenachemAni

You can indeed make money by helping brands make money, however. Google was so good at this, they own that market. The problem is they are a one-trick pony and now have to find other ways to increase revenue and unfortunately, that means making us pay more in CPCs and giving us more garbage placements, etc…@lchasse

Google is more than Google search though. @navahf

YouTube and Demand Gen are valid and meaningful paths to profit – a lot of us are just afraid of video @navahf

Yes, but when you look at their revenue, most (too much probably) is from Ads. @lchasse

That said consent is important and we shouldn’t be forced into placements we’re not ready for.@navahf

Which is a totally valid trust issue @navahf

Inventory has been the main problem in display since the beginning. The big shift that I’ve seen is that non-practitioners have bought into the long tail of placements in a way that they didn’t when I was starting out. @ferkungamaboobo

You had to tell them that “well your audience was there” before — now I spend a lot of time going “no, that’s junk, let’s clean it out, it really isn’t doing what you think it is” @ferkungamaboobo

All of the platforms are seriously worried about data loss and privacy regulations and what that will do to their revenue. As they should be, honestly. We are in the transitionary period where they are trying to hold on to past revenue streams and methods while trying to develop the path forward at the same time and are sometimes forcing buy-in for that new path. @NeptuneMoon

Q3: Which platforms do you find most and least trustworthy and why?

Meta is easily the worst – between reporting issues, overspending, conversion tracking black boxes….it’s a nightmare. @navahf

Ultimately, I’ve found that you can trust the folks at Google. At least I have someone I can speak to. With Meta, there is no one available for us to speak with, so I trust them less. @MenachemAni

Google is a story of product manager and luck of the draw – sometimes you get the best people ever with really good advice…other times not so much. @navahf

Before all of the antitrust information came out, I would have said Meta, hands down.And I am sure the sausage is made similarly at all the platforms, but seeing in writing and hearing testimony from top Google Ads execs the shady things they engage in REALLY eroded trust for me.Having things we have long suspected were happening proved true was jarring. And not something they will just bounce back from. @NeptuneMoon

Google and FB are the least trustworthy that I deal with personally. Amazon is extremely trustworthy.@MenachemAni back when I had a dedicated rep for my agency, I would agree with you about Google. I still have a rep for Microsoft, but now Google is just sales reps who I have to speak with, which are not gonna sugar coat it, but garbage. Spotify, Disney/Hulu, Microsoft are kind of in the middle. Again, my perspective for my clients. @lchasse

One thing I found interesting is that Google demonetizes individual pages/videos vs whole sites/channels. So from a budget allocation standpoint, I would really love to know exactly how many pages/videos are demonetized on visual placements. @navahf

This is tough for me, as all the platforms have serious issues. But I’ll say Meta is the least trustworthy, particularly here in Canada. With Amazon and Google roughly equal in trustworthiness. @JuliaVyse

I second (or third) Meta being the least trustworthy platform — there are so many black boxes, and it is nearly impossible to get support when something goes wrong. At least I have support from Google that is actually usually helpful and human. @revaminkoff

So it’s funny. @navahf

We all complain about Google but ultimately we know that Meta is worse – I feel like we still have hope that Google can be better so the complaints come from love. vs the silent burn of hating on meta @navahf

They are all crap. I used to complain about Google until I stepped into programmatic. @AlexMakarski

@navahf I just feel like Meta doesn’t care about our feedback / hasn’t expressed any contrition or desire to make anything better. @revaminkoff

@navahf I wish we had a Ginny for Meta! Ginny might not be able to change things herself at Google, but at least we have someone taking concerns and feedback to the product teams there. @NeptuneMoon

Lol, @AlexMakarski the world of programmatic is scary! @lchasse

@AlexMakarski always here for some good old fashioned Criteo hate! @JuliaVyse

As digital marketers, to survive in our profession, we had to become the most cynical, suspicious, jaded bunch, when it comes to each network, while somehow remaining optimistic about things in general. @AlexMakarski

Yeah, Meta is probably worse, because they do not even pretend to care! Zero support and they don’t even pretend or say they listen to feedback. @lchasse

This is why I lean so heavily into Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. @navahf

It’s the product folks there and how much I know they actually do care about making lives better for their customers (even if their bosses might step in and force some changes) @navahf

Platforms are on a collision course with data regulation. The EU is leading the way, but there are 18 state level laws coming into play here in the US. Platforms are, as the kids say, shook…@NeptuneMoon

@NeptuneMoon I don’t know if Meta is capable of having a Ginny. @navahf

But if they did it would be Akvile @navahf

@navahf Oh, I don’t think it will ever happen, but it is a nice thought. @NeptuneMoon

I honestly trust Microsoft the least. @DigitalSamIAm

Right now? META. I’m late to chat because I’m in the middle of an issue with them disabling one of my client accounts and we want to run a campaign but can’t because we’re playing “BS Meta Rep Bingo” — They hide the chat button randomly, but I don’t think its because of chat or call “volume” – I think its how much you spend. That decides whether you see the button or not. I checked another client account spending more and there’s a chat button…@timmhalloran

in the midst of annoyance (can you tell?) @timmhalloran

The only reason Meta is still viable is Instagram. @navahf

@DigitalSamIAm Okay, I am very interested in why now, lol. @lchasse

@timmhalloran the chat thing is related to spend. I’ve found it always on for me, but only sometimes on for coworkers assigned to fewer accounts. it’s so stupid. @JuliaVyse

I concur with the chats above though! I’d normally think out my answer but I’m seeing red. Two random issues in one day. *sigh. @timmhalloran

I look at platform health and mostly placements for “trust.” @ferkungamaboobo

  • Twitter: Trashfire. Wouldn’t trust that a real human saw an ad for a meaningful millisecond.
  • Amazon: Fiiiine i guess, avoid the display units because they don’t make sense from a user platform. Video is intriguing, but you’re dealing with brand-building there, not performance. But very few levers to pull when you don’t own the whole platform for the client.
  • Facebook: An extremely high amount of trash, but your core audience can still be there.
  • Instagram: I don’t have experience from the user side, but people are definitely still on it.
  • Reddit: Stop trying to make fetch happen, some okay communities but I’d hit those demos other ways to avoid the shudder-inducing stuff.
  • Microsoft: Audience network is grim. Search ads are fine, whatever – shopping is low-quality in my experience but otherwise it’s just low-volume. The user experience can be really rough and manipulative.
  • YouTube: separating out because ufdah its got some amazing placements mixed in with horrific, MFA, and spam.
  • GDN: is the juice worth the squeeze? almost always not.
  • Programmatic: lol. lmao.
  • Taboola: LOL. LMAO.
  • Hulu: I feel they overplay their demographics, but I had good experience because of how we used it. Wonder how their self-serve stuff is going if at all.
  • Yandex & Baidu: Ooof – it’s one of those “gosh if only” situations w/r/t supporting those locations. When I used it (over a decade ago) it was an effective Google Search Ads clone
  • Google Search: Ignoring discovery/pmax, which I feel violates separation of networks, it’s fine overall. Because they’re the monopoly player, it’s just living in their world.

Couple more single-network stuff:

  • NPR: Amazing digital coverage, impressive sales materials, have never gotten a client to say yes even though I think they were the most obvious choice for a lot of companies i’ve worked with – politics tends to get in the way.
  • CBS Affiliates: Good reporting, the reps i worked with were super-nice (Boston area). Wish they were more transparent on what’s really working — they were pushing their app really hard at the time and couldn’t back usage via anecdotes.
  • NBC affiliates: More tech-savvy, which meant more willing to be a bit… idk shady about exactly where stuff ran. But with a little pressure could pull some really helpful stats for our client. (Boston area as well)

I’d honestly say it’s Google I trust the most. At least I know and can pretty much predict the shady stuff they are pulling. It doesn’t mean the trust level is high – but it’s the one that no one knows what their practices are that you should really be wary of. @TheMarketingAnu

My thing is that EVERYONE is lying about their numbers. @ferkungamaboobo

What have you done, @NeptuneMoon You asked media buyers to bitch about platforms. There will be no end to it, ever. @AlexMakarski

It is a million degrees here in PA, so why not light it up? @NeptuneMoon

Baidu: “If you know the right local government official to bribe, you can have your account live in 3 weeks!” @timmhalloran

Mm. I didn’t have that experience but it was a long time ago. @ferkungamaboobo

Added some tv networks I can remember my experience with @ferkungamaboobo

@ferkungamaboobo re your NPR comment. I have the same problem but on the opposite end of the political spectrum. Clients refusing to give their nickels to a network that may be supportive of a certain former president. @AlexMakarski

Mm. Have extremely rarely seen that in the wild, personally. They might want to check on well, most major ad platforms’ political donations. Happy to talk with them about ways to avoid that though! @ferkungamaboobo

@navahf I agree that Instagram is doing a lot of the heavy lifting at Meta, but honestly, they’ve got a dark horse with Marketplace. It’s become what Ebay was a long time ago (the internet garage sale where you can still find hidden gems for a good price and buy direct from sellers without a middleman taking a cut) @robert_brady

TikTok shops is pretty great too! @navahf

Q4: What could ad platforms do to regain and/or build more trust with advertisers and PPC pros in your opinion?

Communicate! Lack of trust comes from fear and resentment which almost always are due to misunderstandings or misrepresentation. If we are told what is happening and why, we tend to be reasonable. @navahf

Honestly not sure. for Meta they’d need to walk back some positions. They got in a fight with our gov and when you declare an ultimatum, it’s hard to find a way to solve from there. @JuliaVyse

The reason Google isn’t a trash heap of hate and mobs storming the castle is Ginny Marvin communicating and providing understanding. Microsoft has the Friends of Microsoft call which shares access to product folks and lets us give feedback. Amazon has some of the most involved product managers I’ve ever met (and a great tech evangelist in Dave Katz) @navahf

Could not agree more @navahf on communications! Google is so bad at it. A lot of the problems could be helped with clear communication that addresses issues or changes from an advertiser point of view, not a stockholder or Wall Street analyst dog and pony show point of view. @NeptuneMoon

This is tough. A lot of angles you have to take into account. The reality is they have to build trust while also increasing shareholder value. Less marketing speak and more honest dialogue would be a great start. Communication with your advertisers and not just the popular kids. Our industry can be very clickish where a small group of “popular” folks get a lot of information and everyone else has to get information second or third-hand. The other big one is just simple support. Getting help when advertisers need it would be huge (and not from sales reps Google). @lchasse

I think across the board, bring us in. Communicate more, make your products make more sense. The GML sessions were good, I actually had a good chat with a PMax product team about music licensing. @JuliaVyse

They’d have to fundamentally change their business. The DSPs are all using the same core principles that do not hold up under any 3rd-party scrutiny. @ferkungamaboobo

I love that Google has Ginny in the role of community liaison – my hope is that the people in charge of product development, policy, etc. listen to our feedback.I don’t expect them to never do anything we don’t like, but aside from complaining, I think the community provides great feedback. @MenachemAni

I would also LOVE to see a platform, any platform, really, truly address smaller advertisers’ needs. @NeptuneMoon

@DigitalSamIAm What can Microsoft do to win back your trust. @navahf

I still want to find out what they did to get you mad. @navahf

Most folks don’t just complain but offer ideas/suggestions (most of the time from what I see anyway). I know a lot of folks don’t want to get on the bad side of the platforms, because of their relationships, but we have to be honest when they are hurting brands. @lchasse

Get advertisers involved when they are about to do a product update – BEFORE the update gets released. Run more advertiser research and focus groups. @TheMarketingAnu

@TheMarketingAnu and not just the massive ones, lol. @lchasse

It is also so simple, but an attitude of working hand in hand with people who manage ad accounts on behalf of others would also go a long way. I know they do with giant agencies and brands, but there are so many opportunities to turn out an army of recruiters for their ad platform usage. Rather than grudging users. It would be huge. @NeptuneMoon

Reps who care about and are assigned to our whole businesses, not just one client. Also much less rep bingo or musical chairs.  @revaminkoff

I’ll just point out one issue for the big 2 (there’s more) and both revolve around support. Looking at this on a macro scale, it’s probably not as big as legal considerations but it’s still up there. Google: In-house & Agency alike hate the “musical chairs” of new ad reps every 3 months. If you’re an admin on your agency’s MCC, then you get emails & phone call from all your managed accounts (3x19x3 if I’m lucky). Improve this by cycling reps less, decrease overhead by funneling multiple accounts into a rep that can handle an agency portfolio. We have entire spreadsheets right now to keep track of reps across accounts. Facebook: Same thing. Except I’d say just ditch your entire “Marketing Pros” sales arm, and invest in Chat/Phone Support that can actually “support” your advertiser base. Facebook Support is abysmal. Like, since 2010, I don’t remember it being this bad. I mean, it’s reaaaally bad. @lchasse

Transparency: For example, tell me where my ads are showing up on what words / for what audiences.  @revaminkoff

 Also, communicate – it would’ve been great if we had a heads up on the payment methodology changing front, for example. @revaminkoff

 @revaminkoff Yes to better notification. @NeptuneMoon

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