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During this week’s PPCChat session, host Julie F Bacchini sought PPCers views on the most exciting and worrisome news in the PPC industry last week and are there any new PPC stories they would like to know more about.

Q1: What PPC news from the last few weeks (or months) has you most excited?

I’m really enjoying the antitrust case with Google. It’s amazing what the threat of perjury will do when it comes to getting straight answers from them. @robert_brady

Ginny shared this earlier today if you hadn’t seen it: @NeptuneMoon

Well, most interesting is the recent launch of generative AI in PMax. @KurtHenninger

Here is Google’s post about AI images in PMax: @NeptuneMoon

@robert_brady The case has been really eye-opening.  Confirms alot of what many of us have suspected in terms of revenue “tweaking” by G Ads. @KurtHenninger

So much of what gets rolled out, particularly by Google is designed for retail/ecomm that it is harder for me to get excited about…I am thoroughly enjoying the Google trial too. Seeing the internal documents (even redacted) has been really interesting and honestly, kind of validating! @NeptuneMoon

I am excited about Demand Gen, I think at least. @runnerkik

I’m still bullish on Demand Gen as a format. It’s more difficult to “prove performance,” but it holds potential to deliver high-quality ad exposure (optimistically more YouTube and Discover than Gmail and Display) @teabeeshell

Not exactly excited, but our local news bill up here is causing a lot of mayhem. Meta has walked away entirely and we’re looking at reducing spend as much as possible. Google is still in talks with the government, but it’s pretty rough. @JuliaVyse

Over on Twitter, Jason Kint is live-tweeting a US Senate hearing on Meta (complete with whistleblower testimony): @NeptuneMoon

To clarify my comment, if Demand Gen behaves and lives up to its expectation of generating demand I’m optimistic as I have clients who only run Google ads and struggle to scale beyond Google. @runnerkik

@runnerkik Google has long wanted a piece of the awareness and demand generation advertising pie. @NeptuneMoon

Hey @runnerkik I’ll have to read up more on demand gen.  To me it just seemed more of a re-hashed version of other products and channels that Google already offered.  But, I didn’t look at it very closely. @KurtHenninger

Which @NeptuneMoon is part of why I say if it lives up to its name… @runnerkik

@runnerkik – Nearly 100% of Google’s “transition” this past year+ has been a massive pivot into demand generation. They have had the demand capture market cornered for two decades, so to continue producing new revenue, they had to force advertisers into that (massive) TOF swatch of inventory. I’m optimistic, for now… @teabeeshell

As an aside, if anyone wants to write up working in Demand Gen or using the new AI tools in PMax, hit me up! Would love those posts on PPC Chat. @NeptuneMoon

I’m glad that in the Travel space we now have the new Travel campaigns. The old way of doing this was rather annoying, so I’m glad they rolled out a campaign type specifically for Google Things to Do listings in Travel. @dan_patterson

@runnerkik– I’m really enjoying Demand Gen, I used to play with discovery if a client had a new product range. I’ve seen some nice performances from certain sectors, but not great on others. I am yet to add a feed though, I plan to test that part next! AFTER Black Friday though unless we have extra money. @Meriem

@Meriem  – from your experience on demand gen, what would you say was the optimal learning timeframe before you started to see positive results? @MeghanFerguson

@MeghanFerguson – It really depends on your audience and the product e.g. Jewellery I’ve not see positive results so ended up pausing after 6 weeks. My Beauty client after the first week and a half-ish, I was seeing a generic level ROAS from direct sales. The difference was, one was US and the other UK and obviously the product. So I’d say it’s very much test & learn, unfortunately, so if you have some budget over Peak, I’d recommend testing, @Meriem

Q2: What PPC news from the last few weeks (or months) has you most worried or concerned?

For me, it’s what is going to come out of the anti-trust case.  What massive changes will come out of it as a result?  Most concerned about some of the info that has come out of the testimony. @KurtHenninger

I mean, I can’t help but think that the margins get smaller and smaller for all advertisers.  I’m not sure that is Google specific but with the lawsuit, we hear out loud what we always knew. @runnerkik

I admit I haven’t been following the case at all… is there a good write-up on it at Search Engine Land or somewhere like that? @dan_patterson

Also, not sure if anyone heard about the executive orders on AI from Biden but essentially it is going to put so many out of compliance. @runnerkik

Amazon is joining the scrutiny party too y’all: @NeptuneMoon

It’s the anti-trust cases, and the lack of competition. I just see a lot of big giants eating up smaller platforms. on the AI thing, I’m not so much worried yet as I am filled with dread. @JuliaVyse

@runnerkik In what way should we be worried about the executive order?  Thanks for the share. @KurtHenninger

Honestly, the continued degradation of keywords really bums me out. @NeptuneMoon

The implied simplicity of using automated tools is what has me concerned. It’s not a job security thing, just that they are powerful and well, autonomous to a degree. Brands who don’t pay attention risk putting a “lesser foot forward” with the ads they serve. It still takes a careful eye to campaign settings, assets generated, and ad exposure through a consumer lens, which Google is not exactly promoting or prioritizing. @teabeeshell

@NeptuneMoon I share that lament, and I find it amusing that they have kept the title of their blog, given that new reality. @teabeeshell

@teabeeshell There is something just so off about turning nearly all decisions about how your campaigns run and who they target over to a platform who’s interests are never fully aligned with those of advertisers. @NeptuneMoon

And I don’t just mean Google for turning control over to platforms. They are all pushing this and have been for a while now in the name of AI. @NeptuneMoon

@NeptuneMoon – I’ve taken solace in developing increasingly high-quality audiences (signals), which is one of the remaining things under control. It’s rewarding to see a new “creation” pan out in terms of performance. It’s different on the Meta and TikTok side. There, creative still remains king, and that’s still a heavy load for many advertisers. Still, it’s within their control. @teabeeshell

@KurtHenninger it adds rules and compliance and confusion as the definition of what is AI is murky and confusing. @runnerkik

Honestly, things have been so busy lately in such a great way that I actually haven’t had time to read up on everything. So right now I am blissfully ignorant lol. @adwordsgirl

@runnerkik I can see that, definitely.  Very muddy guidelines indeed. @KurtHenninger

Platforms use ML (machine learning) and AI (artificial intelligence) interchangeably too, which does not help. @NeptuneMoon

@adwordsgirl  I’m in that same boat! @dan_patterson

I feel a sense of betray from the revelations coming out of the antitrust trial. I’ve always defended Google as a tough but fair solution. Now I’m not so sure and not nearly as confident recommending them to clients. It’s now more a case of “Google is expensive, they’re dodgy but they’re the only game in town. @Pete_Bowen

OpenAI just made some huge announcements yesterday as well.  It’s going to speed up adoption of using it as a tool. @KurtHenninger

Twitter is rolling out AI soon too… apparently it gives crude answers, which should shock no one: @NeptuneMoon

Q3: What do you have the most questions or stress about in PPC right now?

Moving into freelance I sometimes worry our industry is saturated! @runnerkik

Analysing PMax, budgeting Pmax. it’s such a black box we’re just shrugging at each other and trying stuff. nightmare. @JuliaVyse

I’m getting the most questions from clients about rising CPCs. I’ve had some clients for more than a decade and they can clearly see the CPCs going up significantly over that time. @Pete_Bowen

I am on a mission to help clients navigate but still seeing shady tactics of accounts held hostage and wrong metrics being tracked etc. @runnerkik

I don’t know if it is stressing so much as on my mind, but a lot of websites that have “gotten by” up until now are going to have to get better in order to be competitive in the differentiating post-adclick world. Automation is levelling options on the pre-click side of the equation. @NeptuneMoon

It’s being able to provide more granular answers as to “What’s working?”For PMax, specifically, breakdowns of spendand performance are particularly difficult to come by with confidence. When promoting a catalogue (or significant portions of a catalogue), it’s difficult to give straight answers. Clients should be able to conclude, “Product A is selling at 2x the rate of Product B or C, specifically through Google Ads. Therefore, to keep that machine churning, we need to ramp up production of Product A.”It’s stressful to arrive at that conclusion in a fuzzy, shifty way. @teabeeshell

@NeptuneMoon I’ve pivoted my work to be mostly focused on the post-click flow. I agree with you regarding levelling out of the pre-click stuff. @Pete_Bowen

@teabeeshell Agreed that it is disconcerting to not be able to track down performance issues or report on them ad directly as clients (and we!) are used to. It’s such a gigantic shift in the landscape and therefore expectations. Lots of history to pivot from in this case. And all the stuff coming out of the Google case is not helping us to do this. It is undermining trust on all levels, which isn’t fair, but is understandable from a client’s point of view. @NeptuneMoon

GA4 continues to be a deficient product and I don’t see Google putting much effort into improving it. Analytics are suffering and that will have slow ripple effect for months/years. @robert_brady

ARRGGGGG @robert_brady you are SO right. @NeptuneMoon

Also what is really going to happen black Friday is always a concern, there is so much pressure this time of year plus the economy so really it comes down to consumers and that is unpredictable. @runnerkik

Just took on a new client Nov.1st, to support for Black Friday, but then they fired their agency so it’s all on me (surprise!) & we just had a weekly call that didn’t go so well…finding middle ground to meet their expectations is going to be a challenge this month, esp trying to navigate their data in Ads (pmax) & GA4. @AmandaWitucki

Sending you a virtual hug @AmandaWitucki and hit us up if you run into any issues this season! @NeptuneMoon

The economy is a gigantic question mark right now @runnerkik so it is wise to be concerned. All the media coverage is “things are fine” but for many they are not. Prices may have stabilized, but they have not dropped. Credit card and auto loan defaults are at 2008 financial crisis level highs. @NeptuneMoon

My sympathies and best wishes to anyone in ecommerce over this season. I’m lucky enough to specialise in lead generation so we don’t have this once-a-year make-or-break weekend (except for a few tourism clients). @Pete_Bowen

Q4: Are there any PPC new stories that you’d like to know more about?

I’d like to hear stories about YouTube Shorts. Either they:

  1. Actually, deliver break-even or profitable performance, OR
  2. Deliver middling (platform-side) performance and fill TOF.

Basically, I’m looking for more certainty around Shorts as a direct response tactic. Plenty of stories around “Great success!” but few with meaningful detail. @teabeeshell

I’m curious on this too. I have a B2B client in the Public Safety sector that I’ll be testing hopefully by the beginning of next week. TOF is our goal. @KyleGolembiewski

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