As the horizon of 2024 slowly comes into sight, the tides are shifting in digital marketing, and marketers must adapt to new strategies to navigate the changes as they come. Because we’re always looking (and thinking) ahead here at BFO, we wanted to round up some of our key predictions that highlight the direction of paid media in the new year, particularly focusing on Google and Meta's evolving advertising platforms. We’re not making any promises on these predictions, but our educated guesses have us feeling pretty confident!
Google's Evolution: Signals Over Keywords
Google, the behemoth of online search and advertising, is set to undergo significant changes in its approach to paid media. The days of tight keyword control are waning as Google pivots toward custom audiences, themes (integrated into Performance Max campaigns), broad keywords, feeds, Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs), Pmax, and Demand Gen campaigns. The emphasis is now on Signals and Automation, ushering in a new era where automated bidding and broad targeting take precedence over narrow targeting.
Audience Expansion for Display
One notable shift is the increased importance of audience expansion for display campaigns. Instead of relying solely on keywords, marketers should embrace a strategy that leverages custom audiences and broad targeting. This move towards a more automated and signals-driven model is aimed at enhancing campaign efficiency and effectiveness.
The Meta Shift: Adapting to the Phasing Out of Targeting
Parallel to Google's changes, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is slowly phasing out traditional targeting methods. This transition is evident in their gradual elimination of detailed targeting options over the years. The introduction of advanced automatic placements and campaigns centered around automated audiences indicates a clear move away from manual targeting.
Robust SQR + Negative Keyword Strategy
In light of these changes, marketers must emphasize the importance of a robust Search Query Report (SQR) and negative keyword strategy. With less reliance on manual targeting, understanding how users find and interact with your ads becomes crucial. Negative keywords play a pivotal role in refining ad reach and ensuring that campaigns are shown to the most relevant audiences.
The Rise of Predictive Audiences
Lookalike, Similar, and Predictive Audiences are poised to become even more critical in the advertising landscape. Meta's ongoing audience purges underscore the importance of utilizing Lookalike audiences to reach users most likely to engage with content and convert. Building audiences based not only on site traffic, but also on specific site actions and events, is essential.
Google's Similar Audience targeting through Google Discovery, integrated into GA4, adds another layer of sophistication. Programmatic advertising takes it a step further by enabling Predictive audiences, allowing marketers to target users with the highest likelihood of completing desired actions on their websites.
Testing Without Limitations
A key takeaway from these developments is the importance of testing without limitations on algorithms and audiences. Our biases can inadvertently hinder campaign success and learning potential. Marketers must embrace the full capabilities of automated systems and be willing to explore uncharted territories to unlock the true potential of predictive and lookalike audiences.
As we stand before 2024, the world of paid media is undergoing a transformative shift. Google and Meta's evolving strategies demand that marketers reassess their approaches and embrace the era of signals, automation, and predictive targeting. The key to success lies in adaptability and a willingness to test new strategies without preconceived limitations. By staying current with these changes and incorporating predictive audience targeting, marketers can navigate the evolving landscape and take control of new opportunities for campaign success in the coming year.
Looking to grow your business through the (ever-changing) power of paid media? Reach out to Be Found Online today and let’s talk about how we can future-proof your paid efforts!
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Scott began his career in digital marketing after setting out to join a small business right out of college. Scott was excited to join BFO when they acquired his startup in 2016 and has enjoyed making an impact on a larger scale ever since.
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