Q1 has already been eventful for the PPC industry, with several big changes coming down the pike for Facebook in the coming months, plus new offerings in the AdWords’ interface, LinkedIn released video ads for all advertisers, and Facebook’s updated interface, among other changes.
So what will happen in Q2? Our team put together a list of our predictions below.
I’m expecting to see Facebook continue to have a tumultuous few months. With the increased social pressure from the fall out of the election and privacy issues, I think we’re going to continue to see a number of changes that could impact advertisers. Facebook has removed the ability to see Audience Insights into Custom Audiences after a privacy flaw was found within the tool, which is highly unfortunate as this is a very powerful tool for advertisers that we’re not going to be able to access for an indeterminate amount of time. I’m hoping that over the course of the quarter Facebook will get it’s privacy problems sorted out so we’ll be able to access this tool and other previously removed features again, but honestly, I’m not holding my breath.
I’m expecting that we will see more restrictions on user data that advertisers are able to access due to privacy concerns, especially on Facebook.
As a huge Amazon user, I’m interested to see the additional services and partnerships that this giant comes up within Q2. Where I live, we have 2 hour Amazon delivery and the Whole Foods delivery program. With services like Uber and Lyft, I think the sky is the limit on what retail giants could rollout to be competitive with Amazon and that could have reverberations into eCommerce.
My favorite channel for social, LinkedIn, made some big strides already this year with the ability to now edit Sponsored Content (Hallelujah!!) and just last week they announced that their video ads are now out of beta and available to all advertisers. I am still super hopeful that LinkedIn will roll out a lookalike audience feature in 2018 that is similar to Facebook’s tool, so I would love to see this in Q2.
Similar to what my colleagues have predicted (and already been right about) when it comes to the fallout with Facebook’s data and privacy fallout, Apple has also been in hot water about smartphone usage for children. I’m really interested to see if there are any changes in mobile usage rates and how this may impact how we measure offline conversions and their importance in our industry.
We’ve seen Google continue to try to take on Amazon and get a bigger piece of the retail pie. While they are sticking with big box brands right now, I believe they will keep expanding to include mid-sized retailers. I also expect to continue to see the push toward Google Express in shopping ads (seen below) as well as via Google Personal Assistant Devices and other Google channels such as Google Play or Google Music.
As Facebook deals with the fallout around recent controversies, they’ll be pulling back on the data advertisers can see and potentially take away some targeting criteria. This may extend to other platforms as well, as user privacy becomes a more visible issue. I think that we will also see AdWords continuing to roll out features only available in the new UI to encourage advertisers to switch.
I really hope to see both Facebook and AdWords addressing usability issues in their new interfaces. I’d also love to see LinkedIn make lookalike audiences available to all.
Facebook’s recent issues and impending changes are certainly top of mind going into Q2. Situations like these are good reminders of the importance of channel diversification. Although Facebook’s (soon to be previous) targeting capabilities were unmatched, advertisers need to focus on driving targeted traffic from various other streams. Quora, for example, has been rolling out new audience targeting options left and right lately, and although it tends to be a lower volume platform it can help supplement with very qualified leads.