Paid media predictions for 2023

Jan 3rd, 2023

The story of the last five years of paid search, and paid media more generally, has been a growing obfuscation of important data – from keywords to demography and many more – and an increasing push from large advertising platforms to ‘trust’ the better judgement of their machine learning.

These trends are unlikely to reverse in the coming year, but it will be interesting to see what impact the economic and political headwinds faced by some of the tech giants (and the privacy movement) will have on their ad offerings and whether increased reliance on machine learning – which requires as much experience as manual ads ever did to achieve the best results – will push more ad spend to platforms that offer a greater degree of control.

2023 will see brands facing growing CPAs – some brands will be bringing paid media in-house without the necessary expertise, some will face an increase in exposure to irrelevant, or low commercial intent queries due to an over-exposure to machine learning. This will obviously reduce conversion rates and increase the cost of leads and conversions and could possibly reduce trust in paid media in general. Brands will need to ensure they can trust their providers to be on top of developments to keep costs low and returns high.

Shoppable ads are growing in prevalence across social media, and they’re likely to see greater adoption in 2023 as brands aim to reduce friction from ad to purchase.

Google Search has been the main target for ad spend for more than a decade and although this is unlikely to change, 2023 could see brands shifting an increasing amount of their budget to other channels and platforms. Between economic anxieties, the growing offering of Microsoft and challenger search engines and general dissatisfaction with some Google changes, brands will be looking to get the most for their ad-spend and this might see them looking away from the main platform to get it.

It’s also likely to be another big year for Performance Max which has grown massively over the last 6 months (specifically since Shopping transitioned to Pmax only). Brands will need to focus on the following to take full advantage:

  • Asset Group segmentation to provide the most specific assets for your products to perform.
  • Use available third-party reporting to try and understand what’s driving performance and to discover if focus needs to be on video assets or imagery.
  • Work on margin-level segmentation where possible and build a feed which can dynamically provide these margin categories.

I will always defer to our experts in paid media matters – it’s an area I have always needed to keep up with more and learn more about. Still – as far as my tuppence-worth goes – I’d suggest that there’s a coming audio revolution in digital advertising.

Although the pivot to video has almost become a cliché in digital marketing, a pivot to audio (specifically using Google’s audio ads) to target low visual YouTube creators – podcasters, for example, which may be ‘watched’ without being watched, could reduce costs for advertisers on YouTube and increase effectiveness for advertisers seeking to reach podcast audiences.

In addition, should these ads find broader acceptance, it could power further growth in audio only advertising through podcasts which offer highly engaged and generally very specifically targeted audience access.

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