In the End, Will Direct Mail Save Us All?

PLUS: We knew it was coming sooner or later — Meta's new genAI for ads does not have an "Off" toggle

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In Today's Issue

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Google is Having a Bad Day Today

Before we start, a tiny bit of breaking news — literally, breaking, as several parts of Google’s marketing platform appear to be broken — specifically, Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Search Ads 360.

One particular issue — the "Programmatic buyer" dimension is only returning dash ("-") values for some people within completed Ad Manager Historical reports, when you run them via the Ad Manager Reporting UI or Ad Manager API.

Google says they're working on it, but in the meantime there is a workaround: This information can still be obtained within the Ad Manager UI by visiting the associated Order or Proposal.

It does seem like it’s all hands on deck to get these glitches fixed, but if you were experiencing weirdness today, it’s not just you.

Today’s Trivia — Guess and Win!

Each month, we pick someone who guesses in a trivia question and comp them the Premium Newsletter! Just click on any option below:

What significant change did Google make to its video ads in 2023?

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Meta’s Ad “Enhancements” You Can’t Turn Off

Every Friday, we check in with our Meta Ads correspondent Andrew Foxwell. Andrew has visibility into $300 million dollars in Meta ad spend through his Slack community called Foxwell Founders

This week, Andrew and I discuss Meta's new Brand Rights Protection Manager and the rollout of Generative AI in ads.

• Meta's Brand Rights Protection Manager enables rights holders to monitor and report intellectual property infringement and business impersonation.

• Generative AI in Meta's ad platform introduces features like image expansion, background generation, and text variations.

• The lack of control over AI-generated elements raises concerns about brand consistency and off-brand creatives.

• Transparency in metrics and reporting is crucial to evaluate the performance of different AI-generated variations.

00:00 Introduction
00:22 Brand Rights Protection Manager
01:29 Scope of Brand Rights Protection Manager
03:16 Generative AI Announcement
04:16 Image Expansion
05:17 Lack of Control over Generative AI
06:24 Concerns for Brand Managers
07:19 Guardrails and Control
08:26 Metrics and Reporting
09:08 Desired Data Transparency
09:36 Closing Remarks

Be sure to check out Andrew’s Foxwell Founders community of digital ad buyers and his extensive training in the digital ad space.¹

Direct Mail: Is Old Really New Again?

Digital marketing, once hailed for its precise targeting and cost-effectiveness, is facing some challenges heading into this year.

The decline of Google's third-party cookies… Apple's changes… the replacement of targeting toggles with AI — all of which is making ad targeting more difficult. As a result, ad costs are rising and user tolerance for digital ads is decreasing.

But an interesting think piece in Digiday today considers the old lady of marketing: Direct mail, which is gaining traction among B2B, big box retailers, and brands in the home, fashion, financial services, and insurance sectors.

With conversion rates between 1% and 5%, direct mail is proving relatively effective, especially when combined with digital elements like QR codes for better tracking.

Five marketing executives spoke to Digiday for the story said first-party data is becoming more valuable, and innovations in tracking, are enhancing its appeal.

A person’s physical mailbox is valuable real estate…

Impressions from a direct mail campaign can be of better quality than a digital campaign as people are more likely to engage with mail in their home or business, instead scrolling past digital banners and social media sponsored posts.

As the digital ad marketplace gets more crowded, online users may be less likely to engage with a digital banner or sponsored post…

Direct mail campaigns are a way to break through the noise.

The whole piece is worth a read. You’ll find it at Digiday.com — look for the article called In rocky digital advertising landscape, advertisers reconsider direct mail.

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The Help Line: When GA4 and Google Ads Fight

In today’s instalment of the Digital Marketing Help Line, we received this question:

I'm having problems setting up conversion correctly for Google Ads to show up on Google Analytics.

We do lead form submission conversions, and we get the whole Google Ad code from once we set up the account, we put it on the website, it shows that it's firing, but for some reason I'm not sure how to make that show up on Google Analytics.

All our reporting software that pulls the information pulls exactly the same information that we're seeing on Google Ads.

For some help on this, I spoke with Steve Peron, owner and partner of Collective 42.

  • Conversions from Google Ads do not automatically show up in Google Analytics 4 (GA4). They need to be created within GA4 and then imported into Google Ads.

  • To prevent data duplication, deprioritize one of the conversion metrics when using both Google Ads and GA4.

  • Google Analytics 4 has its own privacy settings and attribution windows, which may differ from other platforms.

  • Using Google Analytics 4 as the home base for reporting allows for a comprehensive view of campaign performance across multiple platforms.

00:00 Introduction and Company Overview
01:03 Understanding the Audience
02:13 Setting up Conversions in Google Ads and Google Analytics
04:29 Preventing Data Duplication
05:33 Attribution Windows and Reporting
06:56 Using Google Analytics as the Home Base
07:19 Conclusion and Agency Information

Want YOUR Question Answered?

Ask your question on our voicemail line, and we’ll hunt down an expert, and have them give you their recommendations right here in the newsletter and on our daily podcast.

Instagram’s Latest Teen Lure: Finstas (again)

In its continued attempt to lure young people away from TikTok and Snapchat, Instagram is starting to roll out another feature — this one it calls “Flipside” and is an alternative profile of sorts.

Instagram’s “Flipside” option provides an alternative profile space which is only accessible to you and your chosen connections.

Once you’ve created a Flipside, you can then select it as your post audience, meaning your post will only go to that space. You can then visit and view your Flipside as an alternative profile gallery, where you can also add a new profile name and picture, if you choose.

It’s another way for IG to lean into more private sharing, which has been a key trend of note in social apps of late. Fewer people are now posting to their public feeds, with more preferring to maintain smaller, closer knit engagement communities…

Driving Direction Data Spikes After Google Change

And finally, an update on a story we reported on earlier in the week.

Google told marketers that it would be reducing the amount of data it shared in the Driving Directions report inside Google Business Profiles.

Instead, though, it seems to have done the opposite.

Some marketers and brand managers on social media are reporting a big spike in the numbers, starting back from last week.

One of these folks asked their Google rep about it and that rep told them:

We are aware of the spike, I have reached out to our team and they have confirmed this is accurate.

This is likely from improved detection and reporting from the performance metrics.

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