I've Got Ads in Low Places

What happens when you forget to opt-out of "partner networks"? Bad things.

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In Today’s Issue:

📈 Digital ad revenue grows 5.9% in 2023, surpassing expectations.

🎥 YouTube rolls out Shorts ads more widely, integrating them with AI-driven video reach campaigns.

🔮 LinkedIn adds a CAPI and enhances other ad products, including Document Ads

📹 TikTok pushes creators for longer videos

🌐 Government-funded Google ads appear on adult sites and in sanction-hit countries.

💾 Google Drive users report missing files, prompting a Google investigation into the issue.

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Digital Ad Revenue Surpassing Expectations

  • Digital ad revenue grows 5.9% in 2023, beating forecasts.

  • E-commerce and cross-border spending fuel growth.

  • Commerce media platforms see a 22.8% revenue increase.

Is the bounce-back officially underway?

Digital ad revenue is exceeding expectations in 2023, according to a new economic forecast by industry analyst Brian Wieser. The growth rate is now projected at 5.9%, nearly 1% higher than previously expected.

This comes from an overall increase in spend, of course, but particularly from e-commerce companies and cross-border platforms, primarily manufacturers in China. Wieser told Marketing Brew he expects e-commerce retailers will spend an average of $4 on ads for every $1 that a traditional retailer spends.

Commerce platforms, like Amazon and Walmart, are way up — a nearly 23% increase in ad revenue. The report also mentioned that part of the growth is from AI ad tools from Google and Meta, both of which’s automated ad systems are performing better than expectations.

Holiday spending is expected to rise by 3%–4% this year, aligning with pre-pandemic averages.

Has YOUR brand's ad spending returned to pre-pandemic levels?

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YouTube Finally Expands Shorts Ads to More Advertisers

  • Shorts ads now available beyond beta to more marketers.

  • Integration with in-stream and in-feed ads possible.

  • Not yet available on all accounts, but expanding soon.

YouTube is broadening the availability of its Shorts ads, moving beyond the beta phase to reach more advertisers.

Marketers can now select Shorts as a video format and integrate them with existing in-stream and in-feed ads. This is, of course, welcome news for brands which have been wanting their content to be seen alongside the trendiest videos.

The rollout is still happening, with some accounts still awaiting access.

How to Check If You Have It

To see if you’ve got it in your YouTube Ads account:

  • Create Campaign.

  • Choose “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance.”

  • Select “Video.”

  • If it’s been activated, you will find it under Video in the Efficient Reach section.

Ads on Shorts first rolled out in 2022.

While all this is good news, one thing to note: YouTube Select Run of Shorts lineups remain in invite-only beta.

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LinkedIn Adds a CAPI and Other Enhancements

  • Conversion API improves tracking and privacy compliance.

  • Website Actions simplifies conversion measurement.

  • Document Ads now feature retargeting and new objectives.

LinkedIn is rolling out a few new items, including a new Conversions API — often called CAPI in our world.

Conversions API

With LinkedIn’s CAPI, you can choose between direct API integration and partner integration. You can connect both your online and offline data to LinkedIn, allowing you to see how your campaigns influenced actions taken on your website, sales completed over the phone, or leads collected in-person at an event.

LinkedIn says it’s privacy-compliant and doesn’t rely on third-party cookies. And if you use the Conversions API with their Insight Tag, you’ll get an even more complete view of your conversion tracking. 

Website Actions

Also added: Website Actions, which let marketers track and retarget button clicks without complex event-tracking setups.

Document Ads

And Document Ads, an ad format unique to LinkedIn, now include retargeting capabilities and new objectives like website visits and conversions.

TikTok Encourages Creators to Make Longer Videos

  • TikTok pushes for videos over a minute long.

  • Longer videos linked to higher earnings and growth.

  • Strategy shift mirrors YouTube's adaptation to short videos.

If you ask someone what’s on TikTok, and they answer “Short videos of teens dancing,” it is safe to write that person off as someone who has no idea what they’re talking about.

Content-wise, it’s a full spectrum from DIY construction, to AI ethics, to parrot care, and everything else.

And while it’s true that TikTok videos started short, the app has been increasing its maximum length limits.

Now, it’s trying to get creators on board to produce longer content, similar to what's found on platforms like YouTube.

In a recent event at its New York office, TikTok told creators that longer videos could lead to increased earnings. It revealed that users are spending half of their time on videos longer than a minute. And creators posting longer content have seen a fivefold increase in follower growth rate compared to those who only post short videos.

This strategic shift is somewhat of a role reversal, as platforms like YouTube had previously adapted to compete with TikTok's short video format.

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Google Ads Appear on Controversial Sites

  • US and EU government ads found on explicit and sanctioned sites.

  • Adalytics report questions ad placement and revenue legality.

  • Google's Search Partner Network extends ad reach, raises issues.

Well, this is embarrassing.

Google Ads is under scrutiny after a report revealed that ads paid for by US and EU government agencies appeared on rather controversial websites, including sexually explicit sites and those in Iran and Russia, potentially breaching economic sanctions.

The report by Adalytics highlights concerns about the lack of awareness among ad buyers regarding where their ads are displayed.

The issue stems from Google's Search Partner Network, which extends ad reach beyond Google's own sites to a wide range of other websites. This placement is on by default, though advertisers do have the option to opt out.

The findings have prompted calls for more government involvement in online ad industry regulation.

For its part, Google questioned the report's methodology, but did acknowledge some findings and says it’s taken steps to prevent certain sites from receiving its ads.

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Google Drive Reverting Documents Back to Six Months Ago

  • Users report lost files and data rollback to May 2023.

  • Google acknowledges issue, advises against certain actions.

  • Concerns over reliability of Drive's File Stream mode.

If you haven’t checked in on your Google Drive in a while, you might want to check in briefly, as some users say they’ve lost data — with files reverting to a state from back in May.

The issue seems to be happening for those who use the Google Drive desktop application — and, to be clear, only a small group of those.

Google advises users not to disconnect their accounts or delete or move the app data folder, suggesting an attempt to preserve any remaining file cache. The problem appears to be a sync issue, but the exact cause is unclear.

Drive for Desktop operates in two modes: traditional mirroring and File Stream. In File Stream mode, most files are not stored locally but are shortcuts to cloud-stored files, which could lead to data loss if the cloud data is compromised.

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