The Latest Victim of AI: Lookalike Audiences

LinkedIn is removing a powerful tool for targeting that B2B marketers have relied on for years.

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LinkedIn to Drop ‘Lookalike Audiences’

LinkedIn is discontinuing its "Lookalike Audiences", a tool used by advertisers to reach potential customers who resemble their existing customer base. Lookalikes work by you uploading a list of your customers, from your own email list or CRM or store records, and the platform tries to find people similar.

Lookalikes will be dropped on February 29th. Once gone, you won’t be able to create or edit these audiences, but they’ll work as static assets for your existing campaigns.

Lookalike Audiences have been a valuable tool for advertisers, but like all our favourite toys, AI is slowly taking their space.


  • One new option is "Predictive Audiences," which is sort of like Lookalike Audiences but relies more heavily on data sourced directly from LinkedIn. This includes information from LinkedIn’s Lead Gen Forms, contact lists, and conversion data from the Insight Tag.

  • Another option is "Audience Expansion," which targets users with interests related to your campaign. For instance, targeting members skilled in "Online Advertising" could expand to include those with "Interactive Marketing" skills, in theory uncovering new prospects.

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Google this morning announced it has finished rolling out a new “conversational experience” in Google Ads to the U.S. and U.K.

That’s a fancy way of saying “chatbot” — it pops up in the right column while you’re working on a campaign and offers suggested headlines for your ads, it finds sitelinks you might want to include, and so on.

It will be rolling out to other countries in the next few weeks, but, for the time being, only to English language advertisers.

How this AI differs than some previous releases is it can handle much more of the campaign creation. All you need to start is your website URL. From there, the AI will generate relevant ad content, including creatives and keywords.

Google claims small business advertisers that use this tool are 42% more likely to publish search campaigns with “Good” or “Excellent” Ad Strength.

What it doesn’t do, for now, are photos.

In response to advertiser concerns about creating images for campaigns, Google will add, over the coming months, a capability for the conversational experience to suggest images using generative AI and images from landing pages.

All images created with generative AI in Google Ads will be invisibly watermarked with SynthID and will include metadata to indicate that it was generated with the technology, which still faces concerns about transparency.

Get Ready for GDPR — Even If You’re Not in the EU

So while Google giveth, Google also taketh away.

The company is now sending emails to web site publishers and mobile app developers warning them to be in line with the GDPR User Consent Policy, or Google might suspend their Ads Account.

As for who needs to deal with this? All advertisers who want to show personalized ads to consumers in the European Economic Area. That includes advertisers based outside of the EEA.

  • If you’re using consent mode and working with a Google Consent Management Platform, no action is needed.

  • If you are using Google APIs/SDKs to share audience data, you need to upgrade to the latest versions.

  • If you’re not using consent mode, Google recommends you start.

The GDPR Consent Policy requires advertisers to obtain user content to use cookies, and disclose each third-party that might end up with users’ data. You see this most often in those cookie consent banners at the bottom of web pages.

You have until March of this year to get it all done.

“Nearby Events and Deals” in Google Local Search

Meanwhile, Google’s also testing a new box that would show up in local search results called Nearby Events and Deals.

It has four tiles, a post title, brand name, and your average review rating.

Clicking one of the posts will load that post or deal in full-screen along with a map and some additional text.

The new SERP feature, which is only visible for local searches on mobile devices, displays Google Business Profile (GBP) posts promoting deals and events from nearby businesses.

This offers a chance for local businesses to boost conversions.

To make the most of it, you should regularly post and optimize content on your Google My Business (GMB) profile to increase the likelihood of your brand’s events and deals ranking higher.

Honestly, brands don’t use GBP posts that much — they’re sort of like YouTube community posts in that the format exists, but it’s kind of bolted on the side of an otherwise completely different system, so it’s nice to see more integration here.

Also, remember, when the platforms test things like this, there aren’t many brands trying it out, so you may have less competition in that space.

TikTok: Larger Text, Fewer People

Fellow middle-aged people rejoice!

TikTok is is rolling out a way to adjust the text size in the app.

You’ll find it in Settings and it affects the system text — so, the captions, account name, button labels, and so on. It will not change any text that’s been burned onto the videos, as is common on TikTok videos.

If you don’t see this in your app, you may need to update it.

Also with TikTok, NPR this week reported that the company has cut about 60 jobs — mostly in sales and advertising.

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