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May 2020 Updates to Paid Media Platforms


Google Ads

What: Hotel ads product updates

Details: Google is piloting a commissions (per stay) program allowing Hotel ads partners to pay a commission only if a customer follows through with their stay, automatically adjusting bids to maximize booking value. In the next few weeks, expect the rollout of a “Free Cancellation” filter for users searching for hotels. It will highlight which hotel rates are refundable when users are looking to book.

Impact: Google is looking to minimize risk while helping advertisers drive future bookings. This update, and subsequent expected ones, show Google’s effort to keep its platform addressing pressing marketplace demands.

What: Google to sunset Gallery Ads Beta

Details: Gallery Ads — which were introduced last year –will be retired. Image extensions, the remaining image beta, will receive additional testing focus moving forward.

Impact: Imagery remains a long-standing experiment with the platform. Gallery Ads, which require setting up a whole new ad format, offered a relatively high barrier of entry for select advertisers to test. Multiple image-based iterations have been introduced, retired, and even brought back again. This is yet another chapter in what likely will remain an on-going story.

What: Google provides additional resources for managing campaigns through COVID-19

Details: A single destination housing all product updates, business considerations, and additional resources for campaign optimization during the pandemic.

Impact: From industry reports to business grants, Google has been actively reacting to the complexities within the current marketplace. They have now provided a centralized location compiling all internal resources associated with COVID-19.

Facebook Ads

What: Expanded brand safety controls

Details: Facebook is expanding the availability of tools tested with limited advertisers. These include publisher whitelists for Audience Network, content whitelists, delivery reports, and live stream exclusions. The tools can be found in the Brand Safety Controls Interface.

Impact: Many advertisers opted out of Facebook Audience network in the past due to limited transparency and/or inability to restrict certain content that could be considered risky in regards to brand safety. The expanded update gives advertisers significantly increased control, potentially opening up additional efficient inventory.

What: Introducing Facebook Shops

Details: Per the release linked — “Facebook Shops is a mobile-first shopping experience where businesses can easily create an online store on Facebook and Instagram for free. Shops let you choose which of your items you want to feature, merchandise with product collections, and tell your brand story with customizable fonts and colors. In Facebook Shops, you’ll be able to connect with customers through WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct to answer questions, offer support, and more.”

Impact: At this juncture, it is unclear to what extent Facebook Advertising would utilize Facebook Shops. In general, this is an important trend to watch across the industry. Much like recent Google Shopping updates, this development seeks to maximize user value by keeping them onsite. Chances are this one of many updates and tests that Facebook will implement to expand the footprint and capabilities of its social platform.

General Note

While May’s updates were relatively light giving advertisers a chance to “catch their breath” during a complex business period, April was chock full of changes.  Read last month’s edition, April 2020 Updates to Paid Media Platforms.


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