Google Direction Towards AI and Privacy
Focusing on Google first, the tech giant’s continuing direction towards AI, automation and privacy is clear. A new era of data analysis is taking place as Universal Analytics (UA) has officially stopped processing data, with a transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the latest version of Google Analytics. The new platform is event-based, focusing on the user journey as a whole. It will reduce the reliance on cookies and instead leverage machine-learning to fill gaps in the data where user consent can limit tracking. If you have relied on UA for reporting or general data points, ensuring GA4 is set up correctly and reviewing the accuracy of data in the new platform should be a priority on your agenda right now.
Google’s Privacy Sandbox
The ongoing discussion of Google’s Privacy Sandbox, an initiative to provide privacy-focused alternatives to third-party cookies whilst maintaining ad personalisation and measurement, has come with two new timeline updates. Google plans to officially sunset third-party cookies in Chrome for 1% of users by Q1 2024, before saying goodbye to the cookies completely later that year. Before this, in Q4 2023, some developers will have the ability to simulate cookie deprecation for testing purposes. What this announcement means is that, despite some delays, Google is still committed to removing third-party cookies to address privacy concerns. Ahead of this change, marketers should test and adopt alternatives, such as targeting solutions and leveraging first-party data.
If we did not need more encouragement to embrace Google’s automated solutions, the bittersweet farewell to Similar Audiences cemented this. Although Google Ads halted generating Similar Audiences back in May 2023, the audience type will be removed from active ad groups and campaigns come 1st August 2023. Whilst advertisers will still have access to historical reporting for Similar Audience segments, the loss of a popular audience type came as another shift from Google to leverage first-party data for optimising directly towards business goals. Our digital team at Modern have been testing audience expansion, which enables you to reach new and relevant audiences in campaign types to gain insights on this feature, and explore how it compares to the departed audience type.
Furthermore, Google is set to introduce two new campaign types, namely Demand Gen and Video Views, starting in July 2023, with a wider roll out later in the year. The effectiveness of these AI-driven campaigns, and how to measure them, will unfold as advertisers begin to test these.
LinkedIn: Feed Algorithm
In other news, whilst there may be an apparent increase in missing insights from marketing platforms as broader approaches are encouraged, LinkedIn has shed some light into its Feed Algorithm. The Feed Algorithm prioritises temporal signals, engagement signals and poster identity, which aims to limit spam and foster a safer online environment. The importance of temporal signals, such as the number of views or reactions a post gains, is significant and should be taken into account in your LinkedIn strategy.
Thought Leader Ads
Another update from LinkedIn came as it announced the introduction of Thought Leader ads in June. This new image ad format will allow company employees to post from their profiles instead of through their Company Page. This is likely to see an increase in posts from CEOs and salespeople, to amplify the voices of company leaders and build trust with clients from an early stage of the sales cycle. This update identifies LinkedIn’s recognition of the importance of thought leadership content in B2B marketing and encourages a more personalised view of businesses to customers and prospects.
Other Updates in the Digital Landscape
Stepping back from Google and LinkedIn, other recent digital updates to call out include Demandbase’s Buying Group AI and Drift’s integration with GPT. Demandbase’s new tool is said to identify and capture core buying groups based on their importance, giving sales and marketing teams deeper insights into key decision-makers, which in turn should streamline sales efforts. Whilst Drift has implemented AI recommended replies in live chat, leveraging GPT so customer service representatives can provide immediate and accurate responses to complex inquiries without leaving the live chat interface. We are excited to see the effectiveness of these solutions as they are integrated into the platforms, and how this might encourage further advancements in the industry.
The rapid integration of AI and other automated solutions, whilst maintaining a privacy-safe environment, is an exciting but ongoing challenge for marketers. At Modern, we believe that thriving in the digital landscape relies on continuous learning, adaptation, and innovation. By understanding and leveraging these cutting-edge technologies and the opportunities they present, businesses can stay ahead of the competition, deliver exceptional customer experiences and drive meaningful results in the dynamic world of B2B digital marketing.