Click Through Reads #64: Social Media Search Takeover

Welcome back to another Click Through Reads! 

This week, media platforms are making an appearance in the search atmosphere.

As if TikTok isn’t prominent enough in the social realm; this week the platform announced they are beginning to test ads in search results. The capabilities of this update are very limited, but still mind-boggling. Additionally, YouTube is beginning to test Search Chips to help refine search results and increase relevance for users.

Speaking of relevance and users, a study found that Meta’s interest targeting is inaccurate up to 30% of the time! As a feature that draws many advertisers to the platform, Meta is working on mending these inconsistencies.  

An agreement between the European Commission and the U.S. government has been made on a new Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework. Once implemented, this policy will help ensure data protection in more areas across the globe. 

Without further ado, let’s get into the news!


TikTok Testing Ads in Search Results

Currently available to a limited number of advertisers, TikTok has rolled out ads in search results. While there isn’t currently any keyword targeting abilities, you can pull search terms after you’ve ran ads to help best tailor the titles of your videos.

In the examples below, the advertisement is given a “sponsored” badge and appears above the “others search for” card. 

Once this functionality rolls out to all advertisers it will be a great way to get in front of high intent users.

Screenshot of TikTok search results for "Gym Routines," which includes a sponsored result.Screenshot of TikTok search results for "Easy Meals," which includes a sponsored result.

Spring Into Google Shopping

Google Shopping has released a few updates that should leave vendors feeling great about their ecommerce experience.

‘Free Listings’ Data: Google is now sharing important data regarding sales from ‘free traffic’. This traffic comes from listings within Google Shopping and will help attribute sales from Google Shopping that were not part of your paid media plan.

Local Business Listings: Continuing the theme of listing inventory through Google, they have noted an extra push to help brick-and-mortar businesses. Local shops are invited to list their products on Google and gain access to important stats such as which products are receiving the most traffic.

Trusted Badges: Announcing a new system to help customers find trustworthy stores, the “Shopping Experience Scorecard” helps identify important merchant traits. When a business is able to meet certain quality guidelines, they will be gifted a ‘Trusted Store’ badge. The quality guidelines include:

  • Delivery Time
  • Delivery Cost
  • Return Window
  • Return Cost

Price Suggestions: Google pulls data from competitor’s products and suggests a price. The algorithm will also note whether or not your pricing is fitting into the market averages. It’s unclear if this will impact campaign performance or it’s only data to be used internally.


YouTube Testing ‘Search Chips’ On Desktop

YouTube is testing Search Chips on desktop, which allows premium members to refine results with suggested keywords. Search Chips behave similarly to suggestions at the bottom Google SERPs. They are being tested until April 14th and may roll out to non premium members in the future. Along with helping increase video relevance for organic content creators, this feature can potentially support keyword research and improve alignment with paid and organic YouTube efforts.  

Screenshot of YouTube search results for "Wordpress," which shows new Search Clips.


Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework: Building for the Long Term

The Transatlantic Trade & Technology Council (TTC) were formed roughly eight months ago to enable bilateral coordination for future data protection challenges, and to ensure the avoidance of discordant or discriminatory approaches. Since then, the Council has curated and agreed upon a Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework to promote a durable digital partnership.

Karan Bhatia, Google’s VP of Government Affairs & Public Policy, announced the agreement between the European Commission and the U.S. government. 

The new Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework is a system which will “strengthen the guardrails and proportionality of U.S. intelligence collection” and will “ensure effective oversight of these new privacy and civil liberties standards”, reinforcing transatlantic cooperation and addressing emerging security and data threats.

For the EU, the Framework guarantees that tools and services people use every day will remain available, even while being held to the highest standards of privacy and data protection. For the U.S. and Google, who already offer leading data access and control tools to their users, this Framework simply builds upon and continues to grow their investment in that work.


Meta’s Interest Targeting is Found Inaccurate 30% of the Time

For Meta advertisers, many rely on the platform’s interest targeting as a way to narrow in on their ICP. The powerful targeting system is a feature that the platform has been known for and is one of the biggest draws to advertisers.

However, there’s minimal insight as to how Meta infers these interests per user. So, a team of researchers at North Carolina State University conducted an experiment to see what they could learn. Here are some interesting observations the team made based on 14 new users accounts with controlled settings:

  • On occasion, Facebook’s system incorrectly attributes entities. For example, they noticed the Apple Tech company page had corresponding profiles linked to the apple fruit interest instead of the Tech company.

  • They found that some users who react negatively to posts related to Harry Potter had corresponding profiles that were linked to Harry Potter as an interest.
    • This hints that the platform does not take negative or positive associations into consideration; therefore, advertisers may be hitting users who have negative associations with interests and could be less likely to convert.

Overall, the experiment concluded that interest targeting may be inaccurate or irrelevant at least 30% of the time. This means advertisers may be spending up to 1/3rd of their budget inefficiently on users who may not convert without knowing it or having control over it.

At this point, Meta has been working on updating their detailed interest targeting system–so it could be that these get more accurate with time. For now, advertisers using interest targeting should keep in mind that there may be some inefficiencies, and prioritize lookalike lists and audience lists where it makes sense with their strategies.

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