Google Ads overreported conversions due to a bug, introduced ‘restricted data processing’ in order to comply with recent CCPA change and Facebook released several ad personalisation features.

“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.” – Steuart Henderson Britt

In this article, we’ll cover the following most recent PPC and ads news:

  1. Conversion reporting issues in Google Ads
  2. Google Ads introduces a restricted data processing capability for CCPA compliance
  3. Facebook rolls out new features that use machine learning to automatically deliver more tailored ad experiences

Let’s dig in.

A Bug Caused Google Ads To Overreport Conversions

If your Google Ad campaigns seem to be more successful than usual, since November 11, that may not be the case. Google Ads experienced a conversion reporting issue that caused overreporting of conversions for some advertisers.

According to Google, conversion reporting between November 11 and November 20 has been affected by the bug. The issue is said to have affected advertisers using non-last click attribution models. It impacts reporting in all Google Ads interfaces, including reports downloaded using the AdWords API, Google Ads API and Google Ads Scripts. However, smart bidding strategies have not been impacted.

Why should you care? Overreported conversion makes it appear as though campaigns are performing better than they actually are. Therefore, this can have an impact on your budget allocation, bidding decisions and more. It’s not clear how many conversions have been overreported, however, the best you can do is to benchmark against previous performance. Considering we’re coming into the busy holiday shopping season, such a bug requires an urgent fix.

Google Ads Is Offering Restricted Data Processing to comply with CCPA

Google announced it will offer restricted data processing in order to enable businesses to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). With such capability enabled, Google will act as an affected business’ (advertiser, partner or publisher) data processing service provider.

As explained by Google, with restricted data processing the company will “restrict how it uses certain unique identifiers and other data processed in the provision of services to you, to only undertake certain business purposes.”

What is CCPA? 

Similar to the EU’s GDPR, the CCPA provides several data privacy protections for California state residents. It is set to go into effect on January 1, 2020. Affected businesses must give California residents the ability to opt-out of the sale of their personal data on their website homepage. CCPA applies to businesses which – in part – meet one of the following criteria:

a) have annual gross revenue of at least $25 million
b) buy, receive or sell personal data of at least 50,000 customers, household or devices
c) derive at least 50% of their annual revenues from selling personal data.

How does restricted data processing work?

With this capability applied, features such as adding users to remarketing lists, similar audience seed lists will not be available. Google notes that for App campaigns this means users who download an app from an ad will continue to see ads for the app.

Conversion tracking and measurement will still work with restricted data processing as will services including ad delivery, reporting, measurement, security and fraud detection, debugging and product improvement information. Third-party ad tracking or serving will not be affected when restricted data processing is enabled.

Google stated that advertisers, publishers and partners working with Google are responsible for ensuring they’re using its products in compliance with CCPA. Partners “must decide for themselves when and how to enable” restricted data processing.

Restricted data processing, according to Google, does not apply to “the sending or disclosure of data to third parties” that advertisers, publishers or partners work with. Additionally, if you share data between Google products, the data will be subject to the terms of the recipient product.

Why should you care? If your business falls under the CCPA, you will want to ensure you are adhering to the regulations across your digital marketing efforts. Given the size of California’s population (it represents more than 12% of the US population), this regulation will have an impact on the ability of those businesses to retarget and build lookalike audiences based on the site visitors and customers on a potentially sizeable percentage of their potential audience. 

Facebook Brings More Machine Learning to its Ads Platform

Facebook announced the release of several ad capabilities to its platform to improve personalisation. 

Dynamic formats and ad creative for Dynamic Ads. Advertisers will now be able to automatically serve different ad formats to audiences based on the machine learning model’s prediction of a user’s format preference. Campaign managers can access this capability from the Facebook Dynamic Ad unit when creating ads for the catalog sales, traffic and conversions objectives in Ads Manager or the API.

Multiple text optimisation in single-media ads.Multiple text optimisation enables advertisers to input multiple text options for the primary text, headline and description fields when creating single-media ads for traffic, app installs and conversions objectives. This allows our ad system to optimise for delivery and performance using variations of the text options provided, based on individual preferences identified by our machine learning models” says Facebook.

Auto-translated languages for single-media ads. In Ads Manager, advertisers can now add different languages to be auto-translated for international audiences. By automatically producing translations for key languages, this feature can help speed up the process of setting up a campaign whilst still giving advertisers control over the review process.

Why should you care? For smaller businesses, creating highly personalised content can be challenging if time and resources are limited. By leveraging machine learning to dynamically selecting ad formats, creative, and text on the ad impression-level, advertisers can more efficiently deliver campaigns that reach the right audience, at the right time, with less effort.

Final Thoughts

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