2023 is off to an interesting start for PPC advertisers with the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a search engine and increasing industry costs from the current economic state. Although challenging, these conditions create opportunities for improved productivity and availability of data. The goal for marketers in 2023 will be to efficiently utilize ad spend for their clients’ profitability while capitalizing on available AI solutions. With that in mind, let’s dive into some focus areas in recent Google Updates and trends.


Google Updates: Performance Max

Investments in Performance Max continue to grow, as businesses look for a more immediate return. As a quick refresher, Performance Max is a new, fully automated campaign that replaced Shopping last year and encompasses multiple platforms including Youtube, Display, Discovery, Gmail, and Google Maps. Although marketers have seen consistent performance and efficiency in the initial stage of this campaign, tests and data were limited. 

Google finally rolled out Performance Max experiments this month, which provide some answers to the limited data. First, the test uplift from the Performance Max experiment allows marketers to calculate its impact on other campaign types. This is helpful to B2B clients in measuring the impact against YouTube and Discovery campaigns, as Performance Max has brought up concerns around traffic spikes. Marketers are now able to measure its impact on efficiency against a Standard Shopping campaign for eCommerce clients. 

Performance Max has shown amazing results, as it has the ability to focus on users across multiple platforms while sustaining engagement through different touch points. The Direct Agents team is excited to provide long-term strategies for this campaign with further tests in the near future.

First-Party Data & Audience Targeting 

In 2023, first-party data migration will become a requirement for advertisers, as regulations in privacy are becoming a global norm. Despite Google’s delay in sunsetting cookies, more and more third-party data will not be available and advertisers will face challenges in successfully capturing first-party data to use for targeting and optimizations. 

For future proofing and long-term growth for businesses, getting ahead of first-party data collection will be crucial to efficiently targeting the most relevant audiences. The use of GA4 and CDPs will be the ultimate solution under the collaboration between marketers and brands to capitalize on engaged user data through excellent customer experience.

Google also suggests using audience expansion and signals with first-party data to reach existing customers and find new ones as an alternative to similar audience segments, as that will sunset in August 2023 due to privacy concerns. 

AI & Machine Learning In Google Search 

Discussions around AI have significantly grown in modern marketing, especially relating to paid advertising efficiency. As the digital customer journey is getting more and more complex, AI behind Google plays an important role by automating and optimizing campaigns through identifying patterns in historical data to targeting ads more effectively. 

Even our proprietary technologies have grown with Kanopy AI, a bid adjustment automation solution that allows real-time ad spend optimizations to maximize CPA efficiency. Outside of campaign optimizations, our team already saw AI’s impact on productivity and creating insightful ad content. 

As automation from Google grows, fewer data insights for search terms are provided each year — even Broad Matches were avoided in the past due to their wide nets and high spends. However, PPC advertisers may have seen that Google actually recommends transfering keywords to Broad Matches, as they are prioritized over exact and phrase matches. As advancements in machine learning continue to grow exponentially, it will be crucial to test those search terms separately in 2023.

Automation, privacy, and testing are the key areas of focus in 2023 for the PPC team at Direct Agents. Grow your brand with our data-driven solutions and get ahead in the constantly evolving digital realm. Contact [email protected] to get in touch!


Sally Park, Paid Media & Technology Analyst, Direct Agents