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What Is A CSS Provider And Do I Need One?

Comparison Shopping Services (CSS) have been around for a while now, allowing ecommerce retailers to showcase ads on Google Shopping. This came about in 2017 when Google was hit with a record fine of 2.42€ for promoting its own shopping comparison service within the SERPS. Off the back of this ruling, Google decided to allow other companies to promote products via their own comparison shopping services to compete alongside Google. 

What are the benefits of a CSS provider?

The main benefits of choosing a CSS provider is the financial discount that you, as an advertiser, can gain. A CSS provider receives a 20% discount in CPC in order to compete against Google’s own service. An advertiser can expect to see this discount directly in their ad’s accounts, through a reduction in CPC that is needed to match the position of a listing from Google. For example, if a product using Google’s CSS costs £1.00 per click then a competitor CSS provider could expect to see the same impression share for just £0.80. This can have a huge impact if media spend is high & these discounts start to add up.

CSS providers are only available for products being sold in the following countries:

  • Austria
  • Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Norway
  • Czech Republic
  • Poland
  • Denmark
  • Portugal
  • Finland
  • Romania
  • France
  • Slovakia
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Greece
  • Sweden
  • Hungary
  • Switzerland
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom
  • Italy

What do I need to do?

In order to get set up with a CSS provider, you just need to make sure that you have a Merchant Centre account set up that only includes the allowed countries as above. This can then be switched over to the CSS provider & their implementation team should be able to take the reins from there. After this process, you should be good to go with your campaigns in Google Ads.

How do I know which CSS provider to pick? 

There are multiple CSS providers that you can choose offering a range of different benefits, from experience and service models to their own way of billing. The main thing to think about is what you want to get from the CSS provider; if it is solely to manage the shopping ads & get a discount then the primary factors to consider are:

  • The name of the CSS provider – this will appear alongside your ads so there will be a semblance of association between the two brands
  • The billing strategy of the provider – some providers have a monthly subscription fee, some use a percentage of spend, and some base it on CPA so only charge when you actually make a sale.

As online retail continues to grow there’s never been a better time to make savings in such a competitive market. Making the change now means that even the smallest of savings can start building up & be reapportioned into ad spend, thus increasing growth opportunities & market share. If you’re interested in making the jump, Google has provided a tool to get you started which shows all of the available CSS providers & their specialisms to help you pick the right one for your business.

We can also guide you towards the right shopping ads for your campaign. Speak to us today

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Combining Supplemental Feeds and Scripts for Better Performing Campaigns

In today’s world of automation, it can be hard to know the best ways to optimise campaigns when Google gives us less and less data each day. With the launch of Performance Max with no search term, channel split or ads data, it can feel frustrating as an advertiser trying to understand performance. 

With PMax, as with Smart Shopping previously, there is a lack of control in that we can’t push specific products, we just have to let the algorithm take the lead. For ecommerce businesses with a lot of SKUs this can seem counterintuitive, as we may need to ensure visibility of certain products or ensure that the best sellers aren’t taking all of the budget. Now you could split these out into separate campaigns, but what if we want to segment this out due to performance – something that can change on a regular basis? It would take so much time looking through thousands of products pulling them out of one campaign and adding them back into another multiple times a week. If only there was a way to do this automatically…


By using a script, we can automatically apply custom labels within a Google Sheet to products that don’t meet certain criteria, whether that be an amount of clicks, impressions or conversions. This will allow us to segment out products that aren’t getting as much visibility as we would like through the use of custom labels. Once that specific product surpasses this threshold, the custom label is removed so that it can once again run in the primary campaign now that Google has more data on it.

Supplemental Feed

By using a supplemental feed you can add new information in an overlaid feed to the one that gets uploaded. This makes it easier for segmentation purposes, using custom labels or changing product attributes without having to alter the actual feed that is pulled into the Merchant Centre. We can then use Google Sheets, provided by the Script, to upload into a new Supplemental Feed which will override the primary feed data, populating those custom label fields with the updated version. From here you can launch ‘low clicks,’ ‘low impressions’ or ‘low conversions’ campaigns by segmenting the products out by these new labels.

And there you have it; easy segmentation based on actual performance within your Google Ads account ensuring that all products get as much visibility as possible.

If you’re interested in finding out how this could work for your campaigns, get in touch with us.

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Custom Labels – the most underrated Google Ads tool?

When it comes to ecommerce, Google Shopping is a great way to get your products in front of the right people at the right time. At some point however, this can become ineffective so how can you use Google and its tools to grow the volume of sales in a way which works for your business?

Google Shopping allows you to advertise hundreds of thousands of products matching users’ search queries to product attributes within the feed. When dealing with this amount of products, it’s easy to get lost in the structure of shopping campaigns and how to segment them out effectively, especially as Google’s standard subdivisions only really include “Brand” and “Product Category.” Whilst these are great from a top level, they don’t offer the amount of detail or internal insights required to create an effective shopping strategy.

Custom Labels

Custom Labels allow you to group together products in ways which aren’t covered by Google’s own attributes. It provides greater flexibility in subdividing products and setting up the campaigns to work in your favour, based on different scenarios within your business. To do this you have 5 different “custom label” attributes to use, which means that you can mix and match different ones together to be really granular in your targeting. This can be set up in your existing shopping feed by adding the additional fields with the relevant information. 

There are multiple ways that you can segment custom labels out, but here I will touch on five that have worked well in my experience.

1. Stock/Shipping

Many ecommerce businesses will have faced stock and shipping issues, especially during Covid, the aftermath of which could hurt both sales and cash flow. By applying custom labels you can easily split products up into different categories based on their availability and delivery times. You’re then able to increase bids and visibility for products that are in stock and ready to be delivered within that week, and decrease visibility for those that have shipping delays or issues. In addition you can alter ad copy to highlight product availability. This is a great way of maintaining cost effectiveness, whilst also ensuring that customers are happy and aware of stock status.

2. Best Sellers/Worst Sellers

With Performance Max, and previously Smart Shopping, a lot of Google’s algorithms favour the products that sell well and pull back on those that don’t. This is great in the sense that we are getting visibility for best sellers. However, it doesn’t help to grow sales for those that are getting less visibility. By using custom labels you can highlight which are the best selling products and isolate them into their own campaign. This allows the under-serving products to generate more visibility as they are not having to compete against products with higher search volumes. This can be really effective in helping to grow sales within an ecommerce account, as it isn’t always about just pushing the products that you already know sell. 

3. Margins

Margins are crucial to the profitability of a business and it isn’t always the highest priced products that have the best margins. Yet Google will be bidding based on product value which isn’t always the most effective thing to bid towards. Therefore, grouping your products by margins allows you to adjust the ROAS (return on ad spend) of each segment in different campaigns, ensuring your spending is as cost-effective as possible for the business. That means you can have a higher ROAS for lower margin products and lower ROAS for higher margin products, giving the best profitability potential. 

Source: Google Ads

4. Value

If your product range is pretty consistent margin wise, you can group products by value instead. This allows you to really push the higher value products in their own campaign, rather than competing against potentially better selling but lower value products. The result of this can be increased visibility, driving volume and growth of both higher and lower value products.

5. Product Types

If your store has a huge product catalogue, you may want to push one type of product due to weather, seasonality or trends, which can be difficult to do if all of your products are in an automated shopping campaign. Therefore, some businesses could find it beneficial to use custom labels to split products out by product type. This means that the algorithms can learn specific user behaviours and search queries for different products, rather than all products being grouped together which might have completely different user journeys.

Custom Labels Conclusion

All in all, custom labels are a great way to not only segment out products and enable them to serve more effectively, but also to be able to see much more detailed data within the interface. We can now understand and analyse product performance with an extra layer of internal data, using the background information to help guide optimisations and strategy, thereby improving efficiency for both us and our client accounts.

Ask how we can make your shopping ads work harder for you today.

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How Important Is Audience Targeting In Display Advertising?

Display advertising is an amazing way of getting brand exposure on the internet for a very low price. Ads can be shown on over 2 million websites online, meaning that the reach is massive. Not only that, it’s global. This is an incredible opportunity to generate awareness and drive traffic to your website for a huge amount of users, but how much is too much?

Having this much reach is great in theory but, realistically, how many of these users are going to be engaged with your ads and how many have no relevance to your business whatsoever? This is where audience targeting can come in handy to help make things a lot more granular. 

Types of Audiences

There are many different types of audiences you can use in Google Ads, which can help to hone in on specific users that are most relevant to your business. These include:

Which you use depends on what you’re trying to advertise/achieve. It could be that there are themes the target audiences are interested in, or it could be an age-related product or service. This criteria would then make the decision a lot easier to make. 

Why is this beneficial?

Choosing your audience type allows you to take a chunk of users who are more relevant to your brand and advertise only to these. The result is that you gain a higher percentage of engaged users who are more likely to interact with your business and, therefore, produce a better ROI and a more efficient campaign. 

What are the drawbacks?

There are certain drawbacks to audience targeting. Sometimes human bias can influence the way in which we pick and choose the right audiences for a campaign. You may subconsciously select audiences that aren’t actually the most effective and end up missing out on another portion of potential customers. Additionally, what you think you may know about your audience may not actually be fully accurate, especially when it comes to demographics:

These people are completely different and will have completely different interests and purchasing behaviours, yet are still classed as the same with demographic targeting. So it’s important to take this into consideration.

The other factor to consider is that some segments may convert a lot higher than others but have absolutely no connection or relevance to your business. It’s potentially quite silly to just take this data and run with it, without a little bit of a reality check on whether this makes logical sense.

So what should I do?

The most effective approach would be to use in-market or custom intent, as these are more “intent” based ways of targeting your audiences. These audiences are actively searching for your product or service, giving a much higher level of engagement with the brand. This, again, does limit the potential exposure, so a mixture of display campaigns with different audiences can help to maximise success.

Audience targeting overall

Audience targeting can be great, if taken with a pinch of salt. Google’s algorithms can end up being a lot broader than anticipated and sometimes this data can be generalised. What may look like a solid trend could really just be a coincidence, with someone being categorised in a certain audience list entirely without merit.

My advice would be to not exclusively use specific audiences until actual data has been generated and analysed. The best way of doing this is to use observation targeting setting to gather relevant data on possible audiences, rather than taking the leap and bidding for only specific audiences. There is also a lot more that can go into a display campaign, including placements and topics to help to find the right audience looking at the same types of websites as your target audience. As with most paid ads strategies, do your due diligence and test test test!

We’re happy to talk through our paid advertising services, or any other digital marketing you’re after. Drop us an email today.
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Apps Or No Apps? Do They Work For Display Advertising?

Apps are a huge part of everyday life in the 21st century, whether it’s a game or your favourite retailer, everyone is getting on the app bandwagon. But, when it comes to PPC and display advertising, is having mobile application placements beneficial or not?

Display is a great way to generate visibility across millions of different websites and apps. It can boost brand awareness and help to drive leads and/or sales, but there is much debate as to where the best placements are, and what works & what doesn’t.


Websites are a great way to get visibility. You can get your ads on top quality publications for a very low cost, alongside advertisers who are paying high fees to earn an advertising spot in the same publication. This makes it a really good way of getting in front of your target audience, by choosing websites that they would likely visit whilst also keeping costs down. You can either target specific websites or let the algorithm place ads anywhere on the internet to see what performs best. Users will be passively seeing your ad as they are browsing the internet, which can be good for brand recall & for bringing users into the funnel when they are ready to convert or learn more about your business. The thing to be careful of here is making sure that the ad copy of your display ads is contextual. These ads can sometimes embed into articles and it’s important that the user doesn’t confuse the ad as being related to the article/website itself. There is also brand protection to think of too; if there are any inappropriate/controversial websites that you don’t want your brand to be associated with, make sure to exclude these from the start. 

Mobile Apps

Mobile app placements are slightly different in that they appear when a user is interacting with an app. As apps are typically used on smaller devices, it can mean that the ad takes over the whole of the user’s screen rather than just being passively visible. The result is ads that then interfere with the user’s experience, interrupt gameplay or distract them from what they are doing. This can be annoying for the user & cause negative connotations towards the brand. It can also mean they click the ad as a way to remove it from their screen, thereby costing you money for zero return. However, in some instances, this can actually be perceived in a good way. Advertising other apps on active apps may mean your user is more likely to engage. For example, if a user is playing a game and you are advertising another game, the user is a lot more likely to respond to that than they are to an unconnected website. That’s because you know that the user plays games on apps, and this is exactly your target market.


Like with websites, YouTube allows for passive reach across a wide range of users as they are browsing YouTube. The difference with YouTube is that there are different types of placements that can all be interpreted differently by users; some appear at the top of search results, some overlay the video & some appear down the side of a video. The ones in search results & down the side of the video may work much like website placements, creating brand visibility without interrupting the user’s experience. The one to watch out for is the overlay format, this may come across as intrusive by some users and, as I’m sure many of us can agree, ads when watching videos can get extremely irritating. 

Final Thoughts

All in all, there are positives and negatives to the different placements on the display network. It really is down to what you are advertising, and to understanding the best possible placements that will get your business in front of the most engaged users. As with everything in paid search, experiment, analyse the data & use that to help drive your decisions.

Contact us for more information or help setting up your in-app display ads  

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iOS 14.5 and the Effects on Meta Advertising.

Over a year has passed since the introduction of IOS14 & 14.5 which changed the landscape of Meta advertising. This blog will talk through the updates and the detrimental effects this ultimately had on paid social advertisers.

iOS 14 & 14.5 Update Changes – What is it?

Perhaps one of the most significant changes arising from the updates was that Apple limited the amount of data Meta could get from their users. Apple launched the App Transparency feature which asked the user for permission every time an app requested their IDFA (Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers). 

This prompt allows users to ask the app not to track and, if selected, prevents any user activity being tracked across company apps and websites.

Since Apple’s new privacy feature the rate of opt-in figures has, unsurprisingly, been low. According to Statista as of April 2022, the opt-in rate was at 25%.

What does this mean for Meta advertising?

With the majority of consumers choosing to opt out of data, there has been a significant impact on the amount of data marketers are now able to collect.

As a result of the update, Meta Pixel is now unable to track user’s activity properly, which is a big change to adjust to. Advertisers now report far fewer clicks on their advertisements as people choose to opt out of tracking. As a result, the conversions that are made cannot be reported on as granulary; for example, demographic data is no longer collected, meaning that advertisers can no longer use this information to personalise ads. Consequently, this has made it more difficult when optimising ads and caused a notable decrease in performance for all campaigns.

Another clear impact of the update is the lack of audience data that can be used for remarketing purposes. Meta audiences is one of the reasons that advertising through these platforms was so popular. Targeting users through lookalike, remarketing and custom audiences is now limited in its capabilities. To tackle this, campaigns should target a broader audience using interest marketing, this will allow Meta to use their own data to put your ads in front of people likely to convert. 

Aggregated Events Management

In addition to the reduction of user data that Meta can access, there is also no real-time reporting in Meta and results can take up to 3 days to appear. In response to this, Meta developed the aggravated events management system to help advertisers with reporting. This requires brands to limit their conversion events to 8 per domain. Meta Events Manager now only tracks the last single event made by the user, it’s therefore important to prioritise the order of conversion events. It’s also vital to have your domains verified in order to have this working effectively, so keep an eye out for the warning sign that will tell you if it’s not.

How can agencies respond to this new normal for Meta Ads? 

  1. Verify your domain: This tells Meta that you are a legitimate business and allows for the 8 conversion events to be assigned to that domain.
  1. Set up Aggregated Event Management: You can set up 8 conversion events. Meta will only track the last conversion event with the highest priority. 
  1. Target broad Audiences :Targeting large audiences with similar interests will allow Meta to put your ads in front of the right people. 

Summing up the IOS 14 & 14.5 Updates

The IOS 14 and 14.5 updates have had a huge impact on how advertisers utilise Meta for advertising. The updates mean it’s no longer as efficient as it has been before, but there are still things we can do to give our campaigns the best chance of succeeding. After all, advertisers are known for adapting to change and, as such, we must stay vigilant for any more updates in the paid social scene and run with these changes.

Find out how we work with the iOS changes and can help guide your social advertising
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Google Shopping Explained

Google Shopping is a great way to advertise your products and generate sales as an E-commerce store. It’s a shopping comparison service for searchers where retailers compete to get their products in front of users who are searching online for them.

Why use Google Shopping Ads?

Unlike Google’s main other campaign type – Search (AKA text ads), these ads include an image of your product as well as the title, price and shop name. Shopping Ads provide more information to the users who are searching for your products, which helps to bring in more qualified leads. Shopping Ads show up at the top of the Google SERP in a scrollable banner format above organic results, and even above text ads. This means they are the first thing a user will see when they’re searching for a product, making them very powerful for growing revenue.

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How do Google Shopping Ads Work?

Shopping ads are created automatically by Google through your product feed, which is a file you upload to Google Merchant Centre containing all of your products and their information, such as price, description, delivery costs etc. So, unlike text ads, there is no need to write ad copy. Google will simply use the information you provide in the product feed to create the ad content. The ad will contain the product title, price and image, as well as extra information, if available, such as reviews. As the information that builds the ad comes from your product feed, the data inputted to the feed must be accurate and of high quality, to ensure it appears in searches. Once a user clicks on your ad, they will be directed straight to the product page on your website where they can ‘add to basket’ and complete the purchase.

Shopping ads also tend to have lower cost-per-click than text ads, which means they are a more cost-effective advertising platform, helping to generate more ROI. This makes Shopping ads extremely valuable to online shops as they bring in higher quality leads due to the extra information given to the user, and are cheaper when users do click. 

Step 1: Set Up Google Merchant Centre & Upload A Product Feed

This is the most time-consuming part of the process but, once done, your Shopping Ad campaigns will be much easier to manage than if you were to advertise the same items through Google Search Campaigns. In Google Merchant Centre, simply upload a product feed using either a Google Sheet or an XML file. Google has handy templates for you to use to help create the feed. 

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Some e-commerce platform providers, such as Shopify or WooCommerce, have direct integrations with Google Merchant Centre, meaning you can manage both your website catalogue and Google product feed simultaneously. This makes this step a lot simpler. Check your e-commerce platform provider to see if yours will work with Google Merchant Centre.

Once done, link your Google Ads account to your Merchant Centre by heading to the gear icon at the top right, and heading to the linked accounts section.

After your product feed is uploaded, you will be moving to Google Ads to optimise your campaigns. One more thing to mention before moving over to Google Ads is the “Promotions” feature on Google Merchant Centre. Here, you can set up promotions such as monetary or percentage discounts, free gifts and free shipping, to reflect any sales or promotions you may be offering on your website. 

If you are running a promotion on a specific set of products, you can use the [promo_id] attribute within your product feed to mark products you want to include in sales; this way, only those with the correct promotion ID will be included. 

You can also create custom filters based on your product attributes within the promotion set up, allowing you to select products for your promotion by the attributes you’ve set them in the feed.

Step 2: Create your campaign(s)

Now you can move to Google Ads and start to set up your shopping campaigns. On the campaign tab, press the blue “+” button to set up a new campaign. Select your campaign goal as “Sales” and campaign type as “Shopping”.  Make sure you have conversion tracking set up in order to properly measure the performance of your campaigns and product sales through Google Ads.

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Before continuing to the next step, make sure you switch to the “Standard Shopping campaign” selection – this will give you manual control over bid levels which is useful for new users when getting to grips with Google Ads.

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On the next page you will be able to set the daily budget and bid levels to your desired amounts, as well as targeting options such as locations and devices.

Step 3: Segment your products by attributes

Now, in your newly created campaign(s), you can segment your products by the attributes you set in the feed. A standard segmentation used by a lot of advertisers is to separate their products by Brand, but this may not be the best approach for everyone. By splitting out products in the product groups, you can bid different amounts on different brands, product categories, and even down to product specific bids. You can also exclude products from your campaigns if you do not wish to advertise them.

Step 4: Optimise

Once your campaign is live, you will be able to see how much your products are spending, how much revenue they are generating and other helpful data such as Search Impression Share (the percentage of times your ad showed when eligible). Use this to gauge the performance of your products and adjust your bids and budgets in accordance with your marketing goals.


Google Shopping is a really effective tool for both advertisers and shoppers. By using Google Shopping, advertisers can showcase their products in a very visual way to potential customers. It’s therefore a great way to boost website traffic and sales. It’s also much more cost effective than other text-heavy advertising options, so if you haven’t tried it yet this could be an ideal tool for your business.

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New Client Alert: Loop Cashmere

Now that we’re heading into the winter months snuggling down into a nice cosy jumper is definitely the way to go and that’s why we’re delighted to announce that we are working with ethical cashmere brand Loop Cashmere across SEO, PPC and Digital PR to help grow and develop their online store and product offering.

Founded in 2020, the brand champions the style and quality longevity of cashmere as well as being both kind to the planet and also to consumers.

Featuring timeless classics alongside a range of luxury wardrobe staples and statement styles, the cashmere is designed to look and feel good for longer and the entire creation process is focused around sustainability – leaving the planet a little bit better than how we found it.

Our work with Loop Cashmere will cover the full range of performance marketing including SEO, PPC, Digital PR and also Paid Social campaign activation across Meta platforms, designed to create a holistic marketing strategy to drive sales and visibility for the brand.

Katrina Urwin, Head of Marketing at Loop Cashmere said

“It was difficult to choose between the final agencies, but we ultimately felt that Cedarwood Digital were a great fit for the brief, and we were impressed by the people who would be working directly on the account.”

Anna Simpson, Paid Media Manager quoted

“Loop Cashmere is a great example of a business that not only creates great products, but also takes into account sustainability, showing how you can create a great quality product while also being gentle on the planet.

We’re looking forward to working closely with the brand to deliver a full performance marketing strategy to help showcase their cashmere range to consumers.”

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Finding The Right Facebook Ad Type For Your Campaign

Facebook is continuously evolving and offering more and more new ad formats, but how do you know which one is best for you? This blog will walk you through the various formats, and help you choose which you should adopt to reach the right audience to help you hit your campaign goals.

Image Ads

Image Ads are the most simple of the ad formats. You can use your own photos or create stock images to engage your audience. A picture, after all, is worth a thousand words, so don’t be afraid to get creative to attract your audience. Facebook’s creative hub allows you to test different image and text formats to find the best look for your advert.

These have the benefit of driving awareness of your business, can communicate a simple message to your audience and are quick and easy to create.

Video Ads

Video ads are a powerful way to showcase your products and services by using visuals and audio to capture your audience’s attention. These can be used to highlight a unique feature of your product or tell a story to drive awareness of your brand. Video ads can appear in a variety of placements including feeds, stories, reels, and many more.

The main advantages of this format are improved brand awareness, customer engagement, and increasing lead generation. So your choice is not limited when deciding to use a video ad.


Stories provide an edge-to-edge experience to steal your audience’s attention with quick-frame videos and interesting ads. Stories can have a very large reach and a higher click-through rate. 

Unique ads can be used to increase customer interest and boost awareness of your products. 


Messenger Ads are a perfect way to encourage customers to interact with your brand. The use of manual and automated features can be used to personalise your message to your existing or potential customers. 

Messenger ads are effective in reaching large numbers of people and starting conversations with your customers.


Carousel ads let you display as many as 10 images or videos within a single ad. Each image or video has a headline, link and call to action button, making it easy for the customer to navigate when clicking the ad.

Carousel ads are used best to:

  • Showcase multiple products in a single ad
  • – Highlight different features of a product or service, 
  • Take the user through a process 
  • Tell a story of your brand.

The main benefit of carousel is it increases consideration towards your brand and encourages people to actively engage with your product or service.


Slideshow ads contain different images that come together in a single harmonious slideshow. These are comparable to video but can be made on a smaller budget. Additionally, these are quick to create and can be set up easily from your Facebook page or phone. No matter how fast or slow the connection, these advertisements load quickly and play smoothly. 

These are most useful if you need to create an immersive ad quickly and inexpensively, and want to reach people with slower connections.


Collection ads have the unique ability to tailor your catalogue to each individual. The usual format consists of one main image accompanied by 3 smaller images. When the customer clicks on the ad they will receive a full-page instant experience which allows customers to see the storefront, browse for products and make a purchase effortlessly. 

These are helpful if your campaign’s goal is to drive product awareness and increase conversions for your business. 


Playable Ads allow customers to interact with your app before they decide to install it. These ads consist of 3 components; a lead-in video, a demo and, finally, a call to action. These are most commonly used for gaming apps.

Playables are effective for engaging customers and driving actions, as the customer gets to have a preview of the app before they decide to download it.

Which ad format is best for me?

With all these different kinds of formats available to select, how do you know which one to choose?  It is crucial to define your target audience in order to know who to direct your ads at. Each ad format comes with its advantages so you need to select one that aligns with your campaign objectives. 

One more thing

It’s important to remember that Facebook is constantly evolving, so it’s critical to stay on top of the latest changes to ensure your business thrives on the meta platforms.

Get in touch today if you want to start integrating Facebook advertising into your marketing strategy.

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Life After Expanded Text Ads

The shift to RSAs from ETAs is an interesting one. I imagine some marketers will be sceptical as is the case with any sudden and uncontrollable change made by Google. However, the results we have seen for our clients have led to an increase in click through rates (CTR) and conversion rates (CVR), and a decrease in costs per acquisition (CPA) across the board, so there are clearly benefits to the change.

With Google utilising machine learning more and more, this was an inevitable change and a natural next step in today’s world of automation. But, as with anything, there are benefits and drawbacks to the change, which we’ll go through below.

The Positives

There are many benefits to RSAs; it allows for real-time testing instead of having to manually set up and analyse A/B testing of ad copy. This happens automatically through RSAs, with around 43,680 different combinations thanks to the increased number of headlines and descriptions. Marketers therefore save time and resources otherwise spent setting these up and having to analyse the data manually. It also means that Google can use auction time insights and signals to match relevant copy to the intent of the users’ query, a previously more static element in ETAs which now gives the user a much more relevant ad than we could manually create.

The Drawbacks

The downsides to RSAs are related to control and data visibility. With Google creating these combinations automatically, you don’t actually have the control to decide exactly what gets seen by the user for each search. This means that the choice in headlines and descriptions has to be carefully selected so that each works with the rest. Google also gives limited visibility around the combinations, only highlighting the impressions each has rather than actual performance metrics. It’s a definite downfall, as marketers can find insightful trends from this data that they may have utilised elsewhere.

Ad Asset Combinations

This has now been taken one step further with the announcement of “Ad Assets” taking over what was previously known as “Ad Extensions”. These are now an integral part of campaign set up, and is great if you are the type of person to forget to add these on in the separate part of the interface. This again takes Google’s machine learning approach to the next level, reporting on not only the different combinations of headlines and descriptions, but now including these combinations with different ad assets (extensions) to really understand which work the best together.

This is now a set-in-stone change & expanded text ads can no longer be edited or created. It’s therefore definitely worth getting on board and adopting the best practices to give the highest potential for success with RSAs. Our advice for a successful RSA set up?

  • – Fill in all headline asset spaces with key USPs and features
  • – Create different descriptions to utilise the machine A/B testing 
  • – Pin any assets that you definitely want visible in all ads.

These simple steps are key to getting the most from RSAs and increasing CTR and CVR for your own or your clients’ accounts.

Speak to us about text ads or any other paid advertising for your next campaign

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Using ValueTrack Parameters To Improve Your Display Campaigns

Display Advertising is, in my opinion, one of the most under-utilised forms of effective advertising offered in performance marketing. The main reason I feel people don’t really use it effectively is because, of all the paid search options available, it is often the hardest to optimise and also the hardest to attribute.

Unlike traditional advertising such as Search or Shopping, Display generally has a much longer path to conversion. It can take many more touchpoints than the standard options which, in many cases, can just take one or two. The second and probably biggest challenge with Display Advertising is that, unlike Shopping or Search, it is an interest-based form of advertising rather than an intent-based format. This means that instead of benefitting from putting your ad in front of someone at the time they are looking for it, you are instead trying to find that audience through a range of targeting options, such as age/demographic, interests and affinity audiences.

With this in mind, you often find that Display doesn’t convert as well as traditional channels. The Conversion Rate tends to be lower and the user much further outside the funnel so, for many advertisers, it falls by the wayside as an effective channel option. This is a shame, as Display can be a great way to reach a broader audience for your product and bring them into your funnel, even if it doesn’t directly convert. It can actually be a powerful tool when used effectively.

Given the broad nature of interest-based targeting, to utilise Display Advertising effectively we need to be as granular as possible and use a strong, data-driven approach in our targeting methods. In addition to having a really good understanding of our audience and where we want the ads to be placed, we also need to understand which ads are working well for us and which placements are leading to conversions. That’s where, when using ValueTrack Parameters effectively, you can really improve the performance of your Display campaigns.

What Are ValueTrack Parameters?

According to Google who created them, ValueTrack Parameters are “a type of URL parameter that you can add to your ads’ landing page URLs. These parameters collect information about the source of your ad clicks.” Essentially, they are parameters which you apply to your ads that allow you to collate data about the click (location, type of ad etc…) and feed that back into your advertising interface to allow you to make more data-driven decisions. 

By utilising ValueTrack Parameters you are able to gain more information about your audience and their behaviour than you would traditionally through the advertising interface. This can allow you to make more data-driven decisions and more effectively place your display ads in areas where you are likely to get the best return. 

There are a whole range of parameters that you can use across the full range of advertising channels (Display, Search, Shopping, Video). They include parameters to measure devices, placements, positions, user data and location. These have all been designed to give you additional insight and data to really maximise the value of your campaigns. 

Are There Specific ValueTrack Parameters I Should Use For Display?

If you’re looking to optimise your Display Campaigns then there are a number of ValueTrack Parameters that we would recommend using. These will help to add additional data and detail to your campaigns, allowing you to really maximise their optimisation:


The Placement ValueTrack Parameter gives you access to the domain name of the specific website where your ad was published. This can be an incredibly effective way of mapping specific conversions back to specific placements, and allowing you to be more granular with the way that you place your content.

By using the placement parameter it allows you to really understand which placements are delivering you high quality leads and which ones aren’t. Additionally, this then allows you to block out placements which aren’t driving value and increase bids on those which are. The Google Display Network covers around 90% of the web which means a standard display campaign will appear on thousands and thousands of websites. By utilising the placement parameter you can really help to isolate high performance placements and maximise these for a better ROAS.


The Devicemodel parameter allows you to evaluate what make and model of device users are on when they click on your ads and come through to your website. This, again, can give really valuable information around how you target your campaigns and, specifically, how you create your ads. 

With this data you can evaluate if a particular user group (i.e. on a particular make or model of device) is interacting poorly with either your ads or your website when they arrive. As a result, it could indicate an issue with the way they are viewing your ads, or even indicate that they are missing specific information from them due to the way the ad displays on their screen or device. This particular parameter can help to cut out a lot of wastage and can also push advertisers to ensure that their ads are suitable for a wide range of devices and models. So, if you are finding a drop off in your ads, or when users come through to the website, this is one method of investigation which can provide very useful data.


The Creative parameter is a great way of identifying which of your specific creatives are driving valuable conversions to your website. When combined with the {placement} parameter it gives you an invaluable insight into which creative on which placement is actually driving your leads. This allows you to really maximise visibility in areas where you know there is a high potential for conversion. 

With Display campaigns you will often trial and run a number of different creative options and it’s often hard to discern which of these is generating the best return. By implementing the creative parameter and combining it with others you can get a full data mix to understand what’s really driving ROAS for your business. This is one of the most effective ways to get display campaigns delivering a strong ROAS as opposed to just improving your visibility.

How Do I Set Up ValueTrack Parameters On My Campaigns?

If you like what you’ve read above and this is something you are looking to get involved with, Google offers a handy guide which can help you get started with setting up the parameters on your campaigns. If you’re looking to get started quickly then here’s a snippet from the Google guidelines below which indicates the quick steps to set up the parameters:

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The key here is in choosing the right parameters and understanding how you want to digest that data. I’d recommend setting it out in a spreadsheet first, understanding exactly what you want to measure, which campaigns you are going to test it on and how you are going to measure the data. Then apply the parameters to a subset of data to test initially.

Once the test has been undertaken (and it may be valuable to do this within a Google Ads Experiment) you can then roll this out across more campaigns to get a larger pool of data to work with.


If you are looking to take your display campaigns to the next level, or perhaps you’ve stepped away from them because you don’t feel that they are generating the ROAS that you deserve, then it’s worth considering how ValueTrack parameters could help. They could really bring that display campaign back in a very targeted approach and allow you to cut a lot of wastage.

By applying some simple parameters you can better understand your audience and the data available, allowing you to really maximise your campaigns.

Want to find out more about how to maximise your return from display advertising? Get in touch!

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Performance Max – Everything You Need To Know

So by now you’ve probably heard about the introduction of Performance Max & the sunsetting on Smart Shopping. Some may be worried about what this means for their campaigns, as we know Google’s changes aren’t always the best in the eyes of an advertiser. However, I’m here to run through what Performance Max is, how it works & how you can get the best out of it. 

What is Performance Max?

Don’t be put off by the name – this isn’t a completely new product. It still acts in the same way as Smart Shopping but takes machine learning and visibility to the next level, incorporating more channels than ever before. This means that advertisers can now reach more customers from just one campaign, letting Google’s machine learning & automation optimise bids & placements that are based around your budgets, goals & conversions. Performance Max is essentially Smart Shopping Plus.

How does it work?

Performance Max is a goal based campaign type that allows users to access a wider range of the Google Network including:

  • • YouTube
  • • Display
  •  Search
  •  Discover
  •  Gmail
  •  Maps
Source: Google

Building on the “Standard Shopping” & “Display Remarketing” combination of Smart Shopping, Performance Max also brings new opportunities by adding “Dynamic Search Ads” to the mix. This complements existing Search Keywords within the account but acts as a catch-all to ensure that advertisers are not missing out on any sales.

As I said before, this is a goal based campaign & in honour of its name, the main focus of these campaigns is to drive performance based on the specific conversion goals that you set. 

How do I set a Performance Max campaign up?

Google automates the targeting of Performance Max campaigns based on the information that you provide. Primarily, this is the budget & the campaign goal which gives the constraints to which the campaign needs to adhere to. Performance Max uses asset groups which are a collection of creatives centred on a theme or related to a target audience. Advertisers also need to provide the following creative assets which consist of:

  • • Final URL
  • • Up to 15 Images
  • • Up to 5 Logos
  • • Up to 5 Videos (Google has autocreated videos if you don’t provide any but honestly, if you have the resource, it is definitely worth creating these yourself as the auto-created ones aren’t the best)
  • • Up to 5 Headlines
  • • Up to 5 Long Headlines
  • • Up to 5 Descriptions
  • • Call To Action
  • • Business Name

However, new updates from Google’s Ads Liaison, Ginny Marvin, confirmed that if you connect your Google Merchant Feed but don’t provide any other assets, the campaign will only serve Shopping Ads. So if this is your primary focus & you don’t want to go back to Standard Shopping this could be the answer.

You can also add audience signals to hit the ground running & feed data into the algorithm – this will also be used to continuously inform the algorithms throughout the lifecycle of the campaign. 

Another important upgrade to Performance Max builds on the “New Customer Acquisition” feature of Smart Shopping where you could value new customers higher than returning. In PMax, you can now bid more for new customers or bid only for new customers. This could be a really interesting growth tool for businesses to expand their current customer base more specifically than ever before.

Performance Max also builds on the “Insights” tab of Smart Shopping, taking this further to highlight search themes that are driving conversions – this will give better insights into the trends & patterns within the market. Alongside this, it will also showcase what types of audiences are engaging with the different assets that the ads are showing. This will help you to understand how users are interacting with the ads and you can then use this information to improve & tailor your ads more effectively.

Source: Google

Performance Max continues the drawbacks of Smart Shopping too, with a lack of visibility over channel-specific performance & lack of manual optimisation; especially around the addition of negative keywords & placements. However, Google representatives have explained that this lack of data is to ensure that advertisers are allowing the algorithms to do their job properly. Giving these insights may enable human bias to pull away from certain areas within the campaign, be that channels or placements, but users should be reassured that the campaign’s sole focus is on performance. Basically, the algorithms will be taking into account any areas that aren’t delivering the required results & optimising towards the ones that do. Makes sense when you think of it like that huh?

So what do I do now?

Smart Shopping is being sunsetted in September 2022, therefore you have a bit of time to experiment & see what works for you. My guess would be to wait until the one-click migration tool is live in May. This will allow you to automatically migrate your Smart Shopping campaigns into Performance Max, meaning that there is no potential downtime of the campaigns. Doing it this way also means that Performance Max will be able to use all the historical data from the Smart Shopping campaign resulting in a much shorter learning period. This seems the safest option in both the transition & the speed of performance off the back of the migration. You can of course start testing now, however, this means that you will need to set the campaigns up from scratch which could be a lot more time consuming & leaves more room for human error.