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Not All Automated Ad Products Are Alike

Nii Ahene, chief strategy officer, Tinuiti

Google’s Performance Max and Meta’s Advantage+ often get tossed into the same bucket.

But there are several important differences between these machine-learning-powered ad-buying tools, says Nii Ahene, chief strategy officer at performance marketing agency Tinuiti, speaking on this episode of AdExchanger Talks. (It’s our final show of 2023, if you can believe it!)

One key difference is how marketers feel about the tools.

When Apple announced its AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework in 2020, it was clear that Facebook (this is back when Facebook was still called Facebook) had to rebuild large parts of its advertising platform to deal with signal loss.

ATT essentially severed Facebook’s ability to understand what was happening beyond its own walls. And the brands that relied on it for targeting and campaign measurement were rooting for a fix.

“That was a broken system,” Ahene says. “Facebook needed to figure something else out, and Advantage+ has been a partial savior for clients … and wholly embraced by our clients.”

The challenge with Google’s Performance Max, he says, is that it aggregates multiple types of inventory within one auction, which makes it useful for smaller, less sophisticated advertisers, but aggravating for big brands that want more transparency.

It’s also very challenging to get access via Performance Max to certain desirable inventory types, like YouTube Shorts, outside of alpha or beta programs, Ahene says. (Not to mention that it can also be very challenging to avoid access to certain undesirable inventory types through PMax, as was evidenced by the recent report from Adalytics about Google’s Search Partner Network.)

“It’s causing a lot of consternation and frustration for larger advertisers,” Ahene says. “On Facebook, you still have that level of control … but that’s not the case with the Google properties, and that’s definitely been a point of friction for a lot of our clients.”

Also in this episode: The shiny object that is retail media (and will we ever get retail media network standards?), creative as a performance lever, what will happen to CPMs once third-party cookies are truly no longer available and Ahene’s personal mission to visit every NBA arena in the US.

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