Digital Marketing Trends 2019: Q3 Round-Up

Hope your October is going spook-tacularly! Black Friday is just around the corner, but don’t be afraid! We’ve gathered up a few of our top digital marketing updates from Q3 to share with you, so you can start your Q4 off savvy. 

1. Google’s Changes to Match Types 

If you use match types, you’ve probably already seen the effects of this update. Google announced at the end of July that they will be extending same-meaning close variants to phrase match and broad match modifiers. For example, the broad match modifier keyword “+lawn +mowing +service” could now match to “grass cutting and gardening services”. Before, broad match modifiers would only match to misspellings, plurals, stemmings, and abbreviations. Read the full article here. 

Senior Analyst’s Thoughts: Tim Moran 

“With this change, Google has taken a bit more control away from the advertiser with promises of increased volume and conversions. Early reports have indicated close variant traffic has increased substantially year over year, and that close variant conversion rates are 10-15% lower than their standard match counterparts for non-branded traffic. This should be alarming to anyone in the space, and those seeing unprofitable spend from close variants should consider implementing additional keyword fencing. I would say the jury is still out on net effect of these changes (and it likely will vary from account to account), but I will certainly be keeping a close eye on it.”

2. Amazon New Sponsored Product Targeting

Speaking of match types, Amazon is now allowing users to adjust match types at any time during or after campaign set up for Sponsored Products. Other updates to Sponsored Product targeting include targeting products eligible for Prime shipping, and special targeting options for books and toys. Read the full article here. 

Senior Analyst’s Thoughts: CJ Milhoan

With new automatic targeting options, it’s important to understand that you now have more options to tailor your ads to your strategy. For example, you can now target based on “close match” or “loose match”. The best way to think about this is by asking yourself “Do you want to be aggressive or conservative when targeting people based on their searches and how they related to your advertised product?” or by thinking of this as a broad match versus an exact match keyword. You now have another two options, on top of that, of targeting people based on your product being similar to others, think of this as targeting competitors e.g. as you sell shoes you target others retailers that sell shoes, and the other option is “complement” targeting e.g. target your socks to people buying shoes.

This is important because going into Q4, do you feel you have a strong grasp on your target consumer, are you launching a new item and need exposure, are you trying to chip away at competitors, etc. These are all important questions to ask yourself year-round, but most important to ask as we move closer to the holiday season”

3. Microsoft Advertising Prominence Metrics

Formerly known as “share of voice”, prominence metrics include top impression share, top impression share lost to rank or budget, absolute top impression share, and absolute top impression share lost to rank or budget. Microsoft also highlights that they will keep a metric that Google is removing: average position. Read the full article here. 

Analyst’s Thoughts: Sarah French

“As Google is taking away advertisers insight into average position, Microsoft has stated it’s commitment to keep the average position and added more metrics. By adding top impression share, top impression share lost to rank and top impression share lost to budget along with the absolute top impression share metrics, advertisers have a much clearer picture into where their ads fall in the SERP and auction. These metrics are helpful for both budget and bidding decisions. They can be especially helpful for limited budgets and projections on the effect of raising the budgets. These metrics are now available in the campaign, ad group and keyword tab making analysis available at every level. More insight is always welcome and helpful to advertisers. “

4. Google Removes Accelerated Delivery 

On October 1st, Search and Shopping campaigns that were using accelerated delivery were switched to standard delivery. This will now be the only option for Search and Shopping campaigns, and campaigns with shared budgets. For Display and Video Campaigns, accelerated delivery will remain available. Google says the reason for this change is because standard delivery has been improved to be more predictive. Read the full article here. 

Strategist’s Thoughts: Chris Kendall

As Standard delivery is now the only option, this could change the distribution of ad spend throughout the day. I imagine that this could conflict with ad scheduling bid adjustments. If one’s existing ad scheduling bid adjustments were based on how frequently their ads were served during the day under Accelerated delivery, any significant increase or decrease in ad frequency under Standard delivery could greatly affect one’s ad spend. Keep an eye on your CPCs throughout the day if you gain more competition at different times of day under Standard delivery.

5. Department of Justice Big Tech Investigation 

The Department of Justice announced July 23rd that they will be opening an antitrust review of “market-leading online platforms”. While they didn’t name any companies, the DOJ did state they aim to explore “widespread concerns that consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retailer services online.” These concerns include issues such as “reduced competition and stifled innovation”, according to the DOJ press release

Marketing Manager’s Thoughts: Christina DiSomma 

“We could see the breakup of tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Facebook. No one is sure what this might look like—Google and Amazon could be forced to split their retail businesses away from their cloud computing services, or Facebook might be forced to stop collecting so much data. Or nothing could happen at all. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

That’s it for our Q3 round up. Still feel unprepared for Q4? Check out our retailer’s guide to getting ready for Black Friday! 


Savannah is a Marketing Specialist at Omnitail. She has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a minor in Graphic Design from George Mason University. She enjoys working with the amazing team at Omnitail to create original, helpful content.

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