PPC 2023 in review: UA sunsets, Google antitrust trial, X's downfall and more - Search Engine Land

The PPC community had a rollercoaster year in 2023. Google stirred things up by shaking cushions and discreetly adjusting ad prices, and the entire industry faced a major shift with the sunset of Universal Analytics, forcing everyone to transition to Google Analytics 4. It’s fair to say that GA4 did not receive the warmest welcome.

As we approach the end of 2023, let’s reflect on some of the most headline-worthy, controversial, and impactful changes that significantly influenced the PPC world over the past 12 months.

Google antitrust trial

Google spent 10 weeks on trial for allegedly using underhand tactics to ensure it stays the world’s leading search engine. In September, the search engine was taken to court by the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) and 35 states in a landmark case that could bring significant changes to Google and the future of the Internet. The DOJ is hoping that the case will force Google to divest parts of its online advertising business, which could have a major impact on advertisers.

One of the most significant revelations from the 10-week trial occurred when Jerry Dischler, the head of Google Ads, testified that the search engine secretly raises ad prices to achieve targets by as much as 10%, using techniques such as RGSP (Google’s Randomized Generalized Second-Price ad auctions).

This revelation not only angered advertisers but also directly contradicted Dischler’s statement during a keynote speech at SMX Advanced in 2015. In a clip brought to light...

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