Current state of marketing; AI chatbot coming to Google; TikTok’s secret ‘heating’ button; Twitter adds search ads; McDonalds drunken ads & more…

Welcome to this week’s Digital Discovery.

Here we cover everything you need to know in the world of digital marketing over the last week.

This week we cover:

  • The current state of marketing – budgets grow, confidence drops, teams restructuring and reasons to be optimistic in 2023.
  • Google looking to introduce AI chatbot features
  • Twitter adds ‘Search Keywords Ads’ option
  • Google opts to sunset Optimize
  • TikTok’s secret ‘Heating’ (Cheating) button exposed
  • Google Ads went down
  • LinkedIn set to make newsletter subscriptions visible

Plus we look at some of the best ads discovered this week and look ahead at key content dates coming up next week.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this newsletter and follow me on LinkedIn.

Ok, let’s dive into this week’s update…

The current state of marketing – budgets grow, confidence drops, teams restructuring and reasons to be optimistic in 2023.

Over the last week, Marketing Week have published a number of articles that provide a glimpse into the current state of marketing:

Marketing budgets grow despite recession fears – UK marketing budgets continued to grow in the last three months of 2022, despite high levels of pessimism as marketers face a recessionary 2023, finds the latest IPA Bellwether report.

Consumer confidence drops this month after a slight increase in December – Marketers are being urged to take “centre stage” in helping brands understand consumers’ changing needs as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.

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Marketing teams are restructuring – The 2023 Marketing Week Career and Salary Survey reveals brands are continuing to restructure their marketing teams in search of future growth, with specialist communications, creative and content roles most in demand.

Employment in marketing and advertising has fallen 14% in three years – The Advertising Association (AA) has warned the marketing industry that it needs to “stem talent loss and attract new people”, as a new report reveals the number of people working in marketing and advertising fell by 14% between 2019 and 2022.

NatWest CMO: Marketers have reason to be optimistic in 2023 – Despite a depressing economic outlook for 2023, marketers have reason to be optimistic this year, according to NatWest CMO Margaret Jobling, who pointed out that while tough decisions and challenges lie ahead, the cost-of-living crisis offers brands an opportunity to prove their worth. “There’s a big opportunity for us to really be there by customers’ sides,” she said.

Google looking to introduce AI chatbot features

Microsoft’s recent investment and commitment to ChatGPT technology has reportedly led to Google CEO Sundar Pichai issuing a “code red,” realising the technology is a significant threat to Google’s search business.

A recent New York Times article details how only last month, Google called back its founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to discuss plans and idea to put more chatbot features into search.

Google are placing AI at the forefront of their plans with the New York Times reporting that “Google now intends to unveil more than 20 new products and demonstrate a version of its search engine with chatbot features this year”.

If chatbots are coming to both Bing Search and Google Search this year there will undoubtedly be significant impacts to SEO. Most notably will be a reduction in traffic as people will no longer need to leave the search engine to seek answers.

Twitter adds ‘Search Keywords Ads’ option

Twitter has rolled out a new advertising option that allows users to place promoted tweets on Twitter’s search results.

‘Search Keyword Ads’ will allow advertisers to target user intent by selecting specific keywords. While keyword targeting was already an option for advertisers, Twitter said, “Search Keywords Ads differ from other Twitter Keywords campaigns in that they only reach people who are searching for targeted terms when they are searching, offering a stronger signal of intent.”

In last week’s digital marketing news we reported that Twitter ad revenue has dropped by 40% with top advertisers abandoning the platform over fears of instability. Twitter will be hoping that the new advertising offering will help bring back both advertisers and bolster revenues.

In another attempt to boost revenue, Elon Musk hinted that Twitter will introduce a higher priced subscription with no ads.

Google opts to sunset Optimize

Google announced this week that Optimize and Optimize 360 will be discontinued from 30 September 2023

Google Optimize allows marketers, advertisers and site owners to conduct valuable A/B tests on web pages. A crucial tool for those experimenting with different advertising campaign landing pages to attain optimal conversion rates.

In the announcement google said, “We remain committed to enabling businesses of all sizes to improve your user experiences and are investing in A/B testing in Google Analytics 4”

App marketers can be rest assured that the sunsetting of Google Optimize will not impact Firebase A/B testing, despite using the same infrastructure.

Users of Google Optimize are urged to download their data before the sunset date.

TikTok’s secret ‘Heating’ (Cheating) button exposed

 Forbes article published last week detailing how employees of TikTok are secretly ‘heating’ hand-picked content on the platform to boost their distribution to ensure a certain number of video views.

Internal documents reviewed by Forbes explains that “The heating feature refers to boosting videos into the For You feed through operation intervention to achieve a certain number of video views”

Concerns that internal staff are abusing this power appear to be confirmed by Forbes who reviewed documents showing employees had used the ‘heating’ feature not only on their own accounts, but also the accounts of people they know. One document revealed an account had received over 3 million views from ‘heating’.

TikTok spokesperson Jamie Favazza wrote: “We promote some videos to help diversify the content experience and introduce celebrities and emerging creators to the TikTok community. Only a few people, based in the U.S., have the ability to approve content for promotion in the U.S., and that content makes up approximately .002% of videos in For You feeds.”

Artificially inflating view counts can skew platform data and ultimately undermines trust in the platform’s data and metrics.

Best Ads of the Week

Drunken McDonald’s ads – We speak ‘late night’

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SPA® introduces Placeb’eau – a trick to get people to drink more water

Belgian water brand Spa has released a tongue-in-cheek ad campaign in the hopes of selling more bottled H20.


Google Ads went down

Google confirmed an issue with its advertising platform this week as some advertisers were unable to access their accounts.

The outage lasted roughly three hours before being fixed.

Advertisers should bookmark the Google Ads Status Dashboard to track and monitor any issues in the future.

LinkedIn set to make newsletter subscriptions visible

LinkedIn have confirmed that a new feature that allows people to see what newsletters other people are subscribed to, will be launched 11 February.

The move is intended to help people find more relevant newsletters to them.

LinkedIn members who don’t want people to see their newsletter subscriptions have no option but to unsubscribe from the newsletter.

According to recent data published by the online professional network, there are more than 36,000 newsletters actively published on the platform with more than 29 million unique people subscribed to at least one LinkedIn newsletter.

The company also boasted having over 850 million members.


Month Long

  1. Dry January
  2. Veganuary
  3. Ginuary


  • 01 January 2023: New Year’s Day
  • 02 January 2023: Bank Holiday (UK), Science Fiction Day
  • 04 January 2023: World Braille Day
  • 05 January 2023: National Bird Day
  • 06 January 2023: National Technology Day
  • 08 January 2023: Bubble Bath Day
  • 09 January 2023: Clean Your Desk Day
  • 10 January 2023: Houseplant Appreciation Day
  • 14 January 2023: Dress Up Your Pet Day
  • 15 January 2023: National Hat Day (US), World Religion Day
  • 16 January 2023: Blue Monday, Australian Open (16th to 29th) Begins
  • 19 January 2023: Popcorn Day, Get to Know Your Customers Day
  • 21 January 2023: Hugging Day
  • 22 January 2023: Chinese New Year (Year of the Rabbit)
  • 24 January 2023: National Compliment Day, International Day of Education
  • 25 January 2023: Opposite Day, Burns Night
  • 26 January 2023: Australia Day
  • 27 January 2023: Holocaust Memorial Day, Chocolate Cake Day
  • 28 January 2023: Data Privacy Day
  • 29 January 2023: Puzzle Day
  • 30 January 2023: National Croissant Day
  • 31 January 2023: National Backward Day

Thanks for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s newsletter and found it useful.

Please follow me and subscribe to my Digital Discovery newsletter. I’ll be posting each week about the digital marketing stories that matter.

See you next week.

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