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June and July ad updates from Google, Meta, and others highlight retail media, targeting tools, and social media

The US ad market grew for the first time in 11 months this May, according to Standard Media’s US Ad Market Tracker. Now the question is if expansion can continue. June and the start of July brought a host of ad updates that could help continued growth, including ad tools enhancements from Google and Microsoft, retail media opportunities from Roku and Uber, and more. Here’s a breakdown of what’s new.

Player: Google

Google made a host of updates to its ad management tools, including introducing a new design for Google Ads, updating its API, and improving Google Ads Editor. Many of the updates provide more control for advertisers, which are reinforced by changes to its shopping ads policies and enhancements for brand restrictions.

Google also launched two AI-powered features that place ads in optimal positions within Google’s products.

YouTube is testing restricting ad blockers to three video views, at which point users would have to disable the blockers, resulting in more eyes on YouTube ads.

Player: Meta

Meta introduced Threads, its Twitter copycat, which doesn’t have ads yet but did just get branded content tools for creators. That means Threads could become a hub for influencers. Stand by for news on when the platform will introduce ads.

Instagram is getting new ad features on Reels, its TikTok copycat, in the form of app promotion ads. The platform is also testing single-image ads and an inventory filter to enhance brand safety on Reels.

Player: TikTok

TikTok launched Creative Challenge, which allows brands to submit a brief for an ad and get ad options crowdsourced from creators, who would then be paid out based on performance metrics.

TikTok also launched an AI ad script generator, part of a trend of social platforms—including Snap and LinkedIn—using generative AI for ad copy.

Player: Microsoft

Microsoft made a number of changes to its ad management tools, renaming several ad platforms and introducing AI-based targeting, generative AI in responsive search ads, and more. The platform will also limit ads to verified advertisers starting August 1, so if your brand isn’t yet verified with Microsoft, now is the time to do so.

Player: Roku

Roku is working with Shopify to enable on-screen purchases directly from ecommerce ads. The partnership moves connected TV ads closer to the point of sale and improves customer data for advertisers through the retail partnership.

Player: Uber

Uber is getting video ads in all its apps, running after customers place orders, within search ads, and during rides, as part of Uber’s moves to grow its retail media network.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.