August 2017 Digital Marketing News Recap
Here are some major digital marketing updates from the Month of August 2017.
Google Updates Quality Raters Guidelines with Details Around Non-English Language Web Pages: Google updated their search quality raters guidelines PDF document a few days ago. Jennifer Slegg first noticed and documented most of the changes between this updated version and the March version, which focused on upsetting and offensive content. The core change, according to Jennifer Slegg, is the new guidelines around non-English language pages. “This update seems primarily focused on international non-English results,” she said. “This is particularly where there are non-English languages being searched in, as well as cases where there might be both English and non-English mixed results from Google,” she added.
New Google Rendering & Debugging Docs: Gary Illyes from Google posted on Twitter that Google has published new documents on rendering and debugging. The new docs are named Rendering on Google Search and Debug Rendering Problems. It basically describes what GoogleBot is able to render and what it is not able to render.
Google Removes URLs From Mobile Search Results: The Next Web reports that Google’s mobile search service on Android appears to no longer include URLs. Instead, Google only displays “the page’s title, a thumbnail of a featured image from the site, and a blurb.” Google hasn’t shared any details on whether this is just a test or will be rolled out more broadly.
Google Adds 30 Languages to Voice Search & Makes It Possible to Use Emojis with Voice Typing: Aiming to make its voice typing technology more inclusive, Google has added 30 new languages to voice search — bringing the total number of languages supported by speech recognition via Gboard on Android to 119. Google is also adding the new languages to its Cloud Speech API and says it is working to integrate them into other apps like Google Translate. In addition to adding more languages, US users can also search for emojis using voice typing.
Google Rolls Out Q&As in Google Maps and Mobile Search Worldwide: Google announced the rollout of a new Q&A feature to Google Maps and mobile search. Users now have the option to ask or answer questions about a location, landmark, or specific businesses within its Maps or mobile search listing. They may also scroll through existing conversations about a place and upvote the most useful ones. Business owners and “other in-the-know users” will be notified when questions are posted so they can provide an accurate response. This new feature is currently available to all Android users worldwide.
Google Adds Mobile Friendly Test In The Search Results: You can now search for [mobile friendly] in Google and Google will give you a box at the top of the page letting you test any URL to see if it is mobile friendly. This is the same as the mobile friendly testing tool but directly in the search results page. Similar to how Google added the submit URL box to the search results page as well.
Google Emails Warnings to Webmasters That Chrome Will Mark HTTP Pages with Forms as ‘Not Secure’: Google sent email notifications via Google Search Console to site owners that have forms on web pages over HTTP. These pages will be marked as not secure in Chrome 62 starting in October 2017. This is not a new notification. Google said, “Beginning in October 2017, Chrome will show the ‘Not secure’ warning in two additional situations: when users enter data on an HTTP page, and on all HTTP pages visited in Incognito mode.”
Google Rolls Out Six-Second Video Previews on Mobile Search: Google announced that silent six-second video previews will now appear within mobile search results pages to help users identify videos they would like to see. TechCrunch reports that this new feature “will work for the vast majority of videos on the web… including, but not limited to, YouTube,” and is expected to remove some ambiguity around a video’s actual content and quality.
Google Shopping Ads Tests Stores In Carousel Format: Josh Leibner posted on Twitter of Google testing a out a new format for the Google Shopping Ads. In this format, Google is showing the ads for the stores and their prices for a product in a swipeable carousel card format. John wrote “seeing shopping ads looking like price extension card format on some very specific product queries.”
AdWords Mobile Extensions Get Major Upgrades with Tappable Sitelinks & More Visible Content: Sitelinks are becoming tappable on mobile, allowing users to scroll further and click through to deeper parts of a site. This will allow searchers to choose which sitelinks pertain to them, while also diving directly into the specific page. Of course, these sitelinks are not automated links, but rather are chosen and crafted by the advertiser. But with this change, Google has also doubled the number of sitelinks you can show on your AdWords search ads from four to eight.
Typically, a searcher would find callout and structured snippet extensions underneath an ad. Now, these two extensions will be included in-line with the ad copy. According to Google, this will allow more of the callout and snippet text to be displayed.
Google AdWords Landing Pages Report With Mobile Friendly Click Rate: Google announced they have added new Landing pages report that shows the mobile-friendly click rate on those pages and the number of clicks. This report shows you which URLs in your account are mobile-friendly, which ones drive the most sales, and which ones may require your attention.
Google AdWords Ad Rotation To Offer Optimize & Rotate Indefinitely: Google announced they are “simplifying ad rotation to two settings.” Specifically, they are only going to offer “optimize” and “rotate indefinitely” options starting in late September 2017.
Google is Testing Ads in Local Business Knowledge Panels: Google is testing more ad opportunities in knowledge panels. In this case, it’s testing ads on panels for local businesses. Spotted by Dr. Pete Meyers of Moz, the example shows an ad from Groupon for the featured club. A call to action to “View Deal” links to the related offer page on Groupon.com.
Google AdWords Report Editor Adds Cross-Account Reporting: Now in the Google AdWords Report Editor you can do cross-account reporting to see all your important metrics across your manager account in one single report. Google quietly announced this new feature on both Google+ and Twitter.
Bing Ads Now Shows Potential Conversion Impact With Budget Suggestions: Bing Ads advertisers that have the Universal Event Tag (UET) implemented may now see estimated conversion impact when looking at budget suggestions in their accounts. In addition to click, impression and spend estimates, search marketers will see estimated changes in conversions with a campaign budget adjustment on the Opportunity tab in the Bing Ads web UI.
Labels Are Coming to Bing Ads & Bing Ads Editor: Bing Ads is currently rolling out customizable, color-coded labels globally over the next few weeks. As in AdWords, labels can be applied at the campaign, ad group, ad and keyword levels to aid in account management and analysis. Any item can have as many as 50 labels associated with it. Labels used in AdWords campaigns can also port over when importing campaigns from Google and can also be managed with the Bing Ads API.
Dynamic Search Ads Pilot in Bing Ads Now Open to All US Advertisers: Bing Ads’ testing of Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) is expanding to and now available to US advertisers. Advertisers using DSA in Google AdWords will find the DSA structure in Bing Ads familiar. Ads are served by landing page content rather than keywords the advertiser enters. Bing Ads crawls the advertiser’s website to identify a landing page that’s related to the search query and dynamically generates ad titles that fit the query. The ads are then served with the generic ad copy the advertiser has entered. DSA can be set up in the Bing Ads UI, the API and through the Google Import tool. To sign up for the pilot, fill out the online form.
Facebook Rolls Out Public Sharing for Stories Platform: Facebook stories can now be made accessible to public followers so that “anyone can see your story.” Initially, only “social media stars and public figures” were able to publicly post stories. Facebook confirms this new privacy setting was quietly introduced a few weeks ago and is now available to all users. Besides this Facebook Stories is now rolling out to Facebook’s desktop site as well.
Facebook Tests Custom Audiences Based on Interactions With Page Events: Facebook is testing the ability to create custom audiences based on users who have interacted with a page’s events. This includes responding to any upcoming event as going, interested, or both.
Facebook Audience Network Rolls Out New Ad Bidding Tools: The Facebook Audience Network rolled out new CPM Targets, “a powerful tool that helps publishers maximize revenue by giving greater control to set price targets for each ad placement.” This new product promises to better forecast ad revenue, establish location-specific CPM targets, and access demand from Facebook advertisers “at various points in their waterfall.” Facebook’s new CPM Targets is currently being rolled out to all publishers.
Facebook Will Soon Rank Web Page Links on Mobile Based on Loading Speed: Facebook announced upcoming changes to the news feed algorithm that will give a higher ranking to links that are expected to load quickly on mobile over links that might load slowly. Facebook also provides best practices and tips on ways publishers can make their sites faster and more mobile-friendly as these changes “roll out gradually over the coming months.”
YouTube Retires Video Editor and Photo Slideshow: YouTube announced plans to completely shut down the Video Editor and the Photo Slideshows tools on September 20, 2017, giving creators two months to finalize any video projects
YouTube Adds Chat and Sharing Features to Mobile App: YouTube announced that users can now directly share videos and chat within the YouTube mobile app. The YouTube blog reports that the shared videos can be found in a new Shared tab in the app, “making it easier than ever to catch up on videos your friends have shared or to show them a few of your own favorites.”
Instagram Tests Ability to Share a Live Video Broadcast With Another User: Instagram began testing “a fun way to go live with a friend” with the tap of a button. Broadcasters can now invite anyone who’s currently watching their live video to join them in a split screen conversation. Instagram shares that this new feature is currently testing with “a small percentage of its community” and will be rolling out globally “over the next few months.”
Facebook Quietly Releases Marketplace Experience on Desktop: Facebook Marketplace was initially rolled out on the Facebook mobile app and it now appears to be available on the desktop version of the site.
Facebook Shows Featured Topic Posts in the News Feed: Facebook users may now see Featured Topic posts in the news feed, regardless of whether or not they subscribe to the Facebook Pages who originally published the posts.
Pinterest Rolls Out Mobile Video Ads for All Advertisers: Pinterest is rolling out video ads that will play automatically without sound and appear within people’s feeds, search results, and the Related Pins galleries beneath individual pins on the mobile app. Pinterest began testing promoted video year ago with a handful of brands, but the video ads are now available to all advertisers. Video ads can be purchased through Pinterest’s self-serve platform, marketing partners, or account managers.
Facebook Updates Clicks and Impressions Reporting: Facebook rolled out two new metrics updates to its clicks and impressions reporting. Facebook announced that it will stop charging marketers for “unintentional clicks” on ads published through the Audience Network and these clicks will no longer be included in the metrics shared with advertisers and publishers. Facebook is also giving more insights on the total impressions received by ads with two new metrics. These include “gross impressions,” which captures all billable and non-billable impressions, and a granular look at impressions generated from right-hand side placements with “auto-refresh impressions.”
Facebook Tests Custom Audiences Based on Instagram Business Profiles: Adweek reports that “Facebook is testing the ability for brands to create custom audiences based on engagement with Instagram business profiles.” Although Facebook hasn’t officially announced this new product, a Facebook Help Center page confirms it’s a test and provides details on how to set up this type of custom audience.
Facebook Rolls Out New Anti-Clickbait News Feed Algorithm: Facebook is rolling out a new anti-clickbait algorithm that will further reduce clickbait headlines in the coming weeks. According to Facebook, this update will withhold exaggerated, distorted, or inaccurate stories and rank the stories that users want to see higher up in their feeds. Facebook anticipates “that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed as a result of this change.” However, pages that rely on exaggerated headlines should expect a drop in their distribution.
Facebook Gives Advertisers More Control Over Mid-Roll Video Ads: Facebook announced that it now lets marketers choose whether to buy in-stream video placements on the Facebook Audience Network, within Facebook itself or to buy ads across all formats. With more options on how to divide their video budgets, Facebook allows marketers to tailor their ads to reach specific video audiences and provides “more flexibility and control over their ad placements.”
Facebook Tests Ad Targeting for Brick-and-Mortar Shoppers: Marketing Land reports that Facebook is testing the ability for local businesses and brands to create custom audiences targeting their brick-and-mortar visitors across Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook’s Audience Network. A spokesperson from the company confirmed that Facebook is “always exploring new ways to help marketers drive offline value from their ads” but hasn’t provided any additional details about this possible new ad targeting option.
Facebook Adds New Controls and Capabilities for Branded Content Marketers: Facebook introduced more features and improved insights to “help marketers amplify branded content and control their campaigns with creators.” With these changes, Facebook made it possible for marketers to directly boost a post as it appears on the creator’s page and authorize which creators can tag them in a branded content post in their page settings. Facebook also gave marketers more control over branded content tags, access to more content insights, and more.
Facebook Allows Admins to Link Pages to Personal Profiles: Facebook page admins can now link the pages they manage to their personal profiles. When users add their page to their profile, they’ll automatically be listed as a “team member” on that page.
Google Launches Allo for the Web: Google’s AI-powered messaging app, Allo, is now available on the web. Digital Trends reports that Allo for web “requires an Android phone… [and] a registered Allo account to use it.” Once approved, users can sign up and access the Allo web interface. At this time, Allo for the web can only be accessed through Google Chrome but Google states that it’s “actively working to support more browsers in the future.”
Facebook Adds Publisher Logos to Trending News Section and Search: As part of “ongoing efforts to enhance people’s recognition of the sources of news distributed on its platform,” Facebook will begin showing publisher logos next to articles surfaced in its Trending News section and search functionality on both desktop and mobile. With this update, publishers may upload multiple versions of their logos through a new Brand Asset Library so the appropriate logo can appear next to their content on Facebook.
Facebook Allows Select Pages to Share Stories: It appears that Facebook now allows select business pages to share branded stories. However, Facebook hasn’t officially announced nor provided any details about this possible rollout.
Facebook Adds Ability to Capture 360 Photos on Mobile: Facebook users can now capture 360 photos from within the latest versions of the Facebook mobile app and instantly upload them to their timeline, albums, or groups and use them as a cover photo on a personal profile. Facebook is also starting to roll out zooming into 360 photos and spatial tagging, which gives users the ability to tag friends within a 360 photo on the desktop. All iOS and Android users should be able to take and share 360 photos with the Facebook app starting this week.
YouTube Rolls Out Breaking News Section Across All Platforms: YouTube added a new Breaking News section within the main feed on mobile and the homepage of the desktop versions of the platform. The new section highlights seven videos displayed in a horizontally scrollable carousel format and is currently featured on the front page of YouTube.
Facebook Introduces a Dedicated Tab for Safety Check: Facebook announced that it will soon offer “a single place to go to see where Safety Check has recently been activated, get the information you need and potentially be able to help affected areas.” Facebook announced that it will gradually roll out the dedicated tab for Safety Check “in the upcoming weeks” starting now.
LinkedIn Rolls Out Video Globally: LinkedIn announced plans to roll out video to all members globally over the coming weeks. LinkedIn has been testing this feature in limited release over the last month and it’s now available on mobile for both iOS and Android. Members have the option to natively record a video or upload a previously recorded video.
Instagram Stories Coming to the Desktop and Mobile Web: Instagram is starting to roll out the ability to view Stories on desktop. Additionally, a future rollout will allow users to create and post Stories from Instagram.com via the mobile web.
Facebook Allows Page Admins to Control Messenger Pop-Up Chat Prompts: Facebook Page Admins now have the option to prompt visitors to “start a conversation” with the page via Messenger when it’s online or if it tends to be “very responsive to messages.” This new permission can be found in the Messenger Settings menu under General Settings.
Facebook Blocks Ads From Pages Sharing Fake News: Facebook announced that pages repeatedly sharing stories marked as false will no longer be eligible to buy ads on Facebook. This new policy is an extension of Facebook’s existing policy of banning advertisers from running ads that link to stories marked false by third-party fact-checking organizations and aims to reduce the distribution of false news on the platform.
WhatsApp Tests Verified Badges to Select Business Accounts: WhatsApp is testing verified business accounts to select contacts. A green badge next to the account name confirms that the phone number of this contact belongs to a business account. WhatsApp announced that business verification is currently limited to a small number of businesses participating in a pilot program.
Google Analytics – New Global Site Tag: Google is releasing a new implementation method, called the Global Site Tag (gtag.js). The goal of this method is to streamline tracking across Google products, including their “measurement, conversion tracking, and remarketing products.” This feature will be a beta rollout, first impacting only a percentage of accounts. It will have no impact on existing accounts and no code migration is required.