August 2018 Digital Marketing News Recap
Here are some major digital marketing updates from the Month of August 2018.
Google’s Aug. 1 Core Algorithm Update or Medic Update: The Google search algorithm update from August 1 is now fully rolled out, and here is what we know about the update. According to reportsmost of the sites which were impacted with this update were health, medical sites and YMYL “Your Money Your Life” sites. But many sites besides those were also impacted by the update.This update has taken on the name the Medic Update because of its focus on the medical and health space. This specific focus is something Google will not confirm.Danny Sullivan confirmed this is a “global” rollout and impacts all Google search results, no matter what language or region.
Google said there is nothing you can do. There is no fix. But Google has been suggesting that you can continue to work on improving your website, make better content, make a better overall user experience and ultimately, the next update may lead to your site ranking better.
Google Datasets Schema Now Live In Search Results: Google announced they are launching datasets schema in the search results.Google says “we identified an opportunity to improve how tabular data appears in Google Search and in doing so make it easier for all people to find the data they’re looking for. It works like this: news organizations that publish data in the form of tables can add additional structured data to make the dataset parts of the page easier to identify for use in relevant Search features.”
Google Confirms New FAQs, Q&A and How-Tos for Search Results Snippets:Google has confirmed with Search Engine Land that it has been testing for the past several months a new form of search results snippets: the way the search results appear to searchers. These new search snippets are in the form of FAQs or frequently asked questions, Q&A (questions & answers) and How-Tos.Google will soon open up an interest form to allow publishers and webmasters to participate in the FAQ and How-to formats shown in the screen shot above. But if you review the Schema.org website, you can find a lot of this markup available already, including HowTomarkup, QA page markup and FAQ markup. So if you want to get started early, consider adding the appropriate markup to the sections of your HTML.
Beta Google Search Console Adds Verify Sites, Manage Users & Mobile Usability Report:Google announced on Twitter that, you can now manage users and permissions, add sites and validate ownership and view the mobile usability report on new beta version of Google Search Console
Google Search Console Sends Useful HTTPS Gone Wrong Notifications: Google is now sending useful notifications about issues when you migrate from HTTP to HTTPS. In the example Alan Bleiweiss shared, Google told him that 80% of the HTTP pages are not showing up on the HTTPS version. That is a useful notification!
Google Launches Expandable Featured Snippets: Google announced they have launched a new form of featured snippets that offer expandable snippets to help a searcher dive deeper into the aspects of a specific query. Google has not given them an official name – such as “expandable featured snippets”. How do you get your site to show up in these? Well, just like normal featured snippets, there is nothing specific you can do to guarantee it. Google wrote “these new panels are automatically generated based on our understanding of these topics from content on the web.”
New Google Search Console Finally Gets Link Report:Google has announced that the new beta Google Search Console is now getting the link report. You will be able to access the link report, over at https://search.google.com/search-console/links. Google did post this help document that explained the types of data you get from this report including:
- Top linking domains (Which sites link to me the most)
- Top linked pages (Which are my top linked pages from other sites)
- Which are my top linked pages from a specific site
- Top linking text (What link text points to my site)
- What are the links from a specific site to my page
- What are the top sites linking to my page
- Top linked pages (Which of my pages is linked the most from within my own site)
- Which of my pages links to my page
Google also has added functionality to download latest links from your search cosole.
Google Search Console Reports Removes Anonymous Queries: Google has posted on their data anomalies page that they have removed what they call “anonymous query.”Google said they are now omitting anonymous query data because “these queries from results to protect user privacy.”
Google Analytics Access Will Auto Verify You In Google Search Console:Google announced that they will now begin automatically verifying some users in Google Search Console. This is what it looks like when you get notified of being automatically verified. Sergei Ivanov posted on Twitter some screen shots.
Bing Adds Hotel Booking Filter, Home Services Pricing &Coupon Deals in Search: Bing has announced an array of new “intelligent search” features around hotel searches, home cost and pricing guides and also coupon and deal snippets in search.
Hotel Booking – Bing can now give you options to search for a specific hotel by date and see the prices across several booking sites.They even show you photos of the hotel, the class and other booking tips for that hotel.
Home Cost Repairs &JobFeatures – Bing said they can show you “cost ranges to provide transparency for home services like sink installation costs and toilet repairs.” They get the data from Porch, a home service provider portal.
Coupons and Deals – Finally, Bing also added a new snippet feature to show you deals on a site.Bing said, “We now aggregate deals across first- and third-party listings, then display them when you search for retailers or coupons. We surface relevant insights like ‘expiring soon,’ whether the offers are online or in-store only, and more.”
Google Ads Adds Multi-Factor Authentication Security:Google announced that they now can enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication for logging in to Google Ads (AdWords) platform. Google wrote “today, we are rolling out a feature that allows the administrative users of Google Ads accounts to set a required multi-factor authentication policy, including 2-Step Verification. When this new authentication policy is enabled on a particular Google Ads account, all users who want to access that account must have their Google accounts enrolled in 2-Step Verification.”Google has a great overview of how this all works over here.
Google Removes Option to Exclude All Mobile Apps Starting Sep 2018:Starting in September 2018, Google is simplifying targeting and exclusion controls for Google Display Network ads on mobile devices in order to make it easier to reach the growing base of mobile users. As a result of these changes, you may see a significant increase in mobile apps or mobile web traffic (depending on your current settings).Until this update coming in September, the primary way to keep ads from showing in most mobile apps is to exclude the domain “googleadsenseformobileapps.com.” That trick will no longer work. Nor will the “G-mob mobile app non-interstitial” content exclusion be available. Controls are now located under the Devices section of campaign Settings of the new web interface.For more details, see the “Exclude individual apps from Display campaigns” section of this help page.
Google Ads Report Editor Now Supports Chart Time Comparison Data: Google quietly announced on Twitter they have added the ability to compare data across multiple factors within charts and graphs.This allows you to better visualize your performance, such as how this week’s clicks compare to last week’s. You can visualize week over week, month over month or other date range comparison charts in your customized reports in the Report Editor.
Google Extends Extra Characters of Responsive Search Ads to Text Ads: Google will start rolling out its responsive search ads to more accounts in English, French, German and Spanish starting in September. Responsive text ads can display with three headlines and two descriptions with up to 90 characters each. In the meantime, the company is extending the added real estate benefits of these longer units to existing text ads.Starting by end of August 2018, advertisers will be able to add a third headline and a second description as long as 90 characters as opposed to the traditional 80-character limit to their text ads.
Google Ads Introduces ‘Ad Strength’ Indicator &Reporting for Responsive Search Ads:Starting September 2018, ad strength will be available as a column in the interface. It will show up in the ad creation interface for responsive search ads over the next few weeks. In the coming months, it will also be available for responsive display ads.The new ad strength measures relevance, quantity and diversity of the ad copy in responsive search ads. The indicator ranges from “Poor” to “Excellent” and provides suggestions such as “Add more headlines.”Advertisers can preview some of their ad combinations as they create responsive search ads, and now new reporting shows stats on top combinations, headlines and descriptions. Google now recommends every ad group have at least three ads, including a responsive search ad. Responsive search ads should typically have at least 5 headlines, suggests Google.
Google Ads Overview Cards Now Let’s You Make Some Ad Modifications:Google Ads now let’s advertisers make some modifications to their ads directly from the overview page cards. Google announced this on Twitter saying “You can now implement some of those changes directly from the Overview page itself.”
The changes you can make from these overview cards include:
- Pause or unpause campaigns, ad groups and keywords
- Edit campaign budgets
- Edit keyword and ad group bids
- Edit ad copy
- Exclude irrelevant search terms by adding negative keywords right within the “searches” card
Snapchat Is Introducing Voice-Controlled Lenses: Snapchat is introducing a new set of audio-triggered Lenses which are able to recognize different words and use them as cues for effects.The new Lenses can be triggered by using English words like “hi,” “love,” “yes,” “no,” and “wow”.
Snapchat Continues Its Efforts to Boost Connection with Influencers Through Custom Sticker Packs: Snapchat is adding another way to boost appeal to platform influencers, this time by giving prominent creators the option to create their own sticker packs available within the app.To access to custom stickers, users will be able to tap the ‘star’ icon in the stickers section of the app. The option is the latest in Snapchat’s renewed push to build connections with influencers, which comes after years of the app refusing to treat prominent creators any different to regular users.
WhatsApp’s Making a New Business Push, Pointing to Significant Revenue Opportunities: WhatsApp has announced new updates for the WhatsApp Business app.businesses will have some new options for connecting with their customers through the tool – businesses will now be able to:
- Request helpful information – When you need a shipping confirmation or boarding pass, you can give your mobile number to a business on their website, on their app, or in their store to send you information on WhatsApp.
- Start a conversation – You may see a click-to-chat button on a website or Facebook ad to quickly message a business.
- Get support – Some businesses may provide real-time support on WhatsApp to answer questions about their products or help you resolve an issue.
The charges per message will not be huge – TechCrunch reports that the costs will be between half a cent and 9 cents (US) per response. But it will give WhatsApp a means to limit over-messaging from businesses, while, as noted, generating revenue for the app as a result.On top of this, Facebook’s also adding a new option for businesses to start WhatsApp chats via Facebook News Feed ads.But ads within WhatsApp are coming – TechCrunch has also notes that WhatsApp’s planning to insert ads into its own Stories clone, called ‘WhatsApp Status”, beginning sometime next year.
WhatsApp Adds Group Calls – Both Video and Voice: WhatsApp has announced the addition of group calling within the app – both for video and voice.WhatsApp group calls can include up to four people at once.To make a video call on WhatsApp, users start a one-on-one call as normal, then tap the new “add participant” button in the top right corner to include more contacts in the call.
Facebook Announces New Update for Pages, Adding Recommendation Tools and Connection Options: Facebook is rolling out a bunch of updates for business Pages in order to make it easier for local businesses to maximize their exposure on the platform. First off, Facebook’s adding Recommendations to Pages, which will enable users to post a written review of your business, and can include text, photos and a new option – related business tags.Facebook’s tags work like hashtags for businesses, with suggested tags generated based on keywords from past recommendations, or they can be manually added in. These Tags will help Facebook categorize your business for related searches.Facebook will also give Pages the ability to report content in Recommendations which is “fraudulent, spam or paid for”.
In addition to this, Facebook will also enable Pages to include a “prominently featured set of action buttons on Pages”. The action buttons will relate to the Page template you choose.In addition to these updates, Facebook’s also rolling out:Updated product and services listings, selling event tickets, and expanding job listings to all regions.
YouTube Offers Platform Creators Incentives to Try New Revenue Generation Tools: YouTube is now offering to pay top platform creators to try its newer features, including paid memberships and its enhanced ‘Super Chat’ tools.Those new options include YouTube’s merchandise ‘shelf’ for product tie-ins, and Channel Memberships, both of which were released back in June.
Pinterest Rolls Out Max Width Video Ads to All Businesses: Pinterest hasannounced that its attention-grabbing, ‘max width’ video ads are being made available to all advertisers.
Facebook Adds New Authorization Process for Page Managers: Users who manage ‘large’ Facebook Pages being asked to go through a new authorization process before they’ll be able to continue publishing posts on the Page.Facebook doesn’t specifically explain how ‘large’ a Page needs to be to qualify, but if your Page manager/s do require authorization, they’ll receive a notice at the top of their News Feed to begin the process.The process is rolling out first to US businesses, with Facebook looking to expand the system over time.
Instagram Adds Private Polls to Direct Messages:Instagramis adding its poll stickers to its private messaging options, giving users anotherwaytointeractwithinsmallergroups.Furthering this, Instagram has also been working on a ‘Lists’ feature which would enable users to share posts and Stories with selected groups of friends only, though it hasn’t been rolled out as yet.
Facebook Launches New Process to Convert Still Images to Video, New Ad Creative Guide: Facebook’s Creative Shop team has put together a newprocess which enables advertisers to create more effective, video-like ads from still images. Based on the available info, it looks as though the new ‘Create to Convert’ still image to video process is not currently a self-serve option, though that may change in future.In addition to this, Facebook has also published a new guide to creative considerations for Facebook ads, which outlines how to make best use of the platform’s various ad formats to drive audience response.
Facebook’s Rolling Out Facebook Stories Highlights on Profiles: Spotted by Mari Smith (and shared by Matt Navarra), the highlights option provides another way to re-use your Facebook Stories content, showcasing the best of your Stories efforts direct on your profile for an indefinite period. While it may not be inviting for a business to invest a heap of time and effort into content that’s gone within 24 hours, having the capacity to re-use it, and put it forward as another connective opportunity, broadens the Stories use case.
Facebook Assigns Users with a ‘Reputation Score’, Helping to Sort Issue Reports:The Washington Post has reported that Facebook assigns users with a “reputation score”, which predicts an individual’s trustworthiness on a scale from zero to 1. The “reputation” we’re talking about here specifically relates to the reporting of false news stories, not a person’s general trustworthiness in everyday life.Facebook passes on all reports of false or misleading news to third-party fact-checkers, and if those fact-checkers find that a story flagged as false is actually true, that goes against the trustworthiness score of the reporting user, putting their future complaints lower down the list.
Facebook Group Admins Can Now Pin Comments to Focus Discussion: Facebook is now letting group admins pin comments in discussion threads.The option will enable group admins to highlight the best comments, or new angles of interest, which could help spark further discussion around a specific element, and boost engagement and interaction.
Snapchat Adds Musical GIFs via New Tunemoji Integration: Snap Inc. has formed a new partnership with TuneMoji which will enable users to send musical GIFs which play a snippet of a chosen song along with the moving image.The new process will add another, fun element to the Snap process, and is one of the first Snap Kit integrations, enabling third-parties to build on Snap’s platform. other Snapchat news, musician Ariana Grande is also using the new capacity to sell products via Lenses to promote products related to her new album ‘Sweetener’.
Facebook Will Remove More Than 5, 000 Ad Targeting Options to Stamp Out Discrimination: Facebook announced that around 5,000 of its advanced ad targeting options will be removed as it seeks to stamp out discriminatory ad targeting.As reported by BuzzFeed, among the options likely to be cut will be those tangentially related to religious beliefs and racial profiling.In addition to this, Facebook’s also adding a new advertiser certification process.The certification will be expanded to all regions over time, giving Facebook another measure to enforce its policies and stamp out misuse.
Facebook’s Testing Links in Facebook Stories:Spotted by French user Valentin Blanchot (and shared by social media advisor Matt Navarra), Facebook is indeed now testing links in Facebook Stories.The ability to share links in Facebook Stories could be significant – while Facebook Stories currently only has around 150 million daily active users (by comparison to 400 million daily actives for Instagram Stories), Stories do have particularly prominent placement, right at the top of the main feed screen.
Facebook Watch is Now Available to All Users Globally: Facebook has announced the wider rollout of its Facebook Watch video platform, with all users, to get access to Watch from this week.Along with the expansion of Watch, Facebook’s also giving more businesses access to ad breaks in videos.Initially, Pages and publishers will only be eligible to include ad breaks in their video content if they’ve been creating videos of at least 3 minutes in length which have generated more than 30,000 1 minute views in total over the past two months. They’ll also need to have more than 10,000 Facebook followers and meet Facebook’s Monetization Eligibility Standards. In addition to this, Facebook is also launching its Creator Studio platform globally, through which brands and creators will be able to track the performance of their video content.
LinkedIn Adds Automated Bidding for Sponsored Content: Automated bidding for Sponsored Content will be available when looking to optimize for website visits, awareness, lead form submissions, website conversions and video views. The option, LinkedIn says, will use “historical data and machine learning to automatically find the best bid on members who will fulfill that objective”.
Google Data Studio Adds Three New Features To Help Users Tell More Compelling Data Stories: Three new features are added to Google Data Studio –that “make it easier for marketers to tell compelling data stories and make better, more informed business decisions.”
- The explorer feature allows users to bring “data analysis together with one click.” Instead of combing through huge amounts of data to find the insights that matter the most, explorer allows users to get insights from their data, faster; no coding required. Explorer uses a one-click integration with BigQuery and makes the analyst workflow a lot faster. As a result, querying doesn’t have to be limited to technical users.
- Data Blending feature allows enterprise businesses to analyse and visualise information “from multiple accounts” across their organization. Data Blending brings all data sources together into one chart. Soon, users will also be able to add other fields “to create new calculations from the blended data,” allowing them to tell a more complete data story “with an interactive, compelling chart that’s easy to create.”
- Google Marketing Platform Report Gallery – The feature allows users to create more comprehensive reports with templates for any of Google Marketing Platform’s products. They can simply choose the template taht suits their purpose and customise it according to their needs.
Google Simplifies Data Studio embeds and social sharing: Google has introduced two new features to make sharing your Data Studio visualizations easier, including enhanced support for embedding your reports across the web, and rich snippets of your reports when you share them on social networks.
- Data Studio now supports embedding interactive reports on Medium, Reddit and hundreds of other sites that use ly
- When you share your report link on social platforms or messaging apps, you will now see a rich snippet including the title, thumbnail and description of the report.
Google Analytics Shows How to Find Google Image Search traffic When Google Images Changes The Referral URL: Google Analytics has posted a useful document that tells users what to expect when Google Image search engineers flip to the new referrer URL. Google said there will be a new “source” line item for image search reflected in Google Analytics which will display as “google images” in the Source report and “google images/organic” in the Source/Medium report within Analytics. Google said that some users may notice a drop in traffic, “perceived to be coming from ‘google,’ since it will be reclassified as coming from ‘google images.’” But Google added, “[I]n some cases, you may see an increase in organic traffic as we reclassify some traffic previously classified as ‘referral’ to ‘organic.’ These changes should all balance out, and you shouldn’t expect an overall drop or increase in total traffic.”