February 2018 Digital Marketing News Recap
Here are some major digital marketing updates from the Month of February 2018.
Google Adds SEO Audits To The Lighthouse Chrome Extension: Google announced on the Webmaster blog that they have updated the Lighthouse Chrome Extension to add SEO Audit features. Google said the SEO audit features are very basic, “nor does it make any SEO guarantees for Google websearch or other search engines.”
Google: New Sites Should Go HTTPS From The Start: John Mueller from Google said on Twitter that if you are building a new site, then you should most likely go HTTPS from the start. Switching from HTTP to HTTPS can have its challenges but starting your site off on HTTPS from the onset makes a lot of sense. So if you are launching a new site, go HTTPS from the beginning, it will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Google Drops Support for Meta News Keywords Tag: Google has dropped its support for the news meta keywords tag. Google introduced the new meta keywords tag specifically for news publishers back in 2012 and quietly stopped supporting it months ago. Using the news meta keywords tag will not help Google understand your news content anymore since Google ignores it the same way they ignore the normal meta keywords tag.
Google’s How Search Works Portal Available In 40 Languages: Google’s Search Liaison account on Twitter announced they have translated the how search works portal into an additional 17 languages, bringing it up to a total of 40 languages you can read the portal in. Google also took the opportunity to remind SEOs that they updated the SEO starter guide in December with another tweet.
Google’s Fetch & Render Works for Hashbang URLs: Google Search Console brought back the fetch & render Ajax hashbang URLs! hashbang is a number character sequence that basically looks like this – #! This change is in accordance with the new update Google had rolled out last December regarding rendering the #! directly. In other words, if you are still using the escaped fragment, make sure to also fetch & render both versions in order to make sure there is no cloaking.
Bing Webmaster Tools Adds Social Sign-in Feature: Bing Webmaster Tools now lets you log in using your Google account, Facebook account or your Microsoft login. This is to help make it easier for webmasters to log into their toolset. This should be available as a login option for all users who verified their websites with Bing Webmaster Tools at bing.com/toolbox/webmaster.
Google AdWords Missed Call Ad Extension?: Reena Jha shared a screenshot of a weird Google AdWords ad extension that not only shows the call extension but also a “missed call” button. After clicking the extension it gives you a callback and Google connects to seller and the customer via call.
Google AdWords Impressions & Clicks May Show After Campaign Was Paused: A Google AdWords advertiser complained on Twitter that two days after pausing a campaign, he is still seeing clicks, impressions and other ad metrics flow into the reporting tools. Google responded on Twitter saying that this is normal and that “the metrics you’re seeing may be delayed in populating on the interface.”
AdWords Express Launches Notifications for Calls from Search Ads: AdWords Express is adding support around calls to a business with two types of call notifications. Now, when a call received via a search ad ends, the advertiser will get a notification on their phone to leave feedback about the relevancy of the call. The feedback prompt appears as a simple question that can be answered “yes,” “no” or “not sure”.
Google AdWords to Crack Down On Ticket Resellers: Google announced they have a new AdWords policy around ticket resellers. Specifically they now “require all event ticket resellers to be certified and to radically increase their transparency.” The specific details can also be found on this help document that says you can apply for certification over here.
Google Keyword Planner Tool Redesigned: Google appears to be rolling out an overhaul of AdWords Keyword Planner in the new AdWords interface. The workflows in the new Keywords Planner are much more streamlined than the current/old version, and it uses Google’s Material Design, matching the new AdWords interface. There are two new metrics available in Keyword ideas. Users can now see Organic impression share and Organic average position for the keywords if a site ranks for them and enough data is available. To see this data, the AdWords and Search Console accounts need to be linked and users need to add the columns to the Keyword ideas report.
Google AdWords Speed Scorecard Estimates Revenue Impact of Speed: Yesterday Google announced their Speed Scorecard, a tool for website owners to measure the impact of their site speed on their earnings and revenues. This is aimed at advertisers but can be used by anyone over here. Then they have this tool on the bottom that shows you how much more you can make in revenue if you increase your speed just a little bit.
Labels Now Available in Bing Ads Editor for Dynamic Search Ads: Bing Ads has announced the ability to use Labels in Editor for Dynamic Search Ads, following the recent rollout of DSAs in October. Labels allow advertisers to organize information in a way that is easier for them to filter and create rules around. Users can use methods such as labeling “Evergreen” vs. “Sale” ads and creating rules to enable and pause them automatically based on Label names, saving time versus manual management.
Bing Ads Rolls Out Multiuser Access with Single Sign-on: Shortly after launching the Multi-Linking feature this past fall to help users managing multiple accounts, Bing Ads is now offering an additional way to manage multiple accounts easily. Multi-User Access will allow users to have one email and password to access all of the Bing Ads accounts they manage. The single login will further streamline switching between different clients while eliminating the need for multiple logins.
Instagram Triples Length of Story Ads with Carousel Format: Instagram is rolling out a version of its Story ads that can include three consecutive photos or videos instead of the standard one. Instagram is calling this “carousel ads for Instagram Stories,” to brands buying ads through automated ad-buying firms in the Facebook Marketing Partners program. Instagram does not yet have a timeline for when it will become available to self-serve advertisers, said Instagram’s director of product marketing Susan Rose. By tripling the number of posts in a Story ad, Instagram is enabling brands to get more creative with their campaigns and removing the pressure to squeeze everything into one 15-second video, as has been the case.
Snapchat Opens in-app Shopping Section with Snap Store: Snapchat has opened the Snap Store, which lives in the Snapchat app’s Discover section and lets you buy Snapchat merchandise. In addition to generating revenue through product sales, Snap Store could open up new revenue streams for Snap and add to its primary advertising revenue stream at a time when its business could use the help.
Quora Adds More Contextual & Behavioral Ad-targeting Options: Quora announced more options for behavioral and contextual targeting to either narrow or widen audience targets. Now it’s adding interest and lookalike options –
- Interest Targeting — Reach users who have engaged with specific topics by reading questions, voting on answers and more.
- Lookalike Targeting — Cast a wider net by targeting users that have similar attributes to an advertiser’s existing audience in Quora Ads manager.
In addition to topic targeting, Quora is adding two new options for contextual targeting.
- Question Targeting — Ads can show on specific questions and be tailored to that content. This is Quora’s most granular level of targeting.
- Multiple Topic Targeting — Upload your Google keywords to find matching Topics on Quora and target multiple Topics with your ads.
Location and device targeting can be layered on top of any of these options. Additionally, advertisers on the platform can now exclude certain questions and certain audiences from their campaigns.
Instagram Tests Facebook’s Shoppable Collection Ads: Instagram app has begun a test to run a version of Facebook’s shoppable Collection ads within its main feed. The ad format seeks to digitize the print product catalog by enabling a brand to highlight its wares with an eye-catching video above a swipeable carousel showcasing individual products. People can then tap on the products to visit the brand’s site and buy them.
Facebook Reportedly Testing a ‘Downvote’ Option for Comments: Facebook is testing a Reddit-style downvoting option on comments on public Page posts, seemingly as a way to learn what qualifies as meaningful engagement on public posts. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the test after The Daily Beast first reported on the downvoting feature’s appearance. The test is limited to 5 percent of the company’s English-speaking Android users in the US, and Facebook does not plan to expand it, at least not in its current iteration.
Pinterest Adds New Text Accompaniment for Lens Searches, Provides New Stats on Lens Use: Starting in Feb 2018, people will be able to attach images to textual search queries on Pinterest to have Lens aid in finding what they are looking for. The new option will first roll out to Pinterest’s iOS app and will eventually make its way to the Android version. The idea is that the images will serve as an additional parameter for a search to better mimic how people might seek things out in the real world.
Facebook’s Changing the Way Page Reach is Displayed, Which Could See Your Numbers Drop: Facebook will finally start to count organic reach impressions only when a Page post actually appears on a person’s screen. The new methodology for organic reach matches how Facebook already counts reach for ads. To help Page managers adjust to the new counts and evaluate the performance of new posts against that of older posts — and perhaps get a sense of what share of past impressions were non-viewable — Facebook will initially report two versions of Page posts’ organic reach: one using the old methodology and one using the new, viewable-only methodology. But eventually, Facebook will move to only reporting the viewable count. Facebook is also redesigning the mobile version of its Page Insights analytics tool.
Snapchat Makes Snap Map Available on the Web, with Options to Embed Stories Content: Now, you can view Snapchat’s Snap Map on the web, with a new version which enables users to see all publicly posted Snapchat Stories, and embed them right from the tool. The web-based Snap Map includes all the main features of the in-app version – you can zoom out to see the major Snap hot spots and events, and scroll to see what’s happening in across the world.
Facebook’s Adding a New ‘Lists’ Option to Help Boost Engagement: Facebook’s adding a new post option, with users to be given the opportunity to post colorful lists of their choosing as a means to boost engagement and interaction on-site. The new List option is being rolled out slowly – if you don’t have it yet, you likely will soon.
Snapchat Opens its Advertising API to All, Expanding Ad Opportunities: Snap originally provided access to its API only to approved developers, but now, all advertisers, agencies and third-party developers will be able to utilize the same. Marketing API will remove the need for businesses to go through Snap’s direct sales team or manually place each ad buy using Snap’s self-serve ad-buying tool.
Snapchat Adds New Audience Insights for Platform Influencers: Snap Inc. is giving selected creators access to in-depth analytics data to help them refine their Snapchat approach.
Facebook’s Adding More Options to Support 3D Posts: Facebook’s looking to expand the News Feed into another dimension, with the addition of 3D posts, which enable users to scroll around virtual objects on the screen. Facebook actually added 3D posts, via Oculus, last October, but now, The Social Network’s providing a range of new support options for them, with a view to making them easier to both create and share – and to better connect the current and future versions of the News Feed.
Twitter Takes Aggressive Steps to Curb Spam & Bot Activity by Blocking Identical Actions Across Multiple Accounts: Twitter made substantial changes today that will greatly impact social media managers who oversee multiple accounts and use automation apps to manage their Twitter activity. It is also eliminating the ability for a user to simultaneously “Like” or “Retweet” a post or “Follow” an account from multiple accounts. This means that users of automation platforms like TweetDeck can no longer select multiple accounts to automate posts, tweets, retweets, likes or follows. The one exception to these changes involves accounts that post weather, emergency or public service announcements. Twitter says users with authorized apps will be permitted to post public safety-related announcements simultaneously from multiple accounts.
Facebook is Removing 20 Outdated, Redundant Ad Metrics; Adding Methodology Labels: Facebook has made several changes to how and what advertising metrics it reports in an effort to improve transparency and clear up advertiser confusion. Among the announcements made is the removal of roughly 20 reporting metrics that the social networks say were either redundant, outdated, not actionable or rarely used. Facebook has provided a full list of these metrics along with reason for removal and suggested metrics to look at instead. To add more clarity about how metrics are calculated, some metrics will be explicitly labeled “estimated” and/or “in development”. Metrics labeled as “estimated” are calculated using data modeling or sampling. While that’s not a new concept for marketers, not having the metrics clearly labeled as being estimates has caused confusion. Metrics labeled as “in development” are being tested or rolling, which means their results may change as Facebook adjusts the methodologies used in these metrics.
Twitter’s New Bookmarks Feature Lets You Save Tweets without Having to Like or Retweet them: Twitter is giving users a new way to save content without having to like or retweet it. The site is rolling out a new Bookmarks feature that will allow users to bookmark a Tweet, and gives them more options to share it, either via a direct message on the platform or off of Twitter. The new share icon now included in Tweets will display options to “Send via Direct Message,” “Add Tweet to Bookmarks,” and “Share Tweet via…” Once a Tweet has been bookmarked, it will be saved to the Bookmarks tab listed on the user’s profile icon menu.
Facebook Is Aiming To Help Gaming Creators: Facebook wants to take some of Twitch’s success (the popular live streaming platform) by offering the newly announced “Gaming Creator Pilot Program”. The pilot program is intended to help game creators on Facebook build and connect with their audiences while monetizing their live streams by receiving tips (similar to YouTube’s Super Chat tipping and Twitch’s Cheering tip). We’ll keep you updated on this as this may very well create another surge of Facebook influencers, opening more doors for brand and creator collaborations.