July 2017 Digital Marketing News Recap
Here are some major digital marketing updates from the Month of July 2017.
Google Image Search Now Shows Videos and Recipes: Google is now showing both videos and recipe data within the image search results. This is something Google was testing earlier this year and now seems to have deployed it on mobile search. Aaron Bradley posted on Google+ that this seems to be derived from newly supported schema around your images. Specifically, you can now mark up your video and recipe content so it is accessible in image search.
Google Beta Testing Brand-new Google Search Console Design: Google is currently testing a new design and user interface for the Google Search Console. The new user interface takes a design look from the revised mobile-friendly testing tool that launched less than a year ago. It seems Google has been beta testing this new user interface for some time and now is starting to slowly roll this out to some users.
Google Officially Changes Sitelinks Design to Carousel Format: Google has confirmed with Search Engine Land that they are now rolling out a new design for Sitelinks. Sitelinks are additional links within the snippets of the search results where searchers can quickly jump to important and relevant pages on that site, as opposed to the main listing in the search result snippet. You can easily swipe left-to-right and back again across these sitelinks to reveal more important and relevant links from the site on the topic you searched.
Google Search Console Lost Data For New Users: Google has posted in the Google Search Console data anomalies page that they have lost about 19 days worth of data for any new Google Search Console user who signed up between June 21, 2017 and July 10, 2017.
Google Adds Direct Booking Feature to Google Maps and Search: Google introduced the ability to book appointments at spas and salons across the U.S. directly on Google Maps or search. Users have the option to use a new Book button found on business listings or access this feature through the Reserve with Google site.
Google Pushes AMP Growth Internationally: The folks at RankRanger posted on Twitter two signals that Google is pushing the AMP growth internationally now. AMP results are now showing way more often in the news box internationally. Starting earlier this month, Google has pushed more AMP related stories in the news box internationally then they have in the past.
Google Posts are Removed After 7 Days, With One Exception: Google has confirmed that most Google Posts are removed seven days after they are first published. The exception to this rule is Google Posts that are based on upcoming events. Event-based Google Posts are removed after the event date.
Google Begins Rolling Out Messaging Feature Within Google My Business: Google appears to be rolling out a messaging feature to Google My Business customers. Both Mike Blumenthal and @AnthonyCGuzman posted that they and their customers are starting to notice the feature within Google My Business. When you go to the Google My Business home page, you will see this new section for “Messaging” on the left and an option in the middle promoting it saying, “Message with customers.” After you click on it the first time, you need to configure the mobile number of the Allo device you want it to connect to. Then, after you verify the number, it lets you set up an autoreply to customers who use the feature.
Google Intros New Call Bid Adjustments in AdWords: Google is adding a bid adjustment in AdWords specifically for calls. This option is only available in campaigns accessed from the new AdWords interface. Calls are also listed under “Interactions” in the UI, so it looks like we will see more of these in the future, such as an interaction bid adjustment for location information.
Google AdWords Now Supports YouTube Video Views In Remarketing Lists: Google announced on Google+ and Google AdWords Help forums, quietly, that they now added support to use your YouTube video views to power your remarketing lists in your Google AdWords search campaigns.
Snapchat Adds Links, Voice Filters, and Backdrops to Snaps: A new paper clip icon found on Snapchat allows users to attach a website URL to a snap, a feature previously limited to ad campaigns and Discover content. Other users can then swipe up on the snap to open the link within Snapchat’s internal browser. Snapchat also rolled out the ability to “cut out an object from your Snap and put a colorful or artsy pattern behind it to make it stick out” and “remix the sound of voices in your Snaps.”
Facebook Releases New Creative Tools and Overlays for Dynamic Ads: Facebook added the ability to include product-level videos and overlays to dynamic ads to make them more captivating and informative. According to Facebook, videos can be added to dynamic ads through the Facebook API or the asset manager. This update is expected to be available to advertisers over the next couple months.
Facebook Experiments With Pop-Up Messenger Chat Feature for Select Pages: Facebook page admins have spotted a new Messenger chat pop-up when users visit their pages. Although this chat feature doesn’t seem to be a setting that can be activated at the moment, it appears to be automatically triggered during the hours when a page is “active for chat” and prompts the visitor to “start a conversation” with the page via Messenger. Admins also report this rollout doesn’t appear to be consistent and only shows up on the desktop.
Facebook Adds New Live Video Within Notifications: Facebook now plays Live broadcasts within the notification that a page a user likes or follows is now live on Facebook.
Facebook Demotes Low-Quality Links in News Feed: Facebook announced a new algorithm change that reduces low-quality links in the news feed and favors “more stories that [it thinks] people will find informative and entertaining.” Facebook notes that “this update will only apply to links, such as an individual article, not to domains, Pages, videos, photos, check-ins or status updates.”
Facebook Will Soon Let Brands Target Ads at Entire Families or Specific People Within Households: Facebook is introducing a new household audience feature that will let brands direct ads to entire families or to specific people within a household. The tool could help aim ads at people who influence purchasing decisions and other ads to the people making the actual purchases. Here’s how it works: Brands can select a source audience—a custom audience uploaded to Facebook that represents their customers based on an email list, for instance—and then turn on the household audience feature to reach not just the person they’re targeting, but also other people in the same household.
Facebook Reduces Low-Quality Links and Misleading Ads in the News Feed: Facebook is updating the news feed algorithm so people see fewer posts and ads in News Feed that link to low-quality web page experiences and spammy ads. With this update, Facebook reviewed “hundreds of thousands of web pages linked to from Facebook” and identified which contain little substantive content and have a large number of disruptive, shocking or malicious ads. Links to these types of low-quality web pages will now “show up lower in people’s feeds and may not be eligible to be an ad.” The goal is to feature fewer misleading posts and more informative posts in the news feed.
Facebook Rolls Out New Series of Metric Updates for Ads and Pages: Facebook will begin rolling out a series of metrics updates that will capture how users interact with ads and pages. The first of these new metrics include landing page views, which gives advertisers a “better sense of the number of visitors that arrive [on their] website after a link click on an ad” and a pre-impression activity breakdown that “shows the number of people who have previously engaged with an advertiser’s website or app versus new visitors.” Facebook also introduced three new reporting metrics (follows, previews, and recommendations), which will give page owners “a more complete understanding of how people learn about and interact with their businesses.”
Google Releases Uptime App for Group Video Watching to All Users: Google’s experimental app Uptime, which lets you watch YouTube videos with friends while reacting and commenting, is now open to all users. Uptime initially launched in March 2017 and could only be accessed by invitation.
Google Experiments With VR Ad Formats: Google debuted a new project called Area 120 that’s exploring “what a native, mobile VR ad format might look like.” This new experimental program is still in early development and Google is currently seeking developers to test the project via the Google cardboard headset, Daydream VR platform, and the Samsung Gear VR headset.
Facebook Expands Messenger Ads to All Advertisers Globally: After successful beta testing in Australia and Thailand, Facebook is gradually expanding display ads in Messenger to all advertisers around the globe. These ads will be shown in the Home tab of the Messenger mobile app and can be purchased in Ads Manager and Power Editor.
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.
LinkedIn Tests New Feature Matching Users With Possible Mentors: LinkedIn is testing a new, free service for its members “that will match them with other professionals who can give them that much-needed career advice.”
LinkedIn Announces New LinkedIn Website Demographics Tool: LinkedIn introduced LinkedIn Website Demographics, a free reporting tool that provides brands and businesses in-depth insights about their website traffic and visitors using professional data from LinkedIn’s 500+ million members. LinkedIn’s new Website Demographics tool is expected to roll out “in the coming weeks” and will be available for free to anyone using LinkedIn Campaign Manager.
Facebook Launches Groups for Pages Globally: Facebook announced that Groups for Pages is now “available around the world.” Adweek reports that this new feature allows brands create their own pages “without having to rely on admins to set up groups from their own personal accounts” and “give[s] organizations the chance to create ‘official’ groups that unwanted or unofficial third parties and fan clubs can’t set up.”
Facebook tests ads in Marketplace, its Craigslist-like shopping section: Facebook will start testing ads within the Craigslist-like Marketplace section it introduced last year. These ads will look similar to Marketplace’s square-shaped organic listings. They will feature the image of a single product pulled from the product catalogs that participating advertisers have uploaded to Facebook and will carry the advertiser’s name and a “Sponsored” label, according to the spokesperson.
Facebook plans to start testing Instant Article subscriptions as soon as October: As soon as October, Facebook plans to start testing a way for publishers to put their Instant Articles behind a metered paywall and sell subscriptions through the social network, the head of Facebook’s news partnerships team, Campbell Brown, said at an event in New York, according to The Street. Brown’s statement confirms that Facebook plans to start testing a subscription product by the end of 2017.
Twitter is testing a subscription-style ad program that costs $99 a month: Twitter is testing a subscription-style ad program that would have businesses pay $99 a month for their accounts and some of their tweets to be automatically promoted on the social network. The invite-only Twitter Subscription Ads Beta Program appears to be aimed at smaller advertisers that use Twitter’s self-serve ad-buying tools but may be interested in handing over the reins to Twitter in order to focus on managing the rest of their businesses. It could also appeal to individuals looking to grow their Twitter followings. “In order to participate in this private beta program your previous ads account will no longer be accessible,” according to Twitter.
Google Analytics Rolling Out ‘Ask a Question’ to Get Answers Instantaneously: Google announced a major step in their Google Analytics platform. The ability to simply ask it a question about your web site data and it comes back with a report. This feature is called Ask Analytics Intelligence. All you have to do is go to the search box, type your question and Google should return the answer.