April 2016 – Digital Marketing Recap @Hacktraction

Here are some major digital marketing updates from the Month of April 2016.

SEO Recap

Google documents My Business local ranking factors: Google has updated their help page named Improve your local ranking on Google. Previously, the page had about five paragraphs of text around relevance, distance and prominence for ranking in the local results. Now, Google has vastly expanded the document. The new document goes over the local 3-pack, how to be included in that pack, how Google does ranking in that local pack and more.

Google updates the search quality rating guidelines:  Google updated their search quality raters guidelines on March 28. Back in November 2015, Google released the full version of their quality raters document, and this is the first published update to the public version since its release four months ago. The document released back in November was 160 pages, but the revised version is 146 pages — so it shrank. You can download the full PDF here.

Google Slaps Mass Manual Actions For Outbound Links Over Free Product Reviews: Google slapped mass penalties for outbound links in April 2016. Google’s John Mueller commented on some of those threads, specifically saying it is related to the warning over free product reviews that are not nofollowed. In particular, if a post was made because of a free product (or free service, or just paid, etc), then any links placed there because of that need to have a rel=nofollow attached to them. This includes links to the product itself, any sales pages (such as on Amazon), affiliate links, social media profiles, etc. that are associated with that post.

Google Toolbar PageRank officially goes dark: Google has finally and fully cut the data from the PageRank Toolbar and any tool that tries to fetch PageRank score, precisely from April 15th 2016 onwards.

Return of Google In-Depth Articles: Earlier in April 2016, Google’s In Depth articles search features mysteriously dropped out. But now, it has resurfaced again. Aaron Friedman posted about their return on Twitter and posted a screen shot showing it returning.

Google News Gives Preference to AMP-Powered Sites: Google News on all mobile platforms will now feature a new AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) carousel filled with important headlines and stories of the day at the top of the page.

 

SEM Recap

Google makes AdWords Products tab more useful for Shopping Campaigns: Google announced they added two new Google AdWords reports specific to managing your shopping campaigns. The two new reports are named product status reporting and effective max CPC reporting. There is now a new product status column. Product status will help identify items that have stopped attracting traffic and conversions because they are disapproved, excluded or out of stock. Part of that is the effective max CPC column; the effective max CPC column shows the bid you set on products within your product groups.

AdWords Report Editor now supports label columns:  Google has added support for the labels columns in AdWords Report Editor. The labels show up at all levels of the account, with color coding and all, as shown in the screen shot posted by Google’s Jon Diorio on Google+. This means now you can build reports in the UI that incorporate labels.

Google Maps Testing Local Finder Ads: Seems Google is now testing ads in the Google Maps local finder search results. There are several people on Twitter reporting it now.

Google Maps Is Now Part Of Core Search: Google sent an email to many of their AdWords advertisers telling them changes are coming to their search ads on Google Maps. Google said that Google Maps is now considered part of the core Google search site and is no longer a Google search partner. So that means if you opted out of search partners, your location extension ads may start showing up on Google Maps automatically. It also means that you need to have location extensions for your ads to show on Google Maps.

Now you can capture Order IDs to mitigate double-conversion counting in AdWords:  Google announced on Google+ that they have added a new feature named Order IDs that allow you to add a unique identifier into your AdWords conversion tags to help reduce duplicate conversion data. When a customer revisits that conversion page from the same device they converted on, AdWords will filter out the duplicate.

Google adds Merchant Center Feed Rules: Google AdWords announced a new tool to help Google Shopping merchants manage their merchant center product data feed. The new tool is named Feed Rules and it is “a self-service tool to help you transform your existing data from your inventory management systems into the format accepted by Google Shopping,” Google said. Feed Rules helps you streamline your data feed uploads and provides an easier way to manage it all.

AdWords rolls out new 6-second Bumper video ad format: Google AdWords released a new six-second video ad format called Bumper Ads. The format is designed for mobile users and is an unskippable pre-roll video ad for users.

New Test: Google AdWords Expanded Text Ads: In this Google AdWords test, Google has expanded the headline to two lines that wraps and the description is now up to 80 characters, which gives you 47% more space.

 

SMM Recap

Facebook Live: Now Available to Everyone, Several New Features Announced: Facebook unveiled a raft of updates designed to get more of its billion-plus users to create and watch live video. Among the changes:

  • Users can now stream live video to select people such as family, instead of all followers, and live video can be folded into events.
  • Users broadcasting Facebook Live videos can tap the invite icon and invite friends to watch live. Facebook is also carving out a bigger video home inside its mobile app, by swapping the prominent “Messenger” button with one for live video.
  • Facebook for desktop users were not left out, as the social network introduced a Facebook Live Map, alerting users to Facebook Live broadcasts from the more than 60 countries where the feature is available.
  • New metrics are now available for pages sharing Facebook Live videos.

Twitter Introduces Direct Message Button: With this new feature, it’s simple to share a Tweet via Direct Message and spark a private conversation.

Facebook Opens Instant Articles to All Publishers: Facebook is officially opening the Instant Articles program to all publishers – of any type, any size, anywhere in the world.

Facebook Introduces Updated Save Button for the Web, Quote Sharing and More: Facebook rolled out a number of new ways for people to share, along with new tools to measure those interactions so you can optimize sharing and increase growth.

Facebook Rolls Out Group Calling in Messenger: Facebook announced the global rollout of group calling in Messenger.

LinkedIn Unveils LinkedIn Students App: LinkedIn unveiled the first-of-its-kind LinkedIn Students app available for iOS and Android, tailored specifically for soon-to-be college graduates.

Facebook Updates News Feed Based on Time Spent Viewing Articles: The most recent update to Facebook’s news feed ranking considers “how likely you are to click on an article and then spend time reading it.” Facebook has started rolling out this new update and will continue over the coming weeks, but anticipates that most Pages won’t see any significant changes.

 Facebook Is Planning Its Own Camera App: Facebook is planning a standalone camera app to rekindle your interest in sharing original content. The app, which is still in the early stages of development, will reportedly support live streaming as well as stills and video, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Facebook Introduces Delivery Insights in Ads Manager:  Facebook’s new Delivery Insights are “a new set of insights available in Ads Manager that tells advertisers how their ads are competing at auction and provides recommendations on how to tweak the ad to make it more competitive.” This new feature “will begin rolling out globally to Ads Manager in a few weeks.”

Twitter Simplifies Website Conversion Tracking and Remarketing: Twitter introduced the universal website tag, “a new tool that makes it easier for advertisers to track website conversions and manage tailored audience campaigns.”

Analytics Recap

Google Analytics adds more AdWords reporting capabilities: Google Analytics has beefed up reporting integrations with AdWords. A look at the latest release notes from GA highlights the following new capabilities for AdWords reporting:

  • AdWords logos now appear next to each campaign in Google Anlaytics. Clicking that logo takes you right to that campaign in AdWords.
  • When auto-tagging is enabled in AdWords, UTM values are automatically appended for Google Analytics so advertisers don’t have to manually tag the URLs in their ads.
  • A new Sitelinks report in the AdWords reporting section includes data for actual clicks on Sitelinks leading to a website visit
  • GA has added the new AdWords dimension Final URL, which replaces the now-deprecated AdWords dimension Destination URL.

New User Explorer report in Google Analytics: Google Analytics is slowly rolling out a new feature called User Explorer that offers website owners a chance to see, on anonymized basis, very specific visitor interactions across their website. Users seem to have begun noticing User Explorer in late March. Some of the accounts that I have access to have the new report now, but not all. It’s located in the Audience tab, right after another beta report, Cohort Analysis.

Google Analytics’ mobile app gets a major upgrade on iOS & Android: Google Analytics has released a significant upgrade of its mobile apps. The new app — version 3.0 — is available now for both Android and iOS and works in all countries where Google Analytics is available.

Google Analytics now secures all web traffic: Google alerted Analytics users that it will now be securing all traffic communication of websites using Google Analytics, whether the sites are using HTTPS or not. In the help pages, Google notes that Analytics users might see some effects from this change. Because HTTPS-encrypted traffic can be slower than traffic that isn’t encrypted, Analytics may miss some short-visit traffic. The change is effective immediately, and there is no way to opt out of the HTTPS encryption.

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