Digital Marketing Recap – December 2015 & January 2016



Here are some major digital marketing updates from the Month of December 2015 and January 2016.

SEO Recap

Google Place Actions – Google has added help documentation links to Place Actions. These pages contain details explaining that Place Actions are for allowing searchers to interact with the local box to allow them to place orders, make appointments and complete reservations. The feature is currently a test and if you want to participate, you can fill out this form.

Google AMP Ranking Boost – Google has implied that, they may give pages created using their Accelerated Mobile Pages (APM) technology a ranking boost in the future. Dave Besbris from Google said on Google+, “AMP is coming as soon as Feb 2016 to Google Search. We’re seeing lots of great momentum from the publisher and technology worlds. Let’s make the web faster.”

Google News Requires Each Language Of Your Site To Be Submitted For Inclusion – Stacie Chan from the Google News team said in a Google News Help thread that if you have a multilingual news site, each version of that site needs to be submitted individually to the Google News submission team. So if your multilingual news site is published on different ccTLDs, subdomains or subfolders, each one needs to be submitted individually.

Google Indexing HTTPS By Default – Google has announced that they will be indexing HTTPS by default from now on. That means GoogleBot will start crawling HTTPS equivalents of HTTP pages, even when the former are not linked to from any page.

Google Quietly Pushes Panda into Core Algorithm – Google Panda is now officially part of Google’s core ranking algorithm. Andrey Lipattsev explained that, “The Panda is now part of the core ranking algorithm, and it means they do not need to know how it runs any more. It’s been tested, it works, and it can now run by itself without much worry.”

Install Android Apps Direct on Google SERPs – Artem Russakovskii posted a screen shot on Google+ of Google allowing some Android users the ability to install Android apps directly within the search results. These users do not have to go out of the search results, into the Google Play store and click install app there to add an app to their device. Instead, they just click install from the search results interface and it downloads immediately.

New Google Webmaster Guidelines – Google has just replaced the Google Webmaster Guidelines document, known as the holy-grail of SEO guidelines. It is hard to summarize all the changes, but the most visible one is that it is no longer just a single long page; it is now broken into broken into:

(A) General Guidelines with indexing, content and usability.

(B) Quality Guidelines with basics and specifics.

Barry Schwartz has published a detailed overview of what has changed with the guidelines.

Bing Powering AOL Search As of January 1stIt was announced last year, but now it’s official: “Bing powers AOL’s web, mobile, and tablet search, providing paid search ads and algorithmic organic search results to AOL’s properties worldwide.” Citing comScore data, Microsoft now says that Bing is behind “close to one-third of US PC web searches.”

 SEM Recap

App Streaming Comes to Google Ads – Google has unveiled Search Trial Ads along with several other updates for Android Developers at its Developer Day during Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Run through AdWords, the Search Trial ads include a “Try now” button that loads up a preview mode of the app that users can use for up to ten minutes before opting to download the full version from the Google Play store.

There were two other AdWords announcements during the conference day. Android developers will soon be able to run portrait-oriented video ads to promote their apps. Additionally, two new targeting methods will also be available in the coming weeks: the ability to target users who have spent more than 30 minutes playing games, or who have played a game that’s integrated with Google Play Games, within the last 30 days.

2 Structured Snippet Extensions in Google Search Ads – Google has introduced a second line of Structured Snippet extension in its Search Ads. “Like other ad extensions, structured snippets aren’t always eligible to show together,” Google said. Google added, “However, the more you provide, the better the auction is at selecting the best combination of extensions to help improve ad performance.”

Google AdWords  Adds 3 New Bidding Reports – Google recently implemented 3 new reports for flexible bid strategies. With these reports you can understand how the bid strategies influence the campaign performance.

  1. Bid Strategy Status – You can see the following statuses in this report
  • Inactive: The bid strategy is not active.
  • Not limited: The bid strategy is active.
  • Learning: With this new feature you can understand when the bid strategy is in the learning phase and wait for further changes.
  • Limited: Hovering with your mouse over the speech bubble next to the bid strategy you can see the reason for the limited status.


  1. Status Over Time Reporting – With this new report you can see the bid strategy status and campaign performance over a specified time range.
  2. Target Over Time Reporting – Now a graph can be displayed showing the goal of your bid strategy (E.g. the pre-defined target CPA) compared to the campaign performance. You can see the impact of bid strategy changes on the campaign performance.

Custom Formulas Join Custom Columns Google AdWords quietly announced on Google+ that the custom columns now let you do custom formulas in those columns. This means you can add computations like addition, subtraction and multiplication directly in your AdWords custom columns.

New Google AdWords iOS App In December, Google began beta testing the iOS AdWords app. It is now out of beta and you can download it from the App Store for free.

The features include:

  • View campaign stats
  • Update bids and budgets
  • Get real-time alerts and notifications
  • Call a Google expert
  • Act on suggestions to improve your campaigns

SMM Recap

Facebook Introduces New Page Plugin Features for Messages and Events – With these two new Facebook Page Plugin features, people can now “easily message your business” and “discover and interact with events from your Page, right on your website.”.

Facebook Introduces Live Video and Collages – “Now you can bring the photos and videos you share on Facebook to life with live video and collages, to help friends and family feel like they’re in the moment with you.”

Instagram Introduces the Instagram Partner Program – The Instagram Partner Program makes it easier for advertisers of any size to find the best-in-class technology partners they need to get great results on the Instagram platform.

Facebook Provides New Admin Tools for Managing Page Communication – Facebook is “giving admins more control over their Page’s responsiveness badge” and rolling out “new features that make it easier than ever for Page admins to manage both the public and private interactions they receive.”

Google Introduces Shared Albums in Google Photos – Google has introduced shared albums in Google Photos, “a fast and simple way to pool your photos and videos that makes it easier to bring everyone’s memories together.”

Facebook Launches Instant Articles to Facebook for Android – Everyone who uses the Facebook for Android app can now read thousands of Instant Articles every day in News Feed from publishers worldwide.

Facebook Introduces Transportation on Messenger – Facebook and Uber have partnered to test a new Messenger feature that allows users to “request a ride from a car service without ever needing to download an extra app or leave a conversation.

Google Introduces Interactive 360-Degree Storytelling on YouTube – Google brings Google spotlight stories to the YouTube app. This new storytelling format is currently only available on select Android devices, but it’s coming to “more Android devices and the YouTube iOS app” next year.

Facebook Tests Search Within Page Posts – Facebook is testing a new feature to enable searching within a page. It’s an extension of a pilot program that allows searching within people’s profiles that surfaced last month.

Twitter Launches Conversational Ads – Twitter’s new Conversational Ads mix polls with custom hashtags and rich media with the aim of getting users to share their responses with their own followers. With Conversational Ads, brands can pose a question with two answers to choose from, each incorporating custom hashtags that show up in the ad copy and in the call-to-action buttons. When someone takes the poll or votes from an ad, they are given the opportunity to tailor the response crafted by the brand and share it with their followers.

Periscope Broadcasts Live on Twitter for iOS – Periscope is “making it possible to watch broadcasts without leaving the Twitter app.” This functionality is initially rolling out on iOS, but is coming soon to Twitter for Android and on the web.

Facebook Rolls Out Audience Optimization for Publishers – Facebook’s new Audience Optimization is “an organic targeting tool to help publishers reach and engage their audiences on Facebook and better understand the interests of people clicking on their posts.”

Facebook Adds Context Cards to Lead Ads – Facebook announced “new features for lead ads that help businesses get even more out of them.” These updates include context cards to “help businesses ensure that the leads they receive are high-quality” and making lead ads available in the carousel format on desktop or mobile.

WhatsApp Drops Annual Usage Fee – WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees and plans to test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from… without third-party ads and spam.

Snapchat Makes Adding People Easier With Profile URLs – Users can copy their unique URL or instantly share it through other apps like Twitter and in places such as email signatures. When tapped on a mobile device, the URL opens a preview of your profile on Snapchat with an ‘Add’ button.

YouTube Rolls Out Donation Cards – YouTube began rolling out donation cards to US creators, which let your subscribers and viewers donate directly from your videos.

Facebook Expands Live Video to More Users – Facebook announced it will “expand the ability to share live video to everyone in the U.S. via iPhone” and plans to roll out this service “to the rest of the world over the coming weeks.”

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