February 2016 – Digital Marketing Recap @Hacktraction

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

SEO Recap

Google Adds JSON-LD Support For Structured Data Markup: Now you can use JSON-LD for your structured data markup for products and/or reviews rich snippets in Google. Also make sure to validate your markup, as Google is now enforcing requirements.

Google Adds One Click Verify For My Business Listings Through Search Console:  If a local business had a website verified in the Google Search Console  prior to verifying in Local, Google would on occasion auto verify the local listing without the need for a post card or phone call. Previously this would just happen with no forward facing interface and would often be a surprise to the claimant. Now, according to this screenshot, it appears that there is now a viable interface choice to allow for instant verification when it is available.

Google AMP Goes Live on Mobile Search SERPs: As of Feb 23rd 2016, Google has begun including links to “Accelerated Mobile Pages” in search results, which it said will help Internet users access news articles and other Web content faster from their mobile devices.

Google App Streaming Now Live For Many Apps Via Try Now Button: Google App Streaming is now live in the Android Google App search results. You can preview apps directly from the search results before downloading them.

SEM Recap

There are no known issues with the keyword status right now – Cassie from the Google AdWords team confirmed in a few Google AdWords Help threads that –

This status on the keyword level does not necessarily mean that the keyword is not running (especially if you are getting impressions on that keyword); rather, that you may have another similar keyword in your account that would win out in that theoretical auction instead. This may happen if you have duplicate keywords, including plurals or misspellings that are interchangeable, or if you have the same keyword in different match types but are bidding higher (or have a better quality score) on a different match type version of that keyword.”

Google Drops Flash Ads Completely For HTML5 Ads: Google announced on Google+ that they are dropping all Flash based ads in their display ad network completely by January 2, 2017. All display ads will have to be HTML5, as opposed to Flash. In fact, by June 30, 2016, advertisers will no longer be able to upload display ads built in Flash to AdWords and DoubleClick Digital Marketing.

Google Adds 24 Hour Support For AdWords Via Social Media: Google announced they are now offering 24 hour support, Monday through Friday, via social media channels. Specifically, you can access the AdWords support on Twitter, G+, Facebook, and YouTube by using the hashtag #AskAdWords.

Google Shopping To Expand GTINs Requirements: Google announced on Google+ that they are going to be expanding their GTINs (Global Trade Identification Numbers) requirements for the Google Merchant Shopping feeds. May 16, 2016, is the date Google will start disapproving relevant products that don’t meet the GTIN requirements. GTINs will be required when targeting ads in Australia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK or the US.

Google Overhauls AdWords Automated Bidding: Google announced on Google+ that they have revamped the workflow for managing and setting up automated bidding within Google AdWords. Coming soon, you will be able to create or add items to portfolio bid strategies directly in your campaign settings without any separate trips to the Shared Library. There is also a new workflow also provides clear definitions for each strategy to help you choose the right one, said Google. Note that Portfolio bid strategies cannot be applied to video or universal app campaigns.

Google Confirms Four Ads At The Top & Removing Right Side Ads: Google has confirmed that they are switching over from showing ads on the right side to having four ads at the top. Google will no longer show ads to the right of its search results, instead it will show four ads at the top with two exceptions. Google will show PLAs (Product Listing Ads) and ads in the knowledge graph on the right hand side.

Google To Shut Down Google Compare Products In US And UK On March 23: In an email sent to partners, the Google Compare Team told Compare partners on Monday night that the product will start to wind down on Tuesday, February 23, 2016. Google Compare will shut down completely in both the US and UK — the two markets where Compare is offered — one month later on March 23.

Google Adwords Rolls Out Campaign drafts and experiments: Google has announced the rollout of Campaign drafts and experiments. Google has offered AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE) for years. However, these new tools are designed to make reviewing and testing changes more accessible than ACE. You can set up several drafts of a campaign but only run one of them as an experiment at a time. Drafts and experiments can only be applied to Search Network and Search Network with Display Select campaigns.

Microsoft Unveils The Bing Network: The Yahoo Bing Network is no more, and Microsoft has now introduced simply The Bing Network. Stephen Sirich, GM of Bing Ads writes in the blog post

“With the transition of all U.S. accounts (and with them, people and account management) from Yahoo to Bing, the Bing Network also represents an expanded network of partners, including AOL, Wall Street Journal and more, adding more searches and clicks to the network every day.”


SMM Recap

Facebook Updates News Feed Algorithm to Show More Relevant Posts: Based on user feedback from a Feed Quality Panel, Facebook is ranking the stories “people might take action on, and which people might want to see near the top of their News Feed.”

Twitter Updates Homepage to Reach Logged-out Users: Twitter is rolling out a “home page” timeline to people across 23 countries that visit the twitter.com homepage on their mobile devices and is making it easier for them “to discover stories and conversations happening on Twitter without signing in.” The new design is also expected to appeal to advertisers by giving more prominence to tweets that advertisers pay for to promote products.

Twitter Rolls Out Facebook-like News Feed Algorithm: Starting in Feb 2016, Twitter is displaying selection of the most interesting or popular tweets at the top of a user’s timeline, rather than showing the most recent, as it has done traditionally. This update is available on Twitter’s iOS and Android apps, as well as the Web. It’s also something that users can opt out of, meaning that they can elect to use the classic version of the service if they choose.

Instagram Now Supports Multiple Accounts & Two-factor Authentication: Now, users can maintain more than one Instagram account on the same device. The process is pretty simple. You add new accounts from the settings menu, and once that’s done, just tap your username at the top of your profile to move between them. Your profile photo will be placed more prominently throughout the app so that you never lose track of which account is active.

Instagram also confirmed it is “beginning to roll out two-factor authentication,” which will ask users to “verify a phone number” in addition to an email and password before granting access to an Instagram account.

Twitter Introduces First View:  Twitter is rolling out a new ad unit called First View, which is a single video ad that straddles the top of users’ timelines and automatically plays every time the app or website is opened. Brands can buy the slot for a 24-hour period meaning it will become inescapable. For now, First View will be available to managed clients in the U.S. and viewable only to U.S. users. Twitter says it plans to gradually expand the product to marketers and users globally in the coming months. For Twitter, First View offers brands guaranteed viewability and is another potentially lucrative revenue stream since video is more expensive.

Facebook Introduces New Video Ad Features: Facebook updated video ad features to include “automated captions” and “more reporting and buying options for video ads.”

Facebook will automatically put captions in video ads running in its news feed. This will first in the U.S. and Canada for ads in English.

Facebook also announced that, it was partnering with Moat for video ad analytics. That integration is now live globally. Moat is also powering Facebook’s viewable impression buying. Advertisers will now be able to buy video ad campaigns on a 100-percent-viewable basis, based on Moat data instead of taking Facebook’s word for it.

Facebook Opens Instant Articles Program to All Publishers: Facebook will be opening up the Instant Articles program to all publishers – of any size, anywhere in the world.

Twitter Introduces Two New Customer Service Tools: Twitter announced the rollout of two new tools for companies to provide support and get feedback from customers. Customer Feedback is a new feature that enables businesses to solicit customer feedback after a Twitter conversation in Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) formats. Users provide the feedback privately through survey questions provided right within the Twitter experience.

Twitter is also making Direct Messaging between customers and companies simpler. Businesses can add a deep link into a tweet to display a call-to-action link. Clicking on that allows the customer to start automatically Direct Messaging with the business.

Facebook Canvas Ads Now Available Globally:  Facebook has announced that Canvas, its full screen mobile ad experience will now be available globally. Facebook says ads load instantly on Canvas when someone taps on the News Feed. Canvas does not require special code or software and works on both Android and iOS.

Snapchat Introduces On-Demand Geofilters: Snapchat has announced the launch of on-demand Geofilters on its platform. Geofilters are only available in specific geographic locations, and with this new feature, users can create their own Geofilters for personal or business use. Pricing for on-demand Geofilters starts at $5, with the price depending on the size of the geofence and the length of time the filter will remain active.

Facebook Rolls Out Reactions Globally: Facebook launched Reactions, an extension of the Like button, to give you more ways to share your reaction to a post in a quick and easy way, and has made it available worldwide.

Analytics Recap

Google Analytics Support for AMP Pages: AMP team announced the launch of an analytics component that will enable measurement on AMP pages. AMP support in Google Analytics makes it easy to identify your best content and optimize your user experience.

Google Introduces Autotrack for analytics.js: Google launched autotrack for analytics.js (aka Universal Analytics) to make it easier for marketers to get more out of Google Analytics without having to go through a big customization learning curve. Autotrack offers a collection of Universal Analytics plugins that can be enabled collectively or individually. Autotrack is designed for properties that do not already have customized tracking code. Full instructions and additional details are available on Github.

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