June 2017 Digital Marketing News Recap
Here are some major digital marketing updates from the Month of June 2017.
Google Ad Experience Report Tools Detect Annoying Ads on Your Site: Google Chrome plans to eventually start blocking ads on websites that display a large number of bad quality ads, Google has confirmed. The company also said it is releasing a tool for publishers to assess the quality of their ads and to create messages to show to visitors who use third-party ad blockers. Ad Experience Report is a new tool in Google Search Console which tells you how you are using your Adsense ads and other pop-up ads. If it’s blocking some of the common user behaviors then it will give you detailed message with corrective steps. The tool is accessible in any of your Google Search Console verified properties by going here.
Google Posts Now Within Google My Business: Maulik Panchal shared a screen shot on Twitter of the Google Posts feature, which enables businesses, organizations and personalities to share information in more real time within the knowledge panel in Google search, now being within Google My Business. It looks like you can manage your posts directly in Google My Business when you dive into a specific location that you manage. Google has confirmed that this new feature is rolled out to all the Google My Business accounts.
Google News Spammed with Drug Spam, Dating Sites & More: From the report at Search Engine Land it looks like Google News was injected with a ton of hacked content for pharmaceutical spam, as well as unrelated dating site spam. Later on Google confirmed that the issue was on the publisher side and it appears Google has cleaned up the issue in Google News.
Google Officially Launches Job Postings Schema for Job Search Inclusion: It’s now official: Job listings are coming to Google’s search results in a much more prominent way. And the company is now offering a formal path for outsiders to add job listings to the new feature in Google search. Google announced that they are now opening up job listings within Google search to all developers and site owners. Google has published a guide to job posting structured data that gives clear advice on what developers need to do to get their job listings into this new Google for Jobs search feature. Google also promised to add a new filter to the Search Analytics report in the Google Search Console specifically to track how well your job listings are doing in Google search. Google has more technical documentation on how this works over here.
Google Now Removing Medical Records from Its Search Results: Google is now purging private medical information from their search results. Bloomberg reported the change in Google’s removal policies, which adds a single line that reads:
“Confidential, personal medical records of private people”
Google did not give much information to Bloomberg about the change, only telling Bloomberg that they have “confirmed the changes do not affect search advertising.
June 25th Google Algorithm Update: Google seems to have been rolling out a large search algorithm update starting sometime around Sunday, June 25. Google’s John Mueller said, “We make updates all the time,” when asked specifically about the speculation around a Google update. Based on the industry chatter that and the automated tracking tools from Mozcast, SERPMetrics, Algoroo, Advanced Web Rankings, Accuranker, RankRanger and SEMRush, among other tools, it seems there was a real Google algorithm update on June 25th 2017.
Google Updates Structured Data Developer Docs: Google has updated many of their structured data developer docs. Aaron Bradley spotted it and posted about the changes in detail on Google+. They updated this page to redefine what structured data markup is with a revised definition and also updated several other sections.
Google Test My Site Updated To Show Visitor Loss Metrics: Google has updated the Test My Site feature in Google with a new user interface and design, plus they are bold enough to show you how many visitors you are losing because of your slow site speed and how you compare to competitors. The other stuff, the speed metrics and how to make your site faster, is similar but redesigned. The new tool shares your mobile site speed and visitor loss, then compares it the industry average and how much you can speed up your site.
New Google Shopping Feed Specification Requirements Coming June 26th: Google mentioned in the Google AdWords Help forums and on Google+ that starting on June 26, 2017 Google will be enforcing new Google Shopping feed specification requirements. The new requirements touch on Minimum Order Value, Shipping-related attributes, and Handling time.
Google AdWords Tests Button To Auto Create Ad Headlines: Google AdWords is testing a new feature to help advertisers create ad headlines for their ads. There is a checkbox in the ad creation page within AdWords that reads “create a second ad with headlines in reverse order.” Not everyone is seeing it but Conrad O’Connell posted a screen shot of it on Twitter.
Google AdWords Editor Updated to Version 12.0 : Google has announced version 12.0 of the new AdWords Editor. It comes with a design refresh and a bunch of new features. The new features include the ability to manage campaigns at scale, including custom rules, faster account downloads, and a design refresh. New Adwords Editor also supports maximizing conversions bid strategy, image uploads for Universal App campaigns and responsive ads creation and editing.
Google Will Stop Mining Gmail Content for Personalizing Ads: Google’s long-running practice of mining email content in Gmail accounts to target ads will soon come to an end. The company announced that the more than 1.2 billion Gmail users will no longer have their email content scanned for personalized ad targeting, starting later this year. The practice has been controversial and has apparently caused confusion among potential (paying) G Suite customers concerned about scanning practices in that product. With this change, ad personalization in Gmail will be based only on the user’s Google account settings, as is the practice with ad personalization in other Google products such as Search ads.
Bing Ads Rolls Out Expanded Device Targeting Globally, Supports Mobile-only Campaigns: Last fall, Bing Ads began piloting new bid adjustments for devices that included the ability to set bid modifiers for desktop and broader ranges for tablet and phone. Now, those changes are rolling out globally. And also rolling out is the ability to set negative bid modifiers for desktop. The top bid adjustment range for all devices is +900 percent, and now all devices can be bid down by as much as 100 percent. The 100-percent range means it’s now possible to run mobile-only campaigns. Advertisers running AdWords campaigns can also now import their device bid adjustments into Bing Ads.
Bing Ads Editor Updates: Bulk Edit & Copy Multiple Campaigns, Manage Device & Radius Targets: Bing Ads rolled out some handy updates to Bing Ads Editor (BAE). With the recent changes in device targeting and bid adjustments, Bing Ads has added a “Device targets” menu option in the left pane in Editor. Here you can manage targeting and bid adjustments. Under “Locations,” now you can set multiple radius targets with different bid adjustments for a single location. For example, you might want a higher bid adjustment for a five-mile radius than for a 10-mile radius. Only on Windows version of Bing Ads Editor, you can now select multiple campaigns or ad groups for bulk filtering and editing, as well as copying and pasting multiple items from one account to another.
Bing Ads Now Offers Competitive Share of Voice Metrics: New columns are now available in Bing Ads to see competitive metrics related to impression share. The Competitive (Share of Voice) metrics are available at the campaign, ad group and keyword levels in the main UI and Reports tab. They are also accessible in several reports via the Bing Ads API. There are six new metrics available, including Impression share (IS) lost to rank and IS lost to ad relevance. Claire Lee, Bing Ads platform program manager, added in the blog post that more reporting updates are in the works.
Facebook Rolls Out Live Audio to More Broadcasters: Facebook began testing Live Audio with select partners including the BBC World Service, LBC, and HarperCollins in December 2016. It appears that Facebook is rolling out this new broadcasting format to more publishers and individuals.
Facebook Adds Closed Captions to Facebook Live Broadcasts: In an effort to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing experience live videos, Facebook now allows publishers to include closed captions in their Facebook Live broadcasts. Facebook provides a how-to guide on enabling closed captions on Facebook Live broadcasts.
Facebook Adds Notification Options for Live Video: Facebook now allows broadcasters to “send notifications” to their friends and followers when they share a live video.
Apple Debuts Business Chat: Apple introduced Business Chat, “a powerful new way for businesses to connect with customers directly from within iMessage.” According to the Apple Developer site, customers can use this new feature to “find your business and start conversations from Safari, Maps, Spotlight, and Siri.” The Verge reports that “there will be built-in features like Apple Pay and calendar integration, which will allow Business Chat to facilitate purchases without requiring the user to exit the chat.”
Facebook Updates Photo Albums With Ability to Share, Collaborate, and More: Facebook rolled out several new updates to its Photo Album feature. These include the ability to add videos, check-ins, text posts, and more to photo albums, follow friends’ albums so you’re notified when they’ve been updated, and showcase featured albums on profiles. Facebook also made it easier for friends and family to collaborate on photo albums. These new features are currently available on Android and the web and are “coming soon” to iOS.
Facebook Expands Custom Photo Frames to Select Pages: Facebook extended the ability to create custom camera frames to select event administrators. Facebook confirmed that it’s making the frames available to events hosted by pages with more than 10,000 followers and plans to expand them to smaller pages “in the next few weeks.”
Facebook Rolls Out New Templates for Canvas Ads and Extends Format to Collections: Facebook launched three new templates “that make it easier” to create Canvas ads for key business objectives such as getting new customers, showcasing a business, and selling products. Facebook also announced that advertisers can now use a Canvas post as the main creative showpiece in a shoppable Collections ad.
LinkedIn Will No Longer Support the LinkedIn Groups API: LinkedIn recently announced that it will “no longer support the LinkedIn Groups API,” effective July 2017. All integration partners such as Hootsuite “will no longer be able to access content from, or share content to, a LinkedIn Group through external platforms.” According to Hootsuite, it will stop populating LinkedIn Groups streams with data and LinkedIn members will not be able to post or schedule messages to them after June 30. It is also no longer possible to add a LinkedIn group to the Hootsuite dashboard as of June 1, 2017.
YouTube Tightens Restrictions Around Video Monetization: YouTube announced new advertiser-friendly content guidelines, which take a tougher stance on hateful content, inappropriate use of family entertainment characters, and incendiary and demeaning content. YouTube also released a new Creator Academy course on creating content that appeals to a broad range of advertisers.
WhatsApp for iOS Gets Filters, Albums, and Reply Shortcuts: WhatsApp rolled out three new features to its iOS app. Users can now add one of five color filters to their photos, videos, or GIFs and “jazz up their imagery or correct for poor lighting” from within WhatsApp. WhatsApp will also group multiple images received at once into an album and present them in a tile layout and offer reply shortcuts that allow quick responses for “fast-moving group chats.”
Snapchat Introduces New Self-Serve Ad Manager Tool and Certified Partners Program: Snapchat rolled out the Snap Publisher tool for building vertical video creative. Snapchat also announced that its self-serve Ad Manager tool is now officially available and it’s launching a Snapchat Certified Partners program “to connect advertisers to trained third-party ad tech tool providers.”
Twitter Rolls Out a New Look Across the Mobile and Desktop Interfaces: Twitter introduced a new series of updates across its mobile apps and web interface that features a new, streamlined look; the ability to open links and other websites from within the platform; intuitive icons; and more. These changes are rolling out across twitter.com, Twitter for iOS, Twitter for Android, TweetDeck, and Twitter Lite “over the coming days and weeks.”
Twitter Powers Direct Messages With Smart New Action Buttons: Businesses can now attach smart new action buttons to Twitter messages that “make it easy for people to take actions outside of the Direct Message conversation – like composing a Tweet, following an account, or opening a website within the Twitter app.” These new buttons are rolling out this week to Twitter iOS and Android apps and Twitter’s desktop web clients.
Facebook Rolls Out Two New Ad Campaign Tools for Marketers: Facebook introduced two new solutions “that can help grow your business.” The first tool is called Valued Optimization, which “enables advertisers to optimize their ad campaigns based on purchase value data passed through the Facebook pixel.” The second is value-based Lookalike Audiences, which allows marketers to reach new people who look like their highest-spending customers.
Facebook Rolls Out New GIF Icon to All Users Worldwide: Facebook rolled out a new button that makes it simple and easy to search and attach GIFs directly in the comments box to all Facebook profiles. TechCrunch notes that the GIF button also displays the top “trending GIFs” just as it does in Messenger. Facebook began testing the new GIF comment button with content from services such as Giphy and Tenor in March 2017. This new feature is now available to “all people on Facebook globally.”
Facebook Adds Page Star Ratings to Business Ads: Facebook is running a test that allows certain business pages to include their four- and five-star rating results within their ads. Adweek reports that “only ratings of four stars and above will be shown in ads and pages that are part of the test group can easily opt out via their page settings.”
Facebook Expands Monetization Opportunities on Instant Articles: Facebook started testing ad units in the related articles section at the bottom of Instant Articles in late March. This week, Facebook announced that it’s “opening the test to all publishers on Instant Articles.”
Facebook Allows Multiple Dates and Times for Recurring Events: Facebook makes it easier to schedule multiple dates and times within an event with a new Add More Dates and Times option. This was recently discovered in the event-creation process. This feature doesn’t appear to be widely available to all page admins and event creators at this time.
Facebook Tests Related Live Video Recommendations: Facebook is experimenting with a new feature that suggests related Live videos after a broadcast has ended. Like with mid-roll ads, the broadcaster doesn’t appear to have any control over which videos are suggested nor the source from which they originate.
Instagram Releases Archive Feature to All Users: Instagram widely released Archive, a new feature that allows users to move posts that have been shared previously on the platform into a private folder visible only to them. Instagram Archive is available to all users as part of the latest version of the Instagram app on both iOS and Android.
Instagram Makes Sponsored Content More Transparent: Instagram will start rolling out a new “Paid partnership with” tag that’s intended to clearly identify sponsored posts and stories on the platform. This new feature is expected to be available to Instagram marketers in the “coming weeks.” Instagram also plans to release an official policy and guidelines around paid partnerships on the site that are expected to be similar to Facebook’s current practices.
Facebook Gives Advertisers More Control Over Ad Placements: In addition to giving advertisers the ability to opt out of having their ad appear in certain placements and against specific types of content, Facebook announced that it will launch more ad controls and make existing ones even easier to use “over the next few months.” These new tools will include Pre-Campaign Transparency, which entails “upfront, publisher-level transparency across the Audience Network, Instant Articles and in-stream ads on Facebook.” Facebook also plans to make the block process even easier and “allow advertisers to specify the types of placements (e.g., in-stream or native and interstitial) they want their video campaigns to run in through a simple opt-out.
Snapchat Rolls Out Snap Map: Snapchat built “a whole new way to explore the world” with Snap Map. Snap Map gives users the option to share their current location and location-based content with one another when the app is opened. Snap Map is rolling out globally to all users.
Facebook Tests New Tools for Managing Profile Photos: Facebook is piloting a set of new tools in India that allows users to have “more control over who can download and share their profile pictures” and “more easily add designs to profile pictures,” which has been shown to deter misuse. This experiment is currently limited to users in India but Facebook hopes to expand it to other countries “soon.”
LinkedIn Makes Comments More Visual: LinkedIn added the ability to include images within comments shared on its platform “to give you a richer, more expressive way to have conversations.”
Facebook Rolls Out New Tools and Insights for Groups: Facebook held its first Facebook Communities Summit “with hundreds of group admins” and announced several new admin tools and features “to support their communities on Facebook.” These updates include group insights, a member leaderboard, membership request filtering, removed member cleanup, scheduled posts, and group-to-group linking.
Facebook Enables Search for Branded Messenger Bots: Facebook is starting to roll out a new Discover hub within the Messenger platform that “enables people to browse and find bots and businesses in Messenger.” Initially announced at Facebook’s F8 Conference, the new Discover section allows users to “browse by category, recently visited businesses and featured experiences… [and] makes it even easier to get things done, from reading the latest articles, booking your next vacation, or getting the latest sport highlights, right in Messenger.” This new Messenger experience is currently only available in the U.S. and is open to developers and businesses interested in getting their experiences added to the Discover section.
Facebook Audience Network Introduces New Rewarded Video Ad Format for Game Publishers: The Facebook Audience Network rolled out Rewarded Video, a new mobile ad format that gives players the choice to watch an ad in exchange for a reward within the game. This new monetization option allows gamers to initiate a full-screen, immersive video experience that offers a positive user experience while also increasing revenue through Facebook’s people-based targeting and high-quality demand.
Snapchat Rolls Out Ability to Create Custom Geofilter In-App: Snapchat announced that “Snapchatters can now create filters right in the Snapchat app, and customize them with many of the same Creative Tools available to decorate Snaps.” TechCrunch reports that the new built-in mobile creative studio is available for both iOS and Android and allows users to select a template and add filters, text, stickers, and Bitmojis. Just like on-demand filters generated through Snapchat’s studio website, all custom geofilters built on mobile are subject to Snapchat’s approval prior to use. Once the geofilter is approved, payment can also be handled through the app. This new tool is currently only available in the U.S., but “might be expanding to other regions soon.”
Facebook Offers Basic Content and News Feed Guidelines for Publishers: In light of Facebook’s recent efforts to limit misinformation, sensationalism, and clickbait, the company shared “some basic guideposts” to help publishers reach their audience on Facebook and maintain the integrity of the news feed. Within these guidelines, Facebook clearly specifies what it means to create meaningful and informative stories that audiences will find interesting; explores how to post accurate, authentic content; and emphasizes its Community Standards.
Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram Test Cross-App Notifications: Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram are each testing new cross-app notifications that make it easier for people to discover and connect with the people and things they care about and easily switch between their various notifications from each account. Facebook confirms that this is only a very small test for now.
Snapchat Introduces Custom Stories: Snapchat rolled out the ability to create custom stories that are limited to a specific group of friends, direct contacts, or people within a geofenced area. Snapchat’s new custom stories function just like regular Snapchat stories, but will disappear entirely “if no one has contributed to them in the past 24 hours.”
Facebook Allows Group Admins to Easily Screen Potential New Members: Facebook recently rolled out a new feature that allows group admins to “establish up to three questions for people requesting to join their Group.” This new screening tool lets admins easily vet potential members “to ensure they’re the right fit for the group and will add constructively to the discussion, not just spam or troll the Group.” This feature is now available to all Facebook groups globally.
Instagram for Business Announces Four New Objectives for Stories Ads: Instagram launched immersive, full-screen ads on Instagram Stories in January and made them available to all businesses in March. The company initially focused on “helping businesses better target and reach the people they wanted to connect with. Businesses can now purchase Instagram Stories ads across four additional objectives, including Video Views, Traffic (formerly known as Website Clicks), Conversions, and Mobile App Install.
Snapchat Rolls Out New Web Tool for Creating On-Demand Geofilters: Snapchat rolled out the ability for businesses “to create on-demand geofilters from scratch” online. Adweek reports that Snapchat’s new web tool contains preset categories for special events such as birthdays, weddings, and more. Users can access templates and modify their text, colors, and graphics to suit their needs. Pricing for on-demand geofilters currently varies “depending on the length of time will be available, as well as the size of the geofence (minimum of 20,000 square feet).”