October 2016 – Digital Marketing Recap
Here are some major digital marketing updates from the Month of October 2016.
Google Advanced Verification for Locksmiths & Plumbers: Google announced a plan to increase verification scrutiny of plumbers and locksmiths. The beta is taking place in San Diego and every verified plumber and locksmith will be emailed a request to go through the new advanced verification process. The businesses will have their application accepted or denied within a two week period. Hopefully the process will be expanded to other spammy verticals and markets.
Google Algorithms Labels Links As Penguin, Footer, Disavowed & More: In an interview with Barry Schwartz from Marketing Land, Google’s Gary Illyes spoke about Link Labels in Google Search. Link Labels can add classifications or attributes to the link, including whether the link is a footer link, whether it’s impacted by the latest Penguin update, whether it’s disavowed or other categorizations. A link can have multiple labels that make up the value and meaning of that link, which ultimately helps Google determine how to rank the related documents on the web. Google’s manual actions team may look at these labels to determine if they should dig deeper into the site’s links and add a manual action penalty to the site or not.
Google Launches New AMP Testing Tool: Google has launched a new testing tool for AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). The new tool is available at https://search.google.com/search-console/amp and from within the Google Search Console. It even has links to show you a live preview of how this page may appear in Google’s search results.
Google Says, Penguin 4.0 Now Completely Rolled Out: Google’s Penguin 4.0 algorithm, the real time granular version, is now fully rolled out. Those hit by any version of Penguin before — including Penguin 1.0 from April 24, 2012, through Penguin 3.0 from October 17, 2014 — should see an impact to their rankings if they made link cleanup efforts. If you did not see any level of recovery yet, you still have work to do.
Google AdWords Editor v11.6 Adds Universal App Campaigns & More: Google announced the latest version of the AdWords Editor, version 11.6. The big updates here include device bid adjustments, two Gmail ad templates, universal app campaigns, scheduled downloads, and improvements to advanced search. Version 11.6 no longer limits downloads to 5 at a time. You can now select multiple accounts to be downloaded or uploaded sequentially and you can schedule downloads to get recent changes and stats at certain dates and times. This version lets you check changes for multiple accounts at the same time.
Google AdWords Click-To-Message Ads To Roll Out In Weeks: Google’s test to bring text messaging to AdWords ads will soon be rolling out of beta. When users click on a message extension or icon, their phone’s SMS app will launch automatically. You can set this up by setting up a message extension. Message extensions allow people to see your ad, click an icon, and contact you directly by text message. With one tap on your ad, people can contact you to book an appointment, get a quote, ask for information, or request a service. Message extensions can help you grow your business by giving people another option to reach you. Tapping on the texting option launches a user’s SMS app with a pre-written message tailored to the product or service they’re interested in.
Google AdWords Launches Affiliate Location Extensions: Google announced on Google+ that they are launching affiliate location extensions in the US. These extensions aim at helping manufacturers drive customers to third-party retail locations that sell their products.
Google AdWords To Kill Off Campaign Experiments: Google quietly announced on Google+ that no one will be able to make new Campaign Experiments starting on October 17th, 2016. Exiting active Campaign Experiments have until February 1, 2017, to run, after which unapplied changes will be removed. All advertisers will be transitioned to the newer Drafts & Experiments tool for testing proposed campaign changes. Drafts is sort of like AdWords Editor in that it allows you to make multiple edits to a campaign without the changes going live until they are posted. From a draft, advertisers can run an experiment to see how the changes might impact performance.
Google introduces TrueView for Action ads on YouTube: Google introduced a new format for YouTube TrueView video ad : TrueView for action. With TrueView for action, advertisers can display a call-to-action banner at the base of the video during and at the end of the video. The branded banner can be tailored to a specific action goal such as “Book now,” “Get a quote” or “Learn more,”. A Google spokesperson says the reporting and user experience are being fine-tuned, and the aim is to make the new format available globally.
Google Expands the Audience Targeting for Search Ads with New Innovations: Google continues to make remarketing an even more powerful tool for advertisers with the release new advertising innovations for RLSA, unveiled at SMX East:
- Cross-device remarketing: Target the same customer with relevant ads as they move between their various devices.
- Keep people in your list longer: Now you can keep site visitors in your list for up to 540 days.
- Remarketing lists at a campaign level: Later this year, Google will make it possible to do this, which will make it faster and easier to use RLSA.
- Similar audiences for search are now in open beta: Advertisers with account managers can reach out to their reps to find out about joining that beta now.
- Demographics for Search Ads (DFSA): This has been in beta for some time now. Demographic targeting will be rolling out generally, allowing advertisers to target based on gender and age.
Google Introduces New Features for Display Network Campaigns: In an announcement posted on the AdWords blog, Google’s VP of Display and Video Advertising, Brad Bender, revealed that clients will now be able to add location extensions to their Display Network ads, and track real-world shop visits from customers who have seen ads promoting the location:
- Location extensions for Google Display Network: allows Display Network users to add their business address, phone number and other information to their ads. Location extensions may show with Display Network text ads when people viewing your ad are near one of your locations. If you have both location extensions and text ads, your text ads may appear on the Display Network across computers, mobile apps and mobile web with your location marked on a map. You will be charged when users click the title, swipe up, tap the arrow button or click the expanded map on mobile to see more of the surrounding area on the map.
- Store visit conversion tracking: uses mobile data to track store visits, which are logged as conversions. At present this is only available to high-volume AdWords clients with multiple locations.
- Cross-device re-targeting for Display Network and DoubleClick Bid Manager: to reach people across platforms and apps. To do so, it must identify and match users on PCs and mobile devices, which is now widely being done by others.
Google AdWords Enables Campaign Drafts & Experiments For Display Ads: Campaign drafts and experiments in AdWords is now available for campaigns running on the Google Display Network. You’ll now see the Drafts box next to the date range in the upper right corner when you’ve selected a display campaign. Clicking on that button brings up the dialogue box below showing the steps to get started.
Google Extends Its Brand Lift Measurement to TV: Google is extending its popular Brand Lift service (which shows marketers how YouTube campaigns impact brand metrics like awareness and purchase intent) to include TV campaigns. Brand Lift Measurement will now alllow marketers to compare how many times people search on Google and YouTube after seeing a YouTube ad versus how frequently they search after viewing a TV spot. Google claims that the measurement tool has “seen YouTube generate almost two times the searches per impression than TV generates.”
Bing Ads launches Structured Snippets for text ads: Bing Ads has released Structured Snippets for text ads and is rolling them out globally over the next few weeks. As in AdWords, Structured Snippets in Bing Ads aren’t clickable. They are designed to showcase particular aspects of the products and services a business offers. Structured Snippets from AdWords campaigns will also now import into Bing Ads.
Bing Ads Editor now supports Shopping campaigns: The update to Bing Ads Editor makes it possible to create new Shopping campaigns and edit existing ones in Editor. A new Shopping settings tab is now available in the editor panel to set the store ID, region of sale and campaign priority.
Bing Ads releases Expanded Text Ads globally: After running Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) in beta beginning in late August, Bing Ads rolled out ETAs to all markets in October 2016. Advertisers can now set up and launch the longer text ad format in the web UI or the Bing Ads Editor or via the Bing Ads API. It’s also possible to import ETAs from Google AdWords in the Bing Ads web interface or Bing Ads Editor.
Facebook Launches Campaign Planner for Facebook and Instagram: Facebook rolled out Campaign Planner, “a standalone tool for media planners to draft, compare and share media plans using reach and frequency buying across Facebook and Instagram.” Facebook’s new Campaign Planner is available to anyone with access to a Business Manager account. Simply complete and submit the Campaign Planner Access Request Form to Facebook and wait to be approved.
Twitter Adds Periscope Account Links to Web Profiles: Periscope and Twitter both announced that Periscope users can now link their Periscope accounts to their Twitter web profiles. This new feature is available to all Twitter and Periscope users now.
Facebook Introduces Marketplace: Facebook announced a new feature coming to mobile Facebook users called “Marketplace.” For all intents and purposes, it’s a Craigslist right inside your Facebook app. Facebook Marketplace is gradually rolling out to all users over 18 years old in the U.S., UK, Australia, and New Zealand and can be accessed through the Facebook app for iPhone and Android. Additional countries and the desktop version will available in the coming months.
Pinterest Introduces Engagement Retargeting and a New Pinterest Tag for Websites: Pinterest introduced a way to “uncover a new audience” based on engagements on Pinterest and expanded the ability to create audiences from your website with the new Pinterest tag. With engagement retargeting, marketers on Pinterest can “effectively target people who have shown interest in [their] brand by interacting with [their] Pins in a variety of ways.”
Facebook Adds Monetization Options for Instant Articles: Facebook rolled out more options for publishers to monetize their Instant Articles. Facebook now supports new formats for direct sold and audience network ad units including larger and flexible ad units in Instant Articles, up to an aspect ratio of 2:3 and more custom, premium formats. According to the Facebook Media site, “no additional implementation is needed to benefit from this update” and these new monetization options are available now to publishers and advertisers.
Facebook Rolls Out Ability to View Facebook Video on TV Screens: Facebook added “the ability to stream videos from Facebook to your TV – through devices like Apple TV or Google Chromecast.
Facebook Tests Ads in Groups: Facebook is delivering ads to people in Facebook groups as part of a test and “will be evaluating the response before determining how it will move forward. TechCrunch reports that this small trial is currently running in mobile and desktop versions of Groups in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. The ads look the same as News Feed ads and are targeted by Group topic as well as the standard identity-based targeting.
Facebook Live Introduces Broadcast Scheduling Tool for Verified Pages: Facebook rolled out the ability for Verified Pages to schedule live broadcasts, starting with live videos published via the Facebook Live API. This new feature allows page admins to build anticipation and buzz with your audience before your broadcast begins, so you can start strong with an audience already assembled.
YouTube Rolls Out End Screens Feature for All Creators: YouTube launched End Screens, a new mobile-friendly tool that lets you engage viewers right as your video finishes and encourages them to watch more on their devices. End screens make it easier to create and showcase hard-to-miss thumbnail overlays that prompt viewers to watch your other videos, subscribe to your channel, visit collaborators’ channels and more in the last 15-20 seconds of your videos and allow you to reach more viewers on desktop and mobile. YouTube announced that the End Screens feature is now available to every creator on YouTube.
Twitter Shutting Down Vine: Twitter announced that it will discontinue Vine in the coming months. Vine assures its users that nothing is happening to the apps, website or your Vines today. Until further notice, users can still access and download vines and the website will remain online.
Facebook Adds PayPal Payment Option to Messenger: PayPal is rolling out as a payment option within Messenger, among other integrations. This payment option is only available in the U.S. but is expected to expand globally over time.
Google Analytics Desktop UI Update – Google Analytics desktop UI is getting a refresh. The new updates, which will be rolling out over the coming weeks, include simplified navigation with customization tools now consolidated in one tab at the top of the new navigation menu (Previously, customization options had been spread across the “Dashboards & Shortcuts” menu, Customization tab and Intelligence Events). Other updates include a new “login flow” so that users are taken to the last Google Analytics page they reviewed when they log in, an adjustable default date range and the removal of two pages: Intelligence Events and In-Page Analytics.
Google Analytics Rolls Out Google Surveys 360: Google Analytics announced Google Surveys 360. Previously called Google Consumer Surveys, this updated tool provides enterprise marketers with fast, accurate market research – in combination with their marketing performance and analytics data – to help them make key business decisions at the speed of today’s digital world. Google Surveys 360 is available for purchase in the U.S. and Canada as part of the Analytics 360 Suite.
Google Tag Manager now supports AMP: Google Tag Manager now supports Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). In addition to Google Analytics, AMP containers in Tag Manager also extend to advertising platforms such as AdWords and DoubleClick.