This week: Instagram and Snapchat make gains, Google Ads wants to know who you are, and LinkedIn engagement for work-from-home content soars.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Alphabet 1Q Revenue Tops $40 Billion
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, reported first quarter earnings of more than $40 billion this week.
YouTube advertising accounted for Just over $4 billion of that revenue. That’s a growth of 33% year-over-year.
Total ad revenues rose to $33.76 billion. The company earned about $30 billion in total ad revenues during Q1 2019.
During a conference call with analysts, CEO Sundar Pichai noted that search usage and YouTube visits climbed significantly during the quarter as users searched for coronavirus info.
However, ad revenues sunk as the pandemic took its toll on the economy. That’s why Google delayed some ad launches.
CFO Ruth Porat did say that the company is “seeing some early signs at this point that users are returning to more commercial behavior.”
Port declined to offer guidance on Q2, but did say that it will be “a difficult one.”
Even so, Alphabet’s stock rose on the earnings report.
Forecast: Instagram Gains Most From Social Media Spikes
According to eMarketer senior forecaster Oscar Orozco, Instagram will benefit the most from increased social media usage.
Orozco predicts that people will spend an average of 1 hour and 20 minutes per day on social media in 2020. That’s an increase of 6 minutes per day compared with eMarketer’s previous forecast.
Time spent on Instagram will grow 14% this year. That’s more than 3 minutes of additional time spent on the platform each day.
In the past, eMarketer predicted a 1.5% growth in Instagram usage.
As a result of the pandemic, eMarketer also reversed its projections about Facebook usage. Now, Facebook will see positive growth instead of a decline.
And Snapchat will go from flat growth to a 14% increase in usage this year.
Snapchat Daily Active Users Up
Speaking of Snapchat, that platform saw significant gains earlier this year. The image and video sharing service added 11 million daily active users in the first quarter of 2020.
Snapchat’s total DAUs now stands at 229 million.
The company reported record engagements as well. Users sent more than 4 billion Snaps in the first three months of the year.
Folks are turning to Snapchat as a way to connect with friends and family members face-to-face while still practicing social distancing. The amount of time users spent on voice and video calls increased by a whopping 50% in late March as compared with February.
Group chat engagement reached a new high during that same period as well.
LinkedIn Engagement Increases 76% for ‘Work From Home’ Content
A lot of us are working from home these days. That’s reflected in LinkedIn content.
In fact, almost 15% of company posts mentioned working from home on the platform in mid-to-late March.
Engagements are on the rise as well. In March, work-from-home content saw a 45% increase in engagement in the United States.
And that still wasn’t the end of it. engagement on remote work posts rose 76% in April for U.S. users.
In the Asia-Pacific region, engagement on work-from-home content increased by a whopping 165%.
LinkedIn also saw a 30% rise in COVID-19 content engagement during April.
Google Ads Will Required Identity Verification
This past week, Google announced it will require identity documentation for Google Ads users.
The new verification program will start in the U.S. Later, it will roll out to other countries.
Google said it will probably take a few years to complete the verification system.
If your industry is prioritized for identity verification, you’ll receive a notification to that effect. You’ll have 30 days to submit the required documentation.
Google will take about 3-5 days to process the documents and verify your identity.
Agencies that run ads on behalf of clients won’t be required to verify. Just the clients.
However, agencies and Google Partners can submit docs on behalf of their clients.
As a result of the identity verification program, users will start seeing identity disclosures on Google ads. They’ll appear just below the “Why this ad?” text.
Anchor Launches Webinar-to-Podcast Conversion Tool
Anchor is releasing a tool that will help you repurpose your webinar content.
The tool will convert video conferences and recorded webinars to podcasts.
Anchor is a podcast recording and distribution platform, so the company clearly has a dog in this fight. Still, repurposing old content is a great way to generate more engagements with little effort.
And you might find the tool especially useful in the current situation, as virtual meetings become the norm.
The tool converts .mp4 and .mov files to audio. You can use the audio with your podcast platform.
If you’re already using Anchor, the converted audio will appear as segments in the episode builder. You can edit those segments to include sound effects, background music, and more.
Snapchat Offers ‘First Commercial’ Option for Shows
Snapchat is selling a new ad format called “First Commercial.” It lives up to its name.
If you opt for a First Commercial ad, then your ad will run before any others on that show. It’s a nice way to make sure you’re the first one in line.
The downside, of course, is that you’ll pay for that privilege.
Also, First Commercial ads run no matter what the user decides to watch. So they’re designed for reaching the masses as opposed to targeted advertising.
First Commercial ads are non-stoppable and last 6 seconds in length. Their shelf-life is 24 hours.
As of now, First Commercial ads are only available through direct sales. Soon, you can buy them with programmatic advertising.
Not much this week but enough to give you a few action items:
- Think about how you can use Snapchat’s First Commercial ads to build brand-name awareness. Remember, they’re geared towards reaching a large audience that cuts across interests and demographics.
- Even if you’re not an Anchor customer, consider how you can repurpose recorded conferences and webinars into podcasts.
- If you’re one of those not-so-well-organized types, start gathering your documentation so you can verify your identity to Google. You may have to verify your location as well.
- Since Instagram and Snapchat seem to be gaining steam right now, look for ways that you can promote your brand to audiences on those platforms.