This week: consumers want authenticity in ads, marketers want authenticity in influencers, and Facebook has a new advertising option.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Survey: Marketers Wary of Influencer Authenticity
Although modern-day strategists love the concept of influencer marketing, they’re also concerned about the problems associated with it. That’s according to a Talkwalker survey of more than 800 professionals worldwide.
Now, brands are going the extra mile to ensure authenticity when they select influencers.
For example, marketers don’t want to partner with Instagram “celebrities” who get much of their engagement from bots. Instead, they’re looking to build “long-lasting relationships” with a very few influencers.
That’s how they intend to avoid jeopardizing their reputations with impostors.
Also, brands are looking beyond influencer engagement metrics. They’re evaluating the quality and creativity of the content produced.
Still, marketers are taking influencers seriously. Talkwaker says that nearly 70% of respondents indicated that influencer marketing is a top priority in the coming year.
Most of those strategists (66%) plan to use influencers to build brand-name awareness. Only 17% of them will use influencers to generate leads.
Sixty-one percent of those polled said they’ll increase their influencer budget in the coming year.
Report: Instagram Video Posts Get Twice the Engagement of Other Post Types
It looks like video is still a winner in digital marketing.
According to data compiled by HubSpot, Instagram video posts receive twice the engagement of other post types.
The study also showed that the average Instagram post receives about 5,900 likes. But that number is skewed by celebrity posts that receive an enormous number of likes.
In reality, the median number of likes is closer to 100.
Further, the average Instagram post uses at least one hashtag. Using more than one hashtag actually decreases the engagement rate, according to HubSpot.
Almost half (46.6%) of Instagram users have fewer than 1,000 followers. About a third have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers.
HubSpot reached its conclusions by compiling data from over 48 million Instagram accounts and posts from more than 300,000 top users.
Facebook Introduces Showcase Ads for Top Video Content
Facebook is rolling out a new ad program called Showcase.
Why is it different? Because it lets you run ads on Facebook Watch.
If you’re unfamiliar with Facebook Watch, it’s the place for high-quality original content on the social media platform.
However, Showcase ads might also appear within video content in the newsfeed. It can also show up on Facebook pages.
Facebook says that almost 100 million people in the U.S. watch content that’s eligible for Showcase every month.
You can run pre-roll and mid-roll ads with Showcase. You can also claim exclusive sponsorship for an entire program.
According to Facebook, Showcase ads are a great way to reach a younger audience on the platform.
“Showcase can help advertisers reach younger-skewing audiences that are increasingly difficult to reach on TV,” the company said in a statement. “Over the past three months, 43% of people in the US who watched In-Stream Reserve-eligible content on Facebook were 18-34 years old, compared to 28% of TV viewers.”
Google: Lighthouse Measures Site Speed for Real Users
There’s nothing hypothetical about the site speed metric you see on Lighthouse. That’s according to Google’s John Mueller, who was asked a question about this subject during a Google Webmaster Central Hangout this past week.
“A lot of these metrics that you’re looking at from Lighthouse are primarily presented to you with regards to kind of the user-facing side of things,” he said. “So, from our point of view, from a search point of view, we take a variety of these metrics together to figure out how we should be seeing this site with regards to speed.”
Mueller also advised webmasters to take a page out of the old-school playbook and solicit feedback from users about site speed.
Google Has Completely Rebuilt the Test My Site Tool
Google has overhauled its Test My Site tool.
Now, you can do more from a single spot. Specifically, the new version of the tool allows you to:
- Measure site speed as well as the speed of individual pages
- Compare site/page speed from the prior month
- Get a rank (Fast, Average, or Slow) of your site speed
- Compare your speed with peers in your industry
- See actionable insights that can improve the speed of up to five pages on your site
- Generate a report
According to Google: “With the new Test My Site, businesses have a single destination to measure, benchmark and take action on mobile site speed—the first step toward a great mobile experience.”
Google Ads Will Eliminate the Average Position Metric
Google Ads is officially retiring the average position metric.
Instead, you should look at four new metrics that Google rolled out in November: the percentage of ad impressions and the impression share that your ads received in the absolute top and the top of the page.
“These new metrics give you a much clearer view of your prominence on the page than average position does,” said Google Product Ads Manager Pallavi Naresh.
The change isn’t a big loss. Since Google removed the right rail ads, average position really wasn’t that useful anyway.
Google plans to remove the average position metric later this year.
Survey: Almost Half of Users Have a Negative Reaction to the “Not Secure” Browser Warning
You’ll want to pay attention to this if your website isn’t using the secure HTTPS protocol.
According to a survey by John Cabot, web users don’t like seeing the “not secure” warning on unsecured websites.
Since July of last year, Google Chrome has marked sites that don’t use HTTPS as “not secure.”
It’s not very prominent, but people do notice it.
The survey of 1,324 UK-based web users also found that 47% of respondents “knew roughly what the warning meant.”
About the same number of people (46%) said they wouldn’t enter their names or financial info on a website that wasn’t secure. That’s perfectly understandable.
Almost two-thirds (64%) said they would leave the site instantly if they saw that warning.
Bottom line: you’re almost certainly going to lose conversions if your website is still using the HTTP protocol. Invest in the upgrade to HTTPS.
Google Now Supports Video in Responsive Display Ads
It was only a matter of time.
This past week, Google announced that it’s supporting video content in responsive display ads (RDAs).
Here’s how it works: you choose up to five YouTube videos as well as different headlines, descriptions, and even brand logos that you’d like to include in an ad. Then, Google serves your ads with different combinations of those elements.
The ad will also appear in different sizes. Hence the word “responsive.”
After your campaign has run for a bit, you can check out the Combinations report to see which asset groupings give you the best ROI.
Google also added an Ad strength score that offers feedback on the quality of your creatives and ad text.
Google Search Console Is Sending Alerts for Ranking and Traffic Drops
Google Search Console is now sending out alerts when it detects a “substantial drop” in clicks to your website on a week-over-week basis.
The alerts are delivered via email.
This is the kind of service you expect to get from a tool like Ahrefs. Now, you can have it for free with Search Console.
If you do get one of those alerts, the odds are pretty good that the reason your clicks dropped is because your ranking also dropped. That’s when you need to start digging to find out why that happened.
Google: Don’t Put a Bunch of Content on the Bottom of Category Pages
If you’re looking for a way to rank your category pages, don’t try to do it by stuffing content in the footer. That’s according to Google’s John Mueller.
The subject came up during a Google Webmaster Central Hangout this past week.
Mueller said that it’s essentially keyword-stuffing if you put content in the footer of a category page.
“I’d try to stick to really informative content and put that in place where you think that users will be able to see it,” he said. “Especially if it is content that you want to provide for users. And more than that I would think about what you can do to make those pages rank well without having to put a giant paragraph of content below the page.”
Mueller went on: “So instead of just listing I don’t know 40 photos of your product, put some text on there. Make sure that you have alt text for the images, that you have captions below their images.”
He also advised adding one or two sentences above the fold.
Survey: Audiences Want Authenticity in Ads
According to a new survey by Stackla, 90% of consumers want to see authenticity in advertising. That’s up from 86% in 2017.
However, about half (51%) of consumers say that less than half of brands create authentic ads.
What makes an ad authentic? Based on the report, 58% of consumers view user-generated content (UGC) as the most authentic form of advertising.
And consumers aren’t just paying lip-service to UGC, either. According to the survey:
- 57% made plans to dine at a restaurant because of UGC
- 54% bought a packaged product because of UGC
- 52% made plans to visit a destination because of UGC
Overall, 79% said that UGC “highly impacts” their purchasing decisions.