This week: Facebook has some new announcements, Amazon makes a big change for third-party sellers, and some folks learned how to game the Google AdSense system.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Amazon Will Require 3rd-Party Sellers to Accept Automatic Returns
On October 2, Amazon will roll out a new policy that requires third-party sellers to accept returns for all in-policy orders.
That’s a change from the current policy which requires buyers to first contact the seller and get approval for the return. Buyers will also be able to print pre-paid return labels at the Online Return Center.
Amazon is also introducing “returnless refunds.” Under that program, buyers can get a refund without even shipping back the item. That way, sellers won’t have to foot the bill for return shipments.
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs selling on the Marketplace are incredibly important to customers and account for more than half of Amazon’s unit sales,” said an Amazon spokesperson. “These new features allow sellers to reduce time and cost associated with returns while providing customers with an easy and efficient return experience.”
Snapchat Launches Advanced Mode for Self-Serve Ads
This week, Snap Inc. announced Advanced Mode for Ads Manager. It’s similar to Facebook’s Power Editor.
The idea behind the Advanced Mode is automate time-intensive tasks so that digital marketers can focus on growing their business.
Advanced Mode features include bulk campaign creation, an audience library, a media library, automatic ad permutation testing, and better reporting.
Google Will Notify Sites With “Annoying Ads” Issues
Soon, Google will send an alert to webmasters whose sites have “annoying ads.”
Here’s what Google has to say about the new policy:
If a site is in a “failing” or “warning” state, their Ad Experience Report will include these visuals, along with information about the Better Ad Standards and how the issues may impact their site.
Google is trying to “shame” webmasters into getting rid of user-hostile ads.
Of course, that’s not likely to happen if those ads are earning a significant amount of revenue.
Google already offers a tool to help publishers identify offensive ads.
Google Blackballs Advertisers Who Caused CPC Drops
In case you missed the news this past week, Google AdSense CPC declined significantly. Numerous webmasters and marketers took to social media, Google AdSense Help, and other websites to complain about the drop in earnings.
Google looked into the matter and discovered that some savvy advertisers had figured out a way to game the AdSense system. They collectively caused CPC declines across the board.
Here’s Google’s statement on the issue:
Over the past 48 hours, a number of AdSense publishers alerted us to an issue with declining cost-per-click for ads on their sites. We were able to identify the cause of the issue quickly and resolve it quickly: Several ad buyers were using irresponsible campaign parameters, lowering query coverage for specific creative types in some countries. The ad buyers responsible have been blacklisted and impacted publishers should see that their coverage is back to normal in their AdSense account.
Google: Don’t Use the Accept-Language Header
This past week, Google’s John Mueller said it’s generally not a good idea to use the accept-language header when serving your web pages.
Specifically, someone on Twitter asked Mueller the following question: “does Gbot as useragent use some specific lang /en, de, fr/ or it is ‘neutral’ language?”
AFAIK we mostly crawl without an accept-language header. Serving content by user-agent language setting is generally a bad idea.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) August 8, 2017
Here’s how Mueller replied: “AFAIK we mostly crawl without an accept-language header. Serving content by user-agent language setting is generally a bad idea.”
The web has moved from plain HTML – as an SEO you can embrace that. Learn from JS devs & share SEO knowledge with them. JS's not going away.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) August 8, 2017
Specifically, here’s what John Mueller tweeted about this subject: “The web has moved from plain HTML – as an SEO you can embrace that. Learn from JS devs & share SEO knowledge with them. JS’s not going away.”
Google: It Doesn’t Matter Whether Your Site Uses WWW
You might think that, for SEO purposes, you need both a WWW version of your site and root domain version. But Google says it doesn’t matter.
This past week, Dr. Pete Meyers of Moz addressed a question about that subject on Twitter with the following reply: “Minimal SEO implications, IMO. It’s a brand decision, in part, and audience (-savvy) decision, in part. On a new site, shouldn’t impact SEO.”
John Mueller followed that up with a one-word tweet: “yep.”
Facebook Announces ‘Watch’, a New Original Video Content Platform
This past week, Facebook rolled out Watch, a new feature that offers original programming and broadcasts.
Facebook claims that Watch is for live and recorded shows that follow “a theme or storyline.”
Here’s more from Facebook on the subject:
Watch is personalized to help you discover new shows, organized around what your friends and communities are watching. For example, you’ll find sections like “Most Talked About,” which highlights shows that spark conversation, “What’s Making People Laugh,” which includes shows where many people have used the “Haha” reaction, and “What Friends Are Watching,” which helps you connect with friends about shows they too are following.
Facebook Stories Are Coming to Desktop
In yet another example of how other social media companies are copying Snapchat, Facebook will soon offer Stories on desktop platforms.
Don’t get too excited if you’re thinking about using Stories to promote your business, though. Facebook Stories are still unavailable on brand pages.
Facebook Stories already exist on mobile platforms.