This week: LinkedIn adds new goodies to Sales Navigator, marketers can’t keep up with martech, and Google says there was no core update in February.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Report: B2B Buyers Read 13 Content Pieces Before Picking a Vendor
If you’re in the B2B space, you might want to ramp up your content marketing strategy after reading the results of a new survey released by FocusVision.
According to the report, the average B2B buyer reads 13 content pieces before selecting a vendor.
Eight of those pieces come from the vendor. Five from third parties.
The type of content that B2B buyers consume includes blog posts, videos, white papers, and customer testimonials.
Seventy percent of respondents found content on the vendor’s website. About two-thirds found it via an Internet search.
It takes buyers anywhere from two to six weeks before reaching a decision about a vendor. The process usually includes 3-4 decision-makers.
Survey: Marketers Have Trouble Staying Ahead of Tech Advances
According to a new poll by executive service firm Chief Outsiders, 88% of CMO consultants say it will be difficult to stay on top of technical advances over the next year.
In fact, respondents ranked “technical acumen” as its third-biggest challenge.
The consultants also said that predictive analytics will play a significant role in future marketing campaigns. Specifically, they identified three areas of importance:
- Modeling consumer behavior
- Qualifying leads
- Targeting and segmenting customers
Survey participants identified understanding the customer experience as the “most vital” capability required to deliver growth strategies. That was followed by strategy development, marketing research, sales and marketing, multichannel marketing, and marketing technology.
Eighty percent of those polled said they expect digital ad spend to increase in the coming year.
LinkedIn Adds New Features to Sales Navigator
This past week, LinkedIn rolled out new features to Sales Navigator.
First, you can now add contacts to Salesforce without leaving the Sales Navigator platform. Salesforce will automatically eliminate any duplicate contacts so you don’t end up with multiple records for the same lead.
Next, Sales Navigator will also notify you if a company on your saved accounts list recently listed several job openings. That’s an indication that the company is growing, so you might find some new opportunities for marketing.
Also, the platform now includes a Smart Links feature that allows you to “package and share” content with other users. You can also track views to see who’s engaging with the content.
There are two new features in search as well. One allows you to save account searches while the other enables you to share queries with other team members.
Google Says There Was No Core Update
There was quite a bit of speculation in the SEO universe lately that maybe Google released a core update in February. But Google has confirmed that there was no update.
Additionally, some folks who saw ranking changes recently are now saying that everything is back to normal.
When asked about the possibility of an update, Google’s Danny Sullivan responded by tweeting: “We do updates all the time. I would suggest rereading our general advice about this.”
The “general advice” that Sullivan is referring to is a tweet-thread explaining that Google makes tweaks to its algorithm several times per week.
Google Search Console Adds New Features to Change of Address Tool
If you’re about to move a website, you’ll be happy to learn about a couple of new features you can find in Google Search Console.
First up: redirect validation. It enables you to validate the top five URLs of the moving domain. It will also show you the redirect flow and give you recommendations about how to fix problems.
Search Console will also show you a reminder about a moving domain. It appears as a banner at the top of the screen with the text “This site is currently moving to …”
Google Ads Tests More Granular Conversion Actions
It looks like Google Ads is testing more granular conversion categories.
Currently, Google Ads lets you test five conversion actions:
- Page View
The new feature divides the conversion options into two sections: sales categories and lead categories.
Underneath sales categories, you can track ad clicks that result in “add to cart,” “begin checkout,” or “subscribe” in addition to the “purchase” option.
Underneath lead categories, you can track actions that lead to form submissions, appointment bookings, sign-ups, quote requests, or direction requests.
Not a whole to report from the previous week, but there are still a few action items you can add to your list.
- If you’re seeing the more granular conversion options in your Google Ads account, start using them to pinpoint which ads lead to specific types of conversions.
- If you’re moving a website in the near future, be sure to take advantage of the new features in the Google Search Console Change of Address tool.
- If you lost ranking in February, when there was no core update, find out what you did wrong. Perhaps more importantly: find out what your competitors didn’t do wrong.
- If you’re in the B2B space, be sure to take advantage of the new features in LinkedIn Sales Navigator so you can qualify and pursue leads.
- Also if you’re in the B2B space: it may be time to ramp up your content marketing based on the study that B2B buyers read 13 content pieces before choosing a vendor.
Digital Marketing News 2/10/2020-2/14/2020
This week: Pinterest hits a new record, .com domains could get more expensive, and Yelp offers some great new features.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Pinterest Annual Revenue Tops $1 Billion
Pinterest sales for Q4 2019 reached $400 million as the company’s yearly revenue topped $1 billion for the first time.
The company also saw growth in monthly active users. The total number of MAUs grew 26% year-over-year to 335 million.
In the U.S. alone, MAUs increased by 8% to 88 million.
Pinterest CEO Ben Silberman credited “properly implemented measurement” tools as a significant reason for fourth-quarter success.
Indeed, Conversion Campaigns grew a whopping 150% in Q4 and saw a 2.5 times year-over-year increase in attributable conversions.
In the second half of the year, revenue from feed-based shopping ads more than doubled compared to the first half of 2019.
Report: Domains Ending in .com Will Get More Expensive
If you’re an online marketer who likes to register a lot of domains year after year, you might want to brace yourself for some sticker shock.
According to a new agreement between ICANN and Verisign, the price of .com domains may go up in the coming years.
The new deal gives Verisign leeway to charge registrars 7% more for .com domains between 2020 and 2025.
After that, the agreement calls for a two-year price freeze.
Increases could continue after that, though.
What it all boils down to is that .com domains could cost as much as 70% more by the end of this decade.
Google Search Console Now Reports on Review and Ratings Markup
If you use review or ratings markup on your website, you’ll appreciate a couple of new Google Search Console reports.
The reports will tell you whether your markup is implemented correctly. They will also highlight the performance of the markup in search.
Additionally, Google Search Console will show you how your review snippets are performing in Google Discover.
Finally, Search Console also offers a test tool that you can use to test a code snippet or submit a page URL.
Google: Don’t Use hreflang Attributes in Anchor Tags
For some reason, some SEOs think that hreflang attributes should be used in anchor tags. According to Google, you shouldn’t do that.
This past week on Reddit, somebody asked Google’s John Mueller about the prospect of using hreflang in anchor tags.
“We don’t do that,” Mueller replied.
He went on to explain how you should use hreflang attributes: “Use link tags in the head if you want hreflang to be picked up. Hreflang is hard enough when you do things technically correct, don’t make it harder by hoping it works in non-documented ways.”
Google Chrome Now Blocks Video Ads
You might not have seen this one coming.
Google Chrome will now block “intrusive” and “annoying” ads that run before and during videos.
Here are the kinds of ads that qualify for blockage:
- Non-skippable pre-roll ads that last longer than 31 seconds
- Mid-roll ads of any duration
- Image or text ads that cover more than 20% of the video content or appear on top
The new blocking rules only apply to videos that are less than eight minutes in length.
And, believe it or not, the rules will also apply to YouTube ads.
Yelp Launches ‘Showcase Ads’
This past week, Yelp announced a so-called video-centric ad format called Showcase Ads.
The ad unit is called video-centric because it doesn’t have to use video, but it can.
Yelp is expecting marketers to use the ads to promote limited-time offers and specials.
The company also announced an in-store attribution feature called Yelp Store Visits (YSV). It’s a “first-party attribution tool that allows businesses to better understand the impact of their ads.”
According to a statement by Yelp, the platform measures store visits using a variety of signals, such as user engagement with business pages, check-ins, and opt-in location data.
Google: We Index Lots of Pages That Don’t Show up in Search
If you’re noticing that many of the pages on your website are indexed but don’t show up in search, you’re not alone.
This past week on Twitter, somebody asked John Mueller the following question: “If Google discover[s] pages from my blog, and index them. Is it a positive sign for my website ranking?”
“Not necessarily,” Mueller replied. “We index a lot of pages that rarely show up in search results.”
Google Increases AMP Custom CSS Limit by 50%
Here’s some welcome news if you’re using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
The Google AMP team increased the custom CSS limit from 50kb to 75kb.
That’s helpful because it gives you more “room” to make your AMP content look pretty on a mobile device.
According to Google, the change should go live by the end of February.
Looks Like IGTV Monetization Is on the Way
According to reverse engineering guru Jane Manchum Wong, Instagram will soon let creators monetize IGTV content.
Soon, you could see this kind of message from IGTV: “You can earn money by running short ads on your IGTV videos. When you monetize on IGTV, you agree to follow the Partner Program Monetization Policies.”
This is a pretty big deal because one of the reasons that IGTV hasn’t caught on as well as expected is because it lacks monetization options.
Keep in mind, though, you’ll probably need to meet certain thresholds before you qualify for monetization. You might need at least 10,000 followers, for example.
Warner Bros. Renamed the Latest Harley Quinn Movie for SEO
This might be a first.
Warner Bros. just renamed the latest Harley Quinn movie so that moviegoers can more easily find tickets online.
The original title of the movie was “Birds of Prey (and the Fabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn).”
The problem: that put the keyword (“Harley Quinn”) at the end of the title. People who searched for “Harley Quinn” online didn’t immediately see the results they were looking for.
So Warner Bros. changed the title to “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.”
That movie saw a very disappointing opening weekend at the box office. Maybe the name change will make a difference.
What can you do with the latest digital marketing news? Here are a few suggestions:
- If you’re using IGTV, think about the kinds of ads you’d like to run on the platform when monetization kicks in.
- If you’re using AMP and maxed out your CSS limit, look for ways that you can improve the user experience with the additional 25k of CSS space that you’ll soon receive.
- If you’re running a local business, consider how you can use Yelp Showcase Ads to attract more business.
- Also, use Yelp Store Visits to better track customer visits and loyalty. If you find that your customers aren’t very loyal, look for steps you can take to earn more repeat business.
- If you buy a lot of .com domains, consider buying them for several years at once to save money over time.
- Pinterest is a growing platform. Look for ways that you can use Pins to promote your business. Consider both organic and paid strategies.
Digital Marketing News: 2/3/2020-2/7/2020
This week: Microsoft lists SEO as a top skill, schema markup won’t get any easier, and wait until you find out how many SEOs feel secure in their jobs.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Amazon’s Ad Business Grew by 40% Last Year
Amazon’s advertising revenue topped $14 billion in 2019. That’s an increase of 40% from the previous year.
“Advertising as a subset has been growing at about the same rate year-over-year in the fourth quarter than it did in the third quarter,” said David Fildes, director of investor relations at Amazon.
CFO Brian Olsavsky noted that more and more brands are participating in the company’s one-day delivery program.
“That was particularly strong in Q4, and I think you’ll see that more as we move into 2020,” he said.
That segment grew 31% year-over-year, topping $17 billion.
Google Fixes Issues With Tag Manager
You may have noticed a recent bug with Google Tag Manager in the Search Console. The issue led to sites losing their verified status.
Fortunately, Google fixed the problem.
However, you may need to re-verify ownership of your site in Search Console.
You can find out if your site was affected by logging into Search Console. If you can log in, you’re in good shape.
If you need to re-verify, you’ll see a message to that effect.
Only 45% of SEO Professionals Feel Their Jobs Are Secure
According to a new survey of almost 500 SEO professionals, less than half of them feel like they have job security.
About 80% of those polled said that algorithm changes could have a negative effect on their careers.
They must be talking to some of their peers. Roughly 60% of SEO pros say they’ve experienced layoffs because of algorithm changes in search engines.
Two-thirds of respondents said they’re satisfied with their jobs.
Microsoft: SEO Is the Most Important Hard Skill for Marketers
Speaking of SEO, Microsoft says it’s the most important hard skill for marketers.
That nugget of info comes from a study published by Microsoft that identifies the top trends in marketing for the next decade.
The tech giant gathered the data from a LinkedIn poll with 600 senior marketers.
Here are the other top skills, behind SEO:
- Data analysis
- Behavioral analysis
And here are the softs skills that Microsoft says are important for marketers:
Survey: Meta Descriptions and Branding Have Most Influence on Click-Throughs
According to our own study, meta descriptions have the most influence on whether people click on a link in search results. That’s followed by brand name and page title.
Our study also found that the vast majority of respondents (85%) prefer to click on organic results as opposed to ads.
About two-thirds said that if Google put more ads in search results, they’d use the search engine less.
More than half (55%) said they prefer to see written results in search as opposed to videos or images.
A slight majority (55%) said they would only click on a brand they knew in search results. About 45% said they’d click regardless of the brand.
Roughly three-quarters of respondents said they’re satisfied with Google’s search results.
Google: If You Have to Submit Pages to Index, Then You Need to Improve Site Quality
Although Google Search Console allows you to manually submit pages to the index, you shouldn’t have to do that.
According to John Mueller, if you rely on manual submissions then you need to improve site quality.
Here’s what Mueller tweeted this past week: “If your site relies on manual index submission for normal content, you need to significantly improve your site. Search console does not fix your site, you need to do that yourself.”
Google: Schema Markup Won’t Get Any Easier
Having trouble implementing schema markup? If so, then I have some bad news for you.
“I think in the future, at least in a near-term future, we will have more types of structured data markup and it will continue to to get more complicated probably,” John Mueller said in a Google webmaster hangout this past week.
Later, he added: “But purely from a markup point of view, I don’t see this getting any easier unfortunately.”
Mueller said that Google will add more types of structured data markup so that search engines can provide even richer snippets in search results.
Google: You Don’t Have to Disavow Sites Before They Link to You
Have you stumbled across a few spammy domains and now think you should disavow them before they even link to your site? According to John Mueller, you don’t have to do anything.
This past week on Twitter, someone asked Mueller the following question: “As a newbie to disavowing links, what are your thoughts on disavow domains that you know are spammy but don’t already link to your site? Essentially ‘preemptively disavowing’.”
“No need to spend your time on that,” Mueller replied.
Google No Longer Deduplicating Right-Side Featured Snippets
Google stopped deduplicating featured snippets that also show up on the right-side knowledge panel.
Keep in mind, though: this is a temporary move. That’s because those right-side panels will eventually move to the top left of the screen.
When that happens, the deduplications will resume.
LinkedIn Reaches 675 Million Members
According to Microsoft’s most recent quarterly report, LinkedIn has once again reached “record levels of engagement.”
The platform now hosts 675 million members. That’s an increase from the 660 million users reported in the previous quarter.
The company also reports that 5 million members have completed LinkedIn Skill Assessments. Employers use those assessments to evaluate the skill sets of potential employees.
Microsoft purchased LinkedIn in 2016.
Some of this is news you can use. Here are a few action items:
- If you’re in the B2B space, look for new ways to promote your brand on LinkedIn. The platform has rolled out several new advertising features over the past year. Do some research and find the ad formats that work best for your business.
- If you’re already struggling with schema markup, get some professional assistance. You may need to spend some cash, but you’ll get more exposure online as you make it easier for search engines to parse the content on your site.
- If you find that you routinely manually submit pages to get indexed, look at ways to improve your site quality. Consider using sitemaps, getting backlinks, and improving the quality of your content.
- Are your meta descriptions giving you the click-through rates you expect? If not, look for ways to reword them so you create more engagement.
- Amazon’s advertising business is growing for a reason. Look for ways to promote your brand on the e-commerce platform.