This week: LinkedIn has new ad targeting features, Reddit rolls out new video ad updates, and the European Union’s top court has some bad news if you’re taking a short-cut to get cookie consent.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
EU Top Court Says Active Consent Needed for Tracking Cookies
This seems like a pretty important story if you’re marketing across the pond.
Europe’s top court ruled this past week that pre-checked consent boxes for accepting cookies aren’t legally valid.
In other words, you can’t assume that the visitor wants to accept your cookies. You must obtain active consent beforehand.
Some sites just track cookies and throw up a notification to visitors that effectively reads: “Hey, we’re tracking cookies to improve your experience. You’re okay with that, right?”
That’s not going to fly in the EU. For now.
The final outcome of the case is still pending.
Reddit Rolls out Three New Video Ad Updates
Reddit continues to ramp up its advertising game. This past week, the company introduced three new video ad features.
First up: mobile landing pages for video ads. They redirect visitors to a website where the video ad continues to play alongside branding or product info.
Next, you can now run ads in a perfect square format or 4:5 vertical orientation. That’s in addition to the 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios that previously existed.
Finally, Reddit is also introducing optional referral URLs for CPV campaigns. They allow you to include referral URLs in campaigns optimized for views.
Instagram Tests Product Launch Announcements
Instagram is testing a feature that allows users to set reminders about product launches.
Users who receive the reminders can buy the products right on the Instagram platform.
Businesses can also give their customers the option to set reminders about upcoming product roll-outs with the product launch tag or the product launch sticker in Stories.
The new feature launched just this past week with select brands participating in the test.
Google Ads Makes It Easier to Analyze Multiple Accounts
Now you can more easily manage multiple accounts with Google Ads.
In the past, you had to download reports and use some other software to view data across different accounts.
Folks at Google understood that was a problem and have responded.
The new report editor will show you cross-account info. You can manipulate the data in real time as well.
Keep in mind: the new feature is only available for Manager accounts. You’re also limited to a maximum of 10 accounts in your reporting.
Google says it plans to increase that limit in the near future.
Google: H1 Headers Useful but Not Critical
On a recent Google Webmaster Hangout, John Mueller reminded webmasters that H1 headers are useful but not critical.
That advice stands oddly against the SEO conventional wisdom that says you must use an H1 tag and it must match your title tag.
But Google says it’s not necessary after all.
Mueller also said that you can use as many H1 tags as you want on your web pages.
“Your site is going to rank perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags,” he said.
Mueller did confirm, though, that H1 tags are useful for communicating page structure.
Looks Like Facebook Will Start Hiding Like Counts on Posts
This past week, Facebook began hiding like counts to users in Australia.
That’s not a surprising move considering that Facebook-owned Instagram started hiding likes recently. I also won’t be surprised if Facebook hides like counts globally after a short time.
The hidden like counts on Facebook will work the same way they do on Instagram. Users will be able to see who liked a post, but they won’t see the overall like count.
Apparently, Facebook is making the change in response to some studies showing that like counts have a negative effect on people’s mental health.
Yoast SEO Opts Users Into All Snippet Features by Default
As of October 1, WordPress plugin Yoast SEO opted users into all of its snippet features by default.
Why? Because Google recently announced new snippet settings. They provide site owners with options to limit the content included in search results.
The company made the change in response to the European Copyright Directive that’s designed to get Google to pay for content in the SERPs.
If you’d like more discretion about how your content is displayed in search, it might be a good idea to avoid updating to the latest version of Yoast (12.2).
Google: Optimizing for RankBrain Same As Optimizing for Users
Here’s another reason to believe that the best SEO is simply developing content that people will love.
According to Google’s Gary Illyes, “you optimize your content for users and thus for RankBrain. That hasn’t changed.”
He tweeted that in response to a question he got about optimizing for RankBrain.
So keep on going with the amazing content marketing.
Google: Don’t Use M-Dot URLs
If your website still uses m-dot URLs for mobile visitors, it might be a good time to upgrade to a responsive design.
That’s because Google’s John Mueller strongly recommends not using the m-dot format.
He tweeted that in response to a question he got about someone thinking it might be a good idea to move a site with 6 million unique views a month to an m-dot URL structure.
Mueller also issued a warning about PWAs.
“[T]hey can do cool stuff quickly,” he said, “but they’re also hard to get right, especially for SEO (not impossible though).”
Report: Instagram In-Stream Video Ads Generating More Purchases Than Story Ads
According to a new report from Wibbitz, Instagram in-stream video ads drive more purchases than Story ads.
The company surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in the U.S. and Europe and found that 31% of Instagram users said they purchased a product after watching a video on Instagram.
Of those, 27% said they bought something after watching an in-feed video ad. Only 12% said they bought a product after watching a Story ad.
Wibbitz also found that 26% of Instagram users follow new brand accounts they discovered on the Instagram Explore tab.
Facebook Advertisers Can Use Story Ads to Start a Conversation on Messenger
You can now use Instagram and Facebook Story ads to start a conversation on Messenger.
Here’s how it works: users swipe up on Story ads with the “Send Message” call to action. That starts a Messenger dialog.
The new feature is available to you if you run a business with Messenger templates set up in your Facebook Ads account.
LinkedIn Campaign Manager Adds New Targeting Logic
Like Reddit and Pinterest, LinkedIn continues to break new ground in advertising almost weekly.
This week, the company announced that it added audience forecasting insights in Campaign Manager. That gives you quick access to the makeup of your target audience.
“When combined with contacts you’ve uploaded to Matched Audiences, you can be sure that you’re not only serving ads to the specific prospects you’re trying to reach, but that you’ll have the demographic insights to deliver the content and creative mix that will resonate with them,” said LinkedIn in a statement.
Additionally, you can now also creating targeting queries with boolean (and/or) logic. That means you can target multiple roles and levels of seniority at the same time.
Finally, LinkedIn will soon roll out new audience-level metrics. Look for those in the coming weeks.
Given what we’ve learned this week, here are a few action items:
- Check your cookie alerts to make sure you’re in full compliance with the recent EU court ruling.
- Look for a subreddit that caters to members of your target market and run some video ads there.
- Get with your developers and partners to determine if you need to upgrade to the latest version of Yoast SEO.
- Without doing any keyword research, identify a subject that you think your visitors will love to read about. Write some long form content about that subject and see if RankBrain blesses you with a top spot in the SERPs.
- Think about how you can use Instagram in-stream video ads to promote your business.
- If you’re in the B2B space, go over LinkedIn’s new targeting options and see if any of them can help you reach more people or reduce your ad spend.