This week: Pandora rolls out a new ad format, Facebook dominated the app market in 2019, and YouTube is introducing another policy change.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Pandora Launches Interactive Audio Ads
This past week, Pandora announced that it’s testing interactive audio ads.
The ads require listeners to verbally agree to hear the entire content. In other words, they’re like an audio version of YouTube TrueView ads.
During the rollout phase, Pandora partnered with companies such as Nestle, Comcast, Turner Broadcasting, Doritos, and Digiorno’s.
As an example, the DiGiorno’s ad begins with a joke: “What did the DiGiorno rising-crust pizza say to the oven when things started getting heated?” If the listener wants to hear the punchline, then he or she has to say “yes.”
Report: 73% of Marketers Plan to Increase ABM Budgets in 2020
According to a study by the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), almost three-quarters of marketers (73%) who use account-based marketing (ABM) plan to increase their ABM budgets in 2020.
If you’re unfamiliar with ABM, it’s a marketing strategy for B2B companies that involves targeting a specific set of accounts. It’s a means to identify key prospects within a segment and target them with tailor-made marketing campaigns.
According to the study, the most popular ABM tools are email, websites, CRMs, and social media.
Less than 30% of those surveyed are using chat, predictive analytics, and data management platforms for ABM purposes.
More than half of respondents (51%) said they plan to use more than a single type of ABM approach in the coming year.
Facebook Has 4 of the 5 Most Downloaded Apps of the Year
People are turning to Facebook apps.
According to App Annie’s year-end report, the top five most downloaded apps in 2019 include:
- Facebook Messenger
- WhatsApp Messenger
Every single app on that list except for TikTok is owned by Facebook.
The top five apps and games by consumer spend include:
- Tencent Video
If you’re paying close attention, you’ll notice that streaming video apps hold positions in both lists. Might be a story there.
The breakout apps of 2019 include:
- YouTube Music
App Annie forecasts an even bigger year for 2020 in app downloads and consumer spend.
YouTube Rolls out Another Policy Change, Infuriates Creators
YouTube is tightening the screws a bit more when it comes to the types of content it will allow.
Just recently, the company announced a new anti-harassment policy.
“We will no longer allow content that maliciously insults someone based on protected attributes such as their race, gender expression, or sexual orientation,” YouTube said in a statement. “This applies to everyone, from private individuals, to YouTube creators, to public officials.”
The problem, of course, is how the policy is applied. Statements considered offensive by some folks might not cause offense among others.
It’s all just a little too subjective. And that’s why some creators aren’t happy with the change.
It’s probably best just to stay entirely positive on the platform.
Instagram Rolls out Collaborative Group Stories
How would you like to create an Instagram Story with a few business associates? Now you can.
Instagram is rolling out a “Group Stories” option. It’s similar to the Facebook Group Stories feature that rolled out last year.
As of now, though, it looks like Group Stories are only available to a limited number of users. There’s no word yet on when the roll-out will finish.
The feature is part of Instagram group chats.
Instagram Expands Third-Party Fact-Checking Beyond U.S.
Instagram was already adding warning labels to U.S. posts that contained misinformation. Now, that feature is rolling out globally.
However, there’s one notable exception to the fact-checking policy: political ads. There’s no warning about political ads that contain falsehoods.
All other content is subject to the third-party fact-checking.
When Instagram users scroll to a post with bad info, they’ll see a pop-up that reads: “Disputed by 3rd Parties.” At that point, users have the option to cancel the popup or continue reading it.
Instagram is also combining its fact-checking processes with Facebook’s.
BERT Algorithm Affects 10% of Queries Internationally
In the past, Google made it clear that the BERT algorithm only affects about 10% of U.S. queries. Now we know that it affects about the same percentage of global queries as well.
Google’s Danny Sullivan recently took to Twitter to reply to someone who asked about how many queries BERT affects internationally. Here’s what he wrote: “It varies by language but is generally in line with the 1 of 10 figure we shared about US English.”
If you’re unfamiliar with BERT, it’s a natural language processing algorithm that’s designed to help Google understand text on the web. The acronym stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.
Google Tests Review Carousel in Local Search
Soon, people who view your business in local search results might see a carousel that includes customer reviews.
This past week, someone noticed a local business listing with a review carousel. It looks like the highlighted reviews are related to the search query.
So this is yet another great reason to ensure that your business generates positive reviews online.
Google Now Shows ‘Request Quotes’ Call to Action for Local Service Ads on Mobile
Speaking of local search, here’s another tidbit that you might find interesting.
Google added a “Request Quotes” button at the top of the mobile local search pack for Local Services Ads (LSAs). The quote request is delivered to businesses with Google My Business (GMB) messaging.
If you want to participate in the program, you’ll have to download the GMB app.
It’s probably a good idea to do that if you’re running a service-oriented business. When you make it easy for people to request a quote, you’re likely to generate more business.
Google Rolls out Hub for Top Trending Product Searches
Interested in discovering top trending product searches? Google has an app for that.
Google Shopping 100 showcases the products that have recently trended upward in search.
You can view the top trends from several categories, including:
- Kitchen gear
- Toys & games
- Accessories & apparel
- Sports & fitness
- Home goods
- Personal care
Keep in mind: the products you see listed on those pages aren’t necessarily the most popular products overall. They’ve just seen a recent increase in search interest.
Pinterest Launches Tool for Discovering Most Popular U.S. Search Terms
Speaking of search trends, Pinterest has a tool for that as well.
Pinterest Trends highlights the top U.S. searches on the platform for the past year.
Additionally, the tool will show you when specific terms hit their peak.
According to Pinterest, the platform’s algorithm leans heavily on user interests and preferences. That info is now available to marketers in the Trends tool.
Albertsons already used Pinterest Trends to gain insights about how users interact with holiday-related content.
It’s almost the end of the year, but it’s not time for a vacation just yet. Here are some action items from this past week’s news:
- Take a look at Pinterest Trends and determine how you can use the top searches on the platform for marketing purposes
- Head over to the Google Shopping 100 tool and browse some of the trending searches. Are you noticing any patterns that you can use in your own campaigns?
- If you haven’t done so already, get the GMB app so you can participate in Google messaging. It looks like Google is going to require that from businesses that want to take advantage of some of the more advanced search features (like quote requests).
- If you need more positive reviews for your business, make it a point to get them at the beginning of 2020. You’ll need plenty of great reviews if Google keeps that review carousel in local search.
- Think about how you can use collaborative Group Stories on Instagram to boost your brand.
- Brainstorm up some ways that you can use interactive audio ads on Pandora.