This week: new features from Facebook, new tools from YouTube, and a new Creative Studio from Google. Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google Rolls Out New Spam Algorithm – Second Update Coming Next Week
Google’s annual report indicated that hacked spam is running rampant. In an effort to combat these hack attacks, they rolled out a new spam-fighting algorithm update this week.
While the exact details of this update are not known, the company estimates that this update will keep more than 99% of SERP sites spam-free.
A second update will be released next week.
As part of our regular work to improve results, we’ve released a spam update to our systems. You can learn more about our efforts to fight spam in this post:https://t.co/piCLhbZPkH
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) June 23, 2021
Facebook Introduces 4 New Ecommerce Features
Retailers using Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are getting new and improved ecommerce features designed to get more eyes on your products.
As Facebook morphs more into a discovery engine for products, the company claims that 74% of consumers use the platform as a way to discover new products and brands.
In an effort to aid companies already using the platforms and an attempt to lure more companies to it, the social media giant launched the following features this week:
- More locations for Facebook Shops – Businesses only need to set up their shop once and it will work across all three platforms.
- Customer Reviews on Instagram – To help consumers make more informed decisions, customer reviews will be added to Instagram shops.
- Ads for Shops – These highly personalized ads are designed to help businesses provide special offers and promotions to select customers based on their previous browsing history.
- Expanded use of AR – Augmented Reality (AR) lets customers try on products virtually. This recent rollout applies to beauty brands but testing is already underway in the hopes of providing this feature across more verticals.
YouTube Rolls Out New Tools and Resources for Small Business Owners
As part of Google’s International Small Business Week, YouTube rolled out new tools and resources for small business owners who use the platform.
Included in this week’s launch were a Step-by-Step Playbook and new Ads Creation Tools. The playbook walks small biz owners through how to set up and launch a channel, build their online presence, and reach new customers.
Everything from branding your channel to setting up YouTube ads is covered. The new ads creation tools are designed to help owners create YouTube ads quickly and easily.
In honor of Small Biz Day, which took place June 24th, YouTube also dedicated the entire day to giving advice to small biz owners on the Google YouTube Channel. Talks included live shopping experiences, a host of panel discussions, and presentations from some of the biggest YouTubers. If you missed it, you can catch the content on-demand.
Facebook Enters the Social Audio Space
In an attempt to gain traction in the social audio space, Facebook announced this week that they will be rolling out two new audio platforms: Live Audio and Podcasts.
Live Audio is a live event on the platform, similar to a radio show with a live audience. It includes interactive elements like hand raising and the ability to ask the host questions. The host can have up to 50 speakers and the audience size is uncapped. These events can be public or private — whatever the host decides.
Podcasts allow podcasters to stream their episodes directly from their Facebook page. A small group launched this week, with more coming in the future.
Google Introduces Ads Creative Studio – An Easier Way to Build Out Your Content
Google rolled out their new Ads Creative Studio this week.
Designed to streamline the creation process, it combines 4 key elements: Director Mix, Dynamic Display & HTML5 creation tools, Audio Mixer and Dynamic Audio tools, and a Project Library.
This update is designed to increase collaboration, but users can still create their assets in Display & Video 360 and Google Ads if they prefer.
Shopify Sites Can Finally Edit Their Robots.txt File
Shopify site owners can finally update their robots.txt file, giving them greater control over their SEO.
While having the same robots.txt file works for most sites, Shopify recognizes that it doesn’t work for everyone so owners now have the ability to:
- Allow or disallow certain URLs from being crawled
- Add crawl-delay rules for certain crawlers
- Add extra sitemap URLs
- Block certain crawlers
This feature rolled out late last week and all users should not have access to the update.
— Tobi Lutke (@tobi) June 18, 2021
Google Allowing Non-AMP Listings in Top Stories Carousel
While AMP can and will still be displayed, it’s no longer a requirement. As long as pages meet the Google News content policies, they are eligible for the carousel. This opens it up to more publishers and increases competition for traffic and keywords.
Google FAQ Results Limited to Two Per Snippet
Seeing fewer FAQ dropdowns in your Google searches? That’s due to a change in how the company will display results.
This change makes it so that each individual result takes up less space on SERPs and allows for more results to be featured. This is great news if your competitors were above you. With this change, it’s more likely that you’ll now end up higher on the page.
Instagram Testing Content Recommendations
Last year, Instagram started showing recommended or suggested content within users’ feeds. They are now testing whether or not they should take it a step further and put this content ahead of pages you actually follow.
This is an interesting choice when many IG users are still calling for their feeds to return to normal since the last update.
New Insights Series Comes to Twitter
Twitter is looking to improve its insights for users and a new content series is aiming to do that.
This new series will highlight key pointers and notes to assist with marketing strategies. The company is trying to cash in on Twitter’s increasing popularity by offering marketers an option much like watching preview trailers in a movie theater.
TODAY! @JohnKrasinski talks #AQuietPlace Part II with @Fandango’s @ErikDavis LIVE on @TwitterSpaces. Submit your questions using #AQuietSpace, and tune in today at 2PM PT/5PM ET. pic.twitter.com/AoRJZvGuNU
— A Quiet Place Part II (@quietplacemovie) May 27, 2021
Pinterest Aims More Support Towards Small Businesses
Having noted that searches for small business support quotes are up over 50% on their platform, Pinterest has launched a new initiative aimed to highlight small businesses selling products and services through their Pins.
This initiative aims to highlight select SMBs and give users a means to directly contribute to their favorite shops to help them stay afloat as we start to rebuild life post-pandemic.
A Lot of Action at VidCon as TikTok Replaces YouTube as Top Sponsor
TikTok is taking over the social media circle and, apparently, VidCon is no exception.
It was announced last week that TikTok will be VidCon’s top sponsor this year, a position held by YouTube since 2013.
While YouTube will still be a sponsor, they are moving to the second spot. This will cause an increase in bidding wars for top creators — and brand and advertising dollars.
Facebook is Making It Easier for Group Admins
They have updated the Admin Home set up to a more intuitive interface in hopes of making it easier for admins to keep track of their duties and keep control of their groups.
This new layout also features the addition of comment moderation to Admin Assist, which enables moderators to set their own criteria around moderation and set up moderation automation based on their personalized rules.
They’ve also added Conflict Alerts, where AI will detect and notify admins when there are unhealthy conversations within their groups. This is meant to defuse contentious conversations more quickly.
In addition to the moderation tools, they’ve also added management and insight tools to help moderators and admins understand each group member’s input.
Pinned comments and announcements will also now be available in all groups on the platform.
Public Beta Launches for New Search Engine
Brave Search is now available to the public.
This new engine takes privacy seriously, having been built on top of an independent index that does not track users or their activity.
The developers pride themselves on being a user-first search engine that puts the user and their privacy ahead of advertising and data industries. While this is great news for individuals concerned about their privacy, it isn’t so great for digital marketers trying to reach consumers.
There’s a lot to take in here. Take some time to think about:
- How the new Google algorithm could affect your website. Keep an eye on your traffic for any drastic changes.
- If you’re a small business or promoting one, check out YouTube’s Small Biz day content and Pinterest’s new initiative to see how you might be able to benefit from their improvements.
- How to utilize TikTok in your marketing plan so you can benefit from their large reach and huge user base.
- If you use Facebook, consider how their recent updates to Groups and their jump into the social audio space could affect your marketing plan moving forward.
- If you’re a Shopify user, think of how you can improve your SEO through your Robots.txt file.