This week: Google opens Ads API to everybody, Facebook might pull out of Europe, and Pinterest has its own version of Stories.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google Supporters E-Commerce Structured Data
If you’re in the e-commerce space, you’ll love this news.
Google will soon support a new type of schema.org markup called ShippingDetails. You can use it to highlight info about your shipping policies.
For example, the markup lets you specify free shipping for specific products. People will see “free shipping” when looking at your product listing in search.
You can also use the markup to provide info about delivery times, shipping destinations,and shipping costs.
The markup will be available to all U.S. e-tailers.
The Facebook 20% Text Rule Is Gone
Just in time for Christmas.
Facebook will no longer penalize ads that include more than 20% of image text.
In case you’re wondering why the text overlay tool disappeared, that’s why it disappeared.
The company rolled out the change quietly. It caught many marketers off-guard.
But I don’t think it disappointed any of them.
Now, you can create an image for a Facebook ad with plenty of text in it. No worries.
Use some war-time font sizes to catch people’s attention. If that’s what you think is necessary.
However, Facebook says that images with less than 20% of text tend to perform better.
Google Adds Video Appointments, Online Classes to GMB
Last month, SterlingSky’s Colan Nielsen noticed a prompt to set up video on the Google My Business (GMB) dashboard. Now, we know why Google added that configuration option.
It’s so that businesses can offer virtual services with one of the more popular video conferencing providers (Google Meet, Webex, Zoom, Skype, etc.).
The new feature is a response to the COVID-19 pandemic that’s led us all to follow social distancing guidelines.
Additionally, Google expanded its Reserve With Google program. Now, it supports virtual instruction and not just in-person classes.
If you want to take advantage of that feature, you’ll need to work with a Google partner such as Booksy, WellnessLiving, Zooty, or Regis.
Google Ads API Now Open to All
If you’ve got a high-tech guru on staff and would like to use that person’s talents to get the most out of Google Ads, you’re in luck.
Google announced this past week that its Google Ads API is “generally” available to all developers.
The company tried to open the API last year but noticed some bugs during the AdWords-to-Ads transitional period. As a result, Google closed the API.
Now it’s time for Round 2.
According to Google, “with the Google Ads API, you’ll see faster rollouts of new features and compatibility updates for tools like recommendations, local campaigns, and more. We’ve also made improvements to existing features like Keyword Planner, change history and billing. This makes it easy for you to manage your campaigns and increase overall productivity.”
The Google AdWords API is still available for a limited time.
Google: You Won’t Get Any Ranking Benefit by Hosting on Google Cloud
As I’ve mentioned in the past, Google is known to favor its own properties in search. But that doesn’t mean you can get a great rank just because you host your website on Google Cloud.
This past week on Twitter, somebody asked John Mueller if there’s any ranking benefit to running a website on GC.
“We don’t do anything special for hosting on Google Cloud,” Mueller replied.
We don't do anything special for hosting on Google Cloud.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) September 22, 2020
Keep in mind: Google Cloud servers will load pages quickly. You could get a ranking boost out of that, but it’s got nothing to do with the name of your hosting provider.
Facebook Threatens to Leave Europe Over Data-Sharing Regs
Pay attention if you’re marketing to a global audience: Facebook might get out of Europe.
Why? Because the EU privacy regulator ordered Facebook to stop data transfers about EU users back to the U.S.
The regulator is concerned that people in the U.S. government might use the data for surveillance.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because that’s the exact same issue that led the Trump administration to initially ban TikTok here in the U.S. That ban is now on hold pending a possible deal that involves Oracle and Walmart.
More than 400 million people in the EU use Facebook and its stepchild Instagram. It will be devastating for social media marketers in that region if Facebook pulls out.
Federal Judge Halts WeChat Ban
Speaking of worries about surveillance from app data, a federal judge just halted the White House’s executive order that banned WeChat.
The order initially banned both TikTok and WeChat. As I just mentioned, the TikTok ban was put on hold.
U.S. Magistrate Laura Beeler blocked the WeChat ban completely, saying that the U.S. government didn’t offer enough evidence showing that China could exploit its mobile technology for nefarious purposes.
WeChat boasts of some 20 million U.S. users.
Finally: Pinterest Has Its Own Version of Stories
You probably woke up this morning and asked yourself: “Hey, when will Pinterest roll out its own version of Stories? Every other platform has one!”
The answer is now. Pinterest just put Story Pins in beta.
However, it looks like Story Pins will differ from Snapchat and Instagram Stories in a few different ways.
“Story features on other platforms are designed to show you what people are doing,” said Pinterest’s David Temple. “Story Pins are designed to show you how people are trying new ideas and new products. That means the features and intent are dramatically different.”
He also said that they don’t disappear after a certain period of time.
Story Pins can also include a list of supplies or ingredients.
Pinterest also said it’s rolling out enhanced creator profiles that highlight the creator’s published content as opposed to just the pins that he or she saved.
Google Rolls out WordPress Stories Plugin
Speaking of Stories, Google just rolled out the official WordPress Stories plugin. You can use it to simplify the process of creating Web Stories.
It makes your life easier by enforcing all of Google’s rules about Web Stories on your behalf. You won’t have to worry about font size requirements, orientation, and the maximum number of characters allowed.
Instead, just produce your content and let the plugin take care of the rest.
Web Stories are a kind of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) tech. They’re bite-sized pieces of info meant to be consumed by mobile users in small chunks.
According to Google, ideal candidates for Web Stories include people in restaurants or on a subway train.
Lots of action items to take from this week’s news:
- If you aren’t yet using Web Stories to reach people in your target market, brainstorm up some ways you can do that. Then, get the plugin so you can easily create them in WordPress.
- Take a look at the beta release of Story Pins and think about how you might use them to promote your brand.
- If you’re using Google Ads, talk to your development team about the API. Find out if there’s any way you can use it to get more out of your online advertising campaigns.
- If you’re running a local shop, make sure that you get video integration set up on GMB. That’s how you can reach out to customers without the risk of spreading a virus.
- Now that the Facebook “20% Text” rule is gone, think about how you can use more text in your Facebook Ads images to reach people in your target market.
- If you’re running an e-commerce shop, make sure you take advantage of that ShippingDetails markup to let people know about your shipping rates and policies.