This week: Facebook shares tank, podcast revenues are soaring, and the mobile-first index still has a long way to go.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
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Facebook Loses $120 Billion in Market Cap
A less than spectacular quarterly earnings report sent Facebook shares plummeting about 20% on Thursday, shaving roughly $120 billion in market capitalization.
That was the largest single-day market cap drop in stock market history.
Facebook stock had recovered from a setback earlier in the year following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Shares hit a low of $152.22 in May and reached a high of $217.50 on Wednesday.
But all good things must come to an end.
What happened? For starters, the company reported $13.04 billion in sales for the quarter. That was below analyst estimates.
Additionally, user growth was flat in the U.S. and Canada.
And then there was the guidance.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg also said that the company is investing heavily in security and that will impact profitability going forward.
LinkedIn Revamps Campaign Manager
LinkedIn has given its Campaign Manager a whole new look and feel. You’ll especially appreciate it if you’re handling multiple accounts.
In summary, the new version:
- Loads data faster
- Offers a more intuitive user experience
- Allows you to switch between accounts with just a couple of clicks
- Enables you to quickly locate campaign-specific data
- Provides a more intuitive user experience
You can also personalize your dashboard so that it displays the metrics you most frequently review.
“The new experience is expected to help do things better in bulk, which would be a welcome change for advertisers managing more than a few campaigns,” said AJ Wilcox, founder of the LinkedIn ad agency B2Linked.com.
The new Campaign Manager will go into production next week.
Google: Word Count Doesn’t Indicate Quality Content
You’ve probably heard this advice: if you want to rank well, write long form content.
There’s no doubt that long articles are more likely to rank towards the top of the SERPs than their shorter counterparts. But this past week Google reminded the marketing community that it doesn’t use word count to determine quality.
“Some pages have a lot of words that say nothing,” said John Mueller in a tweet.
He went on to point out that some pages with only a few words are “very important.” They might outrank long-form content on the same subject.
He concluded: “You know your content best (hopefully) and can decide whether it needs the details.”
Google Redefines Low-Quality Content
Speaking of content, this past week Google changed its definition of poor content.
Specifically, the Big G updated its Quality Rater Guidelines with new info about “low quality” and “lowest quality” web pages.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Quality Rater Guidelines, they’re the rules that Google’s human quality raters follow when determining if an article is of the highest quality, lowest quality, or somewhere in between.
According to the updated QRG, raters should mark pages as “low quality,” when there’s a clickbait headline. Yes, they should do that even if the content itself is outstanding.
Buzzfeed is in trouble.
Additionally, raters should mark a page “lowest quality” under the following conditions:
- They can’t determine the purpose of the page
- The page contains hateful content directed at people based on their political beliefs or socio-economic status
- The page contains links harmful to users
- The page contains “demonstrably inaccurate content”
- The content tries to trick users into clicking links
- The content promotes mental, physical or emotional harm in any way
Google: Don’t Count on That “Rel=Canonical” Thing
You might have thought that you absolutely, positively avoided a duplicate content penalty when you set that “rel=canonical” tag on your web page.
According to John Mueller, canonicalization isn’t a guarantee.
“We use multiple factors when determining the canonical for a page,” he said.
Mueller was responding on Twitter to someone who had asked why Google indexed the wrong sequential URL in a series of pages even though he had set “rel=canonical” properly.
Of course, it’s very likely you won’t run into the exact scenario. So you probably don’t have much to worry about.
Mueller also advised webmasters not to mix the “rel=canonical” tag with a “noindex” tag.
Podcast Revenues Are Skyrocketing
Here’s more evidence that podcasting is the new talk radio.
According to a study by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), podcast revenues are soaring.
In fact, 2020 revenues are projected to double 2017 revenues. In 2017, podcasting ad spend raked in $314 million. The 2020 haul is expected to reach $659 million.
Also, podcasters saw a whopping 150% year-over-year growth in listeners.
Here’s an interesting tidbit the most popular ads are the ones read by podcast hosts.
Unsurprisingly, mobile dominates podcasting. Because mobile dominates everything.
According to Discoverpods.com, more than 90% of the time spent listening to podcasts happens on mobile platforms. More than half (55.5%) of the mobile audience uses Apple devices while 32% listen on Android devices.
Additionally, more than 80% of podcast listeners also listen to podcast advertising. Even more (83.8%) said that podcast ads are effective.
Forty percent of those surveyed made a purchase because of an ad they heard on a podcast.
Google: Off-Site Sentiment Doesn’t Influence Search Rank
People who chatter about your website online don’t influence its search rank.
Google’s Danny Sullivan cleared the air about that controversy just this past week.
Somebody on Twitter asked him the following question: “It seems like your search algorithm recognizes and takes into account sentiment. Is there a sentiment search operator? (I don’t think there is; how do you all decide which search operators to make available?)”
Sullivan’s reply was brief and to the point: “It does not recognize sentiment, so no operator for that.”
Of course, backlinks from other websites can still influence rank. But the general tone of conversation about your site on social media or online forums won’t have any impact.
Google: Still “A Lot to Do” Before Mobile-First Index Is Complete
Google is still rolling out the mobile-first index. And it looks like it has a long way to go.
This past week on Twitter, somebody asked John Mueller about the “due date” for the revamped index.
Here’s how he replied: “We don’t have a public timeline for mobile-first indexing, there’s still a *lot* to do until we get there.”
In other words: don’t expect a fully mobile index until 2019.