This past week: Reddit is adding a new profile format, Facebook is making life easier for publishers who run ads, and Google will stay mum about the Fred update. Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Facebook Adopts Header Bidding to Compete With Google’s Ad Network
TL;DR – Facebook is competing with Google and other ad networks by offering something called “header bidding.” That will enable publishers to get the best deals for programmatic ad sales.
Here’s more from Facebook:
Instead of putting an ad slot up for sale through different ad networks in order, header bidding enables the publisher to solicit potential prices, or bids, from multiple ad networks at once, then decide which is the best deal before closing the auction.
And now Facebook’s Audience Network ad network is adopting header bidding, the company announced on Wednesday. The Information had reported in August 2016 that the company had begun testing header bidding.
As a result, publishers will be able to say, “Hey Google, what can you get me for this ad slot?” and instead of having to decide on the spot whether Google’s price is right, the publisher can put the question to Facebook and a host of other ad networks at the same time, hear them all out and only then decide which deal it wants. To mix metaphors, it’s like an investment-seeking company going on ABC’s “Shark Tank” to solicit funding from multiple investors at once instead of arranging an array of individual meetings and being forced to decide whether to deal or not after each sit-down.
Survey: 52% Say Majority of Their Business Marketing Is Digital
According to a recent Twitter survey by Search Engine Journal, a majority of businesses say most of their marketing is digital.
Overall, 52% said that 75% or more of their marketing is digital and 26% said that 50% – 74% of their marketing is digital.
Only 10% of those surveyed said that less than 25% of their marketing is digital.
Google: Our Search Leads Won’t Let Us Talk About the Fred Update
If you’re waiting for Google to make an official statement about the Fred update, you’re going to be waiting for a long time.
According to Gary Illyes, the search leads at Google have decided not to talk about the update.
@rustybrick will. Obviously there was an update. Why would we deny that
— Gary Illyes ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ (@methode) March 24, 2017
@methode okay, thank you
— Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) March 24, 2017
He did, however, say that the update targets violations of the Webmaster guidelines. It looks like the Fred Update was intended to lower the rank of websites that focus on revenue generation at the expense of user experience.
Google’s Mobile-First Index Is Months Away
There’s been quite a bit of hype about the mobile-first index lately. It’s still months away from a formal roll-out, though, according to Google’s own Gary Illyes.
“The team behind the mobile-first index wants it to launch this year,” Illyes said at the SMX West conference on Wednesday. “We’re still experimenting. We don’t have a timeline. It could be a few months or quarters, but it’s definitely not weeks [away]. Don’t freak out, especially if you have a responsive site.”
The mobile-first index will include pages crawled with a mobile agent instead of a desktop agent. Google is implementing the change because more than half of all searches happen on mobile devices.
“The mobile web has fewer tokens than desktop. Content and links are more scarce,” Illyes said. “Mobile sites don’t have a lot of the metadata that desktop sites have. We’re aiming for a quality-neutral launch. We don’t want users to experience a loss in quality of search results. We need to replace the signals that are missing in the mobile web.”
Google: Number of Hacked Sites Increased 32% in 2016
According to Google’s State of Web Security in 2016 report, the number of hacked sites increased 32% in 2016 as compared to 2015.
Google is using the stat to explain why it’s helpful to register with Search Console.
According to the report, 84% of webmasters of hacked sites who apply for reconsideration are successful in cleaning their sites. Also, 61% of webmasters of sites that were hacked never received a notification from Google because they weren’t registered with Search Console.
Google: 404 Pages Aren’t a Signal of Low Quality
Good news if you have an e-commerce site that discontinues products every now and then: Google says that 404 pages aren’t a signal of low quality.
This past week on Twitter, somebody asked John Mueller if 404s are a low-quality signal.
@wockenfoth no, that's definitely not the case.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) March 17, 2017
He replied: “No, that’s definitely not the case.”
LinkedIn Announces New “Trending Stories” Feed
LinkedIn is offering a “trending” stories feed that includes content relevant to a user’s industry.
Here’s what LinkedIn has to say about the new feature: “Storylines are daily curated interest-based feeds about the most important developing stories in your industry. They help you discover and discuss news, ideas and diverse perspectives from the largest group of professionals, publishers and editorial voices ever assembled.”
The trending stories are aggregated based on LinkedIn algorithms and the company’s editorial team. The algorithm will include a component to highlight stories relevant to the user’s line of business.
Reddit Announces New User Profiles
According to Reddit: “We’re making this change because content creators tell us they have a hard time finding the right place to post their content. We also want to support them in being able to grow their own followers (similar to how communities can build subscribers).”
The new profile feature is still being tested, though. Look for a formal roll-out in the near future.