Not much news this week because of the holidays, but let’s dig in. A Google engineer challenged a report about how many users recognize search ads, some featured snippets now include smarter links, and Facebook adds new analytics for Click-to-WhatsApp ads.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google: Yes, People Can Recognize Paid Search Results
A Google engineer recently challenged a journalist who shared a report that many people can’t tell the difference between organic search results and paid ads.
Jonathan Jones, who writes for The New York Times, linked to an online article about the number of people who recognize search ads.
Specifically, he shared this key tidbit on Twitter: “More than 50 percent of people between the ages of 18–34 can’t differentiate between an ad and an organic result on Google. For those over 35, that percentage grows proportionally higher.”
Here’s how Google engineer Paul Haahr responded to that tweet: “Key point, but not true from everything I’ve seen, at least from the Search side.”
Haahr also defended Google’s ad practices.
“Up to 4 [search results are paid advertisements]. May be none, which it is on most searches, because most are non-commercial. And all ads are labeled as such.”
Some Featured Snippets Now Link to Sections in Content
Some Google search results are going beyond just linking to the page and now anchoring you to the section of the content that’s relevant to the search query.
For now, though, the new feature only works on some searches on Google mobile as well as AMP content included in the featured snippet block.
You can see the fragment-linking in action by whipping out your smartphone and doing a Google search for “what does a vpn do.”
You should see AMP content in the featured snippet. Click on that link and it will take you to the section of the page that answers your question. in fact, that section of the page will appear highlighted.
No word yet on when or if this feature will roll out for Google desktop searches.
Facebook Adds New Analytics for Click-to-WhatsApp Ads
Facebook recently added conversion metrics, traffic details, and page post engagement objectives for Click-to-WhatsApp ads.
If you’re unfamiliar with Click-to-WhatsApp ads, they’re ads that launch a WhatsApp chat from the Facebook newsfeed. Many businesses use them to start a conversation with potential customers.
You can purchase the ads from the Facebook Ad Manager platform.
If you want to run the ads, you’ll have to download the WhatsApp business app and attach it to your Facebook page.
WhatsApp has about 1.5 billion users and 450 million daily active users.