This week: Google Chrome will warn users about insecure forms, Facebook has a new toy for virtual conferences, and wait until you hear how much e-commerce grew in the second quarter.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Facebook Launched Paid Online Events
How would you like to hold a virtual conference that generates revenue? There’s an app for that: Facebook.
This past week, Facebook announced a new product that will help you monetize classes and online events.
Even better: the tool is free. For now, anyway.
Although Facebook wants you to keep 100% of the proceeds from any event you host, you’ll have to pay a 30% fee if you’re using an Apple platform. That’s because of Apple, not Facebook.
Beyond that, Facebook promises not to charge you anything for a year if you use its new platform.
Instagram Adds Suggested Posts to the Main Feed
Instagram will now show you content from people you don’t follow.
But you won’t see that content until you get to the “You’re All Caught Up!” section. In other words, you have to scroll through the images and videos of all the people you follow first.
Once you get there, Instagram will continue to show suggested posts until you stop scrolling.
How does the app know which posts to show you? It will use an algorithm that selects content based on the accounts you already follow.
Some users aren’t happy that they’re seeing posts they didn’t ask for. But that probably won’t make a difference.
Google Chrome Will Warn Users About Insecure Forms
You have yet another reason to switch to HTTPS if you’re still using HTTP to serve pages on your website.
Soon, Google Chrome will warn users about insecure forms. That’s going to affect your conversion rate if you’re using the non-secure HTTP protocol.
Not only will Chrome warn users that the form is insecure, it will also turn off autofill for common fields, like name, address, and phone number.
Then, to top it all off, when users submit the form, they’ll receive another warning that the form is insecure.
So if you’re still not using HTTPS on your website, you’ve got about a month to get that fixed. Otherwise, don’t expect too many Chrome users to fill out your form.
Bing Will Share Updates via a New Twitter Handle
Looking for the latest updates about what’s going on with that other search engine? If so, then follow @MSBing_Dev on Twitter.
Bing also welcomes people to ask questions by tagging that account.
The company says that followers will learn about new tips and tricks with video demos.
It looks like the account is designed for Bing users and SEOs alike.
Google Chrome Will Highlight Fast Pages on Mobile
Want to get more exposure? Speed up your website.
An update to Google Chrome will highlight some web pages with a “fast page” label.
Pages qualify for the label when they meet all the thresholds specified for Core Web Vitals. It’s based on historical data from real visits.
The new feature is rolling out to the beta version of Google Chrome 85.
New Google Tool Provides Insights for Content Marketers
If you’re into content marketing, you’ll love a new tool from Google. It’s called Search Console Insights.
As the name implies, it’s built on top of Search Console. But it offers additional metrics.
Here’s what Google says about its new product: “Search Console Insights is a new experience tailored for content creators and publishers and can help them understand how audiences discover their site’s content and what resonates with their audiences. This new experience is powered by data from both Search Console and Google Analytics.”
Specifically, Search Console Insights will show you which keywords are bringing people to your content, how many people have viewed your content, and the average dwell time.
Armed with that info, you can develop a content strategy that resonates with your core audience.
Google Allows People to Edit Business Listings From Search and Maps
If you’ve got a Google My Business listing, you can edit it from Google Maps and search results.
In other words, you won’t have to switch to another browser or page and login to GMB just to make the change.
Additionally, Google now allows you to create posts, reply to reviews, and add photos within Maps and search.
You’ll need to be signed in to your Google account if you want to make the changes, though.
E-Commerce Grew 45% in Q2
Although the pandemic hit some sectors particularly hard, it also helped other industries grow.
Take e-commerce, for example. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, online sales grew 45% year-over-year and 32% from Q1 to Q2.
And keep in mind, e-commerce sales grew while overall retail sales slumped.
As a percentage of retail sales, e-commerce sales jumped from 11.8% in Q1 to 16.1% in Q2.
The big box stores performed particularly well in this tough economic climate. Walmart’s online sales grew 97% year-over-year while Target’s ecommerce sales grew a whopping 195% during the same period.
Bing Shopping Now Offers Free Product Listings
It looks like Bing is taking a page out of Google’s playbook.
The search engine now displays organic product listings in the Shopping tab.
As of now, only U.S.-based Microsoft Merchant Center store owners with approved offers qualify for the free product listings. Soon, merchants in the UK, Australia, Canada, France, and Germany will qualify for listings as well.
As of now, no analytics are available for the free listings.
Google: Header Tags Don’t Guarantee a Great Rank
If you’ve been doing SEO for any length of time, you’ve probably heard some chatter about the importance of using H1 and H2 header tags. But they’re not a guarantee for a top spot in the SERPs.
This past week on Twitter, Google’s John Mueller fielded a question about header tags. Here’s how he replied:
He did go on to say that a heading is a “pretty useful signal,” though.
Google: Not Possible to Have Too Many Outbound Links
Is there a penalty for hosting too many outbound links on your site? Nope.
That’s according to Google’s John Mueller.
This past week on Twitter, somebody asked him if there’s such a thing where a site can have too many outgoing links.
Here’s how Mueller replied: “I’m not aware of anything like that. Usually the problem is more the rest of the site (like when there’s a lack of real, unique, compelling, high-quality content) rather than the links.”
So directory sites might have an issue. But if you’re producing anything resembling quality content, you should be fine no matter how many external links you host.
Facebook Tests Short-Form Video Feature
This past week, Facebook launched a test of short-form video clips within its main app.
Yes, this is yet another shot at TikTok.
Recall that Facebook owns Instagram. And Instagram is rolling out Reels, its own version of TikTok.
Additionally, Facebook is testing the new feature in India, where TikTok is formally banned.
The short-form videos on Facebook can last up to 26 seconds. They can also include custom text.
It was a week packed with news you can use. Here are a few assignments.
- If you’re in the ecommerce space, get the ball rolling on ensuring that your products are listed for free on Bing Shopping.
- Use a tool like PageSpeed insights to check the speed of your website. If it doesn’t meet the Core Web Vitals thresholds, contact your development team to get your site loading faster.
- Follow @MSBing_Dev on Twitter so you can keep up with the latest updates.
- If you’re still using the HTTP protocol, switch over the HTTPS. Yesterday. That’s especially important if you want people to complete web forms on your site.
- Think about ways you can generate some extra revenue with Facebook paid online events. It’s best to use a platform other than iOS, though, or you’ll have to forfeit 30% of the income.