This week: Facebook offers a new platform for writers, Google offers more heartache for black-hatters, and TikTok offers marketing advice.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Facebook Announces New Platform for Writers
Using Bulletin, independent writers can create a website, publish content, and manage subscriptions and payments.
Unsurprisingly, they can also use Facebook to promote their creative work.
As of now, the service is only available to select writers within the U.S.
Bulletin currently allows writers to keep 100% of earned revenue. I doubt it’s going to stay that way forever, though.
Also, Facebook promises the portability of email lists and subscriptions. That means authors can take their subscribers with them if they choose to move to another platform.
Google Announces Spam Update Part 2
Google’s second spam update happened earlier this week. That’s according to the Google SearchLiaison account on Twitter.
It’s related to the previous update which you can find here.
Here’s Google’s statement about the spam-busting algorithm: “By combining our deep knowledge of spam with AI, last year we were able to build our very own spam-fighting AI that is incredibly effective at catching both known and new spam trends. For example, we have reduced sites with auto-generated and scraped content by more than 80% compared to a couple of years ago.”
If you want to avoid losing rank because of the update, then avoid including these types of content on your site:
- Auto-generated content
- Unoriginal content
- Cloaked content
- Scraped content
Also, avoid participating in link schemes.
Google didn’t say why it needed to roll out the anti-spam updates in two phases.
Google Tests “Reliable Sources” Prompt on Some Search Results
Not good news for some webmasters.
Google is testing a new prompt that indicates certain search results might not have reliable info.
The prompt essentially says: “We can’t guarantee that these results will provide accurate information related to your search query.”
Google’s actual text is a little more diplomatic: “It looks like these results are changing quickly. If this topic is new, it can sometimes take time for results to be added by reliable sources.”
The good news is that it looks like that prompt is confined to trending news searches. Sometimes, it takes a little while for reputable sources to post articles about the latest hot topics.
So if you’re publishing content related to an established industry, the prompt probably won’t appear in search results related to your keywords.
On the other hand, if you rely on current events to boost your traffic, some searchers might just walk away after reading the prompt.
At least they won’t click on a competitor’s site, either.
Google Delays Block of Third-Party Cookies Until 2023
Didn’t see this one coming.
As you’ve probably heard, Google recently went on the warpath against third-party cookies. That’s because they raise privacy concerns.
So the Big G planned to replace cookies with something called a Federated Learning of Cohorts (or FLoC). That’s a new algo that puts people who share similar interests into groups so advertisers can target the groups without knowing anything about individuals in those groups.
But not so fast.
Google won’t begin phasing out cookies until mid-2023. Two years from now.
According to Vinay Goel, Privacy Engineering Director with Chrome: “While there’s considerable progress with this initiative, it’s become clear that more time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right.”
Google will roll out Stage 1 of the update in late 2022. During that time, publishers and advertisers will have the opportunity to update their services in preparation for the change.
Stage 1 should last about nine months.
Stage 2 is when Google phases out support for cookies in Chrome. That’s the part that begins in mid-2023.
So if you’re an online advertiser, you’ve got a couple of years to keep doing things the old-fashioned way.
Google Ads Deprecating Broad Match Modifier
As of the end of July, you won’t be able to add Broad Match Modifier (BMM) in Google Ads campaigns anymore.
Why? Because phrase and BMM keywords currently use expanded coverage. So the matching behavior is identical in both cases.
However, if you’re already using BMM keywords, they’re grandfathered in. That means you can keep using existing BMM keywords but you can’t add new ones.
You can still edit BMM keyword attributes. But if you try to edit the text, Google Ads will tell you to switch to phrase match.
Ginny Marvin, via Twitter, said that phrase match is very similar to BMM but offers more intent control.
As an example, she noted that “water bottle” won’t trigger a match for “bottled water” with phrase match.
Google recommends that you convert BMM keywords to a different match type.
TikTok: Don’t Make Ads, Make TikToks
TikTok is out with some advertising advice this week: don’t make ads.
Instead, make TikToks.
What does that mean? I’ll let TikTok Global Business Marketing head Katie Puris answer that question: “Every day, people participate in campaigns, build alongside them, and even create their own TikToks for brands and products they love. We frequently hear people say, ‘I didn’t even realize that was an ad!’ and that’s the goal on TikTok. The work is so good, it fits right in and it’s celebrated.”
The idea is to create engaging and unique content that resonates with your target audience. That strategy works especially well with a younger audience.
According to TikTok, you should post content that looks like it was created by a user instead of a company.
Users will just skip past content that seems too “commercial.”
It’s also a best practice to follow the current trends you see on TikTok.
For example, lots of users are currently using transitions to show off poses in different outfits. That’s a great pattern to follow if you’re in the fashion space.
I know it’s summer but you don’t get a summer break now that you’re an adult. So take on these action items instead:
- Ramp up your TikTok marketing strategy based on the advice by TikTok itself. Produce videos that promote your brand while offering content that’s great for the platform.
- If you rely on Broad Match Modifier, consider changing to a different matching strategy even though Google Ads will grandfather in your keywords.
- Even though Google pushed back the elimination of third-party cookies in Chrome, it’s a good idea to start planning for that rollout now. The sooner you’re ready to go, the better.
- Avoid search engine manipulation tactics so your site doesn’t get hit with anti-spam updates in the future.
- If you’re a professional writer, think about how you can use Bulletin to promote your content.