This week: Google Analytics introduces predictive insights, Smart Shopping gets some new features, and not all link building is bad.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google Adds New Features to Responsive Search Ads
Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) now include a couple of new features.
For starters, you can add a location tag that tells Google to display the city, state, or country based on where the target customer is located.
Next, you can include a customized countdown clock to generate demand. The clock will show people how much time is left before your sale or promotion expires.
You can even adjust the countdown clock to a specific timezone.
Finally, Google will also recommend ad copy that you should test in your RSAs.
Study: More Than 25% of People Click the First Result in Google Search
According to a new study by Sistrix, 28.5% of people click the first result in Google Search.
Only 15% of users click the second result while 11% click on the third result.
Just 2.5% click on the tenth result.
The study also found that the first position in search with sitelinks generates a click-through rate of 46.9%. It’s often the case, though, that results with sitelinks include site-specific searches.
The first result with a featured snippet earns a 23.3% CTR. That’s about 5% below the average click-through rate for that same position.
Knowledge Panels get a CTR of only 16.8%.
Google: It’s Not Possible to Optimize Content for Ranking in Google Discover
You might think you can optimize your content to appear in Google Discover. Unfortunately, you can’t. That’s according to Google.
A new help document about Google Discover states plainly that there’s “no way to create content that explicitly targets Discover’s interest matching.”
Those last two words in the quote above are important: “interest matching.”
Google Discover surfaces content based on user interests, not on keyword intent.
So while you can’t optimize content to rank on Discover, you can optimize your content that appears there so it gets more clicks.
Google says you can do that by using high-quality images, avoiding clickbait headlines, and generating content related to current events.
Google Analytics Rolls out Predictive Features
Google Analytics now offers a couple of new features that make it easier to reach people in your target market.
For starters, the tool now includes a Predictive Audience component. It will show you likely buyers and churning purchasers for a specific timeframe.
Likely buyers will include audience members who will likely make a purchase during the specified time period. Churning purchasers include people who would make a purchase but won’t likely visit your site during the specified time period.
GA also offers a Predictive Metrics component. It shows you which marketing campaigns gave you visitors most likely to make a purchase.
The metrics are generated once per day per user.
Google Introduces 3D Ad Format
This past week, Google announced the roll-out of Swirl, a 3D ad format.
Google Swirl 3D ads are designed for mobile platforms. Users who view Swirl ads can interact with the product in the display by rotating it and zooming in on it.
You can create a Swirl 3D ad with the Google Web Designer tool. However, the new ad format is running in limited beta testing right now.
Google is also adding a new AI video format to YouTube so that viewers can virtually try on cosmetic products. It’s called AR Beauty Try-On and is going to be huge for cosmetic YouTubers!
For example, people can “apply” a shade of lipstick to their lips without actually trying it on.
They’ll just see how it looks on screen as their embedded cameras record them.
Google Will Notify GMB Account Owners When Their Accounts Get Suspended
Google will now notify you via email when your Google My Business (GMB) account gets suspended.
In the past, you had to find out the hard way that your account was suspended by logging on and getting a notice to that effect.
Now, thanks to a new European law, you’ll get a courtesy email. Hopefully, you’ll never receive that email.
Google still won’t tell you why your account got axed, though. The company says that’s because “It would give way too much ammo to people who make fake listings and spam Google Maps.”
Smart Shopping Campaigns Get New Features
This past week, Google announced new features for Smart Shopping Campaigns.
First, Smart Shopping ads can now include annotations like “Free Shipping” or “Fast Shipping.” Those will prove helpful during the current pandemic.
Also, you can now optimize your Smart Shopping campaigns for new customers. You even get to specify conversion goals.
Google may also roll out additional Smart Shopping ad formats later this year.
Google: Don’t Block Googlebot From Crawling 404s
It’s a really bad idea to block Googlebot from crawling 404 pages. That’s according to John Mueller.
A 404 page is given that name because it returns an HTTP status code of 404. That means “not found.”
You have the ability to block agents from crawling 404 error pages. But that’s bad for SEO.
According to John:
That should be a good enough reason not to use them. Instead, opt for server-side redirects.
In the past, Google’s John Mueller said that JS redirects are a “good fall-back” if you can’t use server-side redirects. But it’s probably best to do everything you can to make redirects happen on the server side.
Google: Not All Link-Building Is Bad
If you’ve paid attention to the SEO news lately, you might be under the impression that any kind of link-building campaign is a bad idea. That’s not necessarily the case.
According to John Mueller: “There are lots of ways to work on getting links that are fine, and useful for both the site and the rest of the web. To say all link building is bad would be wrong.”
Just keep in mind, though, that Google still has a policy against “unnatural” links or links that get placed on a website solely for the purpose of passing page rank.
YouTube Will Show You Other Videos Your Audience Has Watched
Are you a YouTube creator who’d like to get to know your audience better? If so, then you’ll love the new feature that you’ll soon see in YouTube Studio.
It’s a new report that shows you a listing of other videos, not created by you, that your viewers have watched.
That will give you some insight into their interests. Armed with that info, you can create new videos that will generate more engagement.
YouTube targeted a 20% rollout of the new feature on July 15. Stay tuned for when it’s fully deployed.
Byte Sees Surge in Downloads Amid Concerns Over TikTok
TikTok has been in the news a lot lately, and not always for the right reason.
India, for example, is moving to ban the app. There’s also plenty of talk about how the Chinese government collects user data via TikTok.
That’s probably why Byte saw a surge in downloads recently.
If you’re unfamiliar with Byte, it’s the second-coming of Vine. It’s a video microblogging service much like TikTok.
It may be the case that the fears surrounding TikTok will lead people to flock to Byte. Time will tell.
Ignite’s Courageous Marketing Leader Awards Now Taking Submissions
The 2020 business climate is a whirlwind. Instead of focusing on the mishaps, we want to highlight bold and innovative marketers who have been able to lead their companies through tribulations big and small.
What you need to know to apply:
- Submissions are open now through Monday, August 17, 2020
- Voting and review period will last from August 18 – August 23, 2020
- Award announcement will take place on August 24, 2020
- Winners will be selected based on votes and judge discretion
During our review period, we’ll select our favorite stories to feature on Medium.com, Business 2 Community and Ignite Visibility’s media network— in addition to a press release.
Here’s a to-do list based on this week’s news:
- Keep an eye on Byte. You may need to adjust your digital strategy if it grows in popularity.
- Use that new YouTube analytics feature to check out the other kinds of videos your audience is watching. Update your video strategy accordingly.
- If you’re blocking Googlebot from visiting 404s, stop doing that immediately.
- If you’re running an ecommerce website, take a look at the new Smart Shopping features. Decide if you can use them to boost sales.
- Take a look at the predictive features in Google Analytics. See how you can use them to reach more people.
- If you’re using RSAs, consider whether adding location info or a countdown clock can help you get a better return on investment.