This week: a popular brand gets caught using black hat tactics, Instagram advertisers can now convert influencer posts to ads, and wait until you hear about how much podcast revenue increased last year.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google Is Rolling out a Core Algorithm Update
This past week, Google announced that it’s rolling out a core algorithm update. It started on June 3.
By the time that you read this, it’s possible that the new update is still rolling out.
Google unimaginatively named the update “the June 2019 Core Update.”
The company’s standard disclaimer about broad core algorithm updates applies: there’s nothing you have to “fix.” It’s often the case that these updates don’t intend to target low-quality sites but rather are aimed at improving relevance.
So Google’s advice for you in response to the algorithm change is to do absolutely nothing.
Some people are speculating that the update might affect the Penguin algorithm. That’s because, this past March, Google’s Gary Illyes said that his company continues to improve that code.
The Penguin algorithm is Google’s effort at fighting backlink spam.
Feel free to use your favorite rank-tracking tool to see if your keywords are bouncing around the search results as the change rolls out. Just keep in mind that it might take a few days for things to “settle.”
Facebook Rolls out New Video Creation Kit Features
Facebook’s Video Creation Kit has some new goodies.
First, it’s got a tool that makes it easy to resize videos. That’s helpful if you need to customize the size for a specific placement.
Next, there are additional editing options. One of them is a single-image template that enables you to add motion to a still frame. There are also 20 new fonts for titles, chyrons, etc.
Look for more seasonal stickers throughout the year as well.
Finally, the tool also has a new “save” feature so you can save draft versions of your videos.
Instagram Advertisers Can Now Convert Influencer Posts to Ads
Got an influencer post that you’d like to turn into an ad? There’s an app for that: Instagram.
Instagram is in the process of rolling out branded content ads. That means you can create ads from influencer posts.
You can run the ads for standard Instagram posts as well as Stories.
Before you use any organic posts as ads, though, you’ll need to secure permission from the content creators. They can do that in the Advanced Settings page on the app.
Instagram says that standard post influencer ads will roll out in the coming weeks. Ads for Stories will roll out in the coming months.
Report: U.S. Podcast Revenue Jumped 53% Last Year
According to new research from IAB and PwC, advertisers in the U.S. dropped $479 million on podcast ads in 2018. That’s a 53% increase from the previous year.
The same report predicts that the ad spend on podcasts will double by 2021 to over $1 billion.
Baked-in ads accounted for more than half (51.2%) of podcast ads delivered last year. Dynamically inserted ads accounted for 48.2%.
Host-read ads made up two-thirds of all the ad types.
Direct-to-consumer brands accounted for 22% of all ad revenue. That was followed by financial service providers (21%) and B2B businesses (14%).
LinkedIn Acquires Drawbridge to Improve Reach, Targeting
Here’s yet another way that LinkedIn is ramping up its advertising offerings. This past week, the company announced that it’s acquiring Drawbridge, an identity resolution platform.
LinkedIn says that the new technology will boost your return on investment (ROI) and engagement when you run ads on the platform.
Specifically, Drawbridge will help increase reach when you use the platform’s Audience Network and Matched Audiences campaigns.
The new solution will also offer improved analytics so you can check their results by device and channel.
“Our data shows that mobile accounts for the majority of ad engagement yet most of our conversions happen on desktop. Drawbridge’s technology will help us better connect our mobile and desktop experiences,” a LinkedIn spokesperson said in a statement.
Additionally, LinkedIn is also using Moat to help you determine the impact of your video ads. The integration will help you verify viewability metrics and traffic quality.
The North Face Under Fire After Manipulating Google Image Search Results
The North Face is in hot water this week after getting caught red-handed manipulating the Google Image search results.
Here’s what happened: the company’s ad agency, Leo Burnett Tailor Made, updated images on Wikipedia for popular travel destinations. The point of the updates was to put The North Face branding at the top of the results when people searched for images of those locations.
You have to admit: it was devilishly clever. Some people think the campaign might even win an award.
But unfortunately, the company got caught. Now it’s facing a PR backlash.
The story raises this question, though: how many other ad agencies are pulling stunts like this but haven’t been caught?
Google Ads Is Getting Rid of a Couple of Bidding Strategies
Google Ads is dumping two bidding strategies: Target Search Page Location and Target Outranking Share.
They’re both automated bidding options.
The company is encouraging people who used either one of those strategies to instead use Target Impression Share.
If you’re unfamiliar with Target Impression Share, it allows you to set one of three placement options:
- At the very top
- At the top of the page anywhere
- Anywhere on the page
Google will eliminate the other two strategies in late June.
New Study Shows Vertical Videos on Facebook Have the Highest Engagement Rates
It looks like smartphone technology has impacted our video format preference.
According to a new study from SocialInsider, vertical videos on Facebook have the highest average engagement rate at .3%. That’s followed by landscape videos (.21%) and square videos (.16%).
Another key finding: video length might not be very important to engagement after all. The study showed that, among accounts with fewer than 10,000 fans, the average engagement rate for 2-5 minute videos was .89%. That was followed by 10-20 minute videos (.87%), 1-2 minute videos (.86%), 5-10 minute videos (.8%), and videos less than one minute in length (.68%).
In other words: the shortest videos were the poorest performers. That stands in contrast to the opinion of some marketers who think that shorter videos get higher engagement rates.
The SocialInsider study also found that live streams generated higher engagements for accounts with fewer than 100,000 fans.