This week: Googlebot gets an upgrade, Facebook introduces a slew of new tools for small businesses, and voice-enabled ads may be in the works.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Report: Instagram Influencers are Posting a lot More Sponsored Content
It’s official: the age of the Influencer is here. More specifically, the micro-influencer.
Those micro-influencers — accounts with 10,000 followers or less – now make up the majority of Influencers, according to a new report by the Socialbakers.
The report, based on over 12 million Instagram influencers, reviews behavior over the past year – from 2018 first quarter through this year’s first quarter.
One of the more noticeable findings was that Sponsored Content from Influencers is up 150% from last year.
Other findings include:
- The majority of influencers work with fashion brands, though beauty brands are on the rise
- Influencers are increasingly experimenting with different formats. Where 91% previously posted single-image posts, that number is down to 71%, with carousel posts and videos making up more content this year.
- More influencers are making it known when a post is sponsored
You can download the full report here.
Facebook’s Introducing New Tools for Small Businesses
Facebook has a few treats for smaller businesses.
In honor of Small Business Week, the social media giant has rolled out three new tools.
The first is Automated Ads, which allows businesses to automatically create up to six versions of an ad to run across Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, and the Audience Network.
Advertisers won’t have to create their own ads; instead, they’ll be prompted to answer questions about their business and goals. Based on their answers, Facebook will offer suggestions on text, creative, and CTAs, as well as provide budget and targeting recommendations.
Next, Facebook is offering three new video editing tools: video trimming, automatic cropping, and image and text overlays. These new tools hope to help small businesses with limited video creation budgets and access to tools.
Lastly, Facebook is giving users access to appointment booking and management tools which will allow customers to book appointments on the platform. Once the business accepts, customers will receive reminders via Messenger.
Facebook Updates Video Algorithm
As video popularity continues to rise, Facebook’s taking notes.
To help users weed through the influx of video posts, it’s updating its algorithm to prioritize video content that’s most often searched for by users with higher engagement metrics. Facebook will not only be prioritizing the videos that keep people engaged the longest but those that are at least three minutes long.
For businesses, that means paying attention to the lengths of the videos they’re creating, as well as a continued effort to include engaging content.
Additionally, the platform is cracking down on “sharing schemes” – a scheme that sees Pages routinely sharing videos from a third-party source in exchange for money.
YouTube Updates Google Preferred Algorithm and More
YouTube had several major announcements in store for this year’s Brandcast conference.
One of the biggest was its recent update to the Google Preferred Algorithm, which will primarily prioritize higher-quality videos. Additionally, videos that are more frequently played on TV screens will receive a rankings boost.
According to YouTube, Google Preferred Ads seen on TV screens had a “significant lift” in ad recall and purchase intent. The platform also announced that it would be making the Neilsen Catalina Solutions tool available to advertisers in the next few months, which will provide more sales metric and insights to advertisers.
Spotify Testing Voice-Enabled Ads
On Thursday, Spotify announced a new feature for its users: voice-enabled ads.
Essentially, the ads push branded playlists to users.
When one of these ads is served to customers, they can say “Play Now” to activate a playlist curated by a particular brand (which will, subsequently, contain more ads). If they say nothing, the current music will continue.
The ads are still in the experimental phase, and users do have the option to opt out.
Outside of Spotify, the possibility of voice-enabled ads could present some unique new opportunities to advertisers as the world of voice search continues to expand to paid media.
For now, stay tuned.
More Consumers Trust SMB Websites Over Google My Business
A new survey from BrightLocal has some surprises in store for SEOs and GMB fanatics.
According to the survey of 500 respondents, 56% expected SMB websites to have more accurate information than Google My Business, which came in with just 32%.
The study also reported that Google My Business was still the top source for local businesses and addresses (62%), followed closely by local business websites (49%).
The study also delved into preferred contact methods. In the digital age, the results were somewhat surprising: 60% of consumers would prefer to contact a business over the phone, followed by email. Only 4% and 3% preferred to send an online form or contact via social media, respectively.
Google: You Can Still Collect Links From Disallowed URLs
Google’s John Mueller recently chimed in on the issue of disallowed URLs.
Disallowed URLs are ones that Google isn’t authorized to crawl. Because they aren’t indexed by Google, the question of links – and whether or not they pass any authority to disallowed URLs – was recently asked on Twitter.
Mueller answered that because the page can still be shown in Search (sans content), the page can technically still collect links.
So, if there are enough links pointing to a disallowed URL, it could still show up in the search results.
You can read the full exchange below.
Google’s Webcrawler Googlebot Gets an Upgrade
Google unveiled the latest version of its famous Googlebot at its annual I/O Conference last Tuesday.
For those unaware, Googlebot is the bot that visits and crawls websites before indexing them to be included in the search results.
So, what’s so special about this latest version? It now runs on the latest Chromium engine, meaning that it will be evergreen – always up to date. That means that it will “regularly update its rendering engine to ensure support for the latest web platform features.”
According to Google, Googlebot now supports 1000+ new features, including:
- Web Components v1 APIs
- InterSection Observer for lazy-loading
Essentially, the latest update allows Google to access and see more of your content. As Search Engine Land points out, this will allow SEOs to spend more time creating content, and less time figuring out how to ensure Google sees it.
Google Supports 3D Objects in Search
At this year’s I/O conference, Google also announced that it would start surfacing 3D objects in search results.
When searching for certain animals, etc., you will have the option to view them in 3D form in the knowledge panel. In the demo, Google pulled an example of a shark:
From there, you can use the 3D image and insert them into the real world. For example, if you’re wondering how that new desk would look in your home office, you can clip the 3D image from the search results and place it in your office.
Or, if you’re shopping for new shoes but don’t want to leave the house, you can essentially “virtually” try them on, right from Google Search.
Google plans to roll out the feature later this month.