This week: Adobe buys Marketo, digital ad spend is more than half of all ad revenue, and Google updates its image search algorithm.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Facebook Rolls out Ad Breaks to 21 More Countries
Now even more Facebook users can enjoy interruption marketing.
The social media giant is expanding its Ad Breaks ad unit to 21 new countries in Europe, Central America, South America, and Asia.
Previously, the 15-second in-stream ad format was only available to marketers in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
Facebook says more than 15% of publishers eligible for Ad Breaks have included the ad unit in their content. Ad placement occurs in more than 85% of eligible videos.
On average, 70% of viewers watch videos long enough to see the Ad Breaks ad, according to Facebook.
Prediction: Online Holiday Sales Will Grow 15% This Year
E-commerce shopping this holiday season will grow by 15%.
In its 11th annual holiday forecast, NetElixir forecasts holidays sales to reach $97 billion. Amazon sales will account for 40% of that figure.
In 2017, online holiday sales increased 13%.
NetElixir’s optimism is driven by strong early indicators. Overall revenue increased by double digits through August. Also, back-to-school orders rose by 17%.
Average order values are expected to remain the same or dip slightly. That means growth will come from additional shoppers, rather than the same buyers putting more items in their shopping carts.
NetElixir predicts that holiday shopping searches will begin on Oct. 21.
Adobe Will Acquire Marketo for $4.75 Billion
This past week, Adobe confirmed that it’s acquiring Marketo. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of Adobe’s fiscal year.
Adobe will add Marketo’s B2B marketing automation solution to its Creative Cloud services.
“The acquisition of Marketo widens Adobe’s lead in customer experience across B2C and B2B and puts Adobe Experience Cloud at the heart of all marketing,” says Adobe executive vice president and general manager Brad Rencher.
Marketo’s CEO, Steve Lucas, will join Adobe’s Digital Experience Business. In that capacity, he’ll continue to lead the Marketo team.
Report: Digital Now More Than Half of All Ad Spend
According to a report by Magna, digital ad spend will reach $51.5 billion in 2018. That’s 51.5% of total ad sales.
Magna also says that “net advertising sales” will increase by 6.9% to $207 billion.
Advertising revenue on mobile platforms accounts for about two-thirds of all digital ad spend. That accounts for a growth rate of about 30%.
Also, all ad channels saw year-over-year growth:
- Paid search – 18%
- Social media – 38%
- Online video – 27%
Ad growth also occurred across all industries, with Finance, Technology, and Phrama leading the way.
Magna predicts 4% sales growth in 2019.
Google Data Studio Emerges From Beta
Google Data Studio, a free reporting tool, is out of beta. It’s now part of the Google Marketing Platform.
According to Google, millions of people already use the product. It’s designed to aggregate data from different sources and present it in tables or graphs.
Data Studio integrates with Google Ads, Google Analytics, Display & Video 360, Google Sheets, Google BigQuery, and YouTube Analytics.
Over the past couple of years, Google has continued to add new features to Data Studio.
Pinterest Makes Shop the Look Pins Available to SMBs
Pinterest is giving business accounts access to Shop the Look pins.
Shop the Look pins enable marketers to “tag” home decor and fashion pins. Those tags appear as white dots that users can click to see product detail info and a purchase link.
According to Pinterest, 67% of its users discovered a new product or brand from a business account.
Pinterest launched Shop the Look pins in February 2017.
Facebook Rolls out Stories Ads to All Advertisers
Facebook Stories ads are now available to all advertisers.
The ad format rolled out this past May. Since then, it’s only been available in three countries.
During that time period, the number of people viewing Facebook Stories has doubled from 150 million to 300 million.
Facebook Stories ads support all the same objectives as Instagram Stories ads, including:
- Video Views
- Brand Awareness
- Lead Generation
- App Installs
Facebook also offers a full set of analytics for Stories ads.
Google Ads Moves to Smart Bidding for Search Partner Sites
Google Ads just switched from Smart Pricing to Smart Bidding for search partner sites that use conversion tracking.
According to Google, Smart Bidding offers improved performance with optimized bids for every auction.
Here’s how Google explains Smart Bidding: “For example, if you have a $50 cost per conversion on Google Search but lower conversion rates on partner sites, then Smart Bidding may set lower bids to help achieve a $50 cost per conversion. Alternatively, if you get a better conversion rate from a search partner site, Smart Bidding may raise your bid to help you get more traffic and conversions from that site at the $50 cost per conversion you receive on Google Search.”
Google Now Using Neural Matching to Understand Synonyms
Within the past few months, Google started using something called “neural matching” to better understand synonyms.
According to the Big G, its neural matching algorithm affects 30% of all queries.
Here’s what Danny Sullivan said about the change: “Last few months, Google has been using neural matching, –AI method to better connect words to concepts. Super synonyms, in a way, and impacting 30% of queries. Don’t know what ‘soap opera effect’ is to search for it? We can better figure it out.”
As an example, if you Google “why does my TV look strange,” you’ll see results for “soap opera effect.” That’s what Sullivan is referring to in the statement above.
Report: Mobile Shopping Accounts for 50% of Online Transactions
More than half of all online transactions are from mobile shoppers. That’s according to Criteo’s Global Commerce Review for Q2 2018.
The study relied on data from more than 5,000 retailers in over 80 countries to reach that conclusion.
Criteo also found that in-app transactions increased 30% year-over-year.
The report says that customers are more likely to convert when shopping with an app than a mobile website. In fact, in North America, the mobile app conversion rate is more than 3x higher than the conversion rate on websites.
Google Now Uses Page Authority and Placement to Rank Images
This past week, Google announced that it updated its image search algorithm to more heavily weigh web page authority as a ranking factor.
Google also announced that it considers image placement and it might prioritize images from fresh content over older content.
Here’s the full statement from Google:
Over the last year, we’ve overhauled the Google Images algorithm to rank results that have both great images and great content on the page. For starters, the authority of a web page is now a more important signal in the ranking. If you’re doing a search for DIY shelving, the site behind the image is now more likely to be a site related to DIY projects. We also prioritize fresher content, so you’re more likely to visit a site that has been updated recently.
Also, it wasn’t long ago that if you visited an image’s web page, it might be hard to find the specific image you were looking for when you got there. We now prioritize sites where the image is central to the page, and higher up on the page. So if you’re looking to buy a specific pair of shoes, a product page dedicated to that pair of shoes will be prioritized above, say, a category page showing a range of shoe styles.
Bing Adds AMP to Search Results
Bing just added Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to the news section of search results.
That means you could see the little lightning bolt icon next to some results in news search. For those results, the page will load very quickly on a mobile platform.
Bing still hasn’t updated non-news search results.