This week: Facebook has some new goodies, Pinterest reaches a new milestone, and Google makes it easy for you to split-test AMP landing pages.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Facebook Beta Testing Stories Ads
Facebook is one step closer to launching Stories ads.
In an email to members of its Marketing Partner network, the social media giant said that Stories ads are moving into the beta phase. The company also gave the green light to clients who want to launch ad campaigns.
Facebook claims that Stories are being viewed by 150 million users. That pales in comparison to Instagram where 400 million people are viewing Stories.
In May, Facebook began testing Stories ads in the U.S., Mexico, and Brazil. Until now, only a limited number of advertisers had access to the new ad format.
Facebook Gives Advertisers More Control Over Where Instant Article, In-Stream Video Ads Appear
Good news if you’re concerned about your Facebook ads running alongside offensive content. The social media giant is extending placement reporting for both Instant Articles and in-stream video ads.
That gives you the opportunity to preemptively block publishers from showing your ads.
Here’s how it works: Facebook will show you a list of publishers who are monetizing content on the platform. You can go down that list and exclude any publishers that you don’t want running your ads.
Additionally, advertisers can download delivery reports to see where ads already appeared. They can add exclusions from that list as well.
“The people and businesses that use Facebook deserve a safe environment to share and connect,” said Carolyn Everson, Vice President of Global Marketing. “We’ve been working with advertisers to build more controls and we’re taking another step forward today. Now all advertisers, from global brands to local businesses, will have access to comprehensive publisher lists and delivery reports to better control where their ads appear.”
Facebook Renames Canvas Ads and Gives Them Pixel Capabilities
Facebook is renaming Canvas Ads to Instant Experience Ads.
It’s a branding thing. The word “canvas” didn’t really communicate what the ads were about.
If you’re unfamiliar with the ad format formerly known as Canvas Ads, they’re advertisements that take up the entire screen. Effectively, they act as mini-websites within the Facebook platform.
There’s more to the change than just the naming, though. Facebook is also adding pixel support to Instant Experience Ads. That means any advertiser who uses the Facebook pixel on a website can re-engage with visitors using the ad format.
Marketers can also embed third-party pixels into Instant Experience ads so they can track analytics on their favorite tools.
Finally, Instant Experience ads also offer an Instant Form template that makes it easy for users to submit contact info.
Report: 47% of Smart Speaker Owners Use Their Devices to Shop
Here’s another report showing that smart speakers are an important part of e-commerce.
According to a survey by Adobe, 47% of people who own smart speakers use the devices for product searches and research.
Additionally, respondents also use smart speakers to:
- Create shopping lists (43%)
- Compare prices (32%)
- Research store info (28%)
- Check for sales (27%)
- Place orders for delivery (25%)
- Check the status of an order (22%)
- Reorder items they frequently buy (21%)
- Place orders for in-store pickup (17%)
Overall, 32% of those polled own a smart speaker. That’s up from 28% in January.
The survey also found that men were more likely to own smart speakers than women.
Pinterest Says It Has 250 Million Monthly Active Users
Pinterest has reached another new milestone.
This past week, the image-sharing site announced that it has 250 million monthly active users (MAUs).
“If Pinterest were a country, we’d be the fifth largest in the world!” said Jon Kaplan, the company’s head of global sales.
More than half of Pinterest users are located outside of the U.S. Also, 80% of new signups are from foreign countries.
The company also said that has 175 billion pins. That’s up 75% from last year.
LinkedIn Campaign Manager Now Supports Dynamic Ads
LinkedIn’s freshly redesigned Campaign Manager platform now supports dynamic ad campaigns.
If you’re unfamiliar with dynamic ads, they’re customized to the viewer using info from the LinkedIn user’s profile.
“Creative is automatically personalized with each member’s profile info, like their photo, first name, company, job title and more,” said LinkedIn Principal Product Manager Ayusman Sarangi. “You can add macros — data mapping tools — for even greater customization capabilities.”
You can even use a pre-built template to get a dynamic ad campaign up and running quickly.
If you’re catering to an international crowd, you’ll be happy to learn that Campaign Manager offers translation services.
Sarangi also says that dynamic ads have up to twice the click-through rate of traditional display ads.
YouTube Launches Vertical Video Ads for Mobile Platforms
Google is rolling out vertical video ads for YouTube. The new ad format will work with both TrueView and Universal App campaigns.
According to YouTube, more than 70% of total watch time happens on mobile devices. Since many of those mobile devices are smartphones and phablets, it makes sense for the company to support vertically oriented video ads.
The new ad format will cover 75% of the screen at first. If the user taps the ad, it will cover 100% of the screen.
Marketers should avoid running core messages in the top 10% and bottom 25% of the video. Those areas are often cropped.
YouTube says that the new vertical ad format helped one company increase brand awareness by 33%. That same brand also saw a 12% improvement in consideration.
Google Rolls out a New Way to Split-Test AMP in Google Ads
If you run ads with Google Ads, you’ll be happy to learn that the social media giant is making it easy for you to split test traditional landing pages against AMP landing pages.
Here’s how it works: when somebody views your ad, Google will insert a cookie into that person’s browser. The cookie will identify the user as a member of either the test group or the control group.
People in the test group will see your AMP landing page. People in the control group will see the “normal” landing page.
Keep in mind: once someone is placed in one group or the other, that person is always in that same group. That way, the same people don’t see both versions of your landing page and create problems for your experiment.
Once a sufficient number of folks have visited your landing pages, you can check your analytics to see which page “wins.”
Then, you can use that landing page going forward.
Google Ads Exact Match Targeting Now Includes Words With Same Meaning
Once upon a time, an exact keyword match in a Google Ads campaign meant just that: an exact match.
Now, Google has upgraded exact match targeting to include words that have the same meaning. So you might want to consult a thesaurus when you select the exact match targeting option.
In fact, your exact match ads will show up in searches that include paraphrases and implied words in addition to synonyms.
How does Google determine what’s a synonym in an exact match search? It’s all about intent.
As long as the intent of the keyword used in the search is the same as the intent of your exact match keyword, users will see the ad.
Google explains it by example: “Let’s say you’re marketing for a travel business. If you’re using the exact match keyword [yosemite camping], your ads may show on other terms like ‘yosemite campground,’ ‘campsites in yosemite,’ or ‘yosemite national park ca camping.’”
The search giant says that it’s making the change because about 15% of searches every day are new.
Google Says It Can’t Index Pages That Require Cookies
If you’re hosting a web page that’s dependent on cookies, don’t expect Google to index it. That’s according to John Mueller.
Here’s how Mueller responded: “We almost never use them. If you need cookie support to view a page, it’s almost certain that we wouldn’t be able to index it. If you notice it in an audit, fix it (remove the dependency), don’t assume that maybe it’ll work :-).”