This week: Microsoft takes a step in favor of brand safety, Google makes Shopping ads free globally, and Facebook rolls out a big change to its attribution model.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Microsoft Advertising Partners with IAS to Promote Brand Safety
You can breathe a little easier if you advertise on the Microsoft Audience Network.
That’s because Microsoft is partnering with Integral Ad Science (IAS) to exclude moderate or high-risk properties from its advertising inventory.
High-risk websites include sites that promote adult content, alcohol, gambling, hate speech, illegal downloads, violence, and illegal drugs.
The IAS integration will roll out in the U.S. initially. Expect it to go worldwide later on.
Instagram Rolls out Mini-Site to Help Businesses Sell Online
If you’re thinking about jumping on board with Instagram Shops, you’ll love Instagram’s new mini-site. It’s filled with resources to help you get your online storefront up and running.
The mini-site offers a tutorial on how to set up an Instagram Shop. It also includes help guides on tagging and collections.
If you’re looking to invest some money to promote products on Instagram, you’ll also find advice about shopping ads on the mini-site.
Google Did It, Too
Looks like Instagram isn’t the only company rolling out a mini-site designed to help digital marketers. Google did it as well.
It’s a small business holiday hub that’s packed with resources you can use to promote your brand over the next few months.
The site will give you advice on how to reach shoppers on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Shopping.
It even includes a link to an Oct. 14 live stream that’s a virtual class on how to use Shopify with Google Merchant Center.
The site even features a couple of nifty tools that can help you grow your online business and find more opportunities.
Google says that digital marketing is especially important this year with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people into lockdown mode. The company points to a study showing that 71% of U.S. adults plan to do more than half of their shopping online.
Google: Changing Web Layout Can Affect Rankings
Thinking about changing your web layout? Be advised that you could affect your rankings if you do so.
This past week on a Google Office Hours hangout, somebody asked Google’s John Mueller if changing a website layout can impact SEO.
Mueller said yes.
“Changing the layout of your pages can affect your search results,” he said. “This is something that some people work on actively as well with regards to on-page SEO.”
He went on to say that the change could impact SEO negatively or positively.
Google Makes Shopping Ads Free Globally
Google Shopping ads will soon be free on four more continents.
In case you missed the news, they’re already free in the United States. That happened this past April.
By mid-October, Google will make them free in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
Why the change? Because of the pandemic. Lots of businesses can’t afford to pay for Shopping ads.
Google says that engagement between customer and merchants increased significantly when free Shopping ads rolled out in the U.S.
Facebook Ads Removes 28-Day Attribution Model
Hoo boy. This one’s getting a lot of attention.
Facebook Ads will soon eliminate its 28-day attribution model. That means you can opt to use either a 7-day or a 1-day attribution model.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of an attribution model, it’s the number of days between when someone clicked on your ad and took action.
Let’s say you opt for a 28-day attribution model. Somebody clicks on your ad but doesn’t purchase the product you’re selling until 20 days later. You’ll see that purchase action in your analytics because it’s within the 28-day window.
But as of Oct. 12th, you won’t have that 28-day option any more.
Why? It’s all about privacy.
“Upcoming digital privacy initiatives affecting multiple browsers will limit business’s ability to measure people’s interactions across domains and devices,” Facebook said in a statement. “Among those limitations is the ability for businesses to attribute conversion events back to an ad over longer attribution windows.”
Facebook recommends that you immediately download any relevant data tied to 28-day attribution models.
Pinterest Releases Search Trends for Fall 2020
This past week, Pinterest released a report highlighting expected search trends for this Fall.
The company broke down the search trends by demographic: Gen Z and Millennials.
Here are some of the Gen Z top search trends:
- Mental health check-in
- Mindful eating
- Photoshoot ideas
- Zen bedroom ideas
- Calming bedroom
- Feng shui bedroom layout
It’s safe to say that people in the 18-24 age range are way too concerned about their bedrooms.
Here are some of the Millennial top trends:
- Mental health activities for children
- Occupational therapy for children
- Conscious parenting
- Schedule for children at home
- Daily routine schedule for children
- Children’s workout routine
See a pattern there? You can thank the pandemic and subsequent school closings for that one.
Study: Google Rewrites Meta Descriptions 70% of the Time
Nice meta description you have there. Be a shame if something should happen to it.
Well, according to a new study by Portent, something does happen to it. About 70% of the time.
Google rewrites 71% of the meta descriptions on mobile search results and 68% of the meta descriptions on desktop search results.
According to the study, Google uses a page’s own meta description about 30% of the time.
The research also found that the more the page appears in search, the less likely it is that Google will rewrite the meta description.
Portent speculates that’s because SEOs spend more time writing solid meta descriptions for keywords with high search volumes.
Based on the results of the study, Portent recommends you keep meta descriptions to between 150 and 160 characters for regular pages. For blog pages, you should keep the descriptions to between 138 and 148 characters.
Yelp Integrates Ads Dashboard Into Yelp for Business
Yelp merged its Ads Dashboard with Yelp for Business this past week. That’s going to give you more visibility within a single platform.
The company also announced new Yelp for Business features:
- Ad goals – Specify whether you want to receive calls, messages, or website visits.
- Keyword management – Select positive or negative keywords as well as topics.
- Audience size estimator – View audience size based on ad choice.
Additionally, Yelp teased a couple of new upcoming features: an impression heat map and a leads visualization tool.
Google: Anchor Text More Important Than Context Around Links
This should come as no surprise.
When it comes to SEO, the anchor text for a link is more important than the context around a link. That’s according to Google’s John Mueller.
If you’re unfamiliar with anchor text, it’s the text that people click on to visit a link. And that text tells Google a lot about the contents of the linked page.
Google also evaluates the overall content around a link to get an idea about the subject matter of the target page. But the anchor text is a better signal.
During a Google Office Hours hangout this week, Mihai Aperghis asked Mueller if Google can get context for what is around the link if the anchor text is something like a “click here.”
“Sure. But that is more kind of secondary,” Mueller replied. “Like that really strong piece of context from that anchor text that is missing in that case. And then small things around the side, that does help us a little bit. But really the kind of primary aspect of that link is kind of gone. And usually that doesn’t matter. It is not that it counts against your web site in any way, it is just for this particular link, we don’t really know what the context is.”
The final quarter of the year is upon us! Here are some agenda items to tackle based on this week’s news:
- Avoid using “click here” links as much as possible and instead use keyword-rich anchor texts.
- Take a look at the new changes in Yelp for Business and see if you can use the tool to increase sales.
- If you’re in Europe, Asia, or Latin America, and running an ecommerce business, take advantage of free Google Shopping ads. That’s a great way to increase your visibility online.
- Take a look at the Google and Instagram mini-sites. See if you can find any nuggets of info or tools that can help you boost your business online.