This week: Facebook explains what caused that outage earlier this week, holiday shopping might start early for many folks, and Pinterest has new toys for e-commerce marketers.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Facebook Explains Recent Outage
As all the world knows, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were down for about six hours this past week. Afterward, Facebook released an official statement explaining what happened.
According to the company, the outage was caused by configuration changes on the routers that handle communications between data centers.
“We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change,” Facebook said. “We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.”
Mark Zuckerberg himself offered an apology on his own Facebook page: “Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.”
Google Tests Feature That Shows Search Results on a Web Page
Well, this could make for a more interesting SEO strategy.
Google recently announced that it’s testing a new feature that shows users search results while visiting a web page.
In other words, visitors will see the results without even going back to the Google search page.
Here’s how it works: Google will display a left-hand side panel that opens up when the user visits a web page clicked from search. It will show the other search results from the previous page.
Yes, that means links to competing websites could show up on your own website. All in the name of user-friendliness.
Google is also working on a new feature called Journeys. It collects related previous searches and categorizes them. Think of it as a search history sorted by topic.
Google Search Ends Support Internet Explorer 11
This is very bad news for the 17 people who still use Internet Explorer 11.
Malte Ubl is a software engineer at Google. Here’s what he tweeted this past week: “As a web developer this is one of the happiest announcements in a while: Google Search ended support for IE11 in its main product (you can still search but will get a fallback experience). I’m mostly posting this so you can send it to your boss. We did the Math. It is time.”
By the way: “ended support” doesn’t mean you can’t access Google from IE 11. It just means that Google will show a lightweight version of its search engine to people who use that browser.
WordPress dropped support for IE 11 back in the summer.
Microsoft: Holiday Shopping Will Start Early This Year
Microsoft says people will start their holiday shopping early this year.
And why not? The first Hallmark Christmas special will air in about two weeks.
According to Stephanie Worley, Global Brand Marketer for Microsoft: “This holiday season, we anticipate growing e-commerce adoption and shopping that will begin earlier than ever. It used to be Black Friday that kicked off the U.S. shopping season, but not this year. Now, 32% of shoppers, bolstered by e-commerce, say they plan to start shopping in early fall.”
Additionally, Microsoft says that 76% of global consumers bought a product after researching online. And almost half (48%) used search to find products.
Also: the research phase is now taking “longer than ever.” So be prepared for longer sales journeys.
Check out Ignite Visibility’s 2020 e-commerce report here: E-Commerce 2020 Report: April & May Outpaced Last Year’s Holiday Shopping
Google: URL Case Applies to robots.txt Directives
I mentioned last week that URLs are case-sensitive.
But that rule doesn’t just apply to the browser bar. It applies to URLs in robots.txt directives as well.
Here’s how it works: if you have rules in your robots.txt file that apply to one version of the URL, they won’t automatically apply to other versions of that same URL.
In other words, you’ll need to specify a new rule for each version of the URL.
But it’s best to keep your URL case consistent.
Learn about the Perfect URL Structure for SEO in this video.
Instagram Dumps IGTV Brand
“Starting today, we’re combining IGTV and feed videos into one format – Instagram Video,” Instagram said in a statement. “We’re also introducing a new Video tab on your profile, where this combined video format will live, to make it easier for people to discover new video content.”
A new video tab will display all of your uploaded videos in a single place.
Additionally, Instagram is adding new tools for video editing.
Pinterest Adds New Shopping Features
Pinterest is rolling out new features for e-commerce brands.
First up: “Slideshow for Collections.” It takes products from your catalog and assembles them into a slideshow that Pinterest describes as an “attention-grabbing collections ad.”
Next, Pinterest is adding merchant details to profiles.
Here’s what Pinterest has to say about that: “[Merchants can] display brand values like ‘responsibly sourced,’ ‘invested in good’ and ‘inclusive’ on your profile. You can also highlight communities you belong to, such as ‘Black-owned,’ ‘Latinx-owned,’ ‘Woman-owned,’ ‘LGBTQ+ owned,’ ‘Disability-owned’ and more.”
Finally, Pinterest is also expanding its Verified Merchant Program to several more countries, including Austria, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland.
YouTube Offers New Options to Reach TV Viewers
The expansion of Video Action campaigns will help you generate leads or land more online sales.
Additionally, you can find new customers by combining inventory from different channels: YouTube, Google Video, and YouTube CTV.
Advertising on streaming platforms is a great option these days. People locked down at home thanks to the pandemic have increasingly turned to online entertainment to pass the time away.
WordPress Releases New Version of Gutenberg
This past week, WordPress released Gutenberg 11.6, the latest version of its editor.
Here’s a rundown of some of the new features:
- Native Logo Editor – Edit your logo within the WordPress platform. You can zoom, crop, and rotate as necessary.
- Block Level Locking Control – Lock blocks so that they don’t get inadvertently moved or deleted.
- Support for Child Themes – Change the look and feel of your theme without worrying about your changes getting overridden when you update.
- Template Part Editing – Customize a single part of your template (like a header).
The new version of Gutenberg also includes several bug fixes.
As you enjoy the cooler weather, don’t forget about these action items:
- Think about how you can use Video Action campaigns to promote your business to a video-viewing audience.
- If you’re in the e-commerce space, look at those new Pinterest features and brainstorm some ways that you can use them to sell more products.
- Market your products to people who like shopping for Christmas early.
- Familiarize yourself with the new Gutenberg editor features so you can create content more quickly.