This week: Twitter has a new ad unit, Google throws cold water on an old SEO trick, and Walmart opens Sponsored Search Ads.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
IBM Rolls out Predictive Ad Solution
This past week, IBM released its “Advertising Accelerator with Watson.” It’s an online marketing solution that predicts which creative elements work best with specific audience segments.
Additionally, the tool will also uncover new segmentation opportunities.
Advertising Accelerator with Watson uses artificial intelligence (AI) in its predictive algorithm. That’s no surprise to anyone who’s familiar with the history of Watson.
According to IBM, 20 different industries use Watson-based AI solutions. That includes seven of the 10 largest auto companies.
IBM announced the new solution on Monday the consumer electronics conference in Las Vegas.
Twitter Launches Ad Unit on Explore Tab
Twitter is rolling out a new ad unit called the Promoted Trend Spotlight. The ad appears at the top of the Explore tab.
The new ad format supports 6-second videos and images. You can even use animated GIFs, if that’s how you roll.
Promoted Trend Spotlight ads appear for the first two visits per user per day. So the same person won’t see the same ad more than twice.
However, Twitter does give you the option to change your ad throughout the day.
The new ad unit is optimized for both mobile and desktop platforms.
As of now, Promoted Trend Spotlight ads are available only in the US, UK, and Japan.
Walmart Releases Sponsored Search Ads via API Partners
This past week, Walmart Media Group launched Walmart Advertising Partners. It’s a program that enables brands to run sponsored search campaigns.
As of now, there are four API partners participating in the program: Kenshoo, Flywheel Digital, Pacvue, and Teikametrics.
If you’re currently using one of those vendors to run Amazon Sponsored Product campaigns or Google Shopping ads, it should be a snap to launch a Walmart Sponsored Search campaign.
As is the case with other “shopping” ad units, Walmart Sponsored Search ads enable you to reach a targeted audience that’s already demonstrating purchase intent.
Microsoft Advertising Says Standard Text Ads Will Hang Around for a Little Longer
Once upon a time, Microsoft promised to end standard text ads at the end of 2019. That’s no longer the case.
Now, Microsoft says that it will support standard text ads until March 31, 2020.
Why? Probably because plenty of strategists are still using them.
If you’re still running standard text ads with Microsoft, it’s probably best not to tempt fate again. Make the switch to expanded text ads (ETAs) as soon as possible.
Google Ridicules Webmasters Who Update Titles With “2020”
An annual favorite trick of content marketers is to repurpose old content at the beginning of each year and change the title so it includes the current year.
For example, some webmaster might update a blog post entitled “Best SEO Tools for 2019” that they wrote last year. They’ll add new tools to the list and change the title so it reads “Best SEO Tools for 2020.”
That seems like a good trick, but Google isn’t impressed.
John Mueller spotted someone on Reddit promoting the idea and pointed out that it’s a top way “to recognize low-quality content in 2020.”
Mueller made similar contents in the past, saying things like:
- “Good content is not lazy content.”
- “SEO hacks don’t make a site great”
- “Recognizing that old content is just being relabeled as new completely kills any authority”
Still, expect to see some of your most favorite authorities on digital marketing use that very trick this year.
Report: Instagram’s User Growth Is Slowing
According to eMarketer, Instagram’s growth slowed down to single digits for the very first time last year.
In 2019, US user growth rate stood at 6.7%. That’s down from 10.1% in 2018.
The growth rate is expected to continue declining through 2023 at least.
eMarketer points to increased competition from Snapchat and TikTok as part of the reason for the deceleration in user growth.
Additionally, the report says that user growth from older people is slower than expected.
Some good news for Instagram: eMarketer expects ad revenue to increase 46% this year to $13.86 billion. That’s about $13 for every monthly active user.
As you begin the new year, here are some action items from the latest news that you should add to your to-do list:
- If you’re still using standard text ads on Microsoft Advertising, switch over to expanded text ads (ETAs).
- If you’re running an ecommerce site, consider how you can use Walmart Sponsored Search campaigns to generate more business.
- Think about how you can use Twitter’s Promoted Trends Spotlight ads to build brand-name awareness.