This week: Instagram reaches a new milestone, YouTube has some new testing toys, and the Supreme Court just dealt a blow to e-tailers.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
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AdWords Launching 4 New Tools to Test YouTube Video Ads
This past week, Google announced that it’s introducing 4 new testing tool sets in AdWords for YouTube.
- Video Experiments – A so-called “head-to-head testing tool” that measures how an ad’s creative elements impact purchase intent and brand awareness. Results will be available in as little as three days. Video Experiments “convert non-working media spend typically used for focus groups in simulated ad environments into working media spend in real ad environments. On YouTube, people only watch what they want, making it an ideal testing ground for actionable results you can trust.”
- Video Creative Analytics – Includes analytics that show the effectiveness of an ad’s creative elements across different audience segments. Additionally, the tool will also show the percentage of an ad-viewing audience that watched specific creative moments, such as a product image or brand logo.
- Director Mix – Enables advertisers to switch creative elements within a video ad. That will make it easy to test sound, video, and text combinations.
- Video Ad Sequencing – Gives marketers the ability to run a series of ads that tell a story.
The last two tools are currently in alpha-testing. Video Experiments will launch in beta later this month.
Supreme Court Says States Can Collect Taxes on Ecommerce Sales
This past week, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 1992 precedent that prevented states from requiring ecommerce sites to collect state sales tax.
The case, South Dakota v. Wayfair, is welcome news to brick-and-mortar shops who believed that they were put at an unfair disadvantage to online retailers. The National Retail Federation praised the decision and called on Congress to establish consistent sales tax rules for omnichannel merchants.
The decision isn’t going to hit “the big boys” that hard, though. According to USA Today, the top 20 ecommerce sites already collect state sales tax.
Smaller online retailers, on the other hand, may have to pass state sales tax on to their customers for the first time. That means they’ll likely lose some business as prices go up.
It’s up to the states to determine how, and if, they want to collect sales tax from e-tailers.
Facebook Rolls out Autoplay Video Ads in Messenger
If you’re sick and tired of autoplay video ads on social media, you’re about to get sicker and tireder.
According to a Facebook spokesperson, the social media giant is starting to run autoplay video ads in its Messenger app.
“We’re in the beginning stages of expanding the availability of video ads to Messenger and we plan to roll this out gradually and thoughtfully. People on Messenger are our top priority and they will remain in control of their experience,” the rep said.
The video ads started rolling out on June 18.
Instagram Now Has 1 Billion Monthly Active Users
Instagram hit a new milestone recently.
The company revealed that it now has 1 billion monthly active users (MAUs). That’s up from 800 million MAUs in September.
Instagram’s explosive increase in monthly users makes it the fastest growing social media channel. The app is increasing monthly users at a rate of roughly 5% every quarter.
Some analysts point to Snapchat’s poor redesign as one reason for the surge in Instagram popularity.
Bing Ads Rolls out a Couple of New Features
Bing Ads is offering a couple of new goodies for online marketers.
First, the platform has added new payment features to its mobile app. Now, you can add funds directly within the app.
If you’re using prepay, you’ll get an alert when campaigns are paused because you’ve run out of money.
You can also check the account balance at any time.
If you want to use any of these new features, you’ll need to have payment methods already set up. You can’t do that within the app. Yet.
Next, Bing Ads is also allowing advertisers to manage targeting settings in bulk.
Now, you can update ad schedule targeting, location targeting, and device targeting within the same place.
In the past, you needed to make these changes on a per-campaign basis.
Bing Ads will also show performance metrics for each setting. In other words, you won’t need to run a report to see how well your targeting settings are working.
YouTube Improves System to Count Likes and Dislikes
Some YouTube publishers have complained that video “like” and “dislike” counts are inaccurate and even erratic. YouTube has heard their cries.
This past week, the company announced that it’s improved the system that counts likes and dislikes. According to YouTube, the change will ensure that engagements come from real people instead of bots.
“Starting today, we’re making a system update to catch even more spam in likes and dislikes across YouTube,” the company said in a forum post. “The main reason a like would be marked as spam is when it’s purchased from a third-party service. Paying for likes or dislikes is a direct violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.”
The number of likes and dislikes on a video is a ranking signal. More authentic measurements will give YouTube users a better experience.
Instagram Launches Long Form Video App ‘IGTV’
Instagram has formally outgrown still photos.
Now, the company is launching IGTV. That’s a long form video content app completely separate from Instagram.
It’s focus: TV-like content. Think of it as a social media version of Netflix.
The target demographic for the new app, unsurprisingly, is younger viewers. Basically, it’s designed for people who prefer to get their video entertainment from digital streaming sources instead of satellite or cable television.
“We’ve learned that younger audiences are spending more time with amateur content creators and less time with professionals,” Instagram said in a statement.
Videos can be up to 60 minutes long and up to 3.6Gb in size.