This week: GMB is adding new post types, Instagram spills the beans on its feed algorithm, and e-commerce sales continue to rise.
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Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
New Free Tool Shows You the Value of Image-Based Earned Media on Facebook
Looking for a tool that will show you the value of your earned media on Facebook?
If so, then here’s some great news: you can have one for free.
ShareIQ, an New York City and Berlin-based company, is making the tool available to the public free of charge. There’s no catch and no strings attached.
However, at this time the tool only calculates the value of earned media with at least one visual item.
Earned media includes blog posts, influencers’ posts, and PR-inspired articles.
According to Martech, Facebook’s feed algorithm prioritizes earned media over paid media.
Report: Ecommerce Sales Grew 16% in 2017
Ecommerce sales reached about $450 billion last year. That’s according to the annual Mary Meeker report from Kleiner Perkins.
The revenue total reflects a 16% year-over-year growth from 2016.
The report also said that ecommerce represented 13% of total retail spend, including online and in-store sales.
Online spending is taking a bite out of “old-school” shopping as well. According to the report, in-store sales declined 3% year-over-year.
Additionally, mobile app shopping sessions grew more than 50% in 2017.
Consumers are using social media as a springboard for online shopping as well. Facebook e-commerce click-through rates hit 3% during the first quarter of 2018. That’s up from just 1% during the same period two years ago.
Also, 55% of people polled in the study bought a product online after learning about it on social media. Of those, 44% bought it later and 11% bought it immediately.
Finally, the report said that Amazon holds 28% of the e-commerce market. That’s up from 20% in 2013.
Facebook Now Supports Bidding for In-App Ads
If you’re an app publisher, you can now include Facebook ads in your ad auctions.
The whole process is facilitated through header bidding – an auction system that allows publishers to solicit bids from multiple ad networks.
In the past, Facebook only supported header bidding for advertising on mobile.
“App bidding enables app publishers and developers to establish an impartial and open auction over their ad inventory,” Facebook said in a statement. “All advertising networks are called simultaneously and the highest bidder for the placement wins, thereby providing publishers with opportunities to earn more.”
Facebook has been testing in-app ads for the past several months. According to the company, publishers who use them are seeing revenue increases of 40%.
Instagram Might Allow Hour-Long Videos
Instagram may allow users to publish hour-long videos.
Or not. The jury is still out.
As of now, Instagram only allows users to post videos that are no more than a minute in length.
It’s hard to imagine that too many social media users would like to watch a 60-minute video. Apparently, though, Instagram has received feedback from publishers that they need to post long form video content.
Bing Ads Lets Advertisers Import Ads From Google AdWords
Bing Ads is making it easier to move ads from Google AdWords to its own platform. Now, you can simply import them.
You’ll have to use the Google Merchant Center import tool to make that happen, though. Additionally, you’ll need a Bing Merchant Center store.
You can also schedule feed imports so that your Bing ads stay in sync with your AdWords ads.
If you choose not to schedule your imports, then imported ads will expire after 30 days.
Google: Pages Blocked by Robots.txt Might Still Get Indexed
If you thought that there was no possibility that your pages blocked by robots.txt could get indexed, think again.
According to Google’s John Mueller, if other sites link to those pages, they could end up in Google’s search index.
Mueller says that if you really don’t want Google to index a page, then use the noindex meta tag instead of relying on robots.txt.
Yoast Plugin Bug Caused Ranking Drops
For WordPress users, Yoast is a name that’s practically synonymous with SEO. Unfortunately, the company’s recent plugin update caused some sites to lose rank.
Here’s what happened: the 7.0 version of the plugin included a bug concerning attachment URLs. That bug was resolved quickly enough, but not before some damage was done.
Webmasters reported that their sites had disappeared completely from Google. Others complained about lost revenue.
The good news is that the update didn’t affect all users. So even if you’re running with the 7.0 version of Yoast, you might not have anything to worry about.
You can confirm that by following the instructions in the Yoast announcement about the issue.
Joost De Valk, the founder of Yoast, has issued a personal apology about the defect.
Yoast 7.0 has been live since March 6.
Instagram Explains How Its Algorithm Works
In a briefing held this past week, Instagram offered some details about how its feed algorithm works.
For starters, the algorithm takes into account three factors:
- Interest – how likely users are to be interested in a specific post
- Timeliness – when the post was published
- Relationship – the user’s relationship with the post publisher
That might seem intuitive, but there’s some sophisticated technology used to evaluate interest.
Instagram relies on image recognition technology to determine if a picture is something that a given user will want to see.
There’s still room for improvement in that part of the algorithm, but the feature is constantly evolving.
Instagram also made a few other things abundantly clear:
- There’s no intention to return to a strictly chronological timeline anytime soon
- The algorithm doesn’t prioritize video or image posts
- The algorithm doesn’t prioritize posts from business or personal accounts
Also brought up at the briefing: Instagram said that users are spending on average 24 minutes per day on the platform.
Google My Business Adds “Product” and “Offer” Post Types
Google My Business is adding two new post types. They allow businesses to highlight products and offers.
Both types of posts will be displayed in local search and Google Maps.
Here’s a little more about the new post types:
- Offer posts – Include promotional sales and offers from your business. They require start and end times. A call to action (CTA) button is automatically added to the post..
- Product posts – Promote a product that your business sells. They require a photo or video in addition to a title. A CTA is optional.
If you’re a GMB user, you should see the new post types available on your dashboard.