This week: Facebook introduces new reporting tools and a Stories ad format, Google shortens its search snippets, and Amazon tests the remarketing waters.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
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Google Confirms Shortened Search Results Snippets
After a largely popular move to increase the length of search result snippets last October, Google has confirmed the length has once again been shortened.
“Our search snippets are now shorter on average than in recent weeks,” said Google’s Danny Sullivan, “There is no fixed length for snippets. Length varies based on what our systems deem to be most useful.”
He did state that there was no fixed length for snippets, as they are generated automatically.
According to RankRanger’s tracker, the latest average length for snippets is around 160 characters, a decrease from an average 300 over the last few months. Mobile snippets average around 130 characters.
Google advises those that lengthened their snippets in the interim shouldn’t worry, as the snippets aren’t necessarily pulled from your meta descriptions. Rather, often they come from other areas of your website.
Amazon Tests the Remarketing Waters
Amazon’s push into digital marketing isn’t slowing down.
According to Bloomberg, it’s beginning to test its own remarketing tool to rival Google and Criteo.
The tool seems to work similarly to other remarketing campaigns; when a user encounters a certain page or ad, they’ll be cookied as they navigate away. That way, advertisers can show them ads as the visit different websites.
The Amazon tool specifically will let merchants who sell on Amazon purchase spots on the platform that will retarget shoppers as they browse different areas of the web.
In Bloomberg’s article, they state that company will be inviting select merchants to test the new ads later this month.
Facebook Expands its Marketing Partners, But Limits View Tag Abilities
A new week, a new Facebook announcement.
This time, Facebook has announced it’s expanding its list of third-party partners in three specific areas: marketing mix modeling, viewability and mobile app measurement.
With the addition of 18 partners in the category, the focus thus far seems to marketing mix modeling.
“Marketing mix modeling is used to analyze how different marketing channels, such as TV, radio, print and digital, drive sales,” says Facebook. “This enables measurement partners to incorporate the Facebook family of apps and services into their marketing mix model analyses and strategies.”
On the flip side, Facebook will be limiting what its view tags can do. In the past, third-party solutions could use impressions and unique IDs available through the tags. But as of July 1, view tags will only be able to count impressions.
Facebook Introduces “Creative Reporting”
In other Facebook news, the platform also announced expansions to its reporting features.
The new features will include an updated platform that lets advertisers customize their reports and key metrics through a drag-and-drop editor.
Other additions include the ability to analyze dimensions such as age, gender, placement, etc. to better an ad campaign’s performance.
The new platform will also include a sidebar that allows advertisers to easily edit ads on the same screen.
Perhaps most intriguing is the inclusion of “creative reporting” metric that will offer insight into the creative elements of an ad campaign. Those elements include headlines, images, CTAs, videos, etc.
Advertisers will be able to see which elements perform best, and if used across multiple campaigns, see how results compare.
The updates will be available as early as next month.
Snapchat Reverts on its Redesign
Snapchat users will soon start seeing some changes – and they might look familiar.
Initially announced during its first quarter earnings report, Snapchat is now officially rolling design changes for iOS.
Now, the majority of users will see Snaps and Chats in chronological order, and Friends stories on the right side of the app.
Additionally, the app is adding a separate Subscriptions feed for Stories from publishers that users follow.
“We learned that combining watching Stories and communicating with friends into the same place made it harder to optimize for both competing behaviors,”CEO Evan Speigel said of the change.
For now, the changes will only be seen on iOS devices, and Snapchat has no working timeline for when the changes will be available on Android.
Facebook Tests Stories Ads
More big news from Facebook: the social giant revealed that its Stories feature now sees 150 million daily active users.
And following in the footsteps of Instagram, Facebook’s now testing Story ads.
Here’s what we know so far:
The ads will be between 5-15 seconds, and users can skip them if they choose. There are currently no click-throughs or CTAs included, but that will change over the next few months. Advertiser’s don’t have to start from scratch; they can reformat existing Instagram Stories ads to Facebook, or have Facebook reformat existing news feed articles. Analytics and advanced metrics will also be included.
One feature that may give Facebook Stories an edge is that it can shoot 360 photos without the use of a 360 camera, due to a unique interface design.
The introduction of Facebook Stories doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The growing popularity of the Stories format represents a shift in users focus, and more emphasis must be put on the format if Facebook hopes to keep up.
Even CEO Mark Zuckerberg feels the pressure, saying Facebook must ensure “that ads are as good in Stories as they are in feeds. If we don’t do this well, then as more sharing shifts to Stories, that could hurt our business.”
Bing Ads Get an Upgrade
Bing is stepping up its advertising game with several new features for advertisers using Apple computers.
The first is a Label Management addition. Previously unavailable, the new labes will allow advertisers to organize their accounts based on the metrics or comparisons most relevant to them.
The labels can be applied to the campaign at any level.
The next is the addition of structured snippet management. While the ability to add structured snippets to ads has been a Bing feature for a while now, the latest addition includes a section dedicated managing the snippets.
In the Shared Library, there’s now a section dedicated to structured snippets that lets advertisers create and manage them, and then apply them to ads at the campaign or ad group level.
The final addition is a bulk undo function. So if you make a few changes to your ads and decide you’re unhappy with them, you can now revert to the original version, sans changes.
The new additions are all meant to save time and increase productivity, and are available now on the Bing Ads Editor.
AdWords Sets Parallel Tracking Deadline
In its latest attempt to improve landing page load times, Google has announced that parallel tracking will be required for all advertisers using third-party click measurement systems.
Parallel tracking, first made available early this year, is meant to cut down on load time by separating the tracking and page URL load times.
Previously, Google processed the tracking with the URL when a page was clicked on. With parallel tracking, it can process the tracking URL, AdWords click tracker and possible redirects separately, allowing the user to go straight to the landing page.
Parallel tracking will be required starting October 30, 2018.
Google also announced that it’s taking landing pages using HTTP on Chrome more seriously.
Starting in July of last year, Google began marking sites still using HTTP as “Not Secure.” In the near future, the label will become more noticeable with a red icon and red lettering to match.