This week: online holiday sales are expected to soar, Pinterest continues to make opportunities for e-tailers, and Microsoft is giving you another analytics tool for free.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Pinterest Rolls out New Features for Merchants
Pinterest rolled out five new updates for e-tailers this holiday season. Among them:
- Recommended merchants – When users search for a product, Pinterest will show them merchants that sell similar products.
- Tagging tool – You can now tag images to products. That makes it easy for users to buy what they see in the Pin.
- Catalog updates – Pinterest now offers a more intuitive interface for catalogs. Additionally, you can now merge catalogs and collections to create a new ad format.
- Automatic bidding – Set it and forget it with a system that automates your bidding so you don’t have to babysit your ad buy.
- Conversion analytics – You can now follow the customer journey with a report that shows you how your campaigns perform at each level of the sales funnel.
The new Pinterest features are currently available to all marketers.
Pinterest Reaches New High in MAU
Speaking of Pinterest, that company hit a new milestone.
In Q3 2020, Pinterest added 26 million more monthly active users (MAU). That brings the total MAU to 442 million.
Keep in mind, though: that’s a slowdown in the growth rate. In fact, you might have expected Pinterest’s growth rate to increase in Q3 due to the pandemic (see Netflix).
But that’s not what happened.
Still, the growth rate tops Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter for the same period.
Pinterest pointed out that it saw “particular strength” in growth from the under-25 crowd. So consider looking to Pinterest as an alternative to Snapchat if you want to reach a younger audience.
Further, the company said that users in the “COVID-19 cohort” had a higher engagement and retention than a cohort of new users during the same time in 2019.
Pinterest also reported a 58% YoY increase in revenue.
Adobe: Holiday Online Sales Could Reach $200 Billion
E-commerce sales this holiday season could top $189 billion, according to Adobe. That’s a year-over-year growth of 33%.
However, sales may top $200 billion if brick-and-mortar shops remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adobe also predicts that Black Friday will see fewer “door-busting” deals because of Coronavirus.
Instead, specials will move online, benefitting e-tailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart.
BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick up In Store) will see a 40% bump in 2020. Shoppers are 9% more likely to buy at retailers who offer curbside pick-up or pick-up in the store.
Unsurprisingly, smartphones will drive 60% of holiday ecommerce shopping and almost half (42%) of actual sales.
Finally, Adobe also predicts that smaller retailers (businesses that earn between $10 million and $50 million in revenue) will see higher growth than larger retailers.
Instagram Extends Live-Stream Time Limit to 4 Hours
If you’re using Instagram to live-stream events during the pandemic, you’ll love this news.
Now, you can live-stream for up to four hours.
Also, Instagram now makes live-streams more discoverable. And users can find them for a longer period of time after they’ve concluded.
The previous time limit was one hour.
Microsoft Rolls out Yet Another Analytics Tool (For Free)
Microsoft for the win with the freebies.
The company just rolled out Clarity, an analytics tool that shows what users are doing on your website.
Oh, yeah. It’s free.
Even better: Microsoft says the tool won’t slow down your website.
“Clarity is designed to have a very low impact on page load times, so you can make sure users navigating to your site won’t have to wait for pages to load,” Microsoft said in a statement. “Additionally, we don’t place any caps on your traffic so whether you get 10 visitors per day or 1,000,000, Clarity will be able to handle your traffic with no additional cost for you.”
The tool will also help you obtain actionable data without violating visitors’ privacy.
Google Highlights Best Shopping Deals in Search
Google will reward you for staying competitive.
The search giant now highlights the best shopping deals in search results.
That’s a win-win. E-commerce marketers get more exposure while consumers find the lowest prices.
Also, Google is making it easier for e-tailers to apply for product promotions.
Best of all, the new updates apply to free shopping listings. So it won’t cost you a dime.
Finally, Google will roll out an update that provides better reporting insights from Shopping. Soon, you’ll see data on impressions and clicks for tagged merch.
LinkedIn up to 722 Million Members
More good news on the social media front: LinkedIn is reporting “record levels of engagement.”
The so-called “Facebook for adults” platform now boasts of 722 million users worldwide. That’s up from 675 million reported in January.
Additionally, engagements are up 31%.
Even better for shareholders: revenue rose 16%.
Keep in mind: LinkedIn doesn’t report active users like other platforms. Some analysts estimate that the platform’s monthly active users hovers somewhere around half the total number of users.
Microsoft also reported that LinkedIn Learning has taken off in recent months.
Google: Don’t Use Noindex Meta Tag To Handle Out-of-Stock Merch
If you’re running an ecommerce site and you want to hide out-of-stock products from search results, you might be tempted to use the noindex meta tag to handle that.
Resist that temptation.
This past week, somebody asked Google’s John Mueller about using the noindex tag to handle unavailable merch. He frowned on the idea.
“In general, I think this fluctuation between indexed and non-indexed is something that can throw us off a little bit,” he said. “Because if we see a page that is noindexed for a longer period of time we will assume that this is kind of like a 404 page and we don’t have to crawl it that frequently.”
One better way to handle out-of-stock products is by putting them in an out-of-stock category. Then, you can display the in-stock category first by default.
You could also put a “Customers Also Considered” section on the out-of-stock product detail page that shows similar items.
Google: No Optimal Number of Links on a Page
Do you think there’s a “right” number of links on a page? Think again.
This past week on Twitter, somebody asked John Mueller about that.
“We discuss the ‘best’ number for links per page a lot with news portals – with 300+ news articles every day we want to avoid pagination issues and still want the crawler to go through the archive,” David Radicke tweeted. “So do you have a suggestion for a ‘good’ number (below ‘stupid high’)? :-)”
Here’s how Mueller replied: “There is no optimal number of links on a page.”
So that settles it, then.
A few to-do’s based on the news:
- If you’re using the noindex meta tag to handle out-of-stock products in search, look for an alternative. You could end up keeping your listings out of search permanently.
- If you’re in the ecommerce space, make sure you’ve got some barn-burner deals listed. That’s how you’ll get your products listed in search and build brand-name awareness.
- Check out Clarity. If you’ve wanted an alternative to Google Analytics, it might just fit the bill.
- Take a look at Pinterest’s shopping updates. You might find some great ways to reach more people in your target market.