This week: a surprising study about Instagram engagement, Walmart goes after Amazon, and Pinterest tests new shopping features.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Walmart Gives Amazon a Run for Its Money With Free Shipping
Walmart will try to eat into even more of Amazon’s e-commerce market share.
The giant retailer turned giant e-tailer is launching a new membership program that offers free shipping on orders that amount to $35 or more.
Walmart+ will cost you $12.95 per month or $98 per year. That’s just a bit under the cost of Amazon Prime.
However, Amazon Prime includes Prime Video. There’s no word yet on Walmart offering streaming services.
“Walmart+ will bring together a comprehensive set of benefits where we see the greatest needs from our customers and where our scale can bring solutions at an unprecedented value,” said Janey Whiteside, Walmart’s chief customer officer, in a press statement.
Pinterest Tests New Shopping Features
Speaking of ecommerce, Pinterest also continues to capitalize on recent trends in remote shopping.
The image-sharing app is now testing new features that draw attention to Product Pins.
For starters, you might see labels such as “Best Seller” and “Popular” on some of those Pins.
In other words, Pinterest will help you out with social proof.
Further, the company is also testing product ratings. Some Pins now display star ratings at the bottom with the total number of people who rated the product.
Finally, Pinterest is also updating “Shopping Spotlights.” The update gives publishers and influencers the ability to organize stories into sections and add longer article descriptions.
Google Adds ‘Licensable’ Image Filter to Search
Big change here if you rely on free images from Google Image search: you no longer have access to those lovely “labeled for reuse” images.
In the past, you probably did an image search and selected the “Labeled for Reuse With Modification” filter from the top. Then, you picked whatever image you liked best from the search results because you knew you could use it without getting harassed by copyright owners.
Well, those days are past.
If you want free images, you’d best get to Pexels or Unsplash. Google won’t butter your bread any longer.
What you can do with Google, though, is find licensable images.
Here’s how that works: Google will show you a “licensable” badge over the image. You can click that badge to learn more about the license.
You’ll also see a link to where you can purchase the image if you want to use it on your website.
In many cases the cost of an image you find on Google may be significantly less than what you’d pay for a similar image from our friends at Adobe Stock Photos. So you can at least save money.
However, if you’re bootstrapping and have little cash on hand, get thee to Pexels.
In any case, it’s still a great idea to give credit to the person who took the photo.
Coming Soon: AdSense Will Only Show 3 Years Worth of Data
AdSense will soon limit how far back you can go to look at the performance of your online ads. Beginning October 1, you will only be able to see three years worth of historical data.
Why? Well that’s an answer in two parts.
According to the official announcement by Google, the change is necessary to improve the accuracy of the reports.
However, Google’s support page says that it’s making the update to improve speed and usability.
Note: Both answers can be correct at the same time. Not sure why Google’s right hand doesn’t know what it’s left hand is writing about this subject.
If you’d like to keep your data that’s older than three years, you can download it before the end of September. Just head over to the Reports section and select the option to download legacy data.
Additionally, AdSense is removing YouTube and AdMob data. Just go to those respective platforms if you’d like to see analytics.
Finally, AdSense is also adding contextual help to its UI.
Study: Instagram Carousels Get the Most Engagements
This one might seem counterintuitive.
According to a new study by SocialInsider, Instagram carousels are more likely to get engagements than single-photo posts.
Apparently, people’s eyes are drawn to that “1/3” notice in the upper, right-hand corner and they’re curious about what else is in the photo set. So they swipe left.
Note: swiping left on Instagram means something totally different than it does on Tinder.
According to the research, carousels get an engagement of 1.92% while images only get 1.74%. Videos get a 1.45% engagement rate.
Interestingly enough, the engagement rate goes up to over 2% when publishers max out their carousels with 10 photos.
The study also found that most users don’t go for the max, though. The majority of carousels include between two and four photos.
Only 6% of carousels include 10 photos.
Even stranger: engagement drops off after three photos but picks up again after 8 photos. So if you want to post more than three photos, you might as well go for at least eight.
Finally, the study shows that carousels with mixed content (photos and videos) get the highest engagement rate at 2.33%.
Official AMP WordPress Plugin Gets an Update
If you’re using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) tech with your WordPress site, you’ll love this news.
Version 2.0 of the official AMP plugin is out.
What does it offer? Quite a bit.
For starters, it now supports AMP-first themes. They give you the best of both worlds: great design with lightning-fast load times.
Next, the tool also stays in sync with general site settings so branding remains consistent between AMP and non-AMP pages.
The new plugin also lets you decide which sections of the website should (and should not) get the AMP treatment.
Also, the tool includes CSS “tree-shaking.” That gives you the ability to eliminate as much unused CSS as possible.
Why is that important? Because AMP won’t let you use more than 75Kb worth of CSS.
The tool will also alert you to invalid elements when you’re editing content in the Gutenberg editor.
Further, there’s an index screen that highlights all AMP errors. Say goodbye to validating your site by plugging a URL into a third-party tool!
Finally, the tool also enables you to suppress certain plugins when rendering AMP content.
There’s quite a bit more, so feel free to go over the complete list of benefits at the link above.
Google Merchant Promotions Will Get Approved Quicker This Holiday Season
Great news if you’re looking to run some holiday-specific promotions soon: Google says it will offer “near instant” approvals for eligible offers in the U.S.
Even better: you can even make instant edits to live promotions. And they won’t require reapproval.
Also, Google Shopping will include more sales filters based on merchant promos. As an example, users can filter for flash sales.
On the local front, Google will enable local campaign advertisers to optimize for people who are most likely to ask for directions or call the store. That’s going to be helpful in the middle of a pandemic when some folks won’t want to go to go out shopping.
Not too much going on this week but still enough to keep you busy.
- Take advantage of Google’s quick turnaround time on approving merchant promotions. Think about how you can generate more business during the holidays with online ads.
- If you’re using the official AMP plugin on your WordPress site, get the update. Familiarize yourself with the new features so you can get the most out of the tool.
- If you’re not using carousels on Instagram, now is the time to get started. That’s because they tend to get more engagements than their single-photo counterparts.
- If you’d like to keep historical AdSense data, download it now. Data from more than three years ago will soon get deleted.
- If you’ve been relying on free images from Google Image search, look at alternate ways to get great images for free. Start by using websites like Pexels and Unsplash.
- If you’re in the ecommerce space and not yet using Pinterest to sell products, start using it this week. You’ll have to do it sooner rather than later if you want to take advantage of the holiday rush.