This week: Podcast revenues reach new heights, Instagram adds e-commerce support, and strategists love location targeting.
Watch The Video Or Read More Below
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Facebook Updates Custom Audience List Requirements
If you rely on Custom Audiences in your Facebook marketing, be aware that changes are going into effect on July 2.
After that date, you’ll have to specify the origin of the audience info when you upload a Custom Audience list.
According to Facebook: “When uploading a customer file, advertisers will need to indicate whether the information was collected directly from people, provided by partners, or a combination of the two.”
Why is Facebook making the change? One word: transparency.
When users see an ad in their Facebook news feed, they have an option to click “Why am I seeing this?” Under the new system, they’ll see the source behind the Custom Audience list when they click on that text.
Facebook will also require everyone who uploads Custom Audience lists to agree to Facebook’s new rules.
Study: Podcast Ad Revenues Are Skyrocketing
Podcast revenues reached $314 million last year. That’s a new record.
According to a study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, year-over-year ad sales increased 86% over 2016.
In a separate study, self-reported year-on-year podcast revenue hit $257.4 million last year. That’s a 117% increase over the 2016 figure.
Direct response ads made up most of the revenue (73%). That was followed by brand awareness ads (25%) and branded content (1.5%).
Integrated (or baked-in) ads were the most popular types of ads, increasing to 58.3% from 43.6% from the previous year.
Financial services spent the most money on podcast ads with 18% of total revenue. That was followed by direct-to-consumer retailers (16%) and entertainment advertisers (13%).
Instagram Adds Shopping Bag Icon for E-commerce Support
Some e-commerce brands can now add a shopping bag icon to their Instagram stories. That will display more details about the product they’re promoting.
Users who click on the icon will see additional images of the product, pricing info, and product descriptions. Additionally, they’ll see images of additional products promoted in the story.
Of course, there will also be links that users can click to visit the e-commerce site and complete a purchase.
It’s not clear at this time when or if Instagram will roll out the new feature to all e-commerce Instagram accounts.
Reddit Rolls out Native Autoplay Video Ads
This past week, Reddit introduced native video ads that automatically play in-feed.
As of now, the new ad format is only available to managed partners. All advertisers will have access to it next month.`
Marketers will pay for the ads on a cost-per-view (CPV) instead of a cost-per-impression (CPI) basis.
The ads are displayed in the expanded card view. That view is part of Reddit’s redesign.
Reddit has already tested the new ad format with some well-known brands, including Netflix, Nintendo, and Audi. One test partner from the gaming industry saw a 5x increase in performance compared to other Reddit campaigns.
LinkedIn Unveils Sponsored Content Carousel Ads
LinkedIn has a new ad format: sponsored content carousel ads. They can include up to 10 cards.
Each card is customizable and swipeable.
The new ad format includes the usual metrics that marketers can use to measure their campaign’s performance, such as the number of leads and click-through rates.
“Because carousel ads are interactive and have eye-catching visuals, they stand out in the newsfeed,” LinkedIn said in a statement. “Your stories become tangible and encourage your audience to engage with your brand on both desktop and mobile.”
More than 300 brands beta tested the carousel ad format. According to LinkedIn, nearly 75% of them saw a lift in click-through rates compared to standard campaigns.
Snapchat Rolls out New Advertising Initiatives
Snapchat is offering new options for advertising.
First, marketers can purchase AR lenses with the self-serve ad tool. The cost per impression will run anywhere from $8 to $20.
Advertisers can use the same targeting options available to Snap Ads with sponsored AR lenses.
Previously, only Snap Ads, Filters, and Story ads were available for purchase programmatically.
Next, Snapchat is introducing Sponsored Snappables. That’s a branded version of its two-player AR selfies game.
The new ad format has been tested by three brands: Dunkin’ Donuts, Bud Light, and King.
Finally, Snapchat is offering targeting optimization to e-commerce brands.
To take advantage of that, advertisers will need to use the Snap Pixel to create sign-up or purchase campaigns.
Snapchat is also testing Shoppable Snap Ads and Story Ads for e-commerce brands.
Survey: Marketers Are Seeing Success With Location Targeting
According to a recent survey of marketers, location targeting pays off.
The report, by Lawless Research, found that 87% of agency and in-house marketers use location targeting. Most of those surveyed saw positive results.
- Growth in customer base (85%)
- Better customer engagement (83%)
- Improved response rates (83%)
- Better knowledge of customer needs/interests (77%)
- Increase in ROI (74%)
Marketers also noticed a significant benefit when personalization was added to location targeting.
Facebook Will Ban Ads From Companies With Poor Customer Service
You might get prohibited from advertising on Facebook if your company has a bad reputation.
Facebook has rolled out a new feedback system. People can use it to leave reviews about a business.
Unsurprisingly, users can rate their experience with an emoji. Options include a sad face, a happy face, and a neutral face.
That feedback will be shared with companies who have an unusually high amount of negative reviews.
Facebook could ban companies with poor reviews.
Google AdWords Has New Features
This seems to be the week that everybody decided to announce new advertising options. Here are a few new features you can soon find on Google AdWords:
- Affiliate location extensions in YouTube – Previously, affiliate location extensions were only available on search and display campaigns. Now, you can add them to YouTube video campaigns.
- Local catalog ads for all advertisers – Local catalog ads make it easier for shoppers to find out what’s offered for sale at a physical location.
- Spy tool – It will enable you to see what other retailers are charging for their products.
Google: Merging or Splitting a Site Can Cause Ranking Problems
Thinking about merging or splitting a website? Be advised that you could be doing the Google Dance for quite some time.
This past week in a Google Webmaster Central hangout, somebody asked John Mueller about the ramifications of moving content from one site to another.
Mueller replied by saying Google will have problems processing that kind of change.
He also noted that it’s unrealistic to expect to maintain the rank of content that has switched sites.
Finally, Mueller said that a webmaster might have to wait months before ranking fluctuations finally settle down after a split or merge.
You can hear his full response at the beginning at the 44:07 mark.
Google: Click Depth Impacts Search Rank More Than the URL Itself
This past week, Google’s John Mueller made it clear that click depth is more important for SEO than URL structure.
Click depth refers to the number of clicks it takes to get to a page from the site’s homepage.
The number of slashes in a URL, according to Mueller doesn’t matter.
Google will give more weight to pages that can be reached directly from the home page than pages that take two or three clicks to reach from the home page.
So it’s a great idea to structure your site so that as many pages as possible are “close” to the home page.
Google: Ratings Aren’t a Ranking Factor
John Mueller also revealed this week that ratings aren’t a ranking factor.
Here’s what he said during a Google Webmaster Hangout: “So if you have a survey on your site and currently it says you have like two stars, we’re not going to rank your site lower because you have like something that says two stars on there. Because we also don’t know what these two stars mean. It might be that one star is like the best and fewer star and more stars is something different. It’s like it’s really hard to tell. We don’t know offhand there.”
He pointed out that his advice doesn’t apply to local search where you have a Google My Business listing with attached reviews.
Google: Link Spam in Forum Comments Is a Really Bad Idea
Think that backlinks in forum comments are an important part of SEO? Think again.
According to Google’s John Mueller, they’re a really “bad idea.”
This past week on Reddit, someone questioned whether or not forum comments are “SEO-worthy.”
Mueller replied to that as follows: “How does link spam with forum comments work? Very badly.”