This week: tech companies report great earnings despite some bad press, micro-influencers love Instagram, and Facebook is giving video creators more ways to put cash in the bank.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Watch The Video Update Or Read The News Below
Facebook Earns $12 Billion Q1
It’s earnings season! How are some of your favorite companies doing?
Pretty well, actually.
In a report that surprised some analysts, Facebook reported $11.97 billion in sales for the first quarter of 2018.
Why was that a surprise? Because Facebook has been the subject of scandals in recent weeks, most notably the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
It appears the company has weathered those storms. The company’s ad growth was up a whopping 50% year-over-year. Mobile contributed to 91% of that total.
Maybe some people sold their Facebook stock too soon.
Twitter Earns $665 Million in Q1
How about Twitter? That company earned $665 million in the first quarter of this year.
Yes, that’s “million” with an “m.” Twitter isn’t Facebook.
Almost all of that revenue ($575 million) came from ads. More than half of Twitter’s advertising income came from video ads.
Total ad revenue for the company increased 21% year-over-year.
Daily active users (DAU) grew 10% from the previous year. Monthly active users (MAU) increased by 6 million.
Amazon Reported Great Earnings As Well
Amazon blew past earnings estimates for the first quarter.
The company reported $51.04 billion in sales versus the expected $49.78 billion. That’s a 43% year-over-year increase.
Net income more than doubled to $1.6 billion.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) revenues jumped 49% year-over-year. CEO Jeff Bezos credited that to a “seven-year head start” over the competition.
The company’s advertising business grew a whopping 139%.
Google Also Had Great Q1 Earnings
Google reported $31.1 billion in first-quarter revenue. That’s down from the previous quarter but up year-over-year.
The company’s Q1 revenue grew 26% from the same quarter in 2017.
Almost $27 billion of Google’s overall revenue was attributed to advertising. Aggregate paid clicks were up 59% year-over-year, but costs per click (CPCs) were down 19%.
Snapchat Will Test Unskippable 6-Second Ads
Snapchat will soon start testing unskippable 6-second ad units that the company has creatively named “Commercials.”
Unsurprisingly, Commercials will only run on Snapchat’s TV-like “Shows.”
According to a report, the company will begin testing Commercials in mid-May. Snapchat hasn’t released any more details about the new ad units.
Unskippable ads are a departure from the company’s typical ad model. Usually, users are allowed to skip past ads.
The move is seen as another effort to boost Snapchat’s attractiveness to advertisers.
Reddit Native Ads Now Available in the Android App
This past week, Reddit announced that it rolled out native ad placements on its Android app.
The ad format is called an Android Promoted Post. It’s similar to the format that runs on iOS.
As is usually the case on Reddit, users can upvote and downvote the ad. They can also leave comments.
Reddit says it’s seen more than a 300% increase in click-through rates (CTRs) since the company launched native ads on its app.
Facebook Gives Creators New Ways to Monetize Content
Facebook is giving video creators new opportunities to generate revenue.
For starters, the company is launching “preview” trailers for Watch. Those trailers run in the newsfeed and act as ads for the full video.
Creators have the opportunity to boost trailers, just as they can boost regular Facebook posts.
Facebook is also adding pre-roll ads in search results and timelines for pages. The company says that it’s moving the pre-roll ads to places where users are looking for videos.
“For example, if a person searches for a show a pre-roll may play when they select the episode to watch,” Facebook said in a statement.
The company has also rolled out new technology that determines the best place for an ad break within a video.
YouTube Ads Are Running Alongside Extremist Content (Again)
YouTube is still running ads on channels that promote extremist content.
According to an investigation by CNN, ads from multiple companies and some government agencies are appearing alongside neo-Nazi content.
Some of the companies named by CNN include: Hershey’s, Netflix, Nissan, and Under Armour.
Two of those companies, Nissan and Under Armour, said that they’re pausing their YouTube ads in response to the report.
The U.S. government agencies mentioned in the report include: the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Transportation.
YouTube has deleted one of the extremist channels.
Google Confirms Algorithm Update Rolled out on April 16
Google has confirmed yet another core algorithm update. This one rolled out on April 16.
“On Monday, we released a broad core algorithm update, as we routinely do throughout the year,” Google tweeted on April 20.
Google isn’t saying any more about the nature of the update. Some people think it’s related to content relevance.
The Big G has confirmed that last month’s “Brackets” update was about relevance.
Study: Google Assistant Most Accurate Virtual Assistant
According to research from Stone Temple Consulting, Google Assistant is the most accurate of the virtual assistants.
The study involved nearly 5,000 queries and compared Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and Google Assistant.
Cortana placed second-best in terms of correct answers and answers attempted. Siri was the worst performer in both categories.
Alexa saw the most improvement year-over-year.
Study: Google Doesn’t Often Use Meta Descriptions for Search Snippets
According to research by Yoast, Google doesn’t use meta descriptions in search snippets very often.
Usually, the company uses text from the web page for the description that appears below the title.
In two-thirds of those cases, Google grabbed sentences from the opening paragraph of the article and put them in the snippet.
The conclusion: make sure that your first paragraph includes content that you want people to read in the search results.
Google: You Won’t Cause Harm by Linking to No-Indexed Pages
If you have a large website that uses noindex on filter, parameter, and sort types of pages, you might think that you could harm your SEO efforts by linking to those pages. According to Google, that’s not the case.
John Mueller was asked about that on Twitter this week.
“Should internal linking to lots of noindexed URLs be a concern?” the person asked.
“I don’t see a problem with that,” Mueller replied.
Google Is Testing Single-Line AdWords Ads
Google is testing a significantly abbreviated version of AdWords ads on mobile platforms.
People who’ve seen the new ad format say that it includes a favicon and a URL.
And that’s it.
Some SEOs haven’t been able to view the new single-line ads yet, though.
Google hasn’t offered any comments on the ads.
Survey: Instagram Is the Most Active Influencer Channel
According to a survey of 400 micro-influencers, Instagram is the channel of choice for influencer marketing.
The research, conducted by Everywhere Agency, found that 80% of micro-influencers reported an increase in channel-specific activity.
A majority of the respondents (58%) said that Instagram is the social media app that brands turn to the most.
Perhaps more importantly: not a single micro-influencer mentioned Snapchat as a marketing channel that brands want to use exclusively.
Micro-influencers consist of people with at least 25,000 followers on social media.