This week, Google rolls out Shopping ads for YouTube, the page speed report is finally coming to Search Console, and virtual assistants ain’t what they used to be.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Instagram Offers Tips to Help Marketers Use Stories
For starters, the guide tells you when to use Stories. According to Instagram, you should use them to tell your business story, show unfiltered mo ents in your day, or share customer testimonials.
Next, the company says you should get creative with your text. Use colors that stand out, eye-catching fonts, or stacked text elements.
Instagram also advises you to record your screen so you can create animated Stories.
Google: The BERT Update Doesn’t Assign Scores
This past week, Google made it clear: the recently rolled-out BERT algorithm doesn’t assign values or scores to web pages.
If you’re unfamiliar with BERT, it’s an October update that helps Google understand some queries better.
You might have thought that meant it assigns a value or score to websites. It doesn’t.
“BERT doesn’t assign values to pages,” Danny Sullivan tweeted. “It’s just a way for us to better understand language.”
Google Rolls out Shopping Ads for YouTube
You’re probably already familiar with Shopping ads on Google search results. Now they’re coming to YouTube.
Unsurprisingly, they’ll appear in YouTube search results. But they’ll also appear on the YouTube home page.
When they appear in search, you’ll see them at the top of the page in front of the video results.
When they appear on the home page, you’ll see them as a carousel between videos.
As is frequently the case, users will see the ads based on their current interests.
Facebook Will Limit the Number of Ads Pages Can Run at the Same Time
This past week, Facebook announced that it will limit the number of ads your Facebook page can run simultaneously.
The details are a bit sketchy at this time. Facebook said it will share more info about the limits in the coming year.
The company is also releasing a new version of its Marketing API that will show you the volume of ads you’re running.
Facebook claims the move will only affect a small number of businesses.
Google Releases 2019 Holiday Shopping Trends Study
Google recently released insights about 2019 holiday shoppers.
According to the study, searches for “best deals” spiked 90%. Apparently, consumers are using Google to try to save money.
Google also said that 70% of shoppers like to get what they want online without the aid of human intervention.
Finally, searches such as “Black Friday deals” and “rewards apps” shot up 200% in 2019.
Study: Virtual Assistants Are Getting Worse at Answering Questions
According to a new study, virtual assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant aren’t getting any better at answering questions.
In fact, the accuracy of every digital assistant dropped compared to last year’s study.
“We’re no longer seeing major leaps in progress by any of the players,” the report says. “This may indicate that the types of algorithms currently in use have reached their limits. The next significant leap forward will likely require a new approach.”
Of the VAs analyzed, Google Assistant delivered the most correct responses while Apple’s Siri came in last.
Google Rolls out Page Speed Report in Search Console
Google is in the process of rolling out its page speed report in Search Console.
The company previewed the report way back in May. Since then, digital strategists have been waiting with bated breath for it to go live.
If you’re unfamiliar with the report, you won’t be shocked to learn that it does essentially the same thing as PageSpeed Insights. It lets you know how quickly your website responds to URL requests.
Bing Is Dishing out Link Penalties
This past week, Bing announced that it will start handing out link penalties.
The penalties are aimed at taking out private blog networks (PBNs) and putting a stop to subdomain leasing and cross-site linking.
In a nutshell, if you’re paying someone for backlinks, you could end up wasting your money, as Bing is going after link farms.
It’s best to just get links organically.
FTC Issues Guidance for Social Media Influencers
This is a big one if you’re using influencer marketing. This past week, the FTC issued guidance about people who endorse products on social media.
For starters, influencers have to disclose any compensation they’re receiving. That includes free products or services.
Additionally, influencers must disclose if they have a “material connection” to the brand. That includes any personal or financial relationship.
The FTC also says that the disclosure can’t be hidden. It needs to be obvious.
Facebook Rolls out Three New Features for Messenger
Facebook updated Messenger with three new features that make it easier for you to communicate with your customers.
The first is “ice-beakers” for common questions. You can think of it as an FAQ with automated responses.
Ice-breaker questions include “Where are you located?” and “What are your hours?”
Facebook is also making it easier for you to choose which apps you want to use for Click to Messenger ads. The “first phase” of that feature is already available.
Finally, Messenger is allowing more reply options for users and threading message exchanges so you can see which messages a user is replying to.
Weekly Action Items:
Here’s how you can take the news of the last seven days and use it to make money:
- If you’re already using Facebook Messenger for marketing, think about how you can use the new Messenger features to stay engaged with customers.
- If you’re using social media influencers, make sure you go through the FTC guidelines and follow the rules. Failure to do so could result in big trouble.
- If you’re trying to manipulate the search engines with PBNs or any other link schemes, stop doing so right now and think about how you can generate backlinks organically.
- Check the page speed report in Search Console and see if you need to make improvements to your website’s response time.
- If you’re running an ecommerce site, think about how you can increase sales with Shopping ads on YouTube.
- Go over Instagram’s tips on Stories and come up with some ideas about how to use Stories to get the word out about your brand.